The Los Angeles River from the air by Lane Barden – in pictures

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Photographer Lane Barden took these images of the Los Angeles river during a single helicopter flight. The complete project creates a coherent and serial image of the river and its path through the Southern California landscape

 

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The beginning of the Los Angeles River channel, at the confluence of Bell Creek (left) and Calabassas Wash (right) at Canoga Park High School in the San Fernando Valley

This is the beginning of the Los Angeles River channel, at the confluence of Bell Creek (left) and Calabassas Wash (right) at Canoga Park High School in the San Fernando Valley about 25 miles northwest of downtown Los AngelesPhotograph: Lane Barden

 

The LA River turns south, leaving the San Fernando Valley as it enters the Glendale Narrows

Here, the LA River turns south, leaving the San Fernando Valley as it enters the Glendale Narrows. The river moves over the bedrock of the Santa Monica Mountains (right), and the southerly flow of groundwater beneath the river is forced upward into the stream by the rising bedrock, requiring a soft natural stream-bed free of concrete

Photograph: Lane Barden

 

The Los Angeles River winds through Frogtown, a working class community isolated between the river and the I-5 Freeway

The Los Angeles River winds through Frogtown, a working class community isolated between the river and the I-5 Freeway. At centre left is the now defunct Taylor Yard parcel, soon to become a park in the new $1b plan to revitalise the river. (Before the construction of the freeway, the western toad migrated down from the hills into the river in the dry season, and frogs moved to higher ground in the rainy season, thus the name Frogtown.)

Photograph: Lane Barden

 

The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Intermodal Terminal, with the Los Angeles River at right

The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Intermodal Terminal, with the Los Angeles River at right. This is the terminus for all freight entering the Port of Los Angeles. The utilitarian status of the river has attracted other utilities, creating an industrial corridor of power lines, railways and freeways

Photograph: Lane Barden

 

South of Los Angeles between the towns of Bell (left) and Bell Gardens (right)

The Los Angeles river widens and straightens its course south of Los Angeles between the towns of Bell (left) and Bell Gardens (right). Here the speed and sheer volume of water in a storm event becomes formidable and dangerous

Photograph: Lane Barden

 

The Los Angeles River arrives at sea level in Long Beach, California near the river’s mouth

The Los Angeles River arrives at sea level in Long Beach, California near the river’s mouth. Here the channel widens to accommodate the tidal influences of the estuary and is converted to a natural soft bottom condition without concrete

Photograph: Lane Barden

Learn more at theguardian.com