Trinity River Flood – Dallas Skyline


Before attempting to photograph the Dallas skyline, I did my homework, looked at other’s photos and then went to Google Earth to determine the best vantage point.

I arrived in Dallas at the perfect time, I found a place to park, although not exactly the best part of town!  I headed down to the Trinity River bank to set up. But where was the Trinity? It was more of a stream then a river. I must have walked a good 45 minutes looking for a spot that included a good reflection of the city — I did not find one. I finally settled on a spot near the road. I did not get a good shot that day.

I surmised that the photos I found, on the web, were taken after a hard rain where the photographer found a large puddle. I even thought that the water and reflections were fabricated in Photoshop. I attempted to use a photo from nearby Lake Grapevine to provide  the reflection for the buildings.  The result just looked fake.

What I didn’t realize is how the river and levi systems in Texas work, and that Dallas was in a drought. I was thinking that the likelihood of getting a good skyline photo was pretty much a lost cause.

This year spring rain flooded the area to the point of highways being shut down and I had to return to capture this elusive photo of the Dallas skyline. What I thought was parks and hiking / biking trails had filled with water.

For this particular photo I used my 70-200mm lens and took 6 shots in the portraits orientation to create this panorama. The final print has amazing detail — you can even see if people are in the windows. 

What I learned from this was not to give up on a photo, but to understand the environment and conditions that are needed to make a beautiful scene.  Be ready to return when those conditions are presented to you.

Time: June 19, 2015 @ 9:00pm
Camera: Nikon D810
Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm @ 98mm
Exposures: 6 Panels at ISO 64; f/8 @ 1.3 sec.


About Richard Cox