Spring 2017 on Buffalo Bayou

Never the Same River Twice

March 18, 2017

Out on Buffalo Bayou early this morning, Saturday, March 18, 2017, with photographer Jim Olive. We were looking for our Spring 2017 shot of the same bend of the bayou we have been documenting for the last three years throughout the seasons. Flow was low base flow, about 150 cubic feet per second. Birds singing. Frogs burping. Squirrels quarreling. Warmth wafting off the water. Was foggier than Jim had hoped, and he had to be patient, as always, for just the right shot. We’d been waiting for a clear morning for days.

For the entire series see A Bend in the River under Photos and Films. This scene is in the historic nature area targeted for destruction and “restoration” by the Harris County Flood Control District, the Memorial Park Conservancy, and the Bayou Preservation Association.

An update on that costly, misguided project, which sadly still threatens, is coming up next.

Morning on Buffalo Bayou, March 18, 2017, shot by Jim Olive from a high bank in Memorial Park looking downstream with River Oaks Country Club property on the right.

A Gift to Nature: Photos of Buffalo Bayou

Prices Slashed for the Holidays!

Dec. 16, 2016

Here’s a wonderful gift idea. Limited time half-price offer!

Buy a photo of beautiful, wild Buffalo Bayou and help us protect it. And also help us promote sensible, cost-efficient flood management policies on all our urban streams. Working with nature, rather than against it, is cheaper, more effective, and more beneficial for us and our environment.

Photographer Jim Olive is offering a deep discount on high-quality prints of a selection of his stunning photos of our Mother Bayou. That’s because Jim is donating $50 to Save Buffalo Bayou for each print that he sells.

Jim is an internationally known photographer who has worked all over the world. He is a devoted conservationist who believes in the mission of Save Buffalo Bayou. He also is a founder of the Christmas Bay Foundation.

Lo and Behold Buffalo Bayou

Watch this slide show of photographs offered for sale by Jim.

  • Great blue heron tracks in the mud on Buffalo Bayou. Photo by Jim Olive
  • Fall morning on Buffalo Bayou. Looking east from a high bank in Memorial Park. Photo November 2015 by Jim Olive
  • Winter morning on a bend in Buffalo Bayou, December 2014. Photo by Jim Olive
  • Spring on Buffalo Bayou. A sandy bank meander in Memorial Park. Photo April 2016 by Jim Olive
  • Summer on Buffalo Bayou. Looking downstream from a high bank in Memorial Park. Photo July 2016 by Jim Olive
  • Sunset on Buffalo Bayou. Photo by Jim Olive

 

Contact Jim Olive now.

Amazing Sale

And here is the low low low price list. Sale lasts only through Jan. 1, 2017. So act now! Make yourself and/or someone else happy and help Buffalo Bayou and our city too.

Three sizes are offered, and they are top-of-the-line prints using archival inks and paper, just as Jim prints them for his top collectors. Also offered are prints on Dibond aluminum. Larger sizes can be special ordered.

Sizes and prices are:

Archival Lustre Paper

12” x 18”  $150

16” x 24”  $200

20” x 30”  $250

Dibond Aluminum

12” x 18”  $200

16” x 24”  $300

20” x 30”  $400

Here’s how to contact Jim Olive. Take advantage of this generous offer and acquire a beautiful photographic print of Buffalo Bayou while helping to protect this amazing urban river and its tributaries. Support intelligent, cost-effective public policies that work with nature, not against it.

Jim Olive at work in the riparian woods of Buffalo Bayou in Memorial Park. Photo by Susan Chadwick, Aug. 1, 2015

Jim Olive at work in the riparian woods of Buffalo Bayou in Memorial Park. Photo by Susan Chadwick, Aug. 1, 2015

New Aerial Photos

Flying Downstream, One Year Later

October 3, 2016

Photographer Jim Olive has gone up in the sky again to photograph Buffalo Bayou in the area targeted for destruction by the proposed Memorial Park Demonstration Project. So we’ve updated our photo page with a few of Jim’s beautiful new photos. We’ll add more as they become available.

