JACKSONVILLE — When the Smith twins, Larry and Lloyd, posted 7,451 photographs of Crater Lake online a few weeks ago, it wasn't a big surprise. From the day they were born, the brothers have done almost everything together.
"If Lloyd turned right, I turned right," Larry Smith once said. "Everything was owned in common except our shoes, I think."
To get a look at the Smith brothers' 7,451 images related to Crater Lake, see jvwoodlands.org/photos_craterlake.html.
The Crater Lake-related images represent photographs the brothers took during their 20-plus years working at the lake as seasonal park rangers, along with the historical images and items they collected while compiling a history of Oregon's only national park.
"They're divided into albums, each with a different topic or theme," Larry said, "like historic pictures, historic slides, boats on Crater Lake, plants and flowers — just about everything you can think of."
The large thumbnail images on each Web page can be browsed quickly and when clicked, reveal larger and more detailed photographs.
The website — jvwoodlands.org/photos_craterlake.html — is the culmination of more than 60 years of what Lloyd Smith said was "a love of the park."
From the age of 6, Larry and Lloyd grew up in Phoenix. When they graduated from high school, both attended Southern Oregon College (today's Southern Oregon University), and both ultimately became teachers.
In the late 1950s and early '60s, while attending college, both Larry and Lloyd decided to take seasonal jobs at Crater Lake. Soon they were park rangers who probably didn't realize they were signing on for a lifetime obsession. It was an obsession that had been lingering in both their minds from the time they were just young boys.
"Larry and I have been connected to Crater Lake National Park since our first visit in 1947," Lloyd said, "when we fell in love with this magical, mysterious place."
As park rangers, the twins quickly learned that visitors had a lot of questions and often Larry and Lloyd didn't know the answer. To better share their love of the park, they began collecting information, including interviewing former park employees who had returned for a visit.
In 1968, at the suggestion of a supervisor, they began converting their hand-scrawled and typewritten notes into a log that became a trusted reference for park employees. Today, after nearly 20 revisions, that reference log has become "The Smith Brothers' Chronological History of Crater Lake National Park," available as a book and online at www.craterlakeinstitute.com.
Though retired from the park for more than 20 years, Larry Smith still is actively involved, serving on the board of the Crater Lake Institute and as volunteer coordinator for the Friends of Crater Lake.
But until recently, the brothers didn't have time to work on their Crater Lake photographs. Larry and Lloyd had been too busy, concentrating on scanning and posting their family photographs. Last year, Larry was just beginning to post 22,000 images of his students, taken during his 33 years of teaching.
The Crater Lake images were too numerous and too expensive to publish in a book, but perfect for the Internet. Although Lloyd now lives in Washington state and Larry in Jacksonville, the twins still found a way to collaborate.
"Lloyd is a professional photographer, and he has some top-of-the-line scanning equipment," Larry said. "It automatically scans images, separates them, and saves them as individual images on a computer. After that, we just need to do a little editing."
Once the images were scanned and edited, Lloyd put them online and Larry created a link to them from his Jacksonville Woodlands Association website. Larry is the executive director of the association.
"It became our park," Lloyd said. "We are still involved in different ways, Larry working as a board member and volunteer coordinator and me collecting photos and coordinating our photo collections."
"It's so important that we can finally share all of this with other people," Larry said, "and I'm so happy we've finally gotten to our Crater Lake stuff."
Writer Bill Miller lives in Shady Cove. Reach him at email@example.com.