Tag Archives: lake

Sawtooth Lake Color Panorama

Sawtooth Lake

Sawtooth Lake (click image to see larger)

Been processing a few more photos from the Sawtooth Lake hike. This photo was actually from my second hike to the lake that week, when my Dad and I went up. I would really like to spend the night up there next year and do some predawn work around the lake; consider it added to the list.

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Sawtooth Lake

Sawtooth Lake - Black and White (click for larger)

Sawtooth Lake - Black and White (click for larger)

Sawtooth lake is one of the prettiest places on earth, it’s the largest alpine lake in the Sawtooth Mountains and a pleasant 5 mile hike UP to it. I spent a couple of days there this summer, so this won’t be the last Sawtooth Lake area photo you’ll see.

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Alpine Lake, Windy Texture

A large rock sits in an alpine lake (please click image to see higher quality)

A large rock sits in an alpine lake (please click image to see higher quality)

Photoblog note: Since I’ve drastically redone the site, I’ll be making more than one post per week until the photoblog archive grows up a bit.  We’ll return you to a weekly post in a few weeks.

I walked by this photo twice before finally going back to shoot it. I loved it both times I saw it, but just knew my camera and I couldn’t do it justice, and, even so, doubted many people who would see it are texture geeks like me.  It was taken about halfway through a 14 mile day hike–one of several long day hikes I took during our recent vacation up in the Sawtooth. Most were with Joy and Jasper (border collie pup), but this one was just me and Dad. We got to where we were going and decided we hadn’t had enough. Actually, he decided that. I, having already been on a couple hikes that week including this same hike with my wife two days earlier and having just climbed five miles and a few thousand feet up the mountain all while carrying a backpack with 46 metric tons of camera gear, had indeed had enough. For the record, in addition to the survival gear I don’t leave home without, a few items for cold weather (it tends to snow there in the summer), a fishing rod, lunch and roughly three liters of water, I also had three or four lenses, totaling 17mm – 400mm, the DSLR, a 35mm film body, filters, tripod, remote, small 5-in-1 reflector, extra batteries and everything else you’d find in a camera bag. All stuffed in my favorite camera backpack ever! The DAKINE Sequence Photo Pack.

Dad was carrying a day pack. But all that was in it was his peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and water. So yes. I was content with what we had originally planned. But we were sitting in a mountain pass above the lakes we had hiked to and we were able to see down another drainage and see another set of lakes. Dad said. “Ah, don’t we have to walk down there and check out those lakes?” To which I replied. “No, we don’t have to.” But. Once it was mentioned, we both knew we were going to. We were both thinking about it, and had we both kept our mouths shut, we would have saved it for another day. I wasn’t against walking a mile or two down the trail to the other lakes. I was against having to walk back up it :). The “trail” down there was just a place where rocks the size of footballs and basketballs were arranged between rocks the size of cars and houses.

This photo was the first lake on our little extension. We walked by it on the way down and then on the way back up. Both times the wind was blowing 347 miles per hour; actually I clocked gusts at 30mph which is calm by Idaho mountain standards. Both times I walked by and thought, wow, I love that texture, but there is no way it’ll make it onto film. After walking by it on the way back up, I stopped and walked back to it. To give you an idea of scale, the rock you see was a little larger than a VW bug.

