Once upon a time in the Appalachian Mountains the bark of certain tree species, particularly hemlock and a couple of the oaks, was valued for the process of tanning leather.  Such bark was frequently known colloquially as tanbark and mountainsides rich in these species were often called tanbark ridges.

High above Bull Valley on the slopes of the Elk Mountains in northern Buncombe County, North Carolina the Blue Ridge Parkway passes across a spur known for many, many years as Tanbark Ridge, for what are now obvious reasons.

Tanbark Ridge Overlook stares down across Bull Valley into the Swannanoa River Valley and eastward into the western-facing slopes of the eastern-most uplifts of the Blue Ridge escarpment. It is often an excellent vantage from which to inhale the Beauty of the rising sun.

A focal length of 250mm, moving toward the far reaches of medium telephoto, gave me the angle-of-view I wanted and quite a bit of compression as well. An aperture of f/11 – given the camera-to-subject distance – gave me adequate depth-of-field; and a shutter speed of 0.4 second at ISO 100 gave me an overall darker-than-medium exposure.

The Blue Ridge is a unique example of our public lands, never extremely wide, but 369 miles long, passing across the Southern and Middle Appalachians, and a pair states, in a serpentine ribbon that knits these old hills together in a mosaic of wonder, reminding us that in the final analysis all is one.

I wish for Everyone a New Year filled with good health, much happiness and always love. May we all walk in Beauty.