When fall came early

  • Drought Study No 1. Tulsa, OK. 
  • Drought Study No 1. Garden City, KS. 
  • Drought Study No 3. Little Rock, AR. 
  • Drought Study No 4. Norman, OK. 
  • Drought Study No 5. Oklahoma City, OK. 
  • Drought Study No 6. Grand Lake, OK. 
  • Drought Study No 7. Dodge City, KS. 
  • Drought Study No 8. Coffeyville, KS. 
  • Drought Study No 3. Muskogee, OK. 
  • Drought Study No 8. Joplin, MO. 



On the heels of yesterday’s historic climate march in New York City, and as we usher in fall, one poignant and striking project that shows in stark daylight the effects of climate change is photographer Jesse Rieser’s, “When Fall Came Early: The Drought Along the Arkansas River Basin”.

Following the acute drought that swept across America’s midwest and south in the summer of 2012, these photographs show how that drought altered the landscape of the Arkansas River Basin, “the backdrop to my childhood,” Rieser told msnbc. The drought caused the leaves to prematurely turn and fall to the ground months before their natural cycle - some as early as July - with the death of the trees they fell from following close behind. While on the road that summer, Rieser noticed that “as the summer progressed, so did the severity of the drought, along with the phenomenon we see in these pictures.”

Jesse Rieser is an award-winning commercial and fine art photographer who was born and raised in the Ozarks, and splits his time between Phoenix and LA. 

For more of MSNBC’s feature photography, go to msnbc.com/photography