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08-09-2011, 01:32 PM   #1
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How to capture the drought

In my part of the world (Texas) we are going through a historic drought as well as extremely long hot season. Farmers are selling livestock due to lack of grass. Trees are dying, ground is cracking, lakes drying up. The heat can be oppressive with 100 degrees F hit before noon and staying over 100F until around 8pm.

How about some photography ideas for capturing the feel of the heat and drought and it's impact on people and animals? Where to start?

08-09-2011, 02:13 PM   #2
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Where to start? I would start by leaving the area. But I expect that Taos is already being overrun by Texans.

Alas, that doesn't address your desire. I'd use a telephoto at midday to capture the heat waves. And an ultrawide to show dried-up watercourses and dried-out animals in context. Stereotypical images, yes -- but just look at collections of drought photos and you'll get some ideas. Stay cool!
08-09-2011, 02:14 PM   #3
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Well, cracked dry ground and / or dead animals would come to mind as good indicators. Getting low to the ground too might be interesting. Images of time and temperature? What does it mean to you? Think about that and go shoot it.
08-09-2011, 02:19 PM   #4
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Another idea: Time-lapses from before dawn to after dusk, showing the bleak changes in a day.

Oh yeah, you probably don't *really* want to be out shooting at midday, except from inside an air-conditioned car. When I lived in 29 Palms CA, I did my summer shooting with the sun just over the horizon. Except to shoot cactus blossoms at midday -- they're just about fluorescent when the air temp is over 125f.

08-09-2011, 04:18 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by blackcloudbrew Quote
What does it mean to you? Think about that and go shoot it.
++ You are the one that is there. shoot what has meaning for you.
08-09-2011, 06:21 PM   #6
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We had a very long drought in Queensland at the turn of the century. It was not easy to shoot but the idea of time-lapse is relevant as well as before-during-after sequences.

The shot below was taken of the dry Wivenhoe reservoir bed when it was below 16% of the water supply level, and less than 8% of full capacity....

Last edited by hcc; 12-19-2015 at 05:00 PM.
08-10-2011, 06:06 PM   #7
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Good suggestions! Thank you, all! Yes, just need to "get out there" and sweat a bit!!
Yes, Rio, thoughts of leaving the area cross my mind and probably 75% of us around here! It's been since 1980 that we've had one this hot!!

How would one set up a good time lapse?
08-10-2011, 06:28 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Heritage Quote
How would one set up a good time lapse?
What is your camera? In my K20D manual, I look up INTERVAL SHOOTING for instructions.

08-11-2011, 07:30 AM   #9
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The possibilities are endless. Cars covered with dust, dried up ponds with boats sitting high and dry, dust storms. Drop by your local library and browse through some of the dust bowl photos of the 30's. There was some truly great photography done in that period.
08-11-2011, 10:26 AM   #10
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My Sister lives in Texas while you may have seen this I thought it was appropriate


Dear Diary, I just moved to Texas ! Really heating up. Got to 100 today. Not
a problem. Live in an air-conditioned home, drive an air-conditioned car.
What a pleasure to see the sun every day like this. I'm turning into a sun
worshipper.

June 30th:
Had the backyard landscaped with western plants today. Lots of cactus and
rocks. What a breeze to maintain. No more mowing the lawn for me. Another
scorcher today, but I love it here.

July 10th:
The temperature hasn't been below 100 all week. How do people get used to
this kind of heat? At least, it's kind of windy though. But getting used to
the heat is taking longer than I expected.

July 15th:
Fell asleep by the community pool. Got 3rd degree burns over 60% of my
body. Missed 3 days of work. What a dumb thing to do. I learned my lesson
though. Got to respect the ol' sun in a climate like this.

July 20th:
I missed Lomita (my cat) sneaking into the car when I left this morning. By
the time I got to the hot car at noon, Lomita had died and swollen up to
the size of a shopping bag, then popped like a water balloon. The car now
smells like Kibbles and Shits. I learned my lesson though. No more pets in
this heat. Good ol' Mr. Sun strikes again.

July 25th:
The wind sucks. It feels like a giant freaking blow dryer!! And it's hot as
hell. The home air-conditioner is on the fritz and the AC repairman charged
$200 just to drive by and tell me he needed to order parts.

July 30th:
Been sleeping outside on the patio for 3 nights now, $225,000 house and I
can't even go inside. Lomita is the lucky one. Why did I ever come here?

Aug. 4th:
Its 115 degrees. Finally got the air-conditioner fixed today. It cost $500
and gets the temperature down to 85. I hate this stupid state.

