Got the alert on the PulsePoint app, went "holy crap, that's a mile away!", grabbed my 80-200mm zoom, and bailed.
I could already see the visibly thickening plume of smoke before I even shut the door behind me. Managed to get in before any road closures (Interstate 8 was eventually shut down over a mile in each direction!), and arrived right as the last of the first alarm units pulled in.
Apparently the first photographer to get up to the edge of the canyon, I got some killer shots of the SDFD and Heartland crews setting up their structure protection operations. Within five minutes of getting there I saw the fire spread probably half a mile or better, with the wind scattering embers hundreds of feet away.
At one point, I ended up helping a stretch a hose line to knock down a spot fire that flared up about 50 feet from the back yards of the homes. Then came the air drops. SDFD, SD Sheriff, and SDG&E all had their helicopters pulling water from Lake Murray and provided non-stop water bombing salvos – so close, I was getting misted!
Hats off to our professionals who saved all the houses up on the hilltop this afternoon!
Encompassing 40,000 acres of sweeping red sandstone outside Las Vegas, it's not hard to see how Valley of Fire State Park got its name.
Just a few miles past the Nevada state line lies the deserted mining town of Rhyolite. An early-20th century gold rush sprang up a settlement of nearly 5,000 in this Mojave Desert locale over the course of a couple years. When mine productivity and economic stability began to falter, the population plummeted, leaving the town in ruins barely a decade later.
Abandoned shafts and tunnels abound in the surrounding hills, shrouded in chainlink barriers and foreboding signage. Along the main street, the last remaining structures include a schoolhouse, bank, rail depot, and a curious house with walls built from myriad glass bottles. Near the entrance, plaster-cast ghost sculptures facelessly beckon visitors upon the windswept moonscape.
With all the talk of the supermoon, I trekked up Cowles to catch the moon coming up. Although a layer of smoke across the eastern horizon obscured much of the moonrise itself, the sunset was well worth it in and of itself.
Took a hike up Cowles Mountain with my 80-200mm to try to get some shots of the full (well, 98% full) moon rising over East County. Up on top, I decided to kill some time beforehand taking some twilight cityscape shots out toward downtown. Definitely not something I'd want to attempt again without a tripod, but it was a fun experience seeing just how much I could push the ISO on the 5D MkIII and still get usable image quality while shooting handheld.
Ended up taking Arthur and Cliff down to the beach to give their paws a reprieve from the pavement. The water temperature's back down in the mid-60s now, but that didn't seem to faze either of these two goofballs.
Nothing like a cup of the best coffee in town to jumpstart a summer Sunday! Grabbed a cappuccino at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters after taking Arthur to the beach for some tennis ball action this morning. The lightly overcast sky made for pleasantly diffused lighting down at Marine Street Beach and up along La Jolla Boulevard.
Took a little trip out to the coast last night in hopes of getting some nice golden sunset photos. While a thick marine layer quickly put a damper on that, the warm glow of the lively coastline created some picturesque scenes once the sun fell below the horizon.