Ominous sunrises & sunsets in W.Va. due to wildfires

By Jonathan Eggleston, for RealWV

West Virginia residents are seeing an unusual sight as hazy conditions caused by the raging Canadian wildfires have made their way across the state, blanketing the region in a mystical ambiance.

While the consequences of these wildfires have been devastating for those directly affected, the unusual weather phenomenon has presented a silver lining in the form of ominous sunrises and sunsets that have captured the imagination of onlookers.

The Canadian wildfires, which have been raging for weeks, have resulted in a substantial amount of smoke and fine particulate matter being released into the atmosphere. Driven by powerful winds, this haze has gradually traveled southward, reaching the vast landscapes of West Virginia and beyond, casting a mesmerizing veil over the region.

One of the most striking effects of this haze is the transformation of the sun during dawn and dusk. Sunrises and sunsets, which are already considered some of nature’s most awe-inspiring moments, have taken on an otherworldly appearance as the sun’s rays interact with the suspended particles, creating a dusty and mesmerizing sight.

I have seen many people sharing their photographs and expressing their awe at the ethereal beauty that now seems to grace their lives.

Picturesque landscapes featuring a fiery sun casting a soft, golden glow through the haze has been fun to document and really offers up photographers something a little different.

Meteorologists explain that the particles in the haze scatter sunlight, resulting in vivid colors and diffused light that make the sunrises and sunsets very enchanting.

The longer wavelengths, such as red and orange, tend to be less affected by scattering, leading to the dominance of warm hues during these special moments.

Furthermore, the haze itself adds an element of mystery, often creating an illusion of depth and distance…
Mountains and trees appear silhouetted against a backdrop of swirling mist, adding a dreamlike quality to the landscape that is normally only seen during foggy mornings.

While the hazy conditions have brought a touch of something different to the East Coast, it is important to acknowledge the devastating consequences of the Canadian wildfires themselves.

Thousands of acres of forests have been engulfed in flames, wildlife habitats destroyed, and countless communities disrupted. Firefighters and emergency response teams are working tirelessly to contain the fires and protect affected areas.

West Virginians, in their awe of the stunning sunrises and sunsets, are reminded of the interconnectedness of our planet’s ecosystems and we should understand that the haze is a direct result of catastrophic environmental events occurring hundreds of miles away.

As we marvel at the sublime beauty of these hazy conditions, let us also keep in mind the urgent need for global action to address climate change and prevent the occurrence of such devastating wildfires in the future. For now, let us embrace and savor the extraordinary displays that nature has gifted us, as we hope for clearer skies and a better future for our planet.

These photos were taken as I drove around Monroe County this week during sunrise and sunset. Using my full frame Sony camera and my 70-200mm telephoto lens, I was really able to compress the scene and make the sun appear bigger, adding depth and detail to the final images.

These conditions are making astrophotography a challenge,  but I’m trying to turn it into something positive and document what I can.

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