Sunset on Mount Shasta.
September has been one of the strangest months I have experienced in a long time. It has not been since August that I have been inclined to pull out my camera and capture some images of Mount Shasta. Normally, all year round, I never go anywhere without my camera. Running to the store, taking my kids to scouts or dance, going to church, wherever I am going, I always have my camera with me. Some of my favorite images have been taken while just living life and heading about town. Such is the benefit of living in a place like Mount Shasta, that even the most mundane tasks can result in profound beauty.
Yet…the month of September has been the most detached I have felt from my camera that I can remember. Late summer is always the least interesting time to photograph the mountain. The weather is hot, the sky is clear and the snow has usually cleared off the west side of Mount Shasta. If the mountain had a “least interesting time” this is it. While this was certainly the case this year, it was then compounded by the smoke. I can’t put my finger on why the smoke put me off. This was by no means the worst fire season I have experienced (at least around Mount Shasta), 2018, with the Carr, Hirz and Delta Fires all casting a think pall over the region. This year saw the unprecedented closure of all the national forests in California, including the Shasta-Trinity. This meant, being responsible and law-abiding, I kept out of the mountains and stayed home. I got into long-avoided tasks around the house (I hate painting and have been doing a lot of painting). Before I knew it, most of September had flown by and I had not even touched my camera. This was uncharted territory.
Thankfully the last few days has seen the sky clear, the temperatures drop and fall setting in. The weather has been perfect. My family and I went out for an evening of rock scrambling and dinner and while there, I finally pulled out my camera once again. The sunset was not the most spectacular, the mountain was bare, the river was low and the sky was clear of clouds but the spectacle’s beauty could not be denied.
As we push deeper into fall, I anticipate many more opportunities to get back out and capture the mountain in all of its beauty. For now, I am glad for just one evening once again.