Ryan Voigtman

Exploring Whiskeytown: Shasta Divide Nature Trail

The Shasta Divide Nature trail starts right at the end of the parking lot for the Visitor Center. This is a nice easy and short trail that winds down to the lake shore and makes a small loop. I was really surprised by this trail and the views of the lake that it offered. The trail makes a small loop, overall it is around .4 miles. The photosphere from this hike is on the lakeside at the bottom section of the loop.


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Exploring Whiskeytown: Guardian Rock Trail

Last week I was out at Guardian Rock Trail, and came back with a ton of photographs. As a result it has taken me longer than I’d like to get this posted. There are 28 final photographs, and the majority of them are HDR or Panoramic images. I really enjoyed this trail.

I cannot specifically recall having hiked this trail before, but given its proximity to the NEED Camp I assume that I was on the trail then in 6th grade. All I can remember about being at that camp is the aftermath and having poison oak covering my body. This trail starts out at the Bridge leading to the NEED Camp across Clear Creek. You make your way down to the creekside and the mile walk is almost always within view of the creek. Until you reach a fork in the trail when you can either take the trail for Guardian Rock Trail, or for the Sheep Camp. The trail for sheep camp is just a  straight and flat path for horses and bikes that take you to the vantage point. The real view is down the path to Guardian Rock Trail, after a short walk down you will get back to the creek and be on some rocks that overlook a bend in the creek. I spent some time here and without much difficulty you can make your way down to the creek. Back on the trail you should for sure continue down to the vantage point that has another great vista view of the valley.

The first Photosphere is from Guardian Rock on the creekside. The second is from just down the trail at the Vista point.

The next trail was completed at the same time, it is a short trail at the Visitor center called Shasta Divide Nature Trail.

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Exploring Whiskeytown: Brandy Creek Falls

Last week I hiked to Brandy Creek Falls. It is a short 1.5 mile hike with around a 500 foot elevation change. At the start you go mostly uphill on the way to the waterfall, so when you head back out its faster and almost all downhill. This is a hike that I’ve always felt is more about reaching the destination (Brandy Creek Waterfall) and not much else. I went early in the morning and had the trail to myself. On the way out there were two other people headed in. Unfortunately because of the time and coolness the mosquitoes were still out in swarms and if I stopped to take a photo they were on me in the dozens. Seriously I’ve never felt so many of them on me at once as I did that day. Also on the drive in I startled a Black Bear that darted across the road, he was moving really quick.

I ended up with two Photospheres from this hike, one is from the rapids leading to the waterfall, and the other is from the base of Brandy Creek Falls. What I really like about this waterfall is that it has a ledge in front of the pool, and the water from the waterfall is reduced down to these two paths out of the pool. Between the two paths is a small tree growing seemly out of the rock.

I’m not used to shooting a this time of day and had a lot of over exposed images because of the differences in light. I’ve gotten in the bad habit of shooting in Program mode, and just working with that in Photoshop. Usually it serves me well but on this day it did not. My Aperature on most images is set to f / 1.8 giving them a really shallow depth of field and makes some of them fuzzy looking. I usually end up using Program mode because I want the images to have a balance histogram in the camera and not be blown out on either the dark or light side, typically this is what the Program mode attempts to do. I may try the Shutter Priority Mode and see how that works out. I always handhold my camera so I need the shutter speed to be fast, even at the cost of f/stops and or ISO. This set is also comprised almost entirely of Panorama’s with just one frame being a single shot. I’ve always thought I should get a nice wide angle lens to use, I’m currently thinking about an EF 17-40 f/4L. So instead of using Panoramas to build a wide viewing angle I could just take the photograph.

Next up is Guardian Rock Trail, I can’t remember having hiked this trail before so it should be interesting.

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Independence Day Fireworks

After work today I went to watch the fireworks in Redding. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go, but ended up at the Bank Of America at the end of Placer Street. I wanted somewhere that was convenient and easy to get out of, otherwise you get stuck in traffic for a while. In this aspect the spot worked out great. The view of the firework show was alright. Some of the lower fireworks were hidden by trees of buildings. I probably wouldn’t go back to this spot just because of the view.


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Exploring Whiskeytown: Crystal Creek Falls

Crystal Creek Falls is my favorite Waterfall to photograph out at Whiskeytown Recreation Area. It not much of a hike, being only a half mile round trip. I usually stop by this waterfall anytime I am in the area. The photographs below are from three different visits to Crystal Creek Falls, two in February, and one just last week when I was at Crystal Creek Water Ditch Trail. I also have two Photo-Spheres from the falls, one was taken with my Nexus 6P last week, the other with my old Galaxy phone in February, when I took the photo it was a light drizzle that day and makes the photo look almost foggy.

