Hope photographer James Mehl captured this silhouette of two turkey vultures in front of a blood red sky during the height of the summer 2018 wildfire season. James Mehl photo

Hope photographer captures unique image amid raging wildfire season

James Mehl’s silhouette of turkey vultures was easier to capture with wildfire smoke obscuring the sun

The wildfire smoke blanketing Metro Vancouver provided fodder for one prolific Hope photographer, who captured a unique shot Aug. 22 of two turkey vultures silhouetted by an orange-hued sun and blood red sky.

James Mehl had been thinking about the photo the night before he captured the image as thick wildfire smoke in the region was making the sun easier to photograph, and it was taking on a unique orange hue.

“I had a feeling with the smoke in the morning the sun would be orange and look pretty cool,” Mehl wrote via Facebook Messenger, as his phone was out of commission for the time being.

RELATED: PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

“I thought that first thing in the morning I would look for birds up in a tree and with the sun in the background it would make a cool silhouette.”

Positioned along the banks of the Fraser River off of Wardle Street, Mehl watched the trees and spotted two turkey vultures. He walked towards them until he got the sun positioned behind the birds and took the shot. It took a good hour of editing to remove the glare and achieve a dark silhouette.

“I always try and think outside the box and try for the unusual, sometimes it works sometimes it does not,” he wrote.

“It sometimes takes a lot of patience to get that great shot. I have sat for hours to get a good shot of something.”

RELATED: ‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

RELATED: 5 photos of the B.C. wildfire smoke then-and-now

Mehl, a resident of Hope since 1991, started taking photos seven years ago. Spending a lot of time outdoors, Mehl is now a prolific photographer of birds and other elusive creatures. Being in touch with nature and getting to photograph its gems is what he calls a win-win, and he gets to experience some special moments out in the wild.

“I had two little bucks walk right up to me and I could have petted them,” he said of one close encounter.


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Photographer James Mehl. Submitted photo

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