This past weekend our plans were to head east into central Washington. We were to visit the odd geological weirdness that is so prevalent in the more deserty portions of our state. And we did. But by the time we hit the Columbia River, the smoke from the nearby wildfires was so thick that it blotted out the sun. If it weren’t for the burned smell, it could easily have been mistaken for an intensely thick fog.
Crossing the Columbia, the smoke let up only slightly. When we entered lower Moses Coulee, you could see more clearly, but it looked like the haziest day ever, which is weird in a desert. And so, instead of camping for the night, we decided to turn around and drive the 200 miles back home. We’ll do the camping thing next weekend.
But what we did see was lovely. We drove the length of lower Moses Coulee, the former riverbed of the Columbia River during the last ice age. It was only a preview, since we still couldn’t see much.
The sunlight filtering through the smoke cast a strange light over everything. It’s hard to describe and even harder to capture on film. It was sort of like how, when it’s cloudy, the light is diffused. But still, unlike an overcast sky, there were shadows. The color was an orange-gray, something the photo above almost depicts.
Where I took this shot, an old alignment of the Yellowstone Trail, the smoke wasn’t so bad. It was almost tempting to camp. But the air quality was fairly bad (as you’d expect) and we figured that the smoke wouldn’t let up much in the other areas where we’d be. The several area fires are still burning. We’ll be keeping a close eye on them so we don’t make a 400 mile round trip for basically nothing.
I was able to shoot a roll of film, however, and processed it the following day. This photo is from that roll. I also took a couple of Polaroid Land shots. I’ll post that, as well, I bet.
This was captured with the Imperial Savoy (which I’m beginning to think is just a Savoy – made before Imperial bought the company. The film was Kodak’s Ektar 100. I like this film quite a bit, but you need a stark, sunny day for it to really work. This wasn’t such a day.
To see a larger version of the one, head over to the flickr page.