This week a horrible forest fire erupted in the Cameron pass area, the mountains west of here that serves as the outdoor playground of Fort Collins. The forest has been devastated by the Mountain Pine Beetle in recent years, and a large percentage of the trees are dead, perfect fuel for a forest fire. Two weeks later, the fire has grown to 23,000 acres and is 0% contained. In all likelihood, the fire will burn until the first significant snowfall this fall.

Air quality in Fort Collins is quite low, with the sky full of smoke on most days. While otherwise a tragedy, smoke in the air does give the light a unique orange glow. The day after the fire started, I drove the family up to the road overlooking Horsetooth reservoir, to take pictures of the smoke-enhanced sunset. This became my favorite image of the week.

Smoky Sunset

Fujifilm X-T2, Fujinon XF 18-55 f/2.8-4 R LM OIS at 18mm, f/9 at 1/60, ISO 250

I wasn’t alone on the ridge. The shot below shows other photographers lined up to capture the sunset.

Wait- what happened to August Week 1? I was on vacation that week, and still have a large collection of images to work through. Rather than let a backlog of posts accumulate, I’m going to continue ahead and come back to that week when my editing is complete.

Digital Darkroom. After switching to the Fujifilm Velvia profile, I made some small adjustments to the image. I increased exposure by 1/3 of a stop, and nudged up contrast (12), texture (15) and vibrance (14). The big edit was to add a graduated filter over the sky, decreasing exposure (-1) and highlights (-53), while giving dehaze a bump (+12). My final edit was to paint the opposite shore with a brush and increase shadows (+12) to restore some detail on the otherwise dark mountain ridge

WIRR stands for Weekly Image Rich Ruh. This regular feature on Das Has von Ruh will show and describe my favorite photo created during this weekly period. My weeks start on Mondays, as does the WIRR. I’m hoping to include commentary on the story, the setting, the specs, or the sentiments, depending on the circumstances.

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