Sitting by a fire on a cool autumn evening holds a beauty and mystery that is universal in the human experience. It’s not just the warmth but the smell of the wood and sap burning like incense, the crackle, hisses, and pops as what was knit together over decades breaks apart into basic elements. It is a soothing, mediative experience.
Yosemite National Park often sets fires on purpose, when conditions are right, to allow slow, controlled burning to help prevent more catastrophic fires. It was during one of these fires that I pulled off the Tioga road to stop and just experience the fire. On an autumn night with virtually no traffic, I was alone, just me and the pop, sizzle, crack, and smoke of the fire. As I was setting up to photograph, the large tree in the center of this photo caught fire of “torched” as the firefighters call it. Even at about 100 yards away, the heat was intense as this 150 foot giant caught fire, every branch and needle engulfed like a touch in the night. For minutes afterward the embers on the branches glowed as captured in this piece of film. The energy released from this on tree was astounding, and left me with in awe.
Wisner 4x5 Nikkor 135mm lens Fuji RDP II 4x5 film
Rich Seiling is a pioneer of Fine Art Printmaking, having worked on thousands of prints for leading photographers.