Combine agricultural dust from the San Joaquin Valley with Los Angeles-area air pollution and you get some wonderful golden light. Throw in a few wild fires and it gets even better!
All that pollution acts as a huge red-orange filter.
On this evening in late July 2016, fellow photographer David Hegarty and I were fortunate to be in place in the California Tehachapis to make good use of the golden light.
As previously featured on Tracking the Light, the railroad was a bit backed up. This enabled us to find a train at the moment of sunset.
These images have not been altered digitally in post processing, except for scaling necessary for digital presentation. To maintain the rich rosy glow, I selected a daylight white balance, and was very careful with my exposure, which I selected manually to maintain texture in the sky.
And yes, I also exposed a slide using Fujichrome Provia 100F.
In yesterday’s Tracking the Light post, I extolled the virtues of Kodachrome film as a medium for capturing trains on the move in the fading light tinted by atmospheric pollution.
I’ve made many fine glinty photos on Fujichrome films as well. And speaking of Fujichrome and air-pollution, what better way to combine these topics than to illustrate them with this image I made of a Yamanote Loop train in Tokyo.
The sun was out, but a thick layer of smog was choking the Japanese capital, and what a wonderful filter it was too!
Look, it’s not my job to defend the planet against particulates, CO2, and etc, I have good friends that take care of that! (You know who you are). I just use the tools at hand, and a nice thick layer of air pollution can really add color to a photograph!
NOTICE: Tracking the Light was ‘off line’ for several hours during July 14 and 15th, 2013 as a result of maintenance to the host-site. Tracking the Light should now be functioning normally. Brian apologizes for any inconvenience.
Kodachrome was the best medium for photographing the rising sun.
I made this photograph with Mel Patrick and T.S. Hoover on the morning of September 4, 1996. We were positioned on the former Denver & Rio Grande Western at the aptly named CTC siding called ‘Solitude’ (population zero) in the desert east of Green River.
Wild fires in Idaho had polluted the air with particulates. During the day this was only barely noticeable, but it made for stunningly red moments at sunrise and sunset since the particulate matter acts as a filter and alters the natural spectrum of sunlight.
Since sunlight passes through more atmosphere at sunrise and sunset than during the height of the day the filtration effect is accentuated.
Kodachrome had two advantages when working with this type of filtered light. Firstly its spectral sensitivity made the most of the red light. Secondly, the inherent quality of the film’s silver grain structure preserved the outline of the sun despite extreme overexposure, while the latitude of the film allowed for an exceptionally broad range for exposure.
Other than the particulate matter in the air, I didn’t use any special filtration to make this image.