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A tale of two skylines

About four years ago I made a photo of the Fresno skyline on a very clear day. It was the day after a storm and you could see for miles. The snow-capped mountains were even in view. So I made this picture and it ran on the front page of The Fresno Bee. People really loved it and it has been reused in a lot of other places including as the backdrop at an annual City of Fresno meeting. Fast forward to today. The sky is about as hazy as I’ve ever seen it. The air quality is awful and we haven’t had rain in weeks. I decided to make an image of the same place where I shot the photo four years ago to show the difference. If you mouseover the skyline you’ll see. Anybody know how to do a rain dance?

Responses to "A tale of two skylines"

Richard Darby says:

Gag, choke, gasp, and I’ve been riding my bike all over town in that…

Stephen says:

Excellent idea by you, and AWFUL.

Did you see how Beijing is so bad they actually have a large billboard lengthwise that shows a sunrise, since it couldn’t possibly be seen otherwise?

I did see that. Hope that’s not next for us!

Gary Ruff says:

Grew up in Fresno in the 50s worked there in the 70s. Now in My 70s I live in southern Maryland can see forever except for the trees

Dana says:

I remember coming here in the 70′s to go to Fresno State. Clear days were every day. Now not so much. Very sad indeed.

Abe Lopez says:

*wheeze* But Al Jezeera says Fresno is “livable” *cough cough*

Sharon Johnson says:

Before the days of computers/video games kids used to get cabin fever. The solution was simple; send them outside to get some fresh air. Not such a great idea now. Sad.

Howard K. Watkins says:

Thanks for the comparison photographs. Great public service. I keep wondering if Fresno’s leaders will be touting Fresno as a place, unlike most coastal communities, where you can see what you are breathing.

Leah says:

tears for my motherland.

pk says:

add some prayers to that rain dance…..and whatever will work!

GP says:

I had to stop riding my bike the 6 miles from home to work and back because I’ve had throat swelling, feeling unwell. I stopped riding and I feel better. When I was riding my clothes and hair would smell like smoke for a couple of hours after the ride. When we were kids you could see the mountains all the time, unless it was foggy, you never saw this horrible brown haze.

AC Markle says:

That’s a great photo comparison. Without the rain, it’s now easy to see the day to day pollution that is put in the air by our cars, fireplaces, and even leaf blowers. Changes need to be made because all the praying and rain dancing isn’t going to change what we put in the air. Ban Leaf Blowers – Air and Noise Polluters!! http://www.zapla.org/

Joan Smith says:

I have been wondering why the burning has been allowed. You mentioned fireplaces as a major cause. I live in Oakhurst where people are being allowed to burn brush as well as their fireplaces. The town of Oakhurst is a basin and smoke settles there. I can no longer stay in my beloved town and home because I have broncheactisis. we have to leave in November when the burning starts and stay here in Arizona until the end of March. I can go outside here and open my doors and windows for fresh clean air. but I have to leave all my friends and family in order to survive. The burning policies in our area just don’t make any sense to me.

Paul says:

In fact, Joan, burning is banned in most Valley counties on virtually a daily basis at this time of very bad air quality. However, many are obviously not obedient to the bans. And the enforcement procedure is obviously ineffective at this level. Judging by the smell of the air, my guess is that illegal burning is the primary problem in Fresno at the moment.

Raymond says:

Is this the best we all can do, just lament better times? How does anger work for you? I am angry at the horrible city planning and urban sprawl over the last several decades, all at the expense of our air quality and water table. The Fresno commons are not being protected by our elected “leaders.” Local developers continue to play monopoly with our farmland requiring more cars and more commuting. Stop the expansion and stop the influx of people for “growth.” Stop building homes separated by 5 feet. It is time to get mad. Enough is enough.

Carey Thomson says:

It would help exponentially if they would quit spraying chemtrails everyday. This just amplifies the haze!

Steve says:

Move to Fresno in 1951. Lived there for all but 4 years of military. From the early 90s, I was an avid bike rider around north Fresno and into the foothills. Tens of thousands of miles. In 1999, I was diagnosed with acute, exercise induced asthma. In 2002, I was told by 3 doctors to move from Fresno and the state, or die within 5 years. After a medical disability retirement from 20+ years of teaching high school, I retired in 2002. In 2005 we moved to the Boise, Idaho area where the air is pristine, even on our bad air days. My lung capacity went from 57% to over 90% in 6 weeks. There is only treatment for asthma, no cure. But, life will go on outside the valley air of Fresno and vicinity. Leave it and live or stay and die before you should. I’ve read of Bee writers and others that left the valley for Oregon and Idaho and are living 100% better. But we will all die before our time because of the air we breathed in the San Joaquin Valley.

Larry says:

GREAT photo comparison. Thank you.

I’ve lived in Fresno since the 70′s. My experience was that the air got cleaner and cleaner until just after 2000, and it has been going downhill ever since.

I know that many people attribute this to burning in fireplaces. I challenge this conclusion, and whatever testing has lead to this conclusion. When I step out of my house in the middle of Fresno, I don’t smell fireplace smoke. I smell cows.

Indeed, I think most people have stopped using their fireplaces.

Yes there is testing of organics in the air, which some attribute to fireplaces. I attribute the problem to the millions of cows that were not in this valley in the year 2000, but are here now.

I challenge the Bee to scientifically explore the fecal load in the air, and the ammonia/urea load in the air, and to report its findings.

Jack says:

Great shot of Sawtooth in the background! I miss Mineral King living here on the First Coast in Florida…
What lens did you use?

Jack – it was a 500mm shot on a Nikon D4 from the back of my pickup along Highway 180 near Marks. I was a little worried about duplicating the angle since I was using Canon last time. But it turned out pretty close.

Kristen says:

I suppose it’s too much to ask you to take this photo everyday? It packs a bit more punch than the AQI numbers. Very sobering stuff. Thanks for sharing.

Nigel Robertson says:

You could always leave… Talking bad about Fresno is like telling a pregnant lady that you are sorry she is bringing a child into this world. Just do not do it.

Heather P says:

I’d agree with you, Nigel, if the negativity were about something false or subjective. But the air quality here is, by all objective measures, bad. More concrete awareness of the fact might just help a little bit. Between water conservation and air standards, our Valley has a lot of problems we need to acknowledge and improve before everyone actually DOES leave because the place isn’t fit for human habitation.

Jim Sylva says:

Nigel,
You can run from the truth, but you can’t hide.

Bob Fleming says:

It’s no wonder my nose is always running. I’ve lived here since the early 30′s.

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