Philip E. Brown

Univ. of Wisconsin

Madison, WI, USA


Ice Out; Devil's Lake


The panorama was shot at 4 p.m. CST on Friday March 20 on the West Bluff trail overlooking Devil's Lake, south of the town of Baraboo in Sauk County, Wisconsin.


Devil's Lake is nestled between two cliffs of pink quartzite rock that formed more than 1.5 billion years ago in an ancient shallow sea. This pink quartzite is a very strong, resistant rock and these cliffs provide a popular destination for rock climbing enthusiasts throughout the Midwest. The Baraboo Quartzite and similar rocks in Minnesota and S. Dakota are used extensively in the upper Midwest for building railroad track beds because of their high crush strength. Those with a good eye will recognize the gentle northward dip of the quartzite unit in the East Bluff across the lake.


Devil's Lake itself formed when, during the last period of glaciation, a retreating glacier left a moraine (a pile of largely unsorted material bulldozed in front of the glacier) across the valley just to the SE of the lake. This moraine blocked the flow of a previously existing river and formed the moderate depth lake which currently has no surface outlet.


The panorama opens looking N (pan up to see a compass) and provides a nice view of ice-out, an event marking the beginning of Spring - the season of renewal. The relatively low spot at the South end of the cliffs across the lake marks the location of the dammed and abandoned outflow river. Immediately behind me to the west the trees are completely coated with ice, a remnant of a storm days earlier that turned much of the area into a crystal wonderland. The tops of the distant hills to the south are still coated with ice while the more protected valley to the south has had the ice in the trees melt in the sunshine. The sound, which I was unable to capture, of the wind blowing through the ice-laden trees was magical.

Technical details:

Nikon N50 SLR and a Vivitar 19-35mm lens set at 28mm. I used a moderate weight Slik tripod and the Kaidan QPX-1 Pan head. The Kodak 200 print film was scanned using a Nikon slide scanner, processed using Photoshop 4, and stitched using the Authoring Suite on a Mac 8100-150 equipped with 144 Megs of RAM. Multiple datarate movies were compiled using directions posted on Apple's web site and hints and procedures contributed to the Wrinkle 2 list-server.


SIZE OF MOVIE WINDOW: 480 X 240 pixels


Personal WWW HomePage:

Department WWW HomePage:


Phone: 608-262-5954

Fax: 608-262-0693