Smoke On The Water

As of September 6th, there are currently over 20 forest fires burning in the State of Oregon, and many more in Washington, Idaho, Montana, and British Columbia. Many of the Oregon fires have been burning for weeks. There are currently no fires in the Rogue Valley, but because of location and the way air sits in the valley, we have had a huge amount of smoke in the valley for the better part of a month now. On August 28th, Ashland had the worst air quality in the entire US, and it really hasn’t improved since then. If anything it’s worse. We have forest fire smoke in the valley every year around August and September, and some years it’s worse than other years, but in the 16 years that I have lived here, this year the smoke is pretty much the worst I have seen. In 2002, the first summer I lived here, and the year of the Biscuit Fire and Grizzly Peak fire, the smoke was pretty bad, but it’s worse this year.

Other than a quick trip to the California coast, and a day trip to Redding, I have hardly left my house for nearly a month now. Between the smoke outdoors and being stuck in stale air conditioned indoor air, I have felt nauseous for 3 weeks. Yesterday we learned that due to the terrible air quality, the annual Walk To Defeat ALS was canceled for the first time ever.

On Labor Day, we were so tired of being in the house, so Tiffany, Etta, and I decided to brave the smoke and spend some time at Emigrant Lake. I decided to bring along my Minolta Autocord TLR which has had a partially shot roll of Lomo Color Negative 100 in it for nearly 2 years. I thought that maybe the smoke would make for some interesting landscapes, plus I needed to get the roll finished anyway. Despite the smoke, it was great to get out for a bit, and I managed to finish the roll.

Here are a few photos from the outing.






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