Saturday, February 27, 2016

February 2016 Majesty In High Knob Massif


February 27, 2016
Crest Zone of High Knob Massif
Rime Against Pristine Blue Skies
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

In order to truly appreciate the beauty of these rimed trees it
is best to view these photographs in a dark or dimly lit room.

These Websites Are Sponsored by The:
Proudly Serving The Mountain Region



The Appalachian Climate Center

Conditions were simply pristine atop the sprawling 
High Knob Massif after morning clouds dissipated on February 27.  Although snow had settled and was melting, with rime having dropped at lower elevations, the crest zone held on to enough to generate pure majesty against deep blue skies.

February 27, 2016
Crest Zone of High Knob Massif
Rime Against Pristine Blue Skies
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

If you want to take really pretty photographs in conditions like this it is best to use a high quality circular polarizing filter ( one that will not degrade your picture quality ).  This helps accentuate blueness in the sky and is maximized the closer you can shoot with the sun directly to your back.

The magnitude of "blueness" can also be controlled, of course, by rotating the filter as you shoot scenes at different angles.

February 27, 2016
Crest Zone of High Knob Massif
Rime Against Pristine Blue Skies
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Higher altitudes also help accentuate 
the blue in weather conditions like this.

Along Route 238
February 27, 2016
Winter Majesty In High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 27, 2016
Looking To Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Observe significant rime on towers within
the Eagle Knob Communications Complex.

February 27, 2016
Looking To Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 27, 2016
Crest Zone of High Knob Massif
Looking ESE To Brumley & Russell-Beartown
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Rime could be seen on the higher sections of Brumley Mountain, above Hansonville, and also along the crest of Russell-Beartown Mountain to the northeast.

February 27, 2016
Crest Zone of High Knob Massif
Looking ESE To Brumley & Beartown Mountains
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 27, 2016
Crest Zone of High Knob Massif
Rime Against Pristine Blue Skies
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 27, 2016
Crest Zone of High Knob Massif
Snow Drifts In Northern Hardwood Forest
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Snow drifts lee of the high crest lines were widespread and generally 8" to 16" in depth, despite significant settlement during the past couple of days.

February 27, 2016
Crest Zone of High Knob Massif
Snow Drifts In Northern Hardwood Forest
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

These snow depths were down from approximate 
1-2 foot drifts and general 5" to 7" depths ( around 0.68" was estimated from a snow core to have fallen during the snow ).

February 27, 2016
Crest Zone of High Knob Massif
Snow Glare In High Knob Meadow
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Snow glare was notable at ground level in some directions to contrast with the pristine blue to almost blackness of the sky directly above 
and opposite the sun.

February 27, 2016
Snow Glare Along High Ridges
Snow Covered Head of Big Cherry Lake Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 27, 2016
Crest Zone of High Knob Massif
Rime Against Pristine Blue Skies
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 27, 2016
High Knob Lookout Tower
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

It was cold and gusty in the Lookout, with 8" of snow along the wall leading into the tower.  I am waiting to get a photograph of the entire inside of the tower full of snow ( getting there then 
becomes the main problem! ).

February 27, 2016
Crest Zone of High Knob Massif
Rime Against Pristine Blue Skies
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

A nearly black sky created with the polarizing filter, and the sun directly behind my back, helped set the rime against a poster-like background.

February 27, 2016
Crest Zone of High Knob Massif
Rime Against Pristine Blue Skies
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 27, 2016
Crest Zone of High Knob Massif
Rime Against Pristine Blue Skies
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 27, 2016
Crest Zone of High Knob Massif
Rime Against Pristine Blue Skies
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 27, 2016
Amid Morning Light
Benges Basin of High Knob Massif
Whitewater Cascade On Benges Branch
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

I started the morning by shooting cascading whitewater on Benges Branch, where water continues to gush downward out of the high country.

February 27, 2016
Amid Morning Light
Benges Basin of High Knob Massif
Whitewater Cascade On Benges Branch
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

I shot the whitewater while waiting on my friend and photographer Bill Harris to arrive from Big Stone Gap, for our trip on upwards into the rime zone!

February 27, 2016
Benges Basin of High Knob Massif
Whitewater Cascades On Benges Branch
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

We found some diverse scenes, including icicles longer than I am tall hanging off cliffs between the peak of High Knob and Camp Rock Meadow.

February 27, 2016
Between High Knob and Camp Rock
Large Icicles On Cliffs Along State Route 619
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 27, 2016
Between High Knob and Camp Rock
Large Icicles On Cliffs Along State Route 619
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 27, 2016
Between High Knob and Camp Rock
Large Icicles On Cliffs Along State Route 619
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 27, 2016
Benges Basin of High Knob Massif
Whitewater Cascades On Benges Branch
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The City of Norton decided to open the gate to their Flag Rock Recreation Area, so Bill & I stopped for a few afternoon shots.  Snow was melting fast below 3000-3300 feet in elevation.

February 27, 2016
Flag Rock Recreation Area of City of Norton
Stone-Pickem Mountain of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Whitewater could be heard gushing out of Benges Basin, below this Overlook, as it drained downward from the Dual Norton Reservoirs ( enhanced, of course, by melting snow ).

February 27, 2016
Big Stony Creek Basin of Clinch River
Head of Mountain Fork of Big Stony Creek
 Eagle Knob From High Knob Lake Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The main stem of a 41.9 square mile multi-gorge wonder originates above, in the High Knob Lake Basin, with a stream gauge in lower sections of the 13 mile stream course, in northern Scott County, on Big Stony Creek serving as a nice guide for run-off from the many steep creeks draining the massif.


Following the end of a very mild and nearly snow free December few would have believed that the January-February period of 2016 might rival the 84" of snow observed last winter ( during the 
January-February 2015 period ). 

*Most of the snowfall last winter coming via a barrage in February 2015, with approximately 73.0" of snow falling atop the High Knob Massif ( with mean snow depth reaching around 4 feet ).  The final 2014-15 seasonal snowfall total being around 125.0" .


This winter featured much more January snowfall and about 40" of February snow ( vs. 73" last Feb ) with melting in between months, instead of one long and massive release of melt water.

This winter has been significantly wetter than last winter, when adding in rainfall, such that whitewater has been gushing more often than not since late November 2015 ( as the prior graph indicates ).

February 27, 2016
Little Mountain of High Knob Massif
Shadows Across Snow Along State Route 619 
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

No comments:

Post a Comment