I find it interesting that in just four months my Processing style has changed. One photograph looks like it has neon green in it, with the most recent ones be a much more subtle green tone with a  blue accent. I had never really noticed that change until this set where they are mixed together. I have two current favorite from this set right now, both from different visits. I really like the waterfall with a foreground being the pool, for that shot I got low and shifted the perspective. My other favorite is the shot with the rocks and grass growing on top of it. That was the first time I had been out there are even noticed these rocks on the side of the access road (across from the waterfall). For some reason with the grass, and the mist it made these rocks just glow. I also like the combination of natural and man-made in that one photograph, with the drill marks in the rocks.

Next week will be Brandy Creek Falls, now that the road is open you can access the waterfall via a short 1.5 mile hike.

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Exploring Whiskeytown: Crystal Creek Water Ditch Trail

This trail just recently reopened, after being closed in 2013 due to flooding of the trail. I hiked this trail once before it was closed, and had found memories of it. So I am glad to see this trail once again open. The trail reopened on June 15th, 2017 and I was there on the 21st. I think this is one of the less known about trails at Whiskeytown. As the name implies this hike takes you along a historic water ditch that originally provided water to the Camden House Orchard, and now once again after some repairs is providing water to the same orchards. You start just above the Clean-Out house, more of a shed really. It houses a water-wheel mechanism that will rake larger debris such as a stick and leaves out of the water. As you continue down the path you are walking alongside the waterditch, and there is even a section that you walk on a flume structure as it passed over a gorge.  As you near the end of the trail you get more and move views of Crystal Creek.


This weeks PhotoSphere is below, just click the link to load it. This Photosphere is from the end of the trail, you can see the floodgate that controls flow into the ditch. As well as Crystal Creek.

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Exploring Whiskeytown: Mill Creek Trail

Mill Creek trail is one of those connecting trail, it seems like its purpose is to connect to as many other trails as possible. I decided to just do the creek side of the trail that you can access from the Tower House Historical District. And even at that I cut it a bit short. According to the guide page this trail crosses the creek 20 times. I believe it from what I saw. I crossed the creek 9 times on my adventure into this trail, and eventually I was just over it. Hopping from stone to stone and then walking 500 feet and doing it again. Yep totally over it. Judging from the state of the trail it is not well traveled as it was a bit overgrown, often with poison oak. Still I came away with a camera full of photographs from the day and one of my favorite flower photographs that I have taken this season. Also lots of Creek Crossing photographs, and Indian Rhubarb.


I stopped after one of the creek crossings and decided to wade out into the water. This was part trying to get a cool Panorama Sphere and part hoping the water would wash off the Urushiol Oil from Poison Oak off. It seemed to have worked because I only had one small spot of poison oak and it cleared up quickly.

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Exploring Whiskeytown: Camden Water Ditch Trail

Fast forward from March to June…that was a long break from hiking looking back, I was using work as an excuse to do nothing. Anyways last week on June 15th I was back at the Tower House Historical District to walk the Camden Water Ditch Trail. Also known as the wildflower trail, to me anyways. The trail is flat and easy going and only around a mile long.


The Panorama Sphere for today looks down the hill at some wildflowers, and in between the trees you can see the Camden House.

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Exploring Whiskeytown: Clear Creek Vista Trail

Well I feel behind on blogging about my exploration out at Whiskeytown. So this hike is from all the way back on March 31st. I had been completing the hikes out at the Tower House Historical District, and this was on on my list that I had never done before. Now that I have completed this hike I’m not really sure why I hadn’t hiked this before and I highly recommend this one. This hike starts off with a small climb up the mountain, but then it levels out as you are walking along an old irrigation ditch. After a short walk you get to the main portion of this hike, the views. You can see a long ways from the vantage you have into the valley below. Including the Parking lot, and the Camden House.

This was also the first time that Poison Oak sprouted out at Whiskeytown and was visible. Now the stuff is everywhere. I’ve still managed to mostly avoid it.


The photosphere from today is none other than the View from Clear Creek Vista Trail.

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Exploring Whiskeytown: Whiskeytown Falls Trail

On March 23rd I ventured out to the Whiskeytown Falls Trail area, also known as the James K. Carr trail. Over the years this has at times been one of my favorite trails at Whiskeytown. I think it is a combination of a big waterfall at the end, and a decent workout to get there. I had the trail mostly to myself on the way in, there was just one person still on the trail and they were headed out, we passed each other around the 1.5 mile mark. When I reached the waterfall I had plenty of time to enjoy the site, eat my lunch and climb up to the trail closed sign, before some other hikers caught up with me.

I’ve always found this to be one of the hardest waterfalls at Whiskeytown to photograph, it is a huge waterfall, but there is really no way to show it. There are three tiers to this waterfall with a small pool in between them. The photograph here shows only the lowest tier.


The Panorama Sphere for today is taken from a bridge that is roughly 500 feet before the waterfall. This Photosphere was also taken with my new Nexus 6P phone, I think it is a far better camera and has a better end result.


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