On and Over the Hills

"Go as far as you can see; when you get there you'll be able to see farther." ~ Thomas Carlyle

The Rocky Mountains Showing Only Their Toes Beneath a Golden Shroud

Saturday, August 20th, 2010. The second day of our journey took us along the Yellowhead Highway through the Rocky Mountains. Again, a route we’ve travelled many, many times through all seasons and all weathers, and again, as in my previous post, a familiar route made new by the smoke from B.C.’s wildfires.

The familiar rocky, snow-capped peaks were completely hidden, as they are when the clouds are low and rain or snow is falling. But unlike these familiar phenomena, there was no variation in the density. Clouds are more whimsical, allowing the occasional peek through them; drifting, changing, forming and dissolving.

The smoke was not like that. It was an even mass, turning the forests into pop-up books, every draw between the trees creating the space between the seemingly two-dimensional stands of forest. The effect was of driving through a fake landscape of a rather poorly rendered computer game with manufactured perspective.

The background is missing here. The chain of mountain spurs obscured by the smoke. The familiar Rocky Mountain skyline completely obliterated.

We saw several dauntless bike riders, although probably not as many as might have been. I can’t imagine what breathing must have been like. I can’t imagine having the breath or the legs to climb the long, long hills as it is, doing it through the smoke must have been much like smoking a pack of cigarettes at the same time.

Sometimes you’ll see Bighorn Sheep on this corner, especially in the winter, having made their way down the steep and rocky toes of the mountain to lick the salt from the road. We saw very little mammal-life this day. I wonder how they coped with the smoke.

There didn’t seem to be any shortage of birds though, mysteriously appearing like phantoms out of the thick atmosphere.

This is Moose Lake on the west side of the Alberta-B.C. border. It looks like an ocean here, but there are mountains in the distance.

Traffic was nice and light, lighter than usual on an August weekend. I wonder if the smoke kept people at home.

I took all of these through a not-so-perfectly clean windshield; luckily I could focus through it. It was frustrating not to have the time to stop and take real advantage of this intriguing effect. I did very little post processing on these – rendering them from the raw and cropping in Picassa, which is what I use to organize my pictures. I will go back to some of them when I have some time, but for now, I just want to record the journey here. In my next post I’ll continue down Highway 5 as we make our way through Kamloops and to Sicamous – our destination.

12 comments on “The Rocky Mountains Showing Only Their Toes Beneath a Golden Shroud

  1. Matt Katzenberger
    August 28, 2010

    Those are so beautiful! Seriously!
    I absolutely love the tones in your shots, and the fog/haze in the distance.

    • missusk76
      August 28, 2010

      Thank you so much for the compliment Matt. It was dense smoke from the huge wildfires burning throughout British Columbia and it was a truly fascinating phenomenon.

  2. bobzeller
    August 28, 2010

    Amazing photos. It must have a task to edit these. I shoot RAW part of the time, and when I do, I convert them in Photoshop Elements. I have PS CS4, but it is still a little complicated for me. But again, great photos, especially since you had to shoot them through your windshield. I will put your blog on my blogroll and look for some more of your work.

    • missusk76
      August 28, 2010

      Thank you Bob. I very much appreciate your stopping by and commenting. Now there are 2 things I have yet to learn – Photoshop and how to make a Blogroll. I need to get on the latter right away, I’ve seen so many great photography blogs. I wasn’t really sure what a Blogroll was for untill a day or two ago! Yours will surely be on there when I figure it out. 🙂

  3. bobzeller
    August 28, 2010

    Okay, maybe I can help you to make your blog roll.
    First open your dashboard, go down to appearance, then click on “Widgets”.
    You will see a whole list of them. Select the “Links” widget and drag it up to the right to your side bar.
    Then click on Links on the LEFT side menue, when your links page opens, click “add new” at the top of the page, then type your entries. For example the name of my blog is Texas Tweeties, they enter my http://bobzeller.wordpress.com. Then if you want you can type Birding and Photography in Texas, or whatever you want. The important thing is to get the URL typed in.

    Hope this helps.


    • missusk76
      August 28, 2010

      Thanks so much for taking the time to help me out Bob. I really appreciate it and I’m working on it now.

  4. bobzeller
    August 28, 2010

    Oh, one more thing. Photoshop Elements 8 is much easier than Photoshop CS4. And about 500.00 cheaper, too. It sells for around 90.00. I’ve been using it for years, and it is much more user friendly.

    • missusk76
      August 28, 2010

      Thanks again, Bob. I didn’t even realize there where such different versions!

  5. Kate
    August 28, 2010

    Wow, the smoke is really thick there still. We haven’t had it since those couple of weeks in the middle of the summer. I think we got it and not Vancouver or Victoria as we are directly west of the area. Apparently the weather system pulled it west across the coastal mountains and then across the narrow straits here through the Discovery Islands and into the centre of Vancouver Island.

    Beautiful pictures.

    • missusk76
      August 28, 2010

      Thank you for your comment Kate. I love that weather and wind still do their own thing despite all the changes we’ve made to the planet. In the end – they’re the boss, aren’t they. I really appreciate the geographic visual you’ve provided.

  6. themichaellamcollection
    August 30, 2010

    Lovely series of shots, the warm tone cast by the smoke gives them a unique appearance 🙂

    • missusk76
      August 30, 2010

      Thank you Michael. I was very subjective with the tone, I’m still not sure what it really looked like, but that’s how it ‘felt’. I appreciate your stopping by very much.

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