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Environment

Pic of the Day: A High Elevation Pine Forest in the Snow

ImaGeo iconImaGeoBy Tom YulsmanJanuary 4, 2015 5:50 AM
Lodgepole-Forest-B-1024x682.jpg

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A trail through a forest of lodgepole and limber pines in Colorado's Brainard Lake Recreation Area. Photograph taken 1/3/15. (© Tom Yulsman) Yesterday I started a new feature here at ImaGeo: Pic of the Day. Over the next year, I'll be trying to post one image every day here. Today's installment: The photograph above of a mixed conifer forest in Colorado's Front Range mountains west of where I live near Boulder. I went snowshoeing there today, and as you can probably make out, snow was coming down. No blizzard. Just enough to make it peaceful and beautiful. You're looking at a mix of lodgepole and limber pine. And I think the tree with lighter, relatively smooth bark just to the left of the trail is a white pine. (But I'm not sure. If you can identify it, leave a comment.) Limber pines are my favorite, because of their often beautiful shapes. Unfortunately, they've been hammered in recent years by pine beetles. Lodgepole pines are the tall skinny ones in the image; they tend to dominate up at this elevation. (I think we were just shy of 10,000 feet here.) A recent study has turned up some surprising findings about these forests. Wildfire activity within them has long been assumed to be getting much more severe, thanks to fire suppression. But the study found that this is not actually the case. "The key point here is that modern fires in these Front Range forests are not radically different from the fire severity of the region prior to any effects of fire suppression,” says study co-author Tom Veblen, an ecologist (and my colleague) at the University of Colorado, Boulder. (With one exception: The lowest elevation forests.) You can find more details about the research here. Turning back to the photo itself, here's the EXIF data, in case you're curious: Sony NEX-7 camera with a Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar f/4.0 16-70mm ZA lens The image was shot at 26 mm (40 mm equivalent on a full-frame sensor). The exposure was 1/125 at F/8.0, and 100 ISO. I edited the RAW file with Silver Efex Pro 2 and Adobe Lightroom. Last but not least, I still owe a photo for Jan. 1. That's coming soon. In the meantime, thanks for stopping by. I hope you'll come back for more Pics of the Day in the weeks and months ahead.

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