We’ve got close to 600 active fires in British Columbia right now.All this fire produces huge clouds of smoke.These vast clouds contain tiny ash particles.Breathing in this heavy smoke can do a number on your lungs & lord help you if you’ve already got  compromised health!

When I wake up in the morning, I go to a satellite site to check on the cloud situation? I watch this site all day to get a better understand of the cloud structure & direction.The most important tool a photographer has is the sun…………. light ! Two rules about light………horizontal light good,vertical light bad. Basically sunrise & sunset are the only times one should be taking pictures.Right place at the right time can turn a mediocre subject into a excellent subject!

Light is the most important element to a great shot.Get a half decent subject & bath it in golden light…….& now your talking! The number one thing that affects the light is……….clouds. You want Goldi-Loks clouds.Not too many & not too few & they can be of any type? Personally I love those towering Cumulonimbus! I find them dramatic.Clouds are very important to a great shot! The worse situation is when there are too many clouds & it’s overcast all day.The light gets snuffed. If you have no light,you have no picture! Light to a photographer is like heat to a cook.If you don’t have the light you ain’t cooking.

We are in “outflow” conditions at the moment.What that means is the wind is coming from the mainland.The normal prevailing breeze is from the west to the east but under outflow conditions the wind is reversed.So we are getting all that forest fire smoke from the forest fires to the east of us.

It wasn’t very sunny today due to all the smoke cloud.Because of the smoke I knew the sun would turn pinkish.All that particulate material will filter out the shorter wavelengths.Only the more powerful longer wavelengths would be able to punch through.The longer ones are red,orange & yellow,ROY.I always like to invite ROY out on my shoots. Past the reddish end is a pinkish colour. I knew the sun would turn pink so I grabbed my camera & went out looking for one of my eagle friends.

I found Ernie on top of a crane mast.I know he likes that spot. I approached these situations the same.If the sun is point A & the eagle is point B,draw a line through A & B to find point C on the ground.Normally I’m in my boat when I do this but not tonight.I decided to go looking over the land tonight. I saw Ernie perched on top of the crane mast! Now all I had to do was line them both up.Trying to find point C on land can be a problem.Out on the water is easy! I find the bearing & move along it till they line up. It turns out point C was on top of a fish processing plant.I know the building & the guy who runs it.Nobody was down there at the time so I had no problem getting up on top.

Ernie was preening away.I wanted him to jump.He never does what I tell him.I had to move further back to get a better angle.I looked behind me & realized I was very close to the edge.I needed to be careful as it was a thirty foot drop.Just as I was turning back,the silly feather duster jumped!I missed the shot. Oh well, … least I got something.

10% of something is better than 100% of nothing.


67 thoughts on “ERNIE’S ECLIPSE

  1. Thanks for telling us how you go about getting a shot. Ernie looks regal against that red sun. I agree about sunrise and sunset light. At those times my garden looks great. At high noon it’s washed out by the glare and I’d rather stay inside, especially if it’s hot.

    1. Fire was here millions of years before humans ever walked upon this earth.Having said that,this situation is a bad one for many people not just in BC but all over the world.California,Spain,Canada etc. The problem is lack of moitsture on the ground.Not enough snow during the winter & not enough rain during the Spring.That makes things very dry & all you need is a spark which humans (cigarette butts,truck exhaust) seem only too willing to provide.Plus when you throw on top mother natures own sparking from lightening,you have the recipe for disaster.
      Thank you for dropping in Hedy! Always so nice to hear from you.Our number of forest fires is around 600? I don’t need to ask you about the significance of that number.It’s bad.Maybe it’ll stop at 666?

  2. Hey Wayne, you put into words something I was stumbling my way towards about light about dawn and sunset. I like early morning but you get astonishing results with sunset!

    1. A business mans mantra is “Location,location,location”.A photographers mantra is “LIght,light,light”!
      With you being a artist your subject is affected by the light most certainly! Which is your personal favourite,morning or evening light & why?
      & thank you for dropping in Emma!

