Ike's damage leaves lasting images

September 15, 2009 9:09:52 PM PDT
The destruction following Hurricane Ike left images we will never forget around southeast Texas. [IKE ANNIVERSARY: Look back at the storm that changed SE Texas]

As we continue our look back to exactly one year ago, Chief Meteorologist Tim Heller sits down with aerial photographer Bryan Carlile who was among the first to see the damage for himself.

Bryan Carlile, Aerial Photographer: My first flight was the day after the hurricane struck. It was just incredible. There was water everywhere. You couldn't tell where the land was.

Chief Meteorologist Tim Heller: There was a no fly zone, so how did you get up?

Carlile: Well, I was actually working for a company. I contract for an oil and gas operation, and that is how I was able to get into the air. I'm an aerial photographer and also I'm an environmental GPS mapping consultant. Basically I am a cartographer. I make maps.

Heller: You had the advantage of actually seeing it in most cases before anything was moved. What was your first impression?

Carlile: My first impression was a mixture of utter shock. When I saw the coastal region, it was very emotional. It was stressful. I had a job to do, but it was just overwhelming emotionally.

Heller: Is it hard to put something of that magnitude inside a small little viewfinder?

Carlile: It's trying to capture the shots in such a way that will bring the reader into your subject.

Heller: How many pictures did you take?

Carlile: Total over a course of around five days, probably around 2,000 to 2,500. Right around there.

Heller: Is there one particular that stands out for you?

Carlile: I think emotionally there was a shot of Winnie the Pooh. I saw this lone child's toy and what was left of obliterated homes along the coast line and Bolivar, and it just hit me. I was no longer doing a job and I felt it emotionally and I went oh my gosh, this is the remnants of someone else's life. And it's here on the beach.

Heller: The big yellow house sitting all by itself in the middle of Bolivar Peninsula. That's such a striking photo.

Carlile: Most definitely. There were a couple of other houses that were like that. You would see literally a roof and the bottom part of the house was completely gone, and you just wonder how did this happen, but somebody had a good engineer.

Heller: You know what's missing from your photos? People.

Carlile: True. There weren't any.

Heller: Do you think our coast will ever be the same? Will we be like we were?

Carlile: I think once Mother Nature wreaks its havoc on any environment, it's never the same. I think the resiliency of the Galveston people, they're going to bring it back to its glory that it is. I really do believe that.

If you would like to see more of Carlile's photos, his book titled, "After Ike: Aerial Views From The No-Fly Zone", just hit store shelves.

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