Heaven and Hell

Equipment Info
40mm / f/5 / 10 sec. / ISO 6400
Nearest Area
The Wet Mountain Valley
Brief Directions

US 160


Clouds are one of my absolute favorite subject and I have been photographing clouds for quite a few years by now. I even published a very successful, upscale coffee table art book - simply titled "Clouds" - featuring more than 100 of my best cloud images. Please check my book out by following this link https://www.blurb.com/b/9637568-clouds


I named this image "Heaven and Hell" because for me it truly combines beauty and sheer horror in one single frame: Taken right from the backyard of our house outside of Westcliffe in Colorado at an elevation of 9,000 feet, this photo shows the devastating Spring Fire, with more than 100,000 acres burnt and about 200 homes destroyed the largest wildfire in Colorado. My wife and I were watching this fire for days getting closer and closer to our home and the view was especially scary at night, when the fire turned the night sky red. We could see gigantic flames consuming whole pine forests on the side of the mountains and tall ponderosa trees literally exploding and vanishing in the billowing clouds. I think the attached photo captures the very frightening situation very well, basically consisting of three key components: The red inferno is raging totally out of control everywhere, thick clouds are drifting through the scary scenery and it feels like the entire world is on fire right before our eyes. But when you look closer, you can actually see the third component - the stars and the Milky Way, twinkling serene in all of the chaos! Yin and yang, terror and peace. Heaven and Hell.

Date Added
May 23, 2020
Date Taken
July 2, 2018