If you have ever walked along the Glendale Narrows, one of the few soft-bottomed sections of the river, you might have noticed water gurgling up from the concrete banks that line this section of the river and forming slippery little puddles and patches of algae.

Groundwater bubbling up through paved banks of the Los Angeles River

These little water fountains are the reason the river bottom was left in a more natural state and not concreted over by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers back in the Thirties.

Along this stretch there is a very high water table and because of that it was determined that it would be impossible to seal the concrete over it, the groundwater, as we see, is forcing its way up and through the concrete banks. Lucky for us as we get to see a more natural river along with all the plant life and wildlife,

 Groundwater bubbling up through paved banks of the Los Angeles River

The squiggly white lines you see on the top of the bubbles is actually the light reflecting off the water over a ¼ of a second exposure which it gives it the look of an out of control doodle from a white pen. When shooting water it is always fun to play with either very fast exposures (1/1000th of a second) or in this case a longish exposure. Both portray the water in ways that our eyes are not accustomed and because of that make it more interesting to look at.

2 Responses to Water Fountains

  1. Save The Los Angeles River says:

    You got the water being ground water right, but spring water it is not, and it is not “forcing its way through the concrete banks”. Those places where it comes through are called “weep holes”-was told that by both former council member Ed Reyes and current council member Tom LaBonge. They have been there for that purpose ever since the concrete was poured and were placed there for this purpose.

  2. Cliff Stanley says:

    Wonderful insights, visual and verbal, into this unsung feature of Los Angeles — which has now found its pictorial bard! Love the glimpse into photographic process, too. Very worthwhile work, Peter.

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