Sunrise in the swamp

Swamp sunrise photography

The Louisiana swamp on the edge of Lake Maurepas comes alive as the sun peaks over the horizon, lighting up the sky with a swipe of God’s paint brush.

Greeting the sun during early morning trip to Lake Maurepas

I had been waiting for the winds to die for almost a month, anxious to make a second trip to the flooded cypress trees bordering Lake Maurepas for a fun swamp photography session. My first attempt at capturing the sunrise was ruined by gales that pushed the trees around and resulted in images that were not sharp.

But the forecast for this morning was for almost no winds. I was up at 4:30 a.m. and out the door by 5, heading to the boat launch.

The trip really began last night, however, when I pulled up my Photographer’s Ephemeris app. This dandy little program provides everything needed for a sunrise or sunset photo session. Just place a pin at the location you plan to shoot from, and lines show where the sun will meet the horizon at both ends of the day. Even more importantly, it provides the absolutely best time to shoot – when the sun is at about 6 degrees above the horizon.

Louisiana swamp sunrise photography

The sun throws a blanket of color over the swamp bordering Lake Maurepas just east-northeast of New Orleans, Louisiana.

So even though light was leaking over the horizon when I arrived at the Reserve Canal launch at 5:15 a.m., I knew I had nearly an hour before the sun would begin its ascent. My app told me the best time to be shooting was about 6:30 a.m. Just after 6 a.m., I slipped into my waders and hopped off the boat into the shallows of a little cove just to the east of the mouth of the Reserve Canal.

It was a perfect setup. I took a couple of test shots as the sky began to color. And then, as the sun crested the horizon, the real fun began.

As the sun crept higher and sprayed reds and oranges in the sky, I couldn’t help but think about God as a painter. Romans 1:20 came to my mind as I watched God playing adding pinks and purples to the palette.

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

Indeed, I don’t understand how someone can watch such a beautiful scene and not believe there is a Creator. Evidence is all around us.

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About Andy Crawford

Andy Crawford has been a photographer and writer for more than 20 years, with thousands of images and articles published in magazines and newspapers around the country. He now focuses on Louisiana photography, landscapes, HDR photography, urban prints and other fine art photography. He also is a portrait photographer.