Theoretically we were at 98% of totality for the eclipse. The sun should have come up in a notch created by the canyon where we live. We even scouted out a nearby location on a mountain top in case there was low lying fog (common during mornings so close to the coast).
Heading out Sunday night Aug 20th close to 4pm, we were greeted by this plume of smoke as we headed into the hills. This wasn’t at all unexpected since the fire has been burning and spreading since July 12th.
From a nearby peak we could see the smoke covering the mountains to the south.
We watched as the fire spread closer in our direction. There was a major fire back in 2002 in some of the current burn. The bare trees seen just under the smoke layer are likely dead ‘snags’ left from the 2002 Biscuit fire.
We watched as the plumes of smoke spread and grew.
Looking back toward the ocean, the smoke seemed to dissipate as it headed out to sea
and the colors turned more ominous as it got closer to sunset.
An eerie sunset looking west.
The next morning, heading out well before the eclipse, there was a thick haze as an inversion apparently pushed all that smoke lower to the ground.
Near the start of the eclipse, I took a chance with the above shot even though the advice is not to shoot straight into the sun. It shows the spooky light from all the smoke rather than the eclipse.
We had the eclipse glasses and I checked on the progress of the eclipse periodically, but there were no weird shadows that I could find. A bit of a disappointment in general. I turned to shooting other entities as suggested by the many eclipse sites.
This shot does seem to suggest that the scene turned darker near the time of totality.
It gradually lightened up on our way back down the mountain. So far we’ve been lucky. The quarter acre of fire that was first discovered has spread to over 90,000 acres, but unless there’s a radical shift in the wind it doesn’t appear to be heading in our direction.
Chetco Bar fire now top priority in the country (see OPB article)
The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.
― J.R.R. Tolkien,