Falling in love with Lake Verret - again

Morning Breaks

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Paddling & Photographing on one of Louisiana's most scenic lakes

Lake Verret holds special meaning to me. Memories on this amazing Louisiana lake go back to my early childhood, when my father would take us fishing in his 15-foot bateau. And I continued returning to Verret into my 40s, before other areas of the Louisiana swamp and its fertile marshes called.

Then by my late 40s my attention turned to traveling extensively as part of a team covering Bassmaster bass-fishing tournaments. That opened the entire country up for my photographic endeavors.

And Lake Verret slipped into the back of my mind.

Recently, however, I bought a couple of kayaks and began looking for swamps easily accessible with the paddle boats.

Lake Verret popped into my head.

And it's been a glorious reunion!

Ethereal Verret

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Earlier this month I drove to Attakapas Landing, which provides instant access to the amazing flooded cypress trees that ring Lake Verret. Only to find it closed for repairs.

I was there early, hoping for a grand sunrise — so I panicked. There just had to be a way for me to get out on the water. Fortunately, I found a parking spot on the shoulder of the road where I could launch my kayak into a small canal.

That meant I had to paddle like crazy to get to the main lake before sunrise, but the effort was well worth it. I set up behind a line of cypress trees and greeting the morning by creating the print I titled "Morning Breaks."

After the morning color faded, I paddled through the trees and reveled in the solitude and beauty. I love easing around cypress trees in my motorboat, but there's something special about being in the kayak, with only the soft splashes of my paddle to interrupt the sounds of nature awakening for another day.

I worked up a few more photos in the beautiful early morning light before heading back to the truck. And I knew I had fallen for Lake Verret again. One of my favorites is titled "Lumière dans la Mousse," french or "Light in the Moss."

Lumière dans la Mousse

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I returned a week later, this time with my good friend Rick Berk, who had driven down from Maine to photograph the swamp. This was his second trip down, but it would be his first swamp experience in a kayak.

Seeing my native swamps through other's eyes is always fun. The morning after he arrived was forecasted to be extremely cloudy. So we slept in and arrived at our jumping off point later to poke around and created some images in the even lighting of a cloudy day. 

It was fun watching Rick become accustomed to the kayak. He even put his drone up and created some images of us working the swamp!

Working in the amazing Lake Verret swamps.
Photo credit: Rick Berk

Rick Berk paddling through the Lake Verret swamps, looking for photographic compositions.

We arrived very early the next morning to give us plenty of time to make the paddle down the canal and into the lake. The forecast was iffy for sunrise color; Thick clouds covered the sky. But we set up anyway, hoping for a crack in the cloud cover. And right on cue one formed above the eastern horizon.

We waited patiently for the sun to reach that small opening. It wasn't one of the craziest sunrises, but color seeped through the crack in the clouds and created a soft glow that made for a beautiful photo I titled "Attakapas Sunrise."  The even lighting also allowed some of the fall color to be visible in the photo. Man, I love the colors these trees turn in autumn!

Attakapas Sunrise

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We spent the rest of the morning paddling through the swamps, photographing, visiting and generally having a ball.

We finally turned back and realized we had paddled a long way. Later we calculated we paddled about 4 miles that morning. Not terrible, but much farther than we thought.

The images from that morning were just beautiful.

The plan was to spend two more days with Rick in the swamps, but my truck was struck during an accident on the way to Lake Verret that afternoon. Everything is fine, and my truck is fixable - but it did put an end to our time together.

But the trips to this wonderland has reawakened my passion for the Louisiana swamp and sparked another love affair with Lake Verret in particular.

I can't wait to get back out there!

Swamp Bouquet

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The Bearded One

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