Finding Nature's Most Magnificent Beauty in an Unexpected Place
Sometimes a place can surprise you. I grew up in Texas. Lets just say, spending my youth in the suburbs of a big city like Houston didn't exactly ignite my love for nature. My daily routine was mostly spent in an average neighborhood with more strip malls and sidewalks than hiking trails or scenic vistas. On top of that, the nearest mountain had to be a thousand miles away I am guessing. So when I was 18, I went to college in California and fell in love with all the variety that Nature had to offer there.
Fast forward 25 years and I am now working as a landscape and nature photographer. A main priority is to seek out beautiful places both near and far. Mostly I photograph in my local area but a few times a year I like to seek out something different. It helps to go to new places and see something fresh and new. Not knowing what you might see around the next corner makes me feel giddy like a kid again!
I became enamored with swamps on a prior trip to the Everglades. Something about the humid air and the smell of the wet grasses gave me an overwhelming sense of home....(remember I grew up in Houston! 🤪) With this newfound fondness of the waterways, swamps, lili pads and mossy stuff in the trees, I started researching online to find more areas that looked like this. To my surprise, one of the places that caught my eye in my search was a place not far from my childhood home! So my next trip home to see family, I added on a few days and drove out the the Texas/Louisiana border to a little place called Uncertain, Texas.
The place was spectacular in every way! We arrived in the dark...the streets were empty and it was eerily quiet...and a bit spooky. We had scheduled a sunrise boat to take us on the swamps to photograph first light on the water. Trekking out in the dark, down the silent waterways, the light slowly began to reveal an other-worldly landscape like nothing I had ever seen. After a soft pink dawn, golden light filled the sky and lit up the trees.
The fall colors took our breath away! It also made for a more comfortable temperature. I can imagine it gets pretty hot in the summer. Also, I was informed that the cooler temperatures mean the alligators aren't as active 😳
We hired some guides to take us out on boats so that we could focus on the photography...and also because we wouldn't have known where to go. Often when I visit a place for the first time, I like to hire a guide who is a specialist on the area so that I can learn a lot and not waste too much time hoping to find the best areas.
My favorite mode of transportation was the kayak, though it required a bit more physical exertion, it also was quieter and allowed us to set up tripods for longer exposures. For the most part, the swamp areas we were in weren't too deep.
After such a wonderful experience I am no doubt anxious to get back there to explore some more!!! So many fascinating places, yet so little time! It is always hard to choose where to go in a world with so much beauty :)
For more info about the Bald Cypress Swamps: