the smoke of the wildfire

I went to Pyramid Lake today with the intention of playing around with my cameras and some new stuff I got.  I really don’t use anything with my photography (polarizer filters, hoods, nor editing software).  I just want to know my camera and see what it does.  I’ve recently started shooting in RAW full time as well, which strangely has been an adjustment.

How can I tweak the circular polarizer if I’m going for X effect?  I wanted to see if the use of hoods really did help cut down on solar flares popping up and ruining shots.  I also began to debate my level of tiredness if I wanted to stick around after sunset and give astrophotography a little try.  Just see where it takes me.

The drive towards the lake was incredibly scenic, not a cloud in the sky.  (The lake is located on Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation.)  It’s roughly 30 miles north of Reno, NV, and it depends how far north of the lake you’d like to travel as well.  I picked a seemingly popular destination called “Monument Rock” on the map (like I do with most starting adventures) and was prepared to probably not make it there – like usual – and stumble across other things instead.

As I got to the lake, the sun was retreating to the west, the wind picked up, and I started to smell something similar to a camp fire.  The sky in the west went from clear to kind of smokey, and the closer North/West I went, the heavier the smoke and wind.  I couldn’t get to my destination because the road was closed.

Right around when I arrived here a few days ago, a wildfire broke out on the California/Nevada border, and was under control.  Lightning struck the next day, and caused a wildfire to get going again.  Yesterday, Interstate 80 was closed because the smoke was traveling east and it was unsafe due to minimal visualization of the road.

Tonight, the smoke hung over the lake, and the sunset just added to the dramatic look of it all.


I am not a professional photographer, or professional badass (but I am working on it).  I was not, and still do not, possess the knowledge or skills to venture into wildfire territory.  I most certainly would not [stupidly] put myself or anyone else knowingly in danger and create more work for any fire fighter personnel involved in helping reduce/diminish the wildfire.

After seeing several fire trucks, and some affiliated supply trucks, I kind of hung back.  When I came across the road closed sign, I didn’t push it.  I pulled over, I took some pictures and a video, and enjoyed the sunset from where I stopped.  I’m not familiar with this kind of nature.  While others may shrug their shoulders at such a thing, I’m in a rental, with some camera equipment, and a half drunk Coke from the Burger King I passed along the way.  I did not even magically have some resources with me (such as a first aid kit) to debate going forward.

I went to the lake with the intention of playing around with my equipment, not to stormchase.  I didn’t illegally traverse anywhere, on foot or by car.  Maybe wildfires are something in the future to explore, but it seemed appropriate to submit to the rules.

I did catch some great shots, truly gorgeous.  The video I took is not bad, but the wind is so strong, even my hand trying to cup by the mic to help it out didn’t work.

Photo taken with the canon avec lens hood and circular polarizer in RAW.


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