These new photos were taken on Sept. 29, 2016, almost a year to the day after Jim last flew over the bayou with his cameras on Oct. 2, 2015.

Watch a slideshow of the new and old photos here, including an overhead shot of the recent destruction of the riparian garden planted by the bayou during flooding at the boat launch in Memorial Park at Woodway. Planting the proper succession of native sedges, rushes, grasses, etc. to anchor and transform the bare sediment is what’s supposed to happen during flooding. Nature knows!

Members of the Houston Garden Club kayaking down Buffalo Bayou in the area targeted for destruction on Sept. 29, 2016. Photo by Jim Olive

Members of the Houston Garden Club kayaking down Buffalo Bayou in the area targeted for destruction. Photo taken Sept. 29, 2016, by Jim Olive

 

 

Summer on Buffalo Bayou

A Bend in the River in July

July 11, 2016

Here is the latest photo from Jim Olive of that lovely bend in Buffalo Bayou we have been documenting through the seasons since the summer of 2014. This most recent photo was taken by Jim at around 8 a.m. on Friday, July 8, 2016, from the same high bluff in Memorial Park looking downstream with the River Oaks Country Club on the opposite bank. The record high flows from the reservoirs behind Addicks and Barker dams in western Harris County had finally drained the last of the waters impounded from the record April 18 Tax Day rains, and the flow in the bayou had dropped to its base flow of around 100-200 cubic feet per second, as measured by the gauge at Piney Point.

To see all the photos of this same spot since 2014, go to A Bend in the River under Photos and Films.

Summer on Buffalo Bayou after the record high water from the spring rains had finally drained from Barker and Addicks dams upstream. Taken on July 8, 2016, by Jim Olive from the same high bank in Memorial Park looking downstream with the River Oaks Country Club on the right.

Summer on Buffalo Bayou after the record high water from the spring rains had finally drained from Barker and Addicks dams upstream. Taken on July 8, 2016, by Jim Olive from the same high bank in Memorial Park looking downstream with the River Oaks Country Club on the right.

Then And Now

The View From the Bridge

June 13, 2016

Okay, it was a trick question. We asked our readers to identify the location of Geoff Winningham’s lovely black-and-white photo of Buffalo Bayou taken in 1998. And we asked for a photo of the same view now.

Shoulda been easy. The photo was published in Winningham’s beautiful photographic study of the bayou, Along Forgotten River, which traces our Mother Bayou from its source in the Katy Prairie to its end in Galveston Bay. And the photo was identified, of course.

Except that somehow the identification in the book was wrong, says Winningham. He went out and checked himself last week. The photo was taken looking upstream from the Waugh Bridge, not the Montrose Bridge. Still, the view doesn’t look much the same. The river seems to bend differently now, after the “channel conveyance improvements” by the Harris County Flood Control District starting in 2010. Not so many trees either. Here’s the way it looks now. Still lovely.

View of Buffalo Bayou looking upstream from the Waugh Bridge. Photo by Anonymous, June 13, 2016

View of Buffalo Bayou looking upstream from the Waugh Bridge. Photo by Anonymous, June 13, 2016

And here is the way it looked in 1998.

Somewhere on Buffalo Bayou. Photo by Geoff Winningham prior to 2001.

Buffalo Bayou from the Waugh Bridge. Photo by Geoff Winningham, 1998.

Anonymous photographer wins a Save Buffalo Bayou bumper sticker, which everyone should have. Get yours by donating to Save Buffalo Bayou, and help us promote responsible flood control that works with nature rather than against it.

Can You Identify This View of Buffalo Bayou?

Take a Photo, Win A Prize

May 29, 2016

Where was this photo taken? And how does the bayou look there now?

Somewhere on Buffalo Bayou. Photo by Geoff Winningham prior to 2001.

Somewhere on Buffalo Bayou. Photo by Geoff Winningham prior to 2001.

