The soft early light of morning has always been my favorite time to create images. My best work seems to unfold as the sun rises. Wanting great shots is one thing: making them happen is an art form that needs nurturing and motivation to get out of bed. While I would prefer to shoot later in the day, being in the moment has its rewards. Oh, how I love a new adventure!
Waking up before the sun is never an easy task. Coffee is a must, along with warm clothes and I’m set for the challenges that wait. As we arrive by car to our destination, it is still dark outside. Did I mention it was cold? Timing is everything so I quickly gather my equipment and head to the landing where our kayaks are waiting for us. Now the real adventure begins.
One by one, our group of eight launches our kayaks into the tranquil waters of the swamps. Hopefully, it's too early and too cold for any unwanted wildlife to greet us. Immediately, as I feel the kayak gently gliding along the water I feel a sense of peace and awe.
Our hidden location is a rich tapestry of waterways, known as black water swamps. Silently floating through the serene forested swamps, I am surrounded by towering ancient Bald Cypress trees draped in Spanish moss. These majestic giants, some dating back over a thousand years, create a unique and mystical atmosphere. They beckon the photographer in me to explore the secrets held within the waters they grace. It is cold outside this morning and the temperature is only about 30 degrees. I am not a fan of the cold. The benefit of the low temperature is an etherial pale blue mist.
A slow current helps to carry me through a natural cathedral of towering cypress as I seek the perfect composition that speaks to my camera. Crafting the perfect shot demands patience and a keen vision. Paddling around the giant trees I navigate the kayak for the best angle. As the sun's rays delicately filter through the branches, capturing the ideal light is a fleeting opportunity. It is fall and the leaves are few. Those that remain are a kaleidoscope of orange showing off a rich copper color that reflects on the still waters.
As the light became too harsh our morning session ended. It did not disappoint. Navigating through this enchanting forest provided a unique opportunity to connect with nature and capture amazing images that echo whispers of the ancient cypress trees.