Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/1000 sec, f/7.1, ISO 500 — map & image data — nearby photos
Kamo River from the Ooike Bridge
“Typhoon #18” for 2013 rolled by this morning, bringing lots of rain and the once-every year-or-so high water in the Kamo River. This post is essentially a repeat of the high-water posts from 2010 and last year, except this time there was significant flooding elsewhere in Kyoto.
If I'd had my iPhone with me while sleeping, I would have been awoken at 5am by the emergency alerts from Kyoto Prefecture and Kyoto City, warning of heavy rain. I'd never seen one of these before.
When growing up in Ohio, the National Weather Service would issues different level alerts for tornados and storms: first a low-level “watch”, then if the danger became immediate, a “warning”. Warnings were rare.
Japan had the same two levels of warnings until a third, higher-than-“immediate danger” level was added this summer:「特別警報」(“Special Warning”). This would be reserved for calamities — rain, wind, snow, tsunami, volcanic ash, etc. — that might happen once in a generation.
The first ever such alert was issued this morning, for all of Kyoto Prefecture, as seen at right.
What particularly caught my eye (when I noticed this on my phone five hours later) was the almost conversational sentence: “It's possible you've never experienced heavy rain like this in your life”.
Having grown up in Ohio, I like a good storm; I'm bummed I missed it. Now I know what all the sirens I vaguely heard through my sleep were.
Here's what the rain radar looked like at the time of the alert.
The small black square to the lower-right of center is where I live.
Frankly, the radar looked much worse (much more red) a couple of weeks ago when the last typhoon came near, but for whatever reason the high water and flooding never materialized then.
Anyway, it takes the water a couple of hours after the heaviest rain to accumulate from the mountains to the river near me, but I didn't pop out to take a look until five hours later, so the water had already receded considerably.....
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 95mm — 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 500 — map & image data — nearby photos
You can see all the debris that had accumulated against the stone fence toward the right, showing how high the water had been.
The bridge in the background is the Sanjo Bridge. To illustrate what the river looks like normally, this next photo, from “Terrace Dining Over Kyoto's Kamo River”, shows the same scene a couple of years ago from the opposite direction, from that bridge looking toward where I am now.
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 14mm — 1/400 sec, f/11, ISO 720 — map & image data — nearby photos
To further illustrate, here's a shot from even further down, looking back at both bridges, from “Skipping Rocks with Kenny” back in 2011....
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 280 — map & image data — nearby photos
Back to today...
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 78mm — 0.3 sec, f/25, ISO 100 — map & image data — nearby photos
Having recently posted “The Effect of Shutter Speed on the Appearance of Flowing Water”, I tried a few shots at different speeds to create a sense of flow, but in this case the “angriness” of the water seems more pertinent than “smooth flow”, so it turns out that a relatively short 1/13th second shot seems most appropriate:
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 240mm — 1/13 sec, f/13, ISO 100 — map & image data — nearby photos
As a result of the typhoon, the bullet train line was shut down, as were most of the expressways in this part of the country. Today was the last of a three-day weekend, so everyone who was going to be traveling on the highways got diverted into the city and follow their car navigation systems looking for a way west out of the city, and there are only two: Route 1 and Sanjo Street, and the latter, at least, was a parking lot:
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 290mm — 1/640 sec, f/6.3, ISO 1400 — map & image data — nearby photos
When I decided to take a pop out to the river with the camera this morning, I knew things were a bigger deal than I'd first thought when I came out of the garage and saw the traffic on my street. Normally it's pretty quiet, but due to its particular circumstances, it quickly becomes a parking lot itself when the expressways are shut down. Today was the second time I'd seen this in ten years.
Luckily I travel by scooter, so traffic was not an issue.
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 50mm — 1/25 sec, f/22, ISO 100 — map & image data — nearby photos
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 50mm — 1/100 sec, f/9, ISO 100 — map & image data — nearby photos
The stone fence here did not fare as well as the one seen in “Debris” above, buckling under the weight of the flow. The inscription on the fence says “1994”.
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 50mm — 1/200 sec, f/6.3, ISO 100 — map & image data — nearby photos
the advertised “1,000 words”
I don't know that this is much better, but here's a short video I shot at the same time. Warning: sound of rushing water is loud.
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 170mm — 1/400 sec, f/9, ISO 320 — map & image data — nearby photos
or gorgeous feast. I'd guess the former, but I don't know.
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 170mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 180 — map & image data — nearby photos
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 140mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 140 — map & image data — nearby photos
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 240mm — 1/500 sec, f/6, ISO 200 — map & image data — nearby photos
The cameras in the center of the shot above, above “Book Off” on the north-west corner of Sanjo Kawabata, are for the Kyoto Prefectural water-management system. You can (normally) see a recent shot of the river on their site, such as these:
a couple of days ago
Unfortunately, the “this afternoon” shot, from when the water had receded quite a bit, was the only image I could get since 9pm last night. When there's lots of rain, the Kyoto Prefectural water-management web site becomes utterly inaccessible. I don't know what my tax yen is going toward.... it's like having insurance except when you're in an accident.
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 95mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 — map & image data — nearby photos
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 95mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 — map & image data — nearby photos
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 170mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image data — nearby photos
Even the little river by my place, whose level is normally well controlled because it's an offshoot from a canal, was running a bit high and was a completely-opaque brown:
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 35mm — 1/100 sec, f/6.3, ISO 100 — map & image data — nearby photos
But none of this was “flooding”, but other parts of Kyoto certainly saw flooding for the first time in many years. Here's a video showing the famous Togetsukyo bridge (渡月橋) in Arashiyama this morning.
The water was lapping over the bridge. For reference, here's a shot from “A Few More Shots of That Amazing Rainbow” showing what the incredibly wide river basin looks like normally...
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/8, ISO 100 — map & image data — nearby photos