Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why they're called the Blue Ridge Mountains

This past Sunday evening in Asheville we had dinner on the Sunset Terrace at the Grove Park Inn. It is an open air terrace with legendary views of the sunset. Unfortunately, because of the clouds, there was no sunset to see! However, I still got a few good pictures and it finally dawned on me why the mountains of western North Carolina and Virginia are called the "Blue" Ridge Mountains - because they are blue! As you can see, from a distance the mountains actually appear blue in color. The blue comes from the trees releasing isoprene into the atmosphere, a natural gas that helps protect the trees from ozone, as well as protecting them from the heat of the sun. Broadleaf trees are the largest producer of isoprene, with oak trees being the major producer. In these particular photos, because the sun is hidden by the clouds, I think the blueish color is somewhat magnified. All of these photos were taken from the same location (our dinner table) but each is of a slightly different angle and/or magnification. Except for cropping the photos for size, none of these pictures have been retouched (i.e. paint-shopped). What you're seeing is just what we saw, God's color-palette!

Sunset on Sunday evening in Asheville, NC was approximately 7:00pm. The photos are numbered by order in the lower right-hand corner.

#1 - about 90 minutes before sundown
#2 - about 60 minutes before sundown
#3 - about 45 minutes before sundown
#4 - about 30 minutes before sundown
#5 - about 30 minutes after sundown


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