I like the weather guy Joe Charlevoix. Besides the regular facts like temperature, humidity, and wind direction, he shares information about the Northern Lights, the Perseid Meteor Showers and other weather-related natural phenomenon. In the last couple weeks, Charlevoix had been talking about how the Western and Canadian wildfires have been making our blue skies gray with haze.
The smokey haze has also made for some vivid sunsets, Charlevoix said. So I headed out to Old Mission to try catching a wildfire sunset. When I reached the first neighborhood where I often shoot sunsets, the haze was evident against the backdrop of the Leelanau hills and a sailboat still in the bay.
I could tell, however, that I needed to drive further north to catch the sunset. I proceeded up the peninsula to the Center Road Scenic Overlook. It’s a good spot with views of West Bay, Power Island, and vineyards. The same hazy conditions were present.
The sun was still fairly high in the sky and I was hopeful that there would be a good sunset. Others must have felt that way too because the parking spots had filled at the turnout and a second row was beginning to form.
Just minutes later, cloud striations began to cross the sun and almost obscure it completely. It all happened very fast! It looked like what we see at the end of a sunset, but this was occurring mid-sky, not the typical sunset location.
The sky pinked up and the remnants of the mid-sky “sunset” remained. A significant, dark cloud bank remained between the sky scene and the horizon. I hoped at some point the sun would drop through the clouds and give us a peek at a full sunset.
I watched and waited. It was difficult to tell what was clouds and what was wildfire haze. Other onlookers began to leave, giving up on the hope of a good sunset.
It was well beyond the 9:03 sunset time. There were only two of us left at the turnout. I’d occupied myself by watching a group of eagles or hawks flying above the treeline. Finally, I decided to leave too. This is as good as it got.