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Vacation 2009: Stanley

I'm Back: aka self portrait at Goat Falls

Self Portrait of me standing under Goat Falls

I’m not sure a photographer ever gets a real vacation.  If we do… this “vacation” was the closest I’ve come to a “real vacation” in a long time. Being half photographer half computer guy, I didn’t do any computer work while I was gone, so at least that half of me had a real vacation. Don’t get me wrong, it was a vacation, there were days where I could have fit the photos I took on one roll of 35mm. Other days were centered around photography and filled my largest memory card. My camera was never more than a few feet from me, ending up with over 1500 photos. Joy and I met my parents in the Stanley, Idaho basin for a week camping trip. Well, it was supposed to be a week, but we got there a few days early and left a day later clocking in at 10 nights in camp. The morning we left we were pulling out of camp and we both decided that it had been a good trip, but we were ready to go home; that is, for me, what made it a great vacation. I was actually ready to go home. We had an amazing trip though, I hiked thirty two miles of trails in the Sawtooth Wilderness plus a bit of bushwhacking here and there for large rocks and waterfalls. Hiking destinations in the Sawtooth wilderness included the breathtaking Sawtooth Lake and Goat Falls a spectacular (cold) 300 foot waterfall. (pictured).

In addition to hiking in the sawtooth wilderness, I also spent time in my old stomping grounds of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness; Dad and I caught a bunch of fish on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. I also took everyone up to the headwaters of the Salmon River where puppy could jump across the river.

I got most of my photo todo list done. There was one shot that I really wanted to get but the stars weren’t in alignment. Or rather the moon wasn’t. Many of you have seen some of my star trail photography. I scouted the place for my next major star trail photo, but the moon wasn’t cooperating within the time frame I had. I’ll be running the night sky simulator to find a couple days and times when I can travel back up to Stanley to take this three hour photo. The window is very tight and the weather will have to be perfect, and I have two months to take the picture or wait another year. hmmm.

The above photo was a self portrait of me at goat falls. I love waterfalls! nothing I’d rather photograph….   The perspective doesn’t do it justice as this was setup for the self port; Goat Falls is an amazing place, this torrent of water makes a 300′ fall from the top of the photo to my feet then continues on an amazing cascade down to the valley below.

This was the last of my hiking destinations in the sawtooth wilderness. One leg of the tripod was on a rock, the other two in a pool of water. Joy would have taken the photo except she was on a rock a couple hundred feet down the hill reading a book to the dog. Shortly before we got married her and I were climbing on a waterfall in Lemhi County near the Salmon River. She fell 90% of the way down it (30-40 feet). I thought she was seriously injured. We were ten minutes from radio coverage. An hour drive to the nearest paved road; another half hour to the clinic. Or lifeflight an hour to a real hospital. She wasn’t as badly injured as I thought, so we ended up not taking the helicopter ride that day, instead we bandaged her up, gave her some pain medication and made it back to town in record time to have my mom (a nurse) check her out. Nothing broken, major bruising, serious pain for a few days and some scars left, but we laugh at it now. Oh, but she’s banned from waterfalls.

Anyways, we got an daylight early start for this hike but it was still amazingly hot. So I was happy to pull the waterproof cover over the camera backpack and spend some time getting soaked.

It’s back to the real world now. I have 1500 more photos in my queue to go through and post process. I have a todo list a mile long from the next trip and I’m further behind everything I was behind on before we left. It was an amazing trip; I’m glad to be home.

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Stanley Lake Twilight Star Trails

Stanley Lake Twilight

Stanley Lake Twilight Star Trails

I recently posted this shot on a couple sites and was promptly asked the questions; how’d ya do it? So I wrote up a how-to and posted it in a couple of the forums where it was posted. I’ve added it to my flickr photo page and now cross posting it here for archival purposes.

I took this star trail shot from Stanley lake. A high layer of clouds that was moving in so the stars (planets) near the horizon had a halo effect and turned out quite large. but it added some color. this is a stack of around 80, 30 second photos at 200 iso and around f4.

Setting the scene: I was sitting on ice covered rocks on the side of a half frozen lake with wind blowing across it at me, it being 5 degrees, watching my camera blink off and back on every thirty seconds for two hours……. Continue reading »

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Teton Dam Failure. Actual Data for American Falls.

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I like sources. And moreso, I like hard facts…

A while back I posted a story about Teton Dam and made several comments about American Falls Dam. These comments were based on other websites, the sites did not agree so I had to accept standard deviation. Wanting to have all the facts correct I sent in a request to the Bureau of Reclamation.

