A Hyrum native who wanted to keep his spectacular view of Hyrum Reservoir when he moved away found just the trick with technology, and now his project has expanded to a website visited by individuals every day who are interested in the goings-on at the south end of Cache Valley.
Alex Miller, an electrical engineer who now lives in Bountiful, said the dam camera project started two years ago with a single video camera set on top of a small tower in his parents’ backyard. The house sits on the bluff above Hyrum Reservoir and provides a wide view of the water and surrounding hills.
“I did it because of the view, but I think people find the site beneficial in that they can check the conditions of the water beforehand,” Miller said.
The Utah State University graduate purchased the domain name for hyrumdamcam.com and now has three cameras set at strategic points around the reservoir. The website updates still images from each of these cameras every five minutes and saves an image every 30 minutes.
Miller’s cameras have caught some interesting moments, from rainbows to sunsets to deer to a time lapse of the ice shifting over the reservoir, which can be found on YouTube.
“The thing that has been most surprising to me has been how much it changes all day,” he added.
Two of the cameras are set on top of houses. Miller said he got permission to install them on the roof on condition that the owners have access to the live stream of their camera. The equipment uses the house’s electricity, but the cameras are connected via wireless Internet from Miller’s parents’ house.
Originally the cameras were to entertain Miller and members of his family who also moved away. His parents, for example, can see the images while on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in another state. However, he found this winter that traffic on the website doubled to around 100 viewers a day. Images from hyrumdamcam.com have also been shown on KSL’s weather TV channel.
He is also not the only one with a passion for live cameras monitoring nature. His website is listed on weather.gov along with similar others in Utah.
“I think people are interested in seeing if there are ice fishermen out, or if it’s frozen over,” he said. “You know, in the spring time to see if the ice is melted, or summertime to see how many boats are down there.”
While Miller does get contacted by people interested in knowing if he has seen their missing ice auger or captured illegal activity on camera, he says individuals should not be concerned about privacy. The cameras offer a wide, bird’s eye view that makes humans appear tiny and indistinguishable from one another.
Though the project started out with a low quality camera on top of the tower, Miller has been able to buy higher resolution Foscam wireless cameras for the purpose. His project is self-funded, though he does accept donations to buy equipment. He added that he does not make any money from the project.
Miller said he would like to add more cameras in the future.
“It’s a hobby, but I’m passionate about it, and I’d like to keep making it better,” he said.
You can follow the Hyrum Dam Cam on their website at hyrumdamcam.com and on Instagram: @HyrumDamCam.