Seems the horrific death toll in the fires in California is about to jump past 50 soon if it has not already. My thoughts go out to everyone down there, it is a devastating situation. Having lived with the constant risk of fires on our rural property in Australia, and recently living though two of British Columbia’s worst fire seasons on record since moving to Canada I am grateful that my family has never had to experience the worst of what nature has to offer.

I don’t have any shots from California, but I took this shot this past summer in Northern BC when we were smothered in smoke for weeks on end as fires raged about 50km away from us. It is a single exposure taken with a 400mm lens and 2x teliconverter. The smoke was so thick that I did not need to recover any highlights from bracketed shots even looking directly into the sun at 800mm ! Having small kids changes your attitude towards these disasters. One’s (delusional) sense of invincibility gets wiped away, and you start to consider all the ‘what if’ scenarios. These are the very scenarios which are playing out in California at the moment, as they did earlier this year in Greece killing almost 100 people. Fires are a natural phenomenon, however with a warming climate resulting in more frequent droughts and extreme heat waves, will need to adapt to their increasing frequency and intensity. Stay safe down there.


The shot was taken at 800mm and 1/320 second shot at f/9 and ISO 160. I have also included a cropped version of the shot below. Let me know if you prefer the wider frame or the portrait crop.


If you would like to learn a little bit more about my background in photography you can read the interview @photofeed did with me here

Robert Downie
Love Life, Love Photography

All images in this post were taken by and remain the Copyright of Robert Downie -