Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Scenic Byway Nominee

We continued our drive south on CA 79 from Julian to Exit 40 of I-8. About midway along the 20-mile section of this highway, we had encountered the smoke from a controlled burn.

At an open section of land along the way, we saw a colorful--if not dramatic--effect of the smoke. The next three photos show a change in the color of the grasses.
In the distance, the grasses are a tan color. As the thick smoke rose toward the sun, the grasses picked up an orange color as the sun's rays passed through the smoke filled with impurities.
The grasses and much of the scene took on the appearance of a scene that had been photographed with the camera set on "sepia."
The filtered sun added a more saturated tone to the orange and brown colors of fall in the scenes below.
The colors of fall were not the brilliant reds, yellows, and oranges of New England, but the muted colors were just as beautiful--different,
but just as worthy a destination for "leaf peepers."

I don't know what to make of our reaction, but the more we travel in high desert and landscape with simple shrubs and grasses, the more we notice the slight differences in shades of a small pallete of color.

Here the smoke's hint of rust and yellow provided a background for the barren branches of several trees.
CA 79 has not been identified as a Scenic Byway (or Highway), but we would support its elevation to this status.

Several turnouts are already in place along this winding road with its many small hills.
Even areas of barren trees had an interesting appeal due to the brightness of the grays when reflecting the direct rays of the sun.

We passed the location of the planned burn, and the colors of the sky and trees appeared in their true, non-polluted form.

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