For years I had been planning a kayaking adventure in the swamps of Texas and Louisiana. This environment represents one of the most primeval places still existing in the USA and a home for a multitude of bird species, turtles, alligators, poisonous snakes, spiders and so on. Last autumn (November 2019) I finally made this dream come true as I spent 20 days exploring different areas. This picture was taken at Caddo Lake, Texas. It was taken on one of the first days of the trip and it wasn’t an easy image to take. I had to paddle in the dark to reach the side of the lake with incredible bald cypresses emerging from the water. At first lights of the day, the mists surrounding the bald cypresses formed an impressive atmosphere and created this view, the most primordial I have ever seen.
To get the best shot I decided to get off the kayak (definitely challenging as the water level was high), with my chest waders on. Shooting hand held in these light conditions can be really limiting and frustrating, so I placed the tripod into the muddy waters to achieve the required composition, exposure and aperture. To avoid camera shake I set 400 ISO and 1/5” shutter speed. At longer exposures, the possibility of tripod moving in the muddy water is greater. For a cleaner result, I chose a panoramic format, as I wanted to exclude the sky that would have disturbed the harmony of the scene.
As often happens with my photographs I wanted to convey the feeling of a timeless and extremely primordial place, a forgotten land that was just waiting for my arrival to show itself in all its whispered beauty.
Regarding the post processing, my intent is to show the viewer a natural and realistic rendering of what I observe. Post processing was limited here: I exposed to the right for a high key rendition that would emphasize the aura of mystery in this magical place.