Tuesday, October 21, 2014

More Autumn Color Photographs In 2014


October 21, 2014
South Fork Gorge of High Knob Massif
Majesty Of South Fork Gorge In Autumn
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.


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Gorgeous color remained in the more protected places of the High Knob Massif on October 21, with sections of foggy South Fork Gorge still holding onto some green in Oak species.

These first two photographs were taken only 2 minutes apart in time, revealing a magical dance of light across the rugged expanse of South Fork of the Powell River Gorge where brilliant autumn colors remained in more protected sites ( the peak generally passed above 3000 feet ).

October 21, 2014
South Fork Gorge of High Knob Massif
Majesty Of Changing Light On Autumn Leaves
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Lets break this journey down into sections.


Powell Valley
Early Afternoon

October 21, 2014
View From Mountain Empire Community College
Rugged Mountain Flank of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Mountain Empire Community College offers awesome views of the High Knob Massif, being nestled amid its rugged mountain walls at the southern end of Powell Valley in Wise County.

October 21, 2014
Looking Toward Long Hollow
View From Mountain Empire Community College
Rugged Mountain Flank of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

October 21, 2014
View From Floor of Powell Valley
Rugged Mountain Flank of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

This view, looking toward Grindstone Ridge Dome, reminds me of the famous Half Dome in Yosemite National Park ( a forested and down-scaled Appalachian version of it in this case ).

October 21, 2014
View From Floor of Powell Valley
Looking Toward Grindstone Ridge Dome
Rugged Mountain Flank of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.


South Fork Gorge
Big Stone Gap Water Plant

October 21, 2014
High Knob Massif
Whitewater In South Fork Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Water volume in South Fork Gorge on October 21 generated scenic views and sounds, unlike the torrent which ROARED through the gorge following big rains last week.

October 21, 2014
Remnant Massif of High Knob Landform
Whitewater In Rugged South Fork Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

My friend Gary Hampton, Superintendent of the Big Stone Gap Water Plant, shot a short video last week showing the gush of whitewater coming down the gorge from Big Cherry Lake basin.

October 15, 2014
Whitewater Gushes In South Fork Gorge
Video by Gary Hampton - © All Rights Reserved.

A still iPhone photograph of this scene.

October 15, 2014
Whitewater Gushes In South Fork Gorge
Photograph by Gary Hampton - © All Rights Reserved.

Gary & staff measured 8.15" of rain at the Big Stone Gap Water Plant, nestled amid the mouth of South Fork Gorge above Cracker Neck of Powell Valley, during the October 1-19 period.

October 21, 2014
Large Cliffs In South Fork Gorge
Big Stone Gap WP of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Amid this beautiful cold air drainage corridor at Big Stone Gap Water Plant grow many tree species, including Yellow Birch ( Betula alleghaniensis ) and Yellow Buckeye ( Aesculus flava ) nestled among rugged cliffs.

October 21, 2014
Powell River of Upper Tennessee Basin
South Fork Gorge Below The Water Plant
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.


South Fork Gorge
Lower Sections

October 21, 2014
South Fork Gorge of High Knob Massif
Beautiful Mixed Forest In Lower Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Pat Murphy, Town Manager, and all the town council and residents of Big Stone Gap, should 
be commended for keeping this forest in tact.

It is a truly wonderous natural resource in so many ways, not the least of which is that it supports the most abundant water supply in the Old Dominion 
( and one of the greatest in the USA ) via this being part of the wettest terrain in Virginia. 

October 21, 2014
Lower Portion of South Fork Gorge
Powell River Watershed of Upper Tennessee Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

The cliff line in far upper right of the above photograph 
is shown using a telephoto lens in the photograph below.

October 21, 2014 at 2:52 PM
Remnant Massif of High Knob Landform
Cliff Line In Rugged South Fork Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

October 21, 2014 at 5:26 PM
Looking Toward Little Stone Mountain
Heading Back Down Through The South Fork
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Little Stone Mountain featured a lovely purplish-blue color during late afternoon ( the color above being true to what was visible ) upon the return trip back down through South Fork Gorge.