Okay, it’s not difficult. It’s in Geoff Winningham’s beautiful book of black-and-white photographs of Buffalo Bayou. Winningham, who teaches photography at Rice University, spent five years from 1997 to 2001 chronicling Buffalo Bayou from its beginning in the Katy Prairie to its end in Galveston Bay. The book, Along Forgotten River, published in 2003, includes accounts of early travelers in Texas from 1767 to 1858. The book can be purchased here.

Send us your shot of this location on Buffalo Bayou as it looks now. We’ll publish the best of what we get and send the winner a Save Buffalo Bayou bumper sticker.

We’re going to make this a regular series so keep looking.

… Often along these shady banks have I rowed my little skiff and wondered if ever some Bard had consecrated its border shades by a correspondent flow of song …  — J.C Clopper’s Journal and Book of Memoranda for 1828, Province of Texas, quoted in Along Forgotten River by Geoff Winningham.

A Siege of Herons and a Skewer of Egrets

Highrise Homes for Young Families, Easy Access to Fish

May 22, 2016

The normally silent, spreading crowns of the live oaks along North and South Boulevards in Houston have been turned into noisy rookeries these past few weeks as yellow-crowned night herons and great egrets moved in to build nests and start families. The same densely-populated housing developments have no doubt been built all over the city in shady trees with relatively close access to nearby bayous and creeks for food. In this case, the parents appear to be bringing home fish and other edibles from Brays Bayou.

The noisy bird activity (squawks and kraks and lots of fluttering) has also drawn out bird watchers and photographers, including Allison Zapata, who’s been posting her photos on her website and on Twitter. She took the following photo of a juvenile yellow-crowned night heron and sent it to us.

Houston is on the Central Flyway for migrating birds. Yellow-crowned night herons and great egrets reside in the Houston area year-round. But Allison, who’s been watching these birds, said they were are on their way to somewhere and would be back again in the fall.

Juvenile yellow-crowned night heron pondering whether to fly or stay in the nest as long as possible. Photo on May 20, 2016, by Allison Zapata.

Juvenile yellow-crowned night heron pondering whether to fly or stay in the nest as long as possible. Photo on May 20, 2016, by Allison Zapata.

 

 

Flooding on Buffalo Bayou

The View from Above with Photographer Jim Olive

April 19, 2016

Photographer Jim Olive took these shots from the air over Buffalo Bayou yesterday (Monday, April 18, 2016) following the extraordinary amount of rainfall that fell mainly on the far west side of town.

These photos show Buffalo Bayou as it flows past Memorial Park and the River Oaks Country Club as well as the confluence of White Oak Bayou and Buffalo Bayou downtown.

Buffalo Bayou flows from the Katy Prairie in west Houston through the center of the city through the Houston Ship Channel into Galveston Bay.

  • Looking east towards downtown with Memorial Park on the left, River Oaks Country Club golf course on the right. Photo April 18, 2016 by Jim Olive
  • Buffalo Bayou, April 18, 2016, with Memorial Park on the lower frame and River Oaks Country Club golf course above. Photo by Jim Olive
  • Looking north over Buffalo Bayou. River Oaks Country Club golf course on the south bank. Photo by Jim Olive
  • The confluence of White Oak and Buffalo bayous in downtown Houston on the afternoon of April 18, 2016. Photo by Jim Olive

 

 

 

 

Environmental Photography That Works

Coastal Essence in Fotofest 2016

March 29, 2016

How do environmental and conservation organizations get their message across?

By showing the public photographs of what they are trying to protect.

That’s what Houston-based, internationally-known photographer Jim Olive has been doing for Save Buffalo Bayou and many other conservation organizations. Without Jim’s stunning photos of the historic natural stretch of the bayou flowing past Memorial Park, far fewer people would have any idea of the rare and valuable treasure we have running right through the middle of Houston.

