Friday, February 19, 2016

Fall Floods on the Trinity River

We saw some epic rains in 2015.  A very wet spring ended a multi-year drought and filled our lakes.  In fact the lakes and rivers were so full that it was well into October that I was even able to get to several of my favorite photography areas as they were under water.

November brought fall color and I was out casing fall color.  then Thanksgiving brought another 10" of rain and the the rivers went back to flood stage.  I was not able to get to all the scenes I wanted to but I was also not about to give up and not try!  :-)

I kept going out looking to see how far I could go before the water got too deep and what areas it was possible to see.  The waters slowly receded week by week and I went farther and farther each week chasing the high water views and the fall color throughout December.

The water was at first running so deep and the river so full that the couple of waterfalls I know of were under water.  Slowly as the river went down they reappeared and for several weeks they were spectacular as the river had tremendous flow over them.  Of course, they are back to a much more more limited volume and flow of water now.  One of the reasons it pays to know your local area and get out even in adverse conditions as you never know what you might find.  See one of those waterfall images at the top of the post here.

I was out there in full rain gear trying to get the shot and despite the rain, mud, and wading in deep water, I had a blast and even got a few images.  These were very rare events for Texas to see this much rain in a year or even have the river level rise so much.  One of the things the high water did was scour the rocky river clean of all the plants that had taken hold over several years of low flow.  

Several sections of the river we had given up on photographing because there was too much plant growth were now bare rock again.  The cycle will start anew and for a while we can get some entirely different images.

The rains made fall both interesting and different.  No two days or week are ever the same.  There were times I would visit a location for 4-5 times before I was able to get the right conditions for the image.  

Some of the images I was able to make were the right combo of water level, rock, and light that I might have to wait years to see again.  Take this last image as an example.  This was one of the sections of the river that had been overgrown.  For the last three years you could not see any water here.  The May floods cleaned the rock bare.  The fall rains flooded the area. then On a weekend the water had dropped some I was able to get into this location and get this image of very high water flow and see a magic sight that it may be a decade before these conditions exist again.

I was lucky and persistent enough to keep going and caught something special.


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