DAHLONEGA, Ga. - Working with the Georgia Forestry Commission comes with a range of duties. But for seven weeks every year, Ken Masten assumes one of the most coveted roles.
Masten traverses the rolling mountains in North Georgia, monitoring the development of leaf color.
And during the season's peak, it can be truly remarkable with vibrant pinks, reds, oranges and lemons painting the landscape.
Our SkyFox drone captured breathtaking views of Georgia's fall leaves. Foresters recommend when you're searching for some of the best arrays of color to travel over changing elevations that's because trees will progress at different paces.
“In choosing a route, I like to call them ‘gap drives,’ [choose] any drive that goes over a gap because that's going to give you elevation gain,” said Masten.
Areas surrounding Wolf Pen gap, Woody gap and Jacks gap are considered great photo opportunities, according to Masten, attracting people from across the southeast region.
“25 years ago, we were here for our honeymoon, and now we’ve returned,” said Jeff Vallet beside his wife. “And just the scenery the whole atmosphere here is like in a whole different world, but we’re really only about nine hours from our home.”
You can follow Masten's weekly updates on FOX 5 with Chief Meteorologist David Chandley every Thursday.
Masten admitted this year in particular has been difficult to predict, balancing the scientific processes of the leaves with the drought and record setting temperatures earlier this fall.
“I’ve adopted the saying for a long time now," said Masten. "‘There are no bad years for fall color in Georgia, just some years are better,’ and this is turning out to be a pretty good year” – and surprisingly so.
While Masten works to guide people to the best pops of color, he says sometimes the search for it, can be even more rewarding.
“[One] of the best parts are the surprises,” Masten smiled.