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      Hells Canyon Jet Boat Tours

      TAKING THE PERFECT RIVER PHOTO

      Like all good blogs about photography, we’ll open with the old cliche, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” While this may be the case, sometimes the photos you take are only met with a few words like “did you mean for the photo to turn out like this?” It’s true, river photography can be difficult, but when you’re on a jet boat tour of Hells Canyon, you’ll want to take photos to share the experience with friends and family. That’s why Killgore Adventures will use roughly 500 words to teach you how to take great river photos.

      EMPLOY A POLARIZER

      Polarizers are a handy addition to your bag of camera tricks. Polarizers reduce the glare from the photo, helping the most important visual elements, mostly the water, and the rocks underneath it, stand out. It also helps to reduce the glare from wet surfaces like rocks and foliage.

      GET IN THE WATER

      If you’re just shooting photos of the water from the river’s edge, you’re not getting the full experience of the river. Bringing a pair of waders allows you to step out into the river or stream and get a unique angle. If you’re taking a jet boat tour, you’re already in the heart of the river, offering you the chance to take some great shots.

      TAKE PHOTOS DURING OVERCAST DAYS

      This may seem contrary to the many lessons you’ve learned about photography, but overcast days are ideal for river photos. That’s because the light from the sun can wash out the colors in your photo, or cause a lot of glare. Fortunately, the immense canyon walls along the Snake River help to shade the jet boats from the sun, as well as your camera lens.

      KEEP THE SKY OUT OF YOUR PHOTOS

      The river itself should command the focus of your photo. Including the sky only serves to distract from the river’s features and character. Cutting out the sky not only makes your photo more interesting, but it also makes it appear more intimate as well, highlighting the bends, twists, and waves that run through the river.

      TRY DIFFERENT SHUTTER SPEEDS

      Relying on one shutter speed may not result in a photo that you like. Instead, take the same photo several times, trying a variety of different shutter speeds to see what effect it creates. Longer shutter speeds result in a sort of smooth, pillowy look to the water, while faster speeds capture more dynamic details, like individual wave trains or splashes.

      DON’T FORGET TO STAY (MOSTLY) DRY

      Be aware of where you’re positioning your camera and how you’re holding onto it. The last thing you want to do is to drop your camera into the water. Similarly, if you choose to wade into the water, make sure you’ve got a solid footing so you don’t slip. Not only could you get wet, but you could also hurt yourself.

      SIGN UP FOR YOUR JET BOAT TOUR TODAY

      As part of any vacation or jet boat tour, you’ll want to take photos to share with your friends. Rather than taking just a bunch of snapshots of water, follow these tips to take some spectacular photos of the river. Hells Canyon has a landscape like none other, making it a paradise for photographers. Experience it in a totally unique way with a jet boat tour from Killgore Adventures. Sign up for your tour today!

      UNDERSTANDING THE RIVER RAPIDS CLASS SYSTEM

      Often, when our customers first arrive for their jet boat tour or white water rafting trip, at least one person will pipe up about what category of rapids we’ll be taking them through. The fixation, of course, is on class 5 rapids, as fearsome as they sound. But many people don’t understand what the rapid classification system actually tells them. Here at Killgore Adventures, we spend a lot of time on the river, so we know what to expect when we float customers through Hells Canyon. In today’s post, we’ll discuss the rapids class system and how they relate to the difficulty and danger of any given section of the river.

      THE INTERNATIONAL SCALE OF RIVER DIFFICULTY

      This scale is used in the United States as a way to gauge the difficulty of traveling through a stretch of river or a rapid. Created by the American Whitewater Association, the scale is now used throughout the world. The scale is based on the technical skill level needed to navigate the rapid, as well as the difficulty the rapid presents. The scale is applied to any number of water travel or water sports, including rafting, kayaking, canoeing, and yes, even jet boats. However, the classification system is imprecise, and cannot be called an exact science. Different river travelers will assess the same rapid in different ways, based on their own level of expertise and their difficulty in navigating the rapid. This means that the scale is more a set of guidelines than actual rules.

      With that in mind, the International Scale of River Difficulty uses six different classes to describe the quality and difficulty of a stretch of river or rapid.

      CLASS 1

      This class is the easiest of rapids to navigate. The water will be moving quickly, with minor waves and riffles. There won’t be much in the way of obstacles to avoid, and if a boater were to go overboard, they could easily swim to safety in these conditions.

      CLASS 2

      Here, you’ll find obvious rapids, with taller waves, up to three feet in height. Boats may need to be maneuvered through some sections to avoid rocks or larger waves. Swimmers can still swim to safety here fairly easily.

      CLASS 3

      Here, the speed of the water and the rapids begin to accelerate. Larger, irregular waves may be present and can wash up an into a boat. Boaters should be skilled in navigating obstacles, rocks, and wave trains. In larger rivers, eddies and side currents can impact the progress of the boat. Swimmers may need assistance from the group to avoid swimming for long distances but rescue is still possible on their own.

      CLASS 4

      These rapids are longer and more difficult than those in lower classes. The river may have large, unavoidable waves, holes, rocks, and other hazards. Boaters should be skilled, and able to make advanced maneuvers. Boaters may need to scout the rapids before attempting it for the first time. There is moderate to high risk of harm to those who have to swim through the rapid, and they may struggle to self-rescue.

