Atmosphere ~ Pic and a Word Challenge #120

Shaping Clouds, Chesterman Beach, Tofino, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Three times travelling
Three times atmosphere
Dominates the scene

Once pollution
Once wildfire
Once winter storms

Twice undesired
Once intended
Often spectacular

A different

I travelled a fair bit this year, three times for a total of nearly 2 months. A good year, though often trying.

The year began with India and its shocking air quality. Not simply visibly disturbing, but chokingly palpable. An unnatural melange of cooking smoke, agricultural burn back and industrial pollutants. It was my unwanted companion in every breath I took for the entire stay, inescapable even on the foothill peaks of the Himalayas.

India was a long-standing wish-list adventure, and a spectacular experience of culture, people, sights, sounds, food, history… in so many ways an adventurer’s dream destination. And the rank, thick atmosphere often provided for spectacular photographs, but it was a deadly beauty. India has just surpassed China for the dubious distinction of “most premature deaths due to pollution per capita.”

It’s not a destination I’ll soon repeat. After my return to British Columbia, several days passed before I could draw a deep breath without coughing. It took that long to clear my lungs of the Indian atmosphere.

I had a month long summer hiatus from my film industry work, and decided on a car-camping road trip through the Canadian National Parks of British Columbia and Alberta. Perhaps not the best choice….

North America’s 2017 wildfire season is among the most devestating ever recorded. The smoke released into the atmosphere by British Columbia fires alone inundated most of Western Canada. For several weeks, the city of Kamloops in the heart of British Columbia claimed the distinction of the world’s worst air quality — worse, even, than anywhere in India, which itself was eclipsing China as the world’s worst polluter of the atmosphere.

For two weeks, I moved around eastern British Columbia and western Alberta trying to dodge the wildfire smoke, which shifted with the ever changing prevailing winds. It chased and preceded me to the Okanagan, Revelstoke, Golden, Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. As in India, the photographic effects were often stunning and spectacular. Also as in India, a familiar deep choking cough was returning. Smoke and health were among the factors in deciding to end the trip after just two weeks of the intended month-long road trip.

The smoke was waiting for me in Vancouver, though less of it, and it finally dissipated after a few more days. I could breathe again by the time I returned to the dusty studio interiors my current film project is holed up in.

In November, another two month hiatus in our filming year. What did I do?

I went storm chasing on Vancouver Island’s western coastline, for the first time seeking out extreme atmospheric conditions to photograph, along with the spectacle of surf pounded rock. Ucluelet and Tofino did not disappoint, especially the Wild Pacific Trail. Nor did the ferry journeys to and from Vancouver Island.

Just a week. But a splendid week. And I even managed to avoid any coughing.

The last WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge for 2017 is “2017 Favourites“, a retrospective of our favourite images of the past year.

Last week’s Pic and a Word Challenge looked back at my year photographing people, a theme I’ve been developing in my work for some years. The past year marked a real progression working with people as a subject.

This week’s Pic and a Word Challenge looks at a second theme for 2017, a year which featured three different destinations for travel, and the one commanding element each journey featured: atmosphere.

Last week we found ourselves meeting People. This week, let’s breathe in the Atmosphere. Or find something else to inspire your creativity in this photograph of storm clouds over Chesterman Beach, in Tofino, on Vancouver Island’s west coast.

The Pic and a Word Challenge is a weekly creativity prompt offered Sundays.

Each week I provide a photograph of mine along with a single word. The challenge? Use the pic and/or word as points of inspiration to create something — a photograph, a painting, prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, longread or just a few words. You are welcome to use these two elements (photograph and word) literally, thematically or metaphorically. If you create both images and words, all the better.

To participate:

  • Use any title you like
  • Your response can be words and/or an image
  • You may use my image in your post, or any image you have created
  • Place the challenge’s Pic (if you use it for inspiration) and Word prominently in your post
  • Mention that you are responding to the Pic and a Word Challenge
  • Add a link to this post in your response

To help us find your response — whether on WordPress, Instagram, Flicker, Tumblr, etc. — you can also:

  • Add a comment on this post to announce your response
  • Apply the tag/hashtag “Pic and a Word Challenge” or “#picandawordchallenge” to your post

Each week, I’ll list the previous week’s responses at the end of the new challenge. I may also share some on my social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc.

Last week’s challenge: People
Angel of the Ganga, Ganges River, Varanasi. Uttarpradesh, India
Challenge #119 ~ People
The word for last week’s Pic and a Word Challenge #119 was People, along with this photograph of an Angel on the Ganga (the Ganges River), in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Four bloggers got friend this week, meeting new People. 😉 Thanks everyone! =)

Happy New Year to all, and I hope 2018 is filled with clarity and calm and wonderful people, and just enough timely storminess to keep it interesting. <wink>.

View all the Pic and a Word Challenges, including the current challenge, on the Pic and a Word Challenge tag page.