On the 9th of September 2020 San Francisco woke up to dimly lit orange skies caused by high altitude smoke from California's wildfires. Resembling the view through a CTO gel used by photographers and cinematographers to warm the appearance of light, the strange orange sky lasted most of the day. San Francisco Airport served as an interesting foreground subject for this strange light. Despite the appearance, the air quality at ground level was relatively good considering the circumstances, the soot was held aloft by a marine layer below it. The element most difficult to communicate visually was the humidity and stillness of the air. It lent a hushed quality to the atmosphere. Everything felt a bit quieter.
These photos were made between 11am and 1pm. No color correction was made. Some photos appear to show a lighter or darker overall ambience to the orange sky. While there are minor differences in exposure throughout this gallery, it is important to note the luminance of the sky was continually shifting throughout the day, and not necessarily in accordance to the rise and fall of the sun but rather with weather conditions. Winds and the density of the marine layer were making continual subtle shifts in the overall look of the scene. Every effort was made to truthfully represent the events of the day. The photos were processed in Capture One 20 using their Nikon Z6 profile.
I spoke with Neale James of the Photography Daily podcast in December of 2020 about these photos. You can listen to that brief interview here.
©2020 John Paul Poritz, all rights reserved.