How Have National Parks Changed Over Time?

Viewing photographs of different eras in the national parks can give many insights on ecosystem processes, as well as simply change over time. The photographs associated with panoramic lookout photographs provide a window on the past, and an opportunity to compare to the present with changes to land forms and land cover.

Osborne Photo Recording Transit

This gallery highlights photos of the Osborne Photo-Recording Transit, also called the Osborne camera and Osborne Photo Survey Camera.

The camera was used in both the 1930s for the original panoramic lookout photographs as well as for retakes in 2005-2009 in Yellowstone and Glacier national parks. Ten cameras were built by Leupold, Volpel & Co. According to We Climbed the Highest Mountains,#6 was built for the National Park Service. For the retake project in Yellowstone and Glacier national parks, #10 has been consistently used.

Osborne photo recording transit in its case. Back of Osborne Photo Survey Camera with rear door Removed to show circular azimuth-angle track on which film was tracked. Information source: <em>We Climbed the Highest Mountains</em>. Front of Osborne Photo Survey Camera with front door shut, and three-piece demountable alidade. Front of Osborne Photo Survey Camera with front door open and lens located 50% through travel. Close up of lens and bellows in ‘rest’ position. Front view of Osborne Photo Survey Camera with front door open and lens in ‘rest’ position. Original label designating this Osborne Photo-Recording Transit as number 10 of 10. Osborne Photo Survey Camera placed in original wood case with sighting vane broken down and placed in top lid.  Note:  straps on side of wood case were added in 2008 for ease of removing case from additional protective wooden box (not pictured) for transporting. Base of the Osborne photo recording transit. Osborne photo recording transit tripod. Osborne photo recording transit on Saddle Mountain in Yellowstone National Park in 2008. Close-up view of Osborne photo recording transit on Bunsen Peak in Yellowstone National Park, June 21, 2007. Osborne photo recording transit on balcony of Apgar Lookout in Glacier National Park in 2008.