Home Archived May 12, 2018

Stanton Repeat Photography

Mile 115.5, Above Elves Chasm, Downstream View from River Left (Stake 802)

Viewing Grand Canyon Site 73 of 119 Return to Main Stanton Index

Stake 802, 12 February 1890 View Larger Image
12 February 1890
On a morning in February 1890, after camping on a sand bar at mile 115, Stanton decided to "take it easy" while waiting for the sun to illuminate this view. As Stanton exposed the negative at 8:00 A.M., the crew loaded the last of the equipment and supplies onto the twenty-two-foot boats. His view shows mostly sand and boulders lining a river corridor largely barren of riparian vegetation except in the old high-water zone, which appears on the upper right and consists of mesquite and catclaw trees.
Photo credit: Robert B. Stanton, 57-RS-542, courtesy of The National Archives

Stake 802, 22 September 1976 View Larger Image
22 September 1976
The water level was much higher when Raymond Turner first matched this image in 1976 using a narrower lens than the extreme wide angle lens that Stanton used 86 years before. His rowing snout, a 22-foot inflatable raft, is parked upstream from where Stanton’s boats were moored. Non-native tamarisk trees occur sporadically along both shorelines, and at least some of the high sandbar present in 1890 remains at this site.
Photo credit: Raymond M. Turner

Stake 802, 21 August 1984 View Larger Image
21 August 1984
In 1984, Turner returned after the high-water years of 1983 and 1984 to again match this view, although again he used a lens with a narrower field of view than the original. The 18-foot rubber raft he came downstream in is parked downstream of the location where the Stanton boats were parked. The water level is high enough to obscure most of the beach, and high water has damaged or killed many of the tamarisk that were present in 1976.
Photo credit: Raymond M. Turner

Stake 802, 22 February 1992 View Larger Image
22 February 1992
This is the first match that used a lens of sufficient field of view to capture the entirety of Stanton’s view 102 years previously. Because of considerable erosion, the sand bar could be used only with considerable difficulty by modern river runners. Eight members of our crew posed in the approximate positions as Stanton's crew to illustrate the difference in the amount of sand between 1890 and 1992. The sand bars in this view have steadily decreased in size over the sixteen years of photographic replication, at least for the amount above a stage around 30,000 ft3/s. However, the higher sand bar at extreme right center has increased in size, probably as a result of deposition during the 1983 flood. Tamarisk have reestablished along the river corridor, although they are difficult to discern because they are leafless in this winter view. Crown dieback can be seen in the old high-water zone mesquites on the upper right, and new shrubs have established downslope.
Photo credit: Steve Tharnstrom

Stake 802, 23 September 2010 View Larger Image
23 September 2010
There is now considerably more sand present than there was 18 years previously, although not as much as there was in 1890. Some of the large boulders that were visible on the sand bar are now buried, others are no longer present, and some are hidden by tamarisk trees and native species, including seepwillow. Russian thistle is abundant on the open sand in the midground.
Photo credit: Steve Tharnstrom

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