From Moonscape To Lush: Photographs Capture California Drought's Story Getty Images photographer Justin Sullivan's "before-and-after" images show how recent rains in California swelled formerly dry reservoirs and turned brown landscapes green.
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From Moonscape To Lush: Photographs Capture California Drought's Story

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From Moonscape To Lush: Photographs Capture California Drought's Story

From Moonscape To Lush: Photographs Capture California Drought's Story

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A photographer is capturing California's recovery from drought.

JUSTIN SULLIVAN: My editors had an idea of, like, what about doing before and afters?

INSKEEP: Justin Sullivan works for Getty Images, and his before photos were from 2014. Sullivan shot them from a helicopter above what he calls dried-out moonscapes.

SULLIVAN: Just rolling hills of brown and the recessed water in reservoirs that reveals banks that are, you know, 50, 60, 100 feet tall, that they look like little mini mountains and then a river just running through them now instead of a lake.

INSKEEP: Sullivan hiked on what had once been lake beds.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

So that was before. The drought was so bad that Sullivan had to wait years for the after. But now many of those lakes are back.

SULLIVAN: It was sort of mind-blowing. It's a completely different look that's just like a velvety green, lush landscape now.

INSKEEP: And a warning sign set against a yellow-brown background, a sign that read, fire danger high, now sits amid green grass and reads, fire danger low.

SULLIVAN: One of the pictures I shot was of two white horses in this field that's just dead grass. It looks like a vintage photo. When I went to go try to recreate that picture, I went to the same exact spot. And the horses were there again. They weren't the same white horses. They were brown horses now. So sometimes they just work out perfectly.

INSKEEP: Justin Sullivan of Getty Images. And you can see his photos at npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF BALMORHEA'S "MASOLLAN")

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