      1. Ireland is fine Wayne thank you we have already had some rain with more on the way.. I checked with friends recently and they have not had problems in our area. I hope your residual issue with the ash is improving. Dreadful for everyone including the wildlife.. especially as I assume that bears etc are wanting to pack on the weight before winter. xx

      1. Sometimes it is interesting to hear some of the steps taken in order to get such lovely photos. They don’t just happen, but require planning, skill and patience. Sharing the process can be a good learning opportunity for less skillful photographers. :)

  3. I have the impression as if the dust and smoke from the fire is already affecting the sky over Southern Bavaria. I watch nearly every sunset from my balcony here in Munich, and I’m pretty sure that I didn’t see such fulminant red coloured sunsets since the year when that Iceland volcano Eyjafjallajökull did explode in springtime 2014.

    1. Yes,I remember that.Many flights were cancelled! People were upset.I wondered if they were upset at Nature or the airlines more? I was amazed that they didn’t understand that it wasn’t the airlines fault.
      thank you for dropping in!

  4. Thanks, Wayne, for the explanation of light, environment, techniques and the efforts you go to to capture a photo. What amazing results you got – a great photos. Glad you saw the edge of the building before it got you too!!!

    1. the stairs leading up to the roof were directly over the water.It was a bit unnerving.I prefer finding point C’s in my boat to be honest.Once I had to ask people in a hotel room if I could shoot from their balcony! I sent them the shot.

      1. Oh, gosh, sounds like you really are daring and take chances to get the right shot, but am sure you are very careful too. Funny story about using hotel room balcony . . . LOL.

  5. I enjoyed reading the explanation of how you take your photos. :) These photos are fantastic! The smoke from all those fires(and the fires themselves) is awful – I hope there’s some rain soon.

    1. You,me & everyone else.Spawning season is in a month.If the salmon do not have more water in the streams they will surly perish.Which means this years run will be poor & so in 4 years time the numbers coming back will be low.Which will affect whether a Sow decides to get pregnant or not?The ripple affects will be felt for years in other words.
      Thank you for commenting Lynette.Are you back home yet?

  6. These images are beautiful Wayne and now we all know just how far you will go to take these stunning shots, plus the thinking process involved. (Not that we ever took you for granted before when you were just out in your boat.) Between the smoke and this “Heat Dome” and global warming, I worry about all the flora and fauna everwhere. Can’t they divert other water to the streams somehow or is that not doable? Do the smoke particles settle on trees and grass where animals, like bears, come along and eat? I wouldn’t think that would be so great for them either, (like warnings to humans about eating BBQ’d food cooked over smoking briquettes/embers).

    1. the vast majority of streams (up our way at least) are all natural streams.Meaning there has been no damming upstream.So there is no way to increase the flow.
      All that particulate matter does settle onto the ground & is absorbed.I’m sure it’s very good for future growth too!
      I do what I do & try to have fun! & if your not having fun than whats the point?……right!

  7. Wonderful shot, Wayne! Enjoyed reading the explanation, but you be careful clambering about up there! I need to check when the wind direction is forecast to change, this smoke is pretty bad here, so it must be awful over much of the interior. Need the rain…

  8. When Nature hands one lemons, one makes lemonade, in spite, or Sprite, whatever..

    Fabulous shots from a gifted photographer,
    and a fine lesson from an exceptional friend.

    Made my rainy Monday, Wayne. Thank you!

  9. You have some amazing photos as I looked through your posts. I do understand completely that we are the worst critique to our photos. Secondly, I really like your words “Light to a photographer is like heat to a cook.” How true and reminds me of many moments just waiting for the clouds to go away or be in the perfect spot (I do like photographing clouds.) or racing with the sunset to get the perfect shot! :) I do like quite a number of your photos. It must hard to take these photos with the smoke that caused by the forest fire!

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