Ordinary Landscape

A personal project of mine has been working on what I have titled Ordinary Landscapes. So, just what is the criteria for an "Ordinary Landscape"? It's simple: It is taking something mundane or common or better yet, ordinary, and transforming that lack of distinctiveness into something simply extraordinary. As it is, many of my Ordinary Landscape images to date have been landscapes often with a subtle touch of the human element in and around where I live in Idaho, but really they can be of anything. Here are two recent Ordinary Landscapes:

Wind Break. Picabo, Idaho

Aspen. May Ranch. Silver Creek Preserve, Idaho

Lost River Range, Idaho



Lost River Range & Smoke

f7.1, 1,250th of a second, iso 200, -1 ev.

Here is a series taken this morning around 9 AM of the Lost River Range.  Contingent on the wind direction, fires in the Salmon/Chalis area are sending smoke to the Wood River Valley and the Lost River Valley.  The subdued smoky light, especially early and late, helps create dramatic images...  

Camera: Nikon D3S

Lens: Nikon 80-200 f2.8 afs

Idaho Landscapes & Sun Valley Fishing Report

Silver Creek Preserve & Storm

Upper Salmon River After Sundown

Sawtooths & Moonlight

Salmon River Long Exposure

Camera: Nikon D3S

Lens: Nikon 35 f2

The Fishing:  OK, lots of changes.  First, the Big Wood.  The Wood has finally dropped to a fishable level upstream of the Warm Springs confluence.  Clear enough water and tough wading but it's fishable and working.  The flow has dropped down to 1,250 cfs and as few as 5 days ago the flow was just over 2,000 cfs.  It's dropping pretty fast and expect better fishable water south of Ketchum soon.  Think green drakes and big stimulators. 

The Lower Big Lost has also dropped down to essentially 950 cfs which is still pretty high.The upper Big Lost as measured at Chilly is running at 1,050 cfs which is still too high to work.

The crowds have finally diminished at Silver Creek as there is finally other fishable water and the Creek has been inconsistent.  I guided Silver Creek this morning and early afternoon and had sporadic baetis and pmd's.  There were enough bugs to keep the fish on the surface until around 11 AM and then we needed to walk to find feeding fish.  Damsel flies, beetles and ants are great afternoon searching patterns.  The best time of day on Silver Creek at the moment has got to be the evening.  Pmd's and lots of fish on the surface.  Just bring long sleeved collared shirts and be prepared to utilize your deet as the mosquito population before dark has been prolific.

Silver Creek Black & White

Silver Creek & Storm.  July 2011

Camera: Nikon D3S

Lens: Nikon 35 f2

There was a pretty dry and super windy and dusty storm at Silver Creek last night.  A few people were on the water braving the elements.  Can't imagine the fishing was any good but the light was fantastic.  No lightning as I was hoping for but the dark brooding sky was more than enough.

Sun Valley Fishing Report

Camera: Nikon D3S

Lens: Nikon 24 PC-E


Finding clear water other than Silver Creek right now is hard.  While the Big Wood has finally started to drop, it's still flowing just over double where it usually is this time of year.  It's really anybody's guess as to exactly when the Wood will become easily fishable, but it won't be long before the aggressive wade fishermen can get out there and enjoy some big water dry fly fishing.  Think green drakes and big stimi's.  The Big Lost has dropped to 1,350 cfs which is still pretty high...  And, well, Silver Creek.  Silver Creek has been busy and difficult and inconsistent but the wind the last couple of days has not been a problem.  The water level seems to have gone up a bit and there have been plenty of risers but they have not been easy.  Still the same bugs: Baetis, pmd's, green drakes, and a few callibaetis.  The day time highs are forecast to be in the upper-eighties for Picabo.

Sun Valley Fishing Report & Black & White Tilt/Shift Images

Lines & Sky 1

Here's a series I am calling, "Lines & Sky." 

Camera: Nikon D3S

Lens: Nikon 24 PC-E

Ok, the fishing:  The Big Lost and the Big Wood are still blown and it's really looking like it will be at least 10 or so days until we see any worthwhile changes.  The Wood, even north and upstream of Trail Cr. & Warms Springs Cr., is super high and chocolate milk; just about zero clarity.  That leaves us with Silver Creek which is still pretty inconsistent.  The high in Picabo today was somewhere just under 90 degrees and the wind picked up by 9:45 AM which blew many of the little bugs right off the creek.  The wind did taper off by 12:30 or so.  The bugs are: baetis, pmd's, green drakes, and callibaetis.  Think beetles and ants too.

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report

OK..., the Big Wood has just about doubled in volume since I last reported here.  It's flowing just under 2,000 cfs and is OFF color.  It's essentially unfishable...  More rain and cooler temps in store for Ketchum.  The amount of rain we get will dictate just how much runoff the Wood will see this year.  It's really anyone's guess as the weather continues to be volatile and anything but predictable.

