riparian rap

A storm hydrograph captured on video.

Two years ago, after a couple of attempts, I managed to catch an entire rainstorm and the resulting hydrograph in a small urban channel in Carbondale. I’m guessing nobody else has ever done this. What better way to introduce students to this concept?

I compressed the resulting two hours of tape down to two minutes. A tree chipper and a stoplight in the corners of the frame are interesting to watch and give clues to the passing of time. During the flood a checkdam in the center of the frame is overwhelmed. At its peak, the storm is very impressive. Without sound (which you can’t use in time lapse) this is harder to appreciate, but the intensity of the rain is apparent.

I added a hydrograph and other graphics. It was a hell of a lot of work, not counting actually getting the event on tape. Even though I have a very heavy tripod, the wind nearly ruined the video–you can see the frame slowly tilt to one side as the tripod settles into the mud. A million things could’ve gone wrong, especially with a $5,000 camera enduring an hour of driving rain under a thin nylon cape. Had the wind been blowing any other direction except straight from the back of the camera, it wouldn’t have worked.

I wasn’t paid anything for this, but sure would like to find funding for more of the same.