Smoke from the wildfires in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona drifted into the San Luis Valley of Colorado, my home, all too often this year. Tragic as the fires are for animals, plants, people and homes in their path, the sunsets are stunningly out of the ordinary. That's what we photographers look for much of the time—the unusual.
We had company for dinner on this night, nevertheless I excused myself from the table to check out the sunset. It looked promising. So I ran to the studio, grabbed a tripod, camera and 100-400 lens and set up where the sun would eventually move behind the tree. My hope was that the sun's extreme brightness, even through the smoke, would be knocked back further by the branches and leaves. The foreground was nearly black in the RAW capture and detail was brought out using Lightroom 4.