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Sky of Fire

I’ve posted this picture a few times over the years and get an incredible response each time. I like to make the text short and sweet as not to deter from the picture itself. I have received numerous questions about the photo and have tried to address each one on an individual basis. This time I will answer most of these questions in this post. This will answer 2 key questions: (1) what’s the story with the picture? and (2) how did you get your start in landscape photography?


Sky of Fire, by Tim Kocher

Editor’s note:  Tim published his Sky of Fire, on his facebook page on February 2, 2015.  The next day over 11,320 - People Reached, 611 – Likes  and 89 – Shares… 

This is the picture that started my love for landscape photography. I have always loved photography and even did a few weddings in the late 70s and 80s old school with film as well as other projects for the fire department and friends. Landscape photography didn’t really interest me at the time.

I took this picture on September 17th 2004 at 6:31 PM. It was taken off the back of my boat at Keewaydin State Park in Alexandria Bay, NY. It was taken with a Casio QV-3500EX camera with a whopping 3 mega-pixels. Not too bad for those days. When I heard a commotion outside of the boat I stepped out to see what it was about. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I immediately ran back in to get my camera and started taking pictures. We have amazing sunsets in the 1000 Islands but I had never seen anything like this.

When I got home and stuck the memory stick in the computer I knew I had something special. I couldn’t take my eyes off of what I was seeing. This would be my “Holy Grail,” even today. I have been lucky enough to have won many awards over the years with this picture. Today I received an email from the world-wide photographer’s site “Pashadelic” telling me it was the photo of the week.

From this point on I would be taking landscape photos of every place we would go to in the 1000 Islands. The cameras would eventually get better and better over the years but the most expensive camera today still couldn’t match what my little 3 mega-pixel Casio gave me that day. I get asked many times if I “photoshopped” this picture in any way. I am not offended in the least, to think someone couldn’t fathom something like this, without being post-processed in some way. I will admit I took a reflective number off the sign post at the end of the dock because it was a distraction and added my name at the bottom right. Other than that it is totally natural.

As a photographer we are trained to be ready at any time for “the shot.” Nothing could have prepared me for this. The right place at the right time, an available camera and just dumb luck. That’s my claim to fame. I hope you like it.

By Tim Kocher,

Tim Kocher and his wife, Pam, are enthusiastic mariners from North Syracuse, NY. He has worked in the transportation industry for 32 years. He has also held positions as President and Fire Chief for his local fire department, of which he was a member for 20 years. He is currently enrolled at Syracuse University working on bachelor’s degree in Information Management. Nearing retirement, Tim is starting to pursue his real passion, which is photography. He does this under the name Riverview Photography and can be found at

Posted in: Photography
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Elaine k.
Comment by: Elaine k.
Left at: 9:17 PM Sunday, February 15, 2015
this is so unbelievably beautiful, The sight must be branded in your brain now.
Waltraud I Mack
Comment by: Waltraud I Mack
Left at: 6:33 AM Monday, February 16, 2015
Stunning photography, thank you so much for sharing.

Waltraud I Mack
Ian Coristine
Comment by: Ian Coristine
Left at: 3:03 PM Monday, February 16, 2015
Interesting Tim! One of our cameras must have missed the switch to daylight savings. I took 18 images of that exceptional September 17th, 2004 sunset between 7:17 and 7:24 PM (or maybe it's my camera that's off by an hour). Living on an island has provided me the opportunity to see a number of spectacular sunsets (and sunrises), but the depth and vibrance of that evening's color was definitely the most extraordinary I've witnessed anywhere.
Janet Sullins
Comment by: Janet Sullins
Left at: 6:02 PM Monday, February 16, 2015
It IS an awesome shot, but the comment I want to make is that a lot of my best shots were taken on a little Casio Exilim which has since bit the dust. I used to run out every night that it looked like it was going to be a good sunset (I live a half mile off the water) And I have gotten a lot, some on this magazine as well. But, yes, your sky on fire is the money shot! Congratulations
Tim Kocher
Comment by: Tim Kocher
Left at: 10:25 PM Monday, February 16, 2015
You are right Ian. It probably should have been 7:31. I can only go by the information that is embedded in the picture because the camera is long gone.