Photo Essay: A Study in Variance, in 30 Minutes or Less

6:31 p.m. Sunset.
6:31 p.m. Sunset.

Around 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 4., a commercial warehouse in Santa Fe Springs caught fire, prompting a four-alarm blaze that sent a black smoke plume hovering over the Los Angeles and Orange County region.

Wanting to photograph the smoke plume, I ventured up to a lookout point at Carbon Canyon Regional Park, a wildland area in the far northeastern boundary of Orange County.

From my perch, I could see everything from Angel Stadium, 11 miles to the south, to the base of the smoke plume in Santa Fe Springs, 17 miles to the west-northwest. (On clear days, Catalina Island, 50 miles southwest, can be seen.)

As the sun crept lower on the horizon, the smoke plume began diffusing the sun’s rays, painting the sky bright orange.

But only in the western sky. Much of the sky, especially to the east, appeared to look normal.

It gave me an idea to experiment with showing just how perspective can change how an environment looks.

I snapped a picture of the moon, which had just risen, amid the sun’s last red-orange light shining on a tree. Even though it was taken a few feet and minutes away from the above picture of the sunset, it looked worlds apart.

The photographs in this photo essay were taken in a 30-minute period, between 6:10 and 6:39 p.m. on Oct. 4, 2014.

6:10 p.m. Houses nestled on a ridge in Carbon Canyon.
6:10 p.m. Houses nestled on a ridge in Carbon Canyon. Click for higher resolution.
6:16 p.m. Sunset.
6:16 p.m. Sunset. Click for higher resolution.
Moon viewed from Carbon Canyon
6:27 p.m. Moonrise. Click for higher resolution.
Carbon Canyon Sunset Panorama
6:39 p.m. Twilight panorama. Click for ultra high resolution, 6,200 by 1,500 pixels.
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