Time away from wildfire smoke and appreciation of nature around us

Like everyone else in Northern Nevada which is engulfed by two large wildfires south of us (Caldor) and north of us (Dixie), I was stir crazy to get out of town and away from smoke.  I have bought multiple Air Purifiers since to keep the smoke out of my home and even have invested in a PurpleAir sensor to monitor the inside of my home’s smoke pollution. I would encourage you all to get one if you are exposed to wildfire smokes, so you can gauge what you need to do, like for instance putting two Air Purifiers in your bedroom when you go to sleep if the level is still too high.

I just took my camera gear and my toothbrush and two coats and told my wife, I am heading to California Coast to take some sunset pictures for the evening. I left at 2pm in Reno with estimated arrival to my destination to Sonoma Coast State Park in California at 6:25pm. I got there around 7pm. The ride is beautiful if it is not all that smoky. It cleared for the most part when I was closer to Petaluma, Ca.

Unfortunately, it was very cloudy when I got to the coast, so no opportunity for sunset pics. The town of Bodega Bay which is close to the park is cute but I found that most stores were closed. The Park was not busy and beautiful. Great trails around in it as well along the coast but to my surprise no dogs were allowed even on leash on trails, which is pretty sad for a nation of dog lovers.

There was a beautiful campsite by the beach (the only one) where only a few campers were there and I could have camped there if I had my Overlanding gear on my car, which I am installing this week (yee-haw!), so I can be finally mobile where I go with my camera gear in Expedition style.

I decided to use my telephoto zoom lens today mainly to take pics of animals from far away. So, no wide-angle lens today! Below are few shots. I made a huge mistake. I did set my camera to Aperture Priority and used the amazing Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM Lens but I forgot to change the ISO to Auto and it took the pics at ISO 100. A really bad mistake, otherwise these pictures would have looked amazing.

I wanted to stay in Bodega Bay, so I can go back to the beach the next day for the photoshoot, but there are only a few hotels there, and the room rate is 500+ a night. I decided otherwise. I went to the only harbor restaurant open to grab some diner, but it was so busy, I decided to leave there as well.

I drove 30 miles back to Petaluma, Ca which is a very cute town and I have stayed with my wife for her riding competitions in the past. I grabbed a quick hamburger in town and headed to the awesome Marriott Hotel where I am writing this blog.

The Take-Home Message for this blog post is, I Love Nevada! We are so blessed and lucky in Reno/Tahoe that we have all these nature trails around us. You can go on some and not see a single soul, let alone a building. This is not possible in California frequently. Even in Sonoma Coast State Park, there are tons of private homes. Nature feels invaded, and it is sad to see.  This bad wildfire season shall pass too, and we Nevadans will be back on our beloved dog-friendly trails to enjoy nature as it should be. Just remember, Leave No Trace and leave it cleaner than you found it.

We need to preserve our nature for our future generations.

A huge kudos to all the brave souls who are fighting the wildfire around us, especially an MBA classmate and true hero for this country Andrew Wagner (Senior Programs Manager Nevada National Guard, Instructor Pilot), whom I like to thank for his amazing service to his country and Nevada especially during this wildfire season. Thanks, Andrew and crew.

See you on the next blog.                        

Happy Shooting!

Author: Kouros Farro

I am a family physician, educator, and photographer who loves landscape photography.

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