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Into the Swamp Workshops

Sign up for a photographic experience of a lifetime

This 3-day workshop will take you to the heart of the Louisiana swamp in an immersive experience you'll never forget. Working from kayaks allows participants to float through the ruggedly beautiful swamps surrounding Lake Verret, one of the locations featured on the hit reality show Swamp People.

Each day will begin early, launching kayaks for the short paddle to some of the most beautiful sunrise locations you'll ever visit. Work from a tripod or handhold your camera: Your comfort zone should dictate this.

After sunrise, we will paddle through the flooded, moss-draped cypress trees capturing the incredible morning light and creating captivating images.

After a mid-day break, we'll head back out on the kayaks to cover more of the swamp and find those perfect setups for sunset.

Click here to see examples of the incredible beauty in which you will work.

Why kayaks?

Louisiana boasts the most beautiful swamps in the world, but the challenge is access. With rare exception, you must have a boat to enter these incredible wetlands. You cannot just drive up, walk to the edge of the swamp and shoot photos that truly encapsulate these gorgeous wetlands.

Kayaks are the perfect transport into this wilderness, allowing you to immerse yourself in the swamps and move quietly through the trees.

 Scroll down to watch a testimonial video from award-winning landscape photographer Rick Berk. You can see examples of the photos Rick has created in the Louisiana swamp by clicking here.

I carefully chose Jackson Bite Rec kayaks to ensure participants would have a perfect working platform. These 11 1/2-foot kayaks measure 35 inches wide, making them extremely stable while also providing room for a dry box for camera equipment, as well as areas at the bow and stern to carry other gear. The premium elevated mesh seats elevates comfort — no sitting flat in these boats! I also have installed an anchoring system in each boat to hold the kayak in place and increase stability while working.

The use of these kayaks plus life jackets is included in the price of the workshop.

NOTE: Participants are responsible for the safety of their camera equipment. I recommend a dry box such as a Pelican 1500 to ensure cameras and lenses remain dry while paddling. I do not recommend launching drones from the kayaks; if you choose to do so, I am not responsible for any damage.

Difficulty level

Difficulty for this workshop is moderately challenging. Working from a kayak requires good balance and dexterity. Includes paddling as much as several miles each morning and evening (although the pace is leisurely).

Recommended equipment

Basic landscape equipment is recommended for this workshop. Along with the camera body of your choice, I recommend:

  • a wide-angle lens (16-28, 24-70, 24-120, etc.)
  • a moderate zoom (i.e., 70-200mm)
  • a tall, sturdy tripod with a long column and solid ballhead. The tripod will be pushed into the water and secured in the bottom mud, so be aware that working from a tripod will include cleaning it each day. NOTE: We mostly work in water 5 feet deep or less.
  • a waterproof case such as a Pelican 1500, which should be adequate to hold the listed body/lenses. NOTE: If you plan to use a camera such as the Nikon Z9, you might need a larger box, so be sure to check that your case fits your equipment. 

There also is the opportunity to shoot wildlife, although that is not the primary focus of the workshop. I actually use my 70-200mm lens for much of my Lake Verret bird photography, but a long lens could be useful when the birds are skittish. NOTE: Be certain you have a waterproof carrying case for your longer lenses.

Other recommendations:

Some other gear recommendations include:

  • Waterproof pants and footwear. Paddling invariably means pants and shoes get damp.
  • Bug spray & head nets: It's South Louisiana, and that means there are likely to be mosquitoes. They aren't terrible on cool days, but it's best to be prepared.
  • Rain gear: Just in case a shower passes through.
  • Waterproof bag: This is handy for cell phones, wallets, your rain gear, etc. There is plenty of room in the kayak for this essential gear.

SPECIAL GEAR CARE NOTE

You are solely responsible for the safety of your camera gear; I bear no responsibility for your gear. We will be working in wet environments; therefore, you should take care to ensure your gear remains dry


Itinerary

The first evening we will get together for a meet-and-greet, with a jambalaya dinner and basic drinks (no alcohol) provided.

The daily itinerary for the three work days is: 

  • Leave the hotel at 5 a.m. for the drive to the launch.
  • We will stay on the water until about 9:30 or 10 a.m. (watch how much coffee you drink!).
  • Mid-day break back at the hotel. You are on your own for lunch to eat and rest. There are eateries near the hotel.
  • Leave hotel at 2 p.m. for afternoon shooting and sunset.

Weather contingency: If rains move in, we will meet to discuss composition, post processing and, depending on how long the rains are forecasted, drive to shoot other scenes that do not require being in the elements. Examples could include making a short drive to the coast to photograph shrimp boats, coastal marshes, etc.

Travel Information

You are responsible for getting to and from the workshop. The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is just an hour away from the headquarters hotel. I recommend planning to arrive at the hotel by 5 p.m.

You also are responsible for booking your stay for the workshop. The nearest hotels are in Thibodeaux, Louisiana, Here are the particulars on the headquarters hotel, where rooms are blocked out. Be sure and mention that you are with the Into the Swamp Photo Workshop to get the group rate:

  • Hotel: Hampton Inn & Suites
  • Address: 826 N Canal Blvd., Thibodeaux, Louisiana
  • Telephone number: (985) 446-0900
  • Room Rate (double occupancy, so spouses/friends can split the cost): $149 plus tax/night
  • Cut-off for reservations: 3 weeks prior to the event

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: I highly recommend you purchase travel insurance that would cover your costs due to a trip cancellation or interruption for any reason. 


Fall 2024 Dates

I currently offer two 2024 dates for my Into the Swamps Workshops. But participation is limited to 5 per session - so sign up now! Cost is $2,199 per person. Split the fee into 2 payments or pay in full. Final payment is due 90 days before your arrival date.

Nov. 7-11

$2,199

Arrive on Nov. 7, leave on Nov. 11. Includes 3 days of photography. Final payment due no later than Aug. 9, 2024.

ONLY 3 SPOTS REMAINING!

Nov. 21-25

$2,199

Arrive on Nov. 21, leave on Nov. 25. Includes 3 days of photography. Final payment due no later than Aug. 23, 2024. Maine landscape photographer Rick Berk will join this workshop as a second instructor!

5 SPOTS REMAINING

Refund Policy

Participants canceling at least 60 days before a workshop will be giving a 50% refund unless the spot can be filled from a waiting list.. Within 60 days of any workshop, no refunds are issued unless the spot can be filled. If the spot is filled via a waiting list, a full refund (minus transaction fees) will be issued. Workshops are conducted rain or shine, unless a determination has been made in an emergency or other event rendering the workshop unsafe or impossible. In this case, registrations are provided full refunds, minus the credit card transaction fee.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: I highly recommend you purchase travel insurance that would cover your costs due to a trip cancellation or interruption for any reason. 

Waiting list

A third workshop could be scheduled if demand exists. So if the above workshops are full, please email me to be placed on a waiting list. Click here to email me.

Watch this video to hear a testimonial about my In the Swamp workshops from award-winning Maine landscape photographer Rick Berk. Examples of his swamp photos can be seen here.

More examples

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