This morning I recieved the actual numbers in a very detailed response, Thanks goes to The Burley Office of the Bureau of Reclamation.

Thank you for your interest in getting correct information on American Falls Dam.

Reclamation’s first dam at American Falls was completed in 1927 with a capacity of 1,700,000 acre-feet at a normal maximum water surface of 4354.5 feet. Idaho Power Company had a smaller dam, just downstream, to divert water through their turbines before that time.

By 1973 the concrete of the dam was deteriorating from a chemical reaction between alkaline aggregate and the cement used in the original construction. At that time the capacity of the reservoir was restricted to 1,200,000 acre-feet. At 12:00 a.m., June 5, 1976, the reservoir held 1,145,060 acre-feet.

The following table shows the recorded flows and contents for the first 10 days of June in 1976. Hopefully our e-mail systems will allow the table to remain intact. Inflow and discharge are daily averages and content is the end of day, midnight, observation.

Date    Inflow       Discharge     Content
.         cfs         cfs        acre-feet
1-Jun    17,695      23,700      1,205,800
2-Jun    15,878      22,700      1,192,270
3-Jun    12,775      21,800      1,174,370
4-Jun    12,460      19,700      1,160,010
5-Jun    11,562      19,100      1,145,060
6-Jun    15,810      20,000      1,136,750
7-Jun    37,195      20,200      1,170,460
8-Jun    40,861      21,300      1,209,260
9-Jun    22,288      21,900      1,210,030
10-Jun   16,965      21,800      1,200,440

As you can see, the reservoir was full to restricted capacity, plus a little, on June 1 and began to draft. Inflow and discharge were decreasing. On June 6 discharge was increased slightly and that slight increased persisted until the reservoir returned to full.

The maximum content on June 9 resulted in a water surface elevation just .2 feet above the restricted level.

Reconstruction, completed in 1978, restored the capacity to the original water surface elevation of 4354.5 feet. In 1977, while the reservoir was drained, a new survey of the reservoir area was made.

Subsequently, the capacity of the reservoir was adjusted to 1,672,590 acre-feet. This is a small adjustment considering that more than 50 years passed between surveys.

So, contrary to what alot of other sites were saying, no they did not “drain” the lake. Intake had been decreasing till the event so discharge had been decreasing too, to 19,100 cfs before the event. Post event they increased the discharge, but since intake had been droping, they didn’t increase it much. Actual capacity was 1.2 million acre feet, the inital post-event discharge was maintained while and the lake dropped to 1.13 million acre feet before water arrived. Accroding to the data the water started arriving on the 7th with an AVERAGE DAILY INTAKE of 37,195cfs. I can only assume that for part of of the day, the intake was around normal (pre-event) and a rather large inital surge of water was well over 37,000. I did some checking and found the following data from the same 10 day period taken at a gauge on the river near Blackfoot, ID.

click to view

It shows very similar number to what was provided me in the email response. Though the gauge is upstream so the peaks and averages are going to be earlier than at the dam. This still gives us an average. I was hoping to find an instantaneous reading that would tell us what the inital surge (if any) was. I found the following data from the same gauge.

peak flow
click to view

This graph represents the peak flows for recorded years. Notice that 1976 is the highest year but has a couple of close years too. Not sure the story behind those years. But the corresponding data point for 76 indicates “June 7th 1976 Gague Height 15.44 feet – 53,500cfs (dam failure).”

It would seem we’ve found what I was looking for. Inital surge would have been near 54,000cfs averaging to 37,000cfs intake for the dam for that day.

The dam did fluctuate over capacity slightly as the discharge was changed to reflect the intake. Looks like by the 10th intake, discharge and contents had stabilized to about normal.

Thanks again to the Bureau of Reclamation, Burley office for the American Falls dam history and data. It really clears up descrepancies on other sites and news reports.



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