A Fotofest 2016 exhibition titled Coastal Essence features Jim Olive’s photographs that have been used by local environmental organizations to illustrate their cause in print and social media. The exhibition, which includes a photograph of Buffalo Bayou at dawn used by Save Buffalo Bayou on its Facebook page, is on display at the Houston Museum of Natural Science in Sugar Land, Texas. The show runs through May 8 at the museum at 13016 University Blvd.

Fotofest is one of the world’s leading photography festivals, and this year the theme is Changing Circumstances: Looking at the Future of the Planet. The festival, which continues through April 24, takes place every two years in galleries and exhibition spaces across the Houston metropolitan area, and draws photographers, curators, collectors, and other photography experts from all over the world.

Jim Olive, a native Houstonian, has been a professional photographer for fifty years and has traveled around the world on assignments. A longtime conservationist, he is the founder and executive director of the Christmas Bay Foundation.

Buffalo Bayou at dawn in the area targeted for destruction and "restoration" by the Harris County Flood Control District. Photo taken by Jim Olive on Dec. 9, 2014, from the bluffs of Memorial Park looking downstream towards the bank of the River Oaks Country Club.

This photo of Buffalo Bayou at dawn in the area targeted for destruction and “restoration” by the Harris County Flood Control District is on display in the Coastal Essence Fotofest exhibit through May 8 at the Houston Museum of Natural Science in Sugar Land, Texas. Photo taken by Jim Olive on Dec. 9, 2014, from the bluffs of Memorial Park looking downstream towards the bank of the River Oaks Country Club.

 

 

 

A Bend in the River

Photographs of Buffalo Bayou through the Seasons

Dec. 23, 2015

These lovely photographs document the changes in the seasons on Buffalo Bayou, and in the dynamic river itself. Taken (with one exception) by Houston photographer Jim Olive, they were shot from the same high bank in Memorial Park looking downstream with the River Oaks Country Club on the right. This bend in the bayou is in the stretch proposed for destruction and “restoration” by the Harris County Flood Control District and the Bayou Preservation Association, with the support of the Memorial Park Conservancy and the City of Houston.

  • That Bend in the River on April 15, 2018. Springtime all over the place. Photo by SC
  • A trackhoe on a barge stuck in the sandy channel bottom of Buffalo Bayou at that bend below the high bank in Memorial Park. Maintenance contractor with flood control was removing fallen trees from the banks and channel. Photo by SC May 19, 2018
  • Summer sunrise on Buffalo Bayou. That bend in the bayou on July 1, 2018, with flow at about 280 cubic feet per second. Photo by Jim Olive, of course.
  • Fall 2018 on that Bend in the River. Water was high and the morning was cloudy just after sunrise. Photo by Jim Olive on Nov. 6, 2018.
  • We were late with our winter shot, and this February morning was gloomy, the trees and banks bare. Flow was very low, about 150 cfs. The bend appeared to have been widened by the damaging dredging done by maintenance contractors working to remove woody debris, some of which should have been left on the banks for stability and sediment control. Photo Feb. 14, 2019, by Jim Olive
  • Spring again! That bend in the bayou, early in the morning of April 26, 2019. Jim Olive was back in town to continue our series documenting this same spot through time. Photo by Jim.
  • Summertime 2019 on that bend in the river with some of the destruction of the south bank visible in the distance. Pile of dirt is part of the River Oaks Country Club's costly and excessively damaging bank project. Photo by Jim on July 8, 2019, from that same high bank in Memorial Park.
  • That Bend in the River on a cool fall day--at last! Tractor is sitting on a pile of dirt dug out of the bank by the River Oaks Country Club for its very discouraging and deeply destructive "bank repair" project upstream and downstream. Photo by Jim on Oct. 12, 2019
  • Jim Olive's Winter 2019-20 photo of that bend in the bayou with continuing destruction activity on the bank opposite. Photo Dec. 19, 2019
  • Since Jim Olive was on a general coronavirus lockdown in California, Susan took this Spring 2020 photo around 3 p.m. on March 23. Flow was high, about 900 cubic feet per second. We're hoping JO will be back soon to take a better one.
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