Aug. 8th:
If another wise ass cracks, 'Hot enough for you today?' I'm going to
strangle him. Damn heat. By the time I get to work, the radiator is boiling
over, my clothes are soaking wet, and I smell like baked cat!!

Aug. 9th:
Tried to run some errands after work. Wore shorts, and when I sat on the
seats in the car, I thought my ass was on fire. My skin melted to the seat.
I lost 2 layers of flesh and all the hair on the back of my legs and
ass . . .. Now my car smells like burnt hair, fried ass, and baked cat.

Aug 10th:
The weather report might as well be a damn recording. Hot and sunny. Hot
and sunny. Hot and sunny. It's been too hot to do shit for 2 damn months and
the weatherman says it might really warm up next week. Doesn't it ever rain
in this state? Water rationing will be next, so my $1700 worth of cactus will just dry up and blow over. Even the cactus can't live in this heat.

Aug. 14th:
Welcome to HELL! Temperature got to 115 today. Cactus’ are dead. Forgot to
crack the window and the windshield blew out of the car. The installer
came to fix it and guess what he asked me??? "Hot enough for you today?" My
sister had to spend $1,500 to bail me out of jail. Freaking Texas . What
kind of a sick demented idiot would want to live here?? Will write later to
let you know how the trial goes…
08-11-2011, 11:17 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by daacon Quote
My Sister lives in Texas while you may have seen this I thought it was appropriate
And I've seen the opposite Yellowknife version of this. DOWN TO 40 BELOW, TIME FOR LONG SLEEVES.

But IMHO Texans are wussies. I lived a couple years at around 2000ft / 600m elevation in 29 Stumps, California. (Used to be 29 Palms but tourists and Marines knocked the trees over, so it's just stumps now.) Midday summer shade temp (when shade could be found) was typically around 120f. Air temp would be more like 150f. I had a small flat-roof cinderblock house with no AC of any sort. It got hot and stayed hot. Daytime, I dozed and hallucinated with a big fan blowing on me. Nightime, I slept on the roof. A roadrunner crossed the roof (and me and my sleeping bag) daily just before dawn -- my organic alarm clock.

My yard was a cactus garden. Some opuntias only bloom in mid-July. At noon, the irises of my eyes would be constricted maximally, and the colors of those blooms seemed fluorescent. Try it sometime.

So if I could take that without complaining, why are all these Texans so knickers-twisted? Just wussies...
08-11-2011, 11:24 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
And I've seen the opposite Yellowknife version of this. DOWN TO 40 BELOW, TIME FOR LONG SLEEVES.<snip>.
I live in that version While -40C below is somewhat rare -20C to -30C is quite common , add in windchills ..... I prefere that anyday to 120F- I can still get outside @ -25C I start to melt @ 100F. People do adapt - my sister (been in Texas some 5 years now) now finds anything under 100F acceptable.
08-11-2011, 12:10 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by daacon Quote
I live in that version While -40C below is somewhat rare -20C to -30C is quite common , add in windchills ..... I prefere that anyday to 120F- I can still get outside @ -25C I start to melt @ 100F. People do adapt - my sister (been in Texas some 5 years now) now finds anything under 100F acceptable.
One homily: If it's too cold, you can always put on something more. If it's too hot, you can only take off just so much. OTOH I'm more comfortable naked in front of a swamp cooler than swaddled in quilts before a fuel-oil stove. I've done both. But I'd still rather be at elevation; 7000ft / 2100m in Guatemala is just about right. Hola, Solola! Next tango in Chichicastenango!

ObTopic: A time-lapse of a rising thermometer with an outdoors scene beyond.

Which reminds me of the story of an enterprising desert bartender. The bar was a cozy dark musty old adobe room, closed-in but for a little inset window with a thermometer showing the outside temperature. Whenever someone noticed that the temp was up a few degrees, another round of cold beer was bought. What the customers DIDN'T notice was the candle the barkeep kept in a closed nook beneath the thermometer...
08-11-2011, 07:37 PM   #14
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Heritage, you have the answer in your original post...

QuoteQuote:
Farmers are selling livestock due to lack of grass. Trees are dying, ground is cracking, lakes drying up. The heat can be oppressive <snip>
I say concentrate on the people and animals... can't get much emotion from the cracked ground or dead trees, but you can certainly capture the emotions and discomfort being experienced by people and animals.
08-11-2011, 07:44 PM   #15
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Back on topic - heat waves off Black asphalt or pavement or anything that heats up is a good heat shot not so much drought though ..... rivers , creeks, lakes are probably low.
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