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Correlations of the Wind River Range drawings
of 1842 Expedition cartographer Charles Preuss

August 13, 1842 View from the Mule Camp near Lost Lake at the head of Frémont Canyon. There is a grassy meadow just south of Lost Lake at N43° 04' 29", W109° 40' 38".

The 3D images are rendered from 7.5 minute USGS DEM (digital elevation model) files using MacDEM and POV-Ray.

go See this view and the one below combined.


August 13, 1842
View from the approach of Island Lake.
The base camp was atop the waterfall on the far side of the lake at about N43° 04' 30", W109° 38' 11"--Preuss said "two miles distant as the crow flies" from the Mule Camp.

Why does the right half of the Island Lake drawing look so craggy and spirey?

The engraved plates of the report were made from sketches and drawings that Charles Preuss made in the field--on the move. He would have assembled the drawings hours or days later from a series of sketches.

Interesting purchase vouchers are for a sketching device called a camera obscura--also called camera lucida. A simple optical device, it has been used as a artist's sketching aid from the time of Vermeer.

If Charles Preuss used the camera obscura as a sketching aid, he would have had to make many views, as the camera would not take in the entire horizontal view of these panoramic images. It is possible that the horizontals on the right side of the Island Lake drawing were omitted in tracing the preliminary sketch on the ground glass of the camera, and Preuss's memory failed to enter them later when he worked on completing the drawings for the engraver. The scale and perspective of different parts of the finished drawing may not quite agree for the same reason.

I have filled in the copy of the scene in the lower panel above as might have been intended..


Voucher No. 4, 27 Feb. 1839
U.S. to E & G. W. Blunt

1 camera lucida

$18.00

Jackson, Donald, and Mary Lee Spence, The Expeditions of John Charles Frémont: Vol. I, Travels from 1838 to 1844 University of Illinois Press, 1970, p.70.

Camera Obscura

 

 

 

 

 

 


Example of type only
Not Frémont's camera

Voucher No. 19, 1 May 1842
U.S. to William King, Jr.

Mirror for camera obscura

$0.75

portable box to form the above

$8.00

Jackson, Donald, and Mary Lee Spence, The Expeditions of John Charles Frémont: Vol. I, Travels from 1838 to 1844 University of Illinois Press, 1970, p.140.

Voucher No. 12, 28 April 1842
U.S. to William Würdmann

additions to a camera lucida

$2.50

Jackson, Donald, and Mary Lee Spence, The Expeditions of John Charles Frémont: Vol. I, Travels from 1838 to 1844 University of Illinois Press, 1970, p.138.


Capt. Charles Wilkes, The United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842.
Columbia River.

"Mr. Drayton took a camera lucida drawing of one of the largest trees, which the opposite plate is engraved from. It conveys a good idea of the thick growth of the trees, and is quite characteristic of this forest. The soil on which this timber grows is rich and fertile, but the obstacles to the agriculturist are almost insuperable. The largest tree of the sketch was thirty-nine feet six inches in circumference, eight feet above the ground, and had a bark eleven inches thick. The height could not be ascertained, but it was thought to be upwards of two hundred and fifty feet, and the tree was perfectly straight."

Did Charles Preuss make use of the camera obscura on Frémont's 2nd Expedition?

go The story of the climb of Frémont Peak in 1842


©1999, 2007
Bob Graham