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"sacred and profane"
Bearing witness to a burning world.
Anacortes, WA (2015).
There’s a previous photograph on this blog that someone meaningfully described as “sacred and profane.” I took that to be an observation of both beauty and destruction, seen from a distance, while also realizing that one is unavoidably immersed into nature and the moment.
To me, this photo is similar in meaning, and full of its own unique symbolism.
It is early morning in Anacortes, Washington on July 5, 2015. It was a time of what was then record heat and drought in the Pacific Northwest. Smoke from wildfires on the Olympic Peninsula and in British Columbia obscures the sun over the Shell Puget Sound Refinery. It felt to me that the whole world was burning.
In recent years, it has become commonplace to see photos of orange skies during periods of intense wildlife smoke. Simply put, particles in the air block most of the shorter wavelengths of visible light – greens and blues – from the sun. The longer wavelengths – red and orange – are able to bend around the smoke and pass through to one’s eyes. In a sense, one’s full range of vision is limited short term, but still there is enough light to witness a longer term scene, both holy and obscene.
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