Smoke from the Cameron Peak Fire had been a problem for a few days, but this was the worst day so far. You couldn’t see Horsetooth Mountain from my house, and you could still smell smoke in the car with the air conditioning on. The smoke followed us all the way to Wyoming, but thankfully the high country of the Snowy Range was only mildly hazy.

Nate and I were with my friend James and his son Luis. We spent a weekend backpacking, hiking through The Gap to camp at the Shelf Lakes on the other side. We had a nice camp, with good views and a marmot neighbor. We also learned that they graze cattle in the backcountry meadows; the first moo that we heard was a bit of a puzzle. Nate didn’t feel well that night, and we had mechanical difficulties with a water filter, but otherwise the trip was relaxing. On Sunday, Nate and I did an additional loop hike to visit some of the other lakes in the area.

As we hiked out, we stopped for a snack and photography at a place where two foreground lakes stood in front of the bulk of Medicine Bow Peak, and one of the pictures became my favorite image of the week.

Medicine Bow Peak

Fujifilm X-T2, Fujinon XF 18-55 f/2.8-4 R LM OIS at 18mm, f/9 at 1/200, ISO 200

Digital Darkroom. The sun was behind a cloud when I pressed the shutter, which helped avoid a lot of glare of light reflecting on the water. It also left the light a little bland. The smokey haze in the air didn’t do me any favors either. I increased exposure by half a stop, reduced highlights, increased shadows and increased texture.

At this point, I got out my brushes. I brushed over the sky, and reduced exposure by half a stop. I also decreased highlights, and pumped up texture and dehaze. For the mountain, I used a second brush, limiting myself to increasing clarity and dehaze. Finally, the trees on the left bank of the pond looked fairly muddy and dark, so I used a third brush and increased shadows there.

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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