The Lower Big Lost is hanging in there and has at least for the short term dropped down to 340 cfs.  That water flow will not last for long.  If you are thinking of hitting the Lost anytime soon, you should head over within the next couple of days.  The Mackay Reservoir is nearing capacity and will any day now hit the tipping point, especially as the upper river has seen a good bump in volume and is contributing a lot of water to the reservoir.

Silver Creek of course is not really affected by high water and will be for much of June our local trump card.  Expect PMD's and baetis throughout the day and cloudy windless days should be the best.  Brown drakes are just around the corner...

Mt. Haynes & Lone Madison River Fisherman

Lamar Valley Looking West

Sun Valley Fishing Report & More Yellowstone Images

As I am on our local Sun Valley area rivers almost daily, I have decided to add a fishing report or rather, a "conditions report" to this blog.  It is a report based on regular observations of water flows, hatches, temps, anamolies, wildflowers and subtleties, etc. I'll note any regulation changes here as well.

First, as opening day is just behind us and this spring has been cold and a bit wet, the rivers have a ways to go prior to hitting any peak flow.  Today hit fifty degrees in Hailey with some hail showers for good measure.  Overnight lows are still cool in Ketchum making for a delayed runoff.  Tonights low in Ketchum is slated to be around 30 degrees which should bring the Big Wood River down even more.  The current flow on the Wood is 1,040 cfs with some clarity, like 2 feet.  The historic mean flow is 1540 cfs.  Here's the link to the Big Wood Flow.  What does this all mean?  Well, for one the Wood is fishable but high.  Side channels and braided water and any soft water on the sides should work.  Keep your eye on the water flow as it's looking like it should warm up on Sunday which will translate to higher water levels...  Enjoy it while it lasts...  Could be a while, like around or after July 4th, before we see wadeable water on the Big Wood.

Silver Creek between gusts and hail storms, is the best, easy to get to option at the moment.  Hatches are sporadic with some baetis and PMDs popping off here and there over the course of the heat of the day.  The PMDs are at their biggest this time of year and will slowly get smaller and smaller into early July.  You can check Silver Creek's streamflow online AND the up to date water temp as measured at the upstream section of the willows.  That's just downstream from the highway 20 bridge.  Here's the link that includes the very useful temperature chart:  USGS Silver Creek Flow  Also, brown drakes are likely to show up in a couple of weeks, and that's just around the corner and one of the most amazing and prolific "big bug" hatches around...

The Big Lost is flowing at 395 cfs with the historic mean at 888 cfs.  That makes the river fishable, very fishable.  There are still a few baetis and on cloudier days the dry fly fishing could be really good.  If you are thinking of heading over there, go soon, as the reservoir is near capacity and the flows should go up within a week or so and make it unfishable for quite awhile...  Here's the Big Lost flow link.  Trail Creek Summit is now open to car travel.


A few more images from Yellowstone:

Late Spring Bulb On Slough Creek

Neverending Telephone Poles.  East Of Arco, Idaho

Power Line And Alfalfa Field.  Idaho Desert

Clouds And Desert And Alfalfa.  Idaho Desert

The above image is a 16 image pano taken handheld with the Nikon 35 f2 lens.  See my pano section on my galleries page to view this image larger.  I am still using Adobe Photoshop CS5 and the photomerge tool for generating panos.

Clouds, A Fencepost & The Big Lost River



"Fencepost" is a freelensed image taken with the Nikon 105 2.8 lens.

Still a COLD and wet Spring here but if you are intent on good dry fly fishing, now might be the best time of the year on the Big Lost River.  The water level is about 288 cfs and from roughly 11:30 AM to 4 PM the midge and baetis madness erupts.  Cloudy days have been far better.  It really is a treat to have a great Spring tailwater fishery in our backyard open.  With steelhead season in full swing, many are focused on the Salmon River and have forgotten about the trout thing.  Should be great stuff on the Lower Lost until the water levels go way up sometime in mid to late May.

Salmon River Steelhead





More images from Stanley, Idaho.  The warmer weather finally has brought the Salmon River up a bit and I suspect it will continue to go up until at least Tuesday when the overnight low is supposed to be back in the teens...

On another note, I recently licensed an image to Orvis.  It is a brown drake shot and is being used as a header on their fly fishing web page.  You can check it out HERE.

Salmon River

Female Steelhead

Old Cabin.  Stanley, Idaho

Salmon River

Salmon River


We are in the middle of our steelhead season on the Salmon River near Stanley.  Lots of cold and wet and snowy weather so far...and as payday, steelhead too.  The water level should finally make a bump later this weekend as high temps are looking to migrate to at least the mid-forties.  Any small bump at this point should really get things going as more fish will likely move upstream and other runs will become fishable...

Spring On Silver Creek

Vole Skull

The skull image above was taken from an owl pellet near the Nature Conservancy Cabin.  For scale, the entire skull could fit on my thumbnail.  The pellet this skull came from contained at least 3 entire vole skeletons...  The Spring clouds and snow on brown hillsides makes for wonderful contrast.  Mid-April through mid-June is my favorite time of year to shoot Silver Creek.