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

Wanted: Smell-O-Photo

If only I could make you smell my pictures you’d experience the effects of these major wildfires still burning in British Columbia. Turning south from Highway 16 on Highway 5 (The South Yellowhead Highway), the air was choking with particulates in the smoke. I can only imagine what it must be like for those nearby and those many brave souls fighting them.

What is really amazing, is that, according to the Williams Lake Tribune, people – sentient human beings – are still carelessly starting them!

I’ll bet my last dollar that it’s not someone like this, whose horse is wandering listlessly through a pasture that looks like someone might be setting up practice jumping bars if the air was breathable.

There was so little movement – no breeze, no people out on their land, or walking anywhere, the few visible cattle and horses were quiet: lying down or listlessly grazing.  There was a melancholy mood under the acrid air. In the fire zones wildlife, livestock and people are displaced and in danger.

We passed a young deer standing on the shoulder of the highway on a bend where it could not be seen in time to slow down. Traffic was fairly heavy there and all we could do was hope that it would change its mind and turn back into the bush. Living in bush country as I do, I know the damage vehicles take on the wildlife and it’s heartbreaking.

In July of 2003, a carelessly tossed cigarette butt started a fire that escalated out of control around Barriere, B.C., an unprecedented series of fires burned over 265,000 hectares, killing 72 people and destroying livelihoods and businesses.

You can read about it here. We drove through there the following summer and the devastation was painful to see. Since then, social and natural rejuvenation has taken place, but this year the regrowth was almost impossible to see as the skeletal remains of trees stood out against the backdrop of thick smoke as if in solidarity.

These images were processed from the RAW with little or no other post processing. As in my last post I ended up being very subjective with white balance on these pictures, aiming to convey the feeling of the atmosphere and less concerned with the colour in reality. I still can’t tell you what colour it really was.

South of Barriere at a rest area called the ‘Fish Trap’ we stopped for a break and took a little walk above the North Thompson River that we’d been following alongside throughout this southward leg of the trip.

I actually got to take some pictures from the ground, rather than a moving vehicle. I’ll post more of these and tell about frank Frank next post.

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7 comments on “Wanted: Smell-O-Photo

  1. pixilated2
    August 29, 2010

    The smoke is bad there. Was it raining ashes too? These are awesome photos, but deeply sad as well.

    The last really bad fires I had to deal with in S. California, it rained ashes for more than a week, and at night you could watch them coming down glowing as they floated in the dark. Some were large enough that you could actually hear them crackling as they drifted down from the mountaintops to the valley floor. Those were bad days when all the mountaintops from East to West were ablaze. ~ Lynda

    • missusk76
      August 29, 2010

      Thanks for your compliment, Lynda, it was very sad, but no, there were no ashes. We were too far away. The fires are so huge the smoke obscured the sun for hundreds of kilometres. You must have been quite close to the California fires. I do remember hearing about them. They were truly terrible.

  2. themichaellamcollection
    August 30, 2010

    I think one of those warner-brothers cartoons from my childhood had once called it smellovision 🙂
    Loving the photos, keep shooting.

    • missusk76
      August 30, 2010

      That rings a bell! 🙂 Thanks for your encouragement.

  3. bobzeller
    August 30, 2010

    I too, like the warm tone of your “smoky” photos. It gives them a nice sepia look.

  4. Pingback: Les Picker Photography » Blog Archive » Summarizing My Canadian Rockies Trip

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This entry was posted on August 29, 2010 by in Processes, The Journey and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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