Photographer: Erik Jansen

Photo taken: Oct. 8, 2022, from Alaska Air flight 500, approaching Seattle at about 10,000 feet

Photographer’s description: “Returning from Indianapolis at sunset, looking south toward Mount Rainier. I used my iPhone 12 on the telephoto lens. No special settings and no post-processing. I loved (if that is the right word!) the way the forest fire smoke settled into the valleys against the orange sunset. My wife asked if it was a watercolor I had done online!”

Critique: “This is a jaw-dropper in several ways: the unprecedented late-season smoke lingering in the valleys, the beautiful (watercolor-like) composition that leads the eye right to the sunset-framed Rainier and the fact that it was shot on your phone. We’ve regularly run smartphone photos in Reader’s Lens, but it’s still cool that photos this gorgeous are no longer strictly the provenance of the pros. Simply beautiful. If I had to wring a critique from this, I guess it’d be to rotate it counterclockwise, ever-so-slightly, to level that horizon. Thank you for sharing!”

Below is a gallery of previous Reader’s Lens picks. Share your recent photo from around the Northwest. Submit online at Our favorite will appear in this spot next week. We judge the year’s best and award prizes in December.