Physics Photo of the Week
Jones Mountain Trails and Winter Visibility
past lingering winter, Physics Photo has to pay tribute to
a number of natural winter phenomena.
Here we see some trails on Jones Mountain, near Warren Wilson College,
made more visible by snow, sun illumination angle, as well as the lack
of leaves. The Davidson Trail (actually a logging road) can be
seen taversing about half-way up Jones Mountain slanting slightly up to
the right. Without the snow cover, the trail is almost
invisible. The embankments on the uphill sides of the trail
shields the deposition of snow slightly, thus enhancing the image
contrast. The grazing angle of the sunlight also enhances the
contrast. The trail is much more visible on the zoomed-in image
Having hiked up these trails frequently I wished to confirm which trail
is which. Is "Trail 1" the Davidson Trail? If so, what is
"Trail 2"? The photos below are on-site photos of the trails from
earlier day. The Davidson Trail is seen winding up the
mountain. See if you can locate the position of the lower photo
in the above photo. "Trail 2" is not
a trail at all, but is a fire break or similar feature made by a
bulldozer several decades ago. The bottom photo on the right is
looking down Trail 2 from close to the ridge.
Davidson Trail - Trail 1
Firebreak looking down - Trail 2
Notice that a little bit of snow lies along the up-hill sides of each
trail where the shade is greater. Notice also that the bank of
the Davidson Trail is quite steep. When there is a light snow,
the bank stays relatively bare and makes it visible from a distance.
Linear or disturbed features are often visibly enhanced by dustings of
snow, oblique lighting, or even by changes in wetness as is often done
at archeological sites.
Photo of the
published weekly during the academic year on Fridays by the Warren
Wilson College Physics
Department. These photos feature interesting phenomena in
the world around us. Students, faculty, and others are invited to
submit digital (or film) photographs for publication and
explanation. Atmospheric phenomena are especially welcome.
Please send any photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All photos and discussions are copyright by Donald
Collins or by the person credited for the photo and/or
discussion. These photos and discussions may be used for private
individual use or educational use. Any commercial use without
written permission of the photoprovider is forbidden.
the Week Archive.
Observers are invited to submit
digital photos to: