Saturday, September 6, 2008

Taking pictures with Gustav

After Hurricane Gustav played nice and missed New Orleans, it decided to drift up and sit over Arkansas for the next couple of days.

I woke on Tuesday morning to lots of rain, and thought of waterfalls. If only I didn't have to work, I could go stand in the woods taking pictures (the idiocy of taking pictures in a tropical storm didn't quite hit me then). So I sadly drove to work, only to find that the building was without power. Turns out the storm had managed to knock out power for a little area of west Little Rock, including the place where I work (and also, ironically, a nearby church that was a shelter for Gustav evacuees).

After sitting in the dark with nothing to do for a few hours, the bosses said that we could all go home for the day. We just had to sit by our phone in case the power came back on. But at that time it seemed unlikely, since someone had said that the building might be without power for 48 hours, since the Electric Department had sent all of their crew to Louisiana.

I was happy, and started thinking about which waterfalls I would try to visit. I got home, goofed off a bit and started packing up the camera gear. Just as I was literally about to walk out the door, I got a call from my boss. "The power is back on, come back to work." Crap.

But after work that night I went out to the Big Dam Bridge to see what it looked like with Gustav hanging around. It might sound a bit crazy to be out there taking pictures (it was), but there was one person out walking on the bridge while it was pouring down rain.

I went to a place under the bridge that I thought would be good, since it was protected from the wind and rain. I was right by a pillar, which meant I didn't get soaked while out there. The only bad thing was that I had to deal with skunks.

Some Good Samaritan had set out some dry cat food next to the bridge. This turned out to be a rainy-day dinner for skunks, who were just a few feet away from where I was taking pictures. This scared the crap out of me. I did have the bridge pillar to hide behind, but I would peek around it and see the skunk staring right back at me.

After a few minutes the skunk left, but was replaced by another one. I looked over and saw once that it was pointing its back end at me, and I dove away in fright. It may have been my imagination, but I thought I smelled that nice aroma of skunk spray a few times after that, but I never got a full blast. When I decided to leave, I took the long way back to my car and avoided the skunk, getting soaked in the rain from the longer walk back to the car...

But here is a shot of the Big Dam Bridge, with the rains from Gustav pouring down. There is a little waterfall coming off the bridge, where it curves in the right of the picture, from all the water running off...
Big Dam Bridge in a big dam storm

It was still pouring down rain the next day, so after I work I headed out to Pinnacle Mountain. I tried to go to the area at the base of the mountain, but it was closed because of high water. So I went down the road and got this shot of Pinnacle from someone's driveway.
Pinnacle Mountain and Gustav

After that I headed towards downtown Little Rock. I thought about trying to get a shot of the skyline and the Junction Bridge with the rain. I got there and didn't really like it that much. I had just shot some pictures from the same vanatage point a few months ago (and also in pouring rain), so I wasn't feeling this as a good place for pictures. I did get this shot of the skyline with a "waterfall" of sorts, from a drainage pipe dumping all the rainwater into the river.
Little Rock and Gustav

I drove around for a bit, not really finding a good place to get pictures. I settled on a parking deck, which provides some decent views of the skyline. I was hesitant to go up there since I had taken some pictures there last year, and I felt like I was repeating myself (and I was also probably trespassing up there). But the parking deck did provide cover from the rain, so I headed up there anyways.
Rainy Night

The building on the left is the Bank Of America building, which occasionally has lights up in various designs for special occasions. I have no clue what the blue ribbon symbolizes. Last time I took a picture there it had a Christmas tree on it:
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

And the sun finally came out yesterday, and I thought a neat sunset might develop in the lingering clouds from the storm. After work I grabbed the camera and rushed out to the Big Dam Bridge to try to get a few shots. The sunset didn't turn out to be as neat as I had hoped...
Friday night sunset...

But the heavy rains of the past few days had managed to raise the river a good ten feet since Tuesday. I'm going to try to hit some waterfalls on the weekend, since they should be running nicely after all that rain. The only problem, it's going to be sunny.


Jonw said...

I was watching the weather report thinking about you all as Gustav made his way up towards your area. I figured you'd be racing out to the waterfalls as soon as the sky cleared. Glad you didn't get's Ike treating you?

Cormackphotos said...

Well, didn't get a chance to get any pictures with Ike, it just didn't hang around as long as Gustav did. But Ike did knock out power at my apartment on Sunday.