Pacheco Pass near sunset time.

Through a series of unplanned circumstances, I found myself driving over Pacheco Pass yesterday. This low mountain range highway connects California’s Central Valley to the Central Coast. The sky was hazy with a pinkish tint to it. As I  climbed up the pass in the coastal direction, the area around grew darker–the sun was blocked out. When I reached the summit, I was greeted by a giant red sun filtered by a thick haze. I was confronting a visual masterpiece, so I pulled into the truck rest lane and took these photos.

The sun I was driving towards appeared red, but it photographed as orange-red. We are still seeing the effects of wildfire dust. When particles in smoke fill the atmosphere, the longer wavelengths of light — which look red — scatter more effectively. 

If I had taken a time exposure, the sun would have been red, but it wasn’t safe to use a tripod with semi-tractor trailers whizzing by. The exposure here was 1/100 of a second. 

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