This photo was taken a few days ago, at the end of June, close to the village of Longueira, on the SW Alentejo coast of Portugal. The day before, the Portuguese Meteorological Institute had issued a warning regarding the arrival of the cloud of smoke particles from the Canadian forest fires to continental Portugal.
I had seen in the news that some northern European countries had already been affected. I planned to take some photos at sunset when I expected the sun would acquire stronger red and orange colours due to the thicker dust layer in the atmosphere.
Last year I witnessed a similar phenomenon when the strong wind carried the Saharan desert dust all the way from North Africa to Portugal. Unfortunately, this time, the dust in the sky was the result of the large-scale fires that ravaged Canada. So, I grabbed my camera, mounted a telephoto zoom, the 70-300 mm lens, and walked along a nearby rural path.
I took a few photos of the surrounding rural landscape, under this very different dusty sky, with the sun showing through. As our star descended towards the horizon, its colour became more intense, but this period only lasted a few minutes, so I had to work quickly; soon, the sun's orb started to be almost completely obscured by the dusty cloud layers.
I like this photo because of its simplicity, as it frames the strong colours of the sun against the greyish-purple smoky sky. As a photographer, it was interesting to document this episode, but I certainly regret its origin.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor