Comparison of current view to historical photographs

Region 8, USDA Forest Service

The Shining Rock Wilderness site houses a digital camera that takes high-resolution pictures of the Current View every 15 minutes. You can judge the quality of the air by determining what significant features can be seen (as in the top left picture). On the best days the visitor should be able to see Laural Top Ridge, which is over 37 mi away. Also, you can compare the Current View to the three pictures below to decide if the air quality is good, medium, or poor.

Breakdown of the Significant Features of Shining Rock Wilderness. Lickstone Bald, Cold Mountain, Laurel Top Ridgem, Hyatt Ridge and Mount Sterling Ridge are depicted. Click to see larger Significant Features.
Significant Features

The current conditions of Shining Rock Wilderness. Click to see larger image.
Current View
An example of good air quality at Shining Rock Wilderness. Click to see larger image
Good Air Quality (Fall day at 0900)
An example of medium air quality at Shining Rock Wilderness. Click to see larger image
Medium Air Quality(Fall day at 0900)
An example of poor air quality at Shining Rock Wilderness. Click to see larger image
Poor Air Quality(Fall day at 0900)


The Good, Medium, and Poor Air Quality images show a range in visibility conditions for the current season. The three images are provided to represent the historical visibility conditions observed between June 27, 1994 and October 5, 1999. During this time period the pictures were taken at 9:00, 12:00, and 3:00 each day of the week. The three photographs that are closest to the time of the Current Image will be displayed. The clarity of the view is influenced by the amount of fine particles in the atmosphere, the amount of relative humidity in the atmosphere, and the sun angle (which varies depending on the season and time of day). Other factors also influence visibility in Shining Rock Wilderness. For example, clouds have been estimated to conceal the mountain peaks about 44 percent of the time. You can learn more about what factors influence visibility by downloading the 68-page book by Dr. William Malm entitled Introduction to Visibility

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updated: 1/23/13