      CLASS 5

      Rapids in this class should only be navigated by expert level boaters. The rapid may be made up of unavoidable wave trains, major hazards and obstacles, holes, and tall, aggressive waves. The routes through these rapids must be followed precisely and with skill. Eddies in the rapid are small, turbulent, and often difficult to reach. Swimmers will struggle to make it through the rapid, and even group rescue may be a challenge. Boaters will need advanced training, specialized equipment, and swift-water rescue skills to successfully manage these rapids.

      CLASS 6

      Considered to be the most difficult, class six rapids are often avoided, or infrequently attempted. Any mistake in these rapids could be deadly, as a rescue is often impossible. To successfully run these rapids, teams of skilled experts have to attempt them during specific moments in the year when water levels are favorable.

      VARIABLES WITHIN THE CLASSES

      One of the reasons that the class system is considered to be a set of guidelines is because the quality of the river or a rapid is highly variable. What may be a class two rapid at some points of the year can be a class three at other points. Water levels rise and fall throughout the year, in response to the season, and can even change throughout the course of a single day. Similarly, the class of a rapid is largely dependent on the height of the water. High water makes rapids more dangerous, with lower water levels making them easier.

      TAKE ON THE RAPIDS OF HELLS CANYON

      Killgore Adventures offers both whitewater and jet boat tours of some of the biggest rapids in Hells Canyon. Sign up today to start your next expedition!

      BEING A GOOD STEWARD OF NATURE

      There’s no denying that Hell’s Canyon in Idaho is one of the most spectacular places on earth. With immense canyon walls, a roaring river, lush vegetation, and ancient animal life, there are few places like it. The opportunity to travel up and down Hells Canyon on one of Killgore Adventures jet boat tours is a chance to see a beautiful landscape in a unique way. But because the jet boat allows visitors to see parts of the canyon that are nearly inaccessible via non-motorized boats or by foot, it is important that visitors do their best to care for these wild spaces. In today’s blog post, the crew at Killgore Adventures will outline some ways that you can be a good steward of nature while you travel with us.

      MAKE A PLAN BEFORE YOU TRAVEL

      While we’re happy to cover the logistics of your jet boat tour or adventure fishing expedition of Hells Canyon, it’s always a good idea to create a travel plan before setting out. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the area you’re traveling too, and review any maps that are available to you. Take a look at the weather forecast, and prepare appropriately. Keep in mind when you plan to visit Hells Canyon and consider avoiding times of the year that are known to be busy. If you’re traveling in a large group, don’t be afraid to split into smaller groups and explore different parts of the area. Finally, think about how you’re bringing food with you, and repackage it if need be to avoid food waste.

      TRAVEL AND CAMP ON DURABLE SURFACES

      On your jet boat tour, this is less of a concern, but if the jet boat lets out at a small picnic area or campsite, this is good to keep in mind. Travel along established trails and only pitch your tent in established campsites. If possible, camp on dry grasses or packed snow. You can help protect the riparian zones along the river by camping at least 200 feet away from the river’s edge.

      PROPERLY DISPOSE OF YOUR WASTE

      When nature calls, be considerate of where you do your business. While the river might seem like the ideal outdoor bathroom, resist the urge to relieve yourself in the river. On our jet boat tours, we make sure there are plenty of stops at pit toilets and improved campsites you can take care of business without degrading the river’s ecosystem. In general, make sure you urinate or defecate at least 200 yards away from a water source, and bury your excrement in a cathole at least six inches deep if you aren’t near a toilet. When it comes to cleaning up after a meal, don’t wash your dishes in the river. Instead, use biodegradable soap and disperse your dishwater across some rocks.

      TAKE NOTHING BUT PHOTOS, LEAVE ONLY FOOTPRINTS

      The temptation to bring home a shiny rock or a huge pinecone can be overwhelming when you’re immersed in such a pristine wilderness such as Hells Canyon. But it’s best to leave everything you find right where you found it. To ensure that everyone can enjoy Hells Canyon in its entirety, you’ll want to minimize your impact, creating the illusion you were never there. If you really want to bring home a piece of Hells Canyon, it’s best to take photos that can be shared with friends and loved ones. In fact, taking compelling photos of the immense river is easy if you follow the tips we offered in a recent blog post.

      REDUCE THE IMPACT OF CAMPFIRES

      If you’re just taking a jet boat tour up Hells Canyon, this won’t be an issue, as we’ll have you back to our campsites before you ever feel cold. But if you’re using our jet up and back service for backpacking, this is a good tip to keep in mind. Use a camping stove instead of starting a fire. If you want to make a fire, make sure to use the established fire rings, pans, and pits at your campsite. Burn down the wood to ash and make sure you put the fire out completely, then spread the ashes around the campsite. This way, you’ll lessen the likelihood of creating a forest fire and remove any trace of your campfire.

      TREAT THE WILDLIFE WITH RESPECT

      It’s best to remember that when you travel in Hells Canyon that you are in someone else’s home. When you see wildlife of any kind, leave them be, enjoy them at a distance, and make sure to listen to your guide when near animals. For instance, we can catch sturgeon and lift them up, but we can’t take them out of the water. Don’t feed the animals, as this can make them ill. Be aware of where you store your food while traveling, as you don’t want curious critters getting into your rations.

      BE POLITE TO OTHER TRAVELERS

      Hells Canyons is plenty big enough that you may never see another traveler outside of your group. But if you do, treat them with the same kind of respect that you expect as well. Give them space while traveling, and avoiding making loud noises so that they can enjoy the serenity of the canyon as well.

      Ready to experience the majesty of Hells Canyon for yourself? Sign up for your jetboat tour today! Killgore Adventures takes you up and down some of the most amazing rapids in Idaho, offering an experience like none other!