This is not the planet Mars – it is what the sun looks like through polluted air. I have done no post processing of this shot except cropping. The colour of the sun is exactly as recorded by the camera. It is not night-time either. It is late afternoon and this was the colour of the sky.
I thought today would be an appropriate day to post this shot because yesterday the Malaysian Government declared a state of emergency in two Malaysian cities – Port Klang and Kuala Selangor – when the Air Pollution Index (API) breached 500. The air pollution is being caused by smoke from illegal land clearing and forest fires on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, which is being carried across to the Malaysian mainland by the south westerly winds that we experience in the dry season at this time of the year. The smoke haze from Indonesia has been a problem in Malaysia and Singapore for the past ten years, as rainforests are being logged and land cleared for agriculture using ‘slash and burn’ techniques.
For ten years the residents of Malaysia have suffered as smoke haze has blanketed the capital of Kuala Lumpur and other cities in the Klang Valley for several months each year. Each year the government has refused to release the API figures for fear of frightening away tourists. On Wednesday of this week, when the air pollution was at its worst since 1997, the government again refused to release the figures with the Deputy Prime Minister saying “the time was not right”. As people started having trouble breathing, developing coughs, runny noses and sore eyes, they protested to the politicians and newspapers. Then finally yesterday, after a Cabinet meeting, the API figures were released for the first time. Apart from the Port Klang and Kuala Selangor figures (529 and 531 respectively), Kuala Lumpur was 321, Putrajaya was 364 and Petaling Jaya (near where I live) was 349 - all in the 'hazardous' API range. All schools in the Klang Valley have shut until further notice. The Subang airport has been closed. All businesses and offices in Port Klang and Kuala Selangor have been ordered shut except for food and drink retailers, pharmacies, banks and essential services.
The API is as follows:
0-50 – Good
51-100 – Moderate
101-200 – Unhealthy
201-300 – Very Unhealthy
300-500 – Hazardous
Over 500 – Emergency
The picture above was taken in February when I guess the API was in the 100-200 range. I didn’t see any point in posting a picture of yesterday’s haze as there wasn’t much to see apart from smoke. Today the haze has eased back to the 250-300 levels, and we are breathing a little easier.
PS: The slight blurriness is due to the air, not camera shake - the photograph was taken on a tripod with a remote release.
Critiques | Translate
jajko (775) 2005-08-12 4:15
interesting light. litte blured but i like this photo. is artistic. :)
wilkinsonsg (8662) 2005-08-12 4:34
The note is too serious to make a critique of the photo suffice to say it portrays the level of the problem.
chaity (1539) 2005-08-12 5:01
Hai David, I like the color of the sun. It is really sad to be in this hazy condition. I guess I need to look at the bright side to capture some unusual shots.
sq10095 (107) 2005-08-12 5:47
A very special sunshine. That's very bad it's the pollution cause of this beautiful pink sun. Great shot
mezz (249) 2005-08-12 6:24
Great shot and very interesting notes. Never thought it would be possible to make a pretty image out of pollution!
Cos (1562) 2005-08-12 6:56
A stunning shot of the sun, and a very interesting note. Thanks for posting!
zig (2456) 2005-08-12 7:35
I have seen a sort of same phenomenon in Japan as well. And I was horrified to know that was cuased by the air polution, to confess the truth I was feeling poetik when I saw the sun in like it. In south east asian countries, polutions in air and contamination in water should be seriously concerned, and I am very worried about it because I'm an engineer for water plants..
Thanks for documenting the reality in there.
dkeus31 (27735) 2005-08-12 7:38
Gloupds, this looks alarming :-(
Good composition, TFS.
eco (112) 2005-08-14 19:25
nice sunset, good composition - good note
klyee75 (778) 2005-08-15 1:14
wow! a pink sun...hmnn...very seldom or I have seen before...David where are you staying...is it in PJ area? I guess now the haze has already gone to Penang...Hahaha..yesterday was real good...a very heavy rain in PJ and KL too.
ishai (4097) 2005-08-19 10:54
The first time I saw a pink moon I said to my self , it Post processed
But seeing it for the second time I had to stop by
Its amazing note what you writing here,
The composition is so special the its hard to believe, it looks like our moon is away and a moon from another planet has taken over
Very special and good compo
capthaddock (28790) 2005-08-20 7:51
Hi David - I heard about this problem in KL in the news last week, we sometimes get bad air at SFO, but nothing like this, the image has a surreal and apocalyptic atmosphere, great work out of a sad human caused environmental distress.
goodfellow (195) 2005-08-28 7:25
Thank you for documenting this. I am studying photos of pollution worldwide.
hoorge (1434) 2006-09-07 21:16
This is one of those once in a lifetime shots. Your note is quite detailed an excellent. We never had a haze problem when I was growing up in Malaysia. I did experience the haze in 1997 when I was working in Medan, Indonesia.
zizzer77 (721) 2006-12-20 7:54
a very excellent composition, the sun in unbelivable!
branley (3681) 2008-04-24 3:57
Hi David, the photograph is very simple but the note is more complicated and worrying. It sort of reminds me of the smog or pea soupers, as they were known, during the 40's and 50's, not that I have any personal experience of them I hasten to add, I'm far too young and have only read about them! lol. A fine shot accompanied by a detailed and excellent note, well done.
Dalloo (26) 2009-08-16 2:25
wow, what a beautiul pink sun!
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2005-02-10
- Categories: Daily Life
- Camera: Nikon D100, Nikkor AF-S 300mm f/4D ED, UV
- Exposure: f/29.0, 1/13 seconds
- Details: Tripod: Yes
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): Blogger slideshow [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2005-08-12 4:02
- Favorites: 1 [view]