It seems late in the summer, that the world is on fire. That is probably an exaggeration, but in the Western US where I am, there are wildfires everywhere and the forest fire smoke has been thick as fog lately.

While late summer is not the best time to photograph many of the iconic locations around here, the smoke has made it hardly worthwhile to venture out. But yesterday I hooked up with a photographer visiting from the east coast and I wanted him to see our iconic locations.

So we went anyway to Sparks Lake, our most iconic location around here, and sure enough the smoke was thick. I was not motivated to shoot when I got there but then I started to frame some scenes and realized that while this unfortunate smoke was ruining a scene that I have shot countless times, it was creating a whole new view of the mountain and lake reflection, that I never see or photograph.


I then started to shoot all of the variations I have captured before but with smoke. and as I kept shooting I was becoming pleasantly surprised. The smoke was obscuring the distant mountains but not the foreground elements and that creates contrast that was very interesting. So this is my first capture of many to come.

And it goes to show that ‘all light is good light.’ You just have to figure how best to use it.


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