Sleep was something I knew I had to get plenty of during this trip. Even though hanging out by the fire pit was fun, I was in bed before 10:00. One day before 9:00 because I was so wiped out. In the months leading up to this I paddled a lot (really, you don’t say!) and increased my practical strength workouts so I wouldn’t be the one holding things up. I needn’t of worried; I held my own. A couple guys had never even been in a kayak before. That’s brave! And they did fine.
It was the early mornings that kicked our butts some days, but we always wanted to go and we were always ready. By this time I’d seen several days worth of shots and should have changed my methods. Not every image was as sharp as it could have been if I would have switched to shutter priority. I should have been more careful in my positioning so to get the best compositions – a few are off by just a bit, but it’s an important bit. I was too rushed trying to shoot everything instead of concentrating on quality.
Lessons learned for sure.
Another sunrise and look – clouds!
The color wasn’t intense, but it was there. And some mist, too.
In an effort to find stronger compositions, I spent some time looking at those trees, trying different lenses, then paddling around looking for other angles. Eventually I went back where I started. Not sure if I missed better opportunities, but it felt like I was spinning my wheels and I was ruining my mood with rising frustration. Not letting it get to me, I headed back to the fog for the solace of some some sure shots.
For a while I was the only person over in this area and I couldn’t hear my peeps anymore. Nervously I paddled across the open water to another dense cluster of trees. To my relief, two kayakers emerged from the mist. I’m a pretty independent person, but I didn’t like wandering too far astray. More than one time I felt my isolation and had to beat a path back to the group. Getting lost in the twisting bayous and channels would have been very easy.
As I settled in, I heard this ungodly racket in the distance. It was getting louder by the second. It sounded like a herd of Chevy V8s and a giant fan. That’s pretty much what it was.
Through a break in the trees, I could see what was making the deafening noise. Two air boats. I got a couple of pictures of them just for fun, but they aren’t the best. They were good enough for me to make out that each driver was wearing ear muffs like the ones I wear to the gun range. They must be deaf for days after getting out of those things. We could hear them in the distance for a really long time. At least we were all in the trees in the shallows where those boats can’t follow.
Those weren’t the only loud noises we’d heard during the week. Shotguns and motorboats, too. It was the start of duck and deer season while we were there. So many duck blinds set up, but I never saw anyone in them. Several had flotillas of decoys surrounding them, but no real ducks and no hunters.
As this was one of our last sessions, I turned my mind to the kinds of detail photos that I’d need for my book. Knees, of course!
Not a bad sunrise session, mostly thanks to the fog once again.
For the sunset shoot, we paddled directly from our cabins’ back yard. There was a lot of giant salvinia so the going was difficult for awhile. Another portent.
But then a funny thing happened. While we were exploring little coves and backwaters, a pontoon boat came though and the guy driving it shared that there was still some cypresses with fall color a little father on. After a quick vote, we decided to go the extra mile.
The light was decent and the trees sure had color, but damn it was windy!! I immediately paddled out to see if I could get that tree above since it was so nicely isolated.
After the sun went behind the trees, the light was more subdued.
It was a foregone conclusion that we’d paddle back here before dawn the next day. That will be next – our final cypress session.
Wow – these pictures are like something out of a fantasy story!
Thanks so much. It was a really special feeling to be in those waters at those times. A little eerie and quiet, but peaceful and so different from what I normally encounter.