South Fork Gorge
Upper Sections

October 21, 2014
Upper Portion of Gorge
South Fork Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

A very wet and milder than average October has prolonged autumn color, especially amid the more protected places along slopes, coves, and gorges.

October 21, 2014
Town of Big Stone Gap Watershed
South Fork Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

The first significant color changes began approximately 1 month ago, in mid-late September, amid upper elevations of the High Knob Massif.

September 27, 2014
8th Annual High Knob Naturalist Rally

October 5, 2014
Autumn Color 2014 - High Knob Massif

October 21, 2014
Upper Portion of Gorge
South Fork Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

The most dramatic aspect of being in upper portions of South Fork Gorge on this afternoon was the interplay between changing light and autumn color, with a shaft of sunlight below illuminating colors behind the cliff line shown at 2:52 PM. 

October 21, 2014
Upper Portion of Gorge
Shaft Of Sunlight Illuminates Color Behind Cliffs
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

The location from which this photograph was taken is nearly level with the top of the cliff line illustrated by the telephoto shot taken at 2:52 PM from the lower gorge.

October 21, 2014
Upper Portion of Gorge
South Fork Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

This is a place with a view and sound ( churning whitewater below ) that never gets tiresome!

October 21, 2014
Upper Portion of Gorge
South Fork Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

I put in some time, going up and down, taking shots at different angles and in different light amid this beauty spot ( capturing photograph number one which introduced this autumn update ).

October 21, 2014
Town of Big Stone Gap Watershed
Autumn Along South Fork Gorge-Big Cherry Road
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

October 21, 2014
Town of Big Stone Gap Watershed
Autumn Along South Fork Gorge-Big Cherry Road
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.


Big Cherry Lake
Autumn In Upper Elevations

October 21, 2014
Road Leading Into Big Cherry Lake
Autumn In High Country of Southern Appalachians
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

While there was still some nice color surrounding Big Cherry Lake, the autumn color peak has passed above 3000 feet in the High Knob Massif.

October 21, 2014
Water Elevation 3120 feet
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Low Overcast Above Big Cherry Lake
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

The best and most vivid colors above 3000 feet
were observed during the October 4-17 period.

Conditions at Big Cherry Lake were windy and notably colder than down in Powell Valley, with a stiff and shivering wind coming from the north-northwest across the Lake.

October 21, 2014
Water Elevation 3120 feet
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Thickly Vegetated Shore of Big Cherry Lake
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

The shores of this high country 
lake are very thickly vegetated.

October 21, 2014
Water Elevation 3120 feet
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
The Old Dam Under Water At Big Cherry Lake
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Gary Hampton measured 8.62" of rainfall 
at Big Cherry Dam during October 1-21.

October 21, 2014
Water Elevation 3120 feet
Big Cherry Lake of High Knob Massif
Beautiful Edge Of High Country Lake
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

October 21, 2014
Water Elevation 3120 feet
Shoreline Of A High Country Lake
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

October 21, 2014
Water Elevation 3120 feet
Shoreline Of A High Country Lake
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.


Powell Valley
Late Afternoon

Powell Valley Overlook is always a favorite stop for photographs, with autumn being especially striking as colors peak amid the Valley to contrast with past peak conditions above the great band of calcareous cliffs ringing the High Knob Massif.

October 21, 2014 at 6:02 PM
Autumn Color At Powell Valley Overlook
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

October 21, 2014 at 6:05 PM
Autumn Color At Powell Valley Overlook
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

October 21, 2014 at 6:06 PM
Autumn Color At Powell Valley Overlook
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

October 21, 2014 at 6:07 PM
Autumn Color At Powell Valley Overlook
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Previous photographs from southern portions of Powell Valley generally show more color than here in the valley head where colors tend to develop a little faster ( still some gorgeous maples were just beneath the Overlook ).

October 21, 2014 at 6:38 PM
Increasing Color In The Sky Nearing Sunset
Autumn Color At Powell Valley Overlook
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

October 21, 2014 at 6:40 PM
Classic Trail Of The Lonesome Pine Vista
Autumn Color At Powell Valley Overlook
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Reference This Section For More Photographs
Color Peak 2014 As Whitewater ROARS

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