Amazing light-painted night photography shows camp deep in the Lake Maurepas swamp
I’ve been cooped up in the office for weeks working on my new fine-art photography gallery. And awful weather prevented me from doing much outside anyway. So when the rains finally stopped falling and the winds subsided over the weekend, I threw my gear in the truck, hooked up the boat and headed out for a nighttime swamp photography session.
I love spending time in the swamps. It’s a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of life, find solitude and recharge my internal battery. Nights in the swamp are the best — no one else is out there, so not even the sounds of boats breaks the silence. It’s just me, the alligators and millions of mosquitoes. OK, so the mosquitoes aren’t my favorite part, but even those blood-thirsty creatures can’t steal my joy of after-dark work in the swamp.
On this early January trip, I headed to Lake Maurepas. It’s one of my go-to places because it’s close to home and offers amazing scenery. The bottom of the lake also is hard, so it’s easy to walk around and set up tripods. Of course, at night I stay in my boat. Too many toothy reptiles ply those waters at night.
I usually stop at the end of the Reserve Canal in a wad of moss-draped cypress trees, but on this foray I headed across Lake Maurepas to the mouth of Blind River. An old tin-covered fishing camp tucked into the flooded cypress trees offered great promise. I arrived with more than an hour of sunlight left, so I had time to really plan out my shot.
And I found the perfect angle: a relatively small, moss-draped cypress tree standing by itself in the water, with the old fishing camp in the background. It was the perfect setup, producing a stunning view of the Louisiana swamp.
The key to the shot was the use of lights to “paint” in the subjects. The sun had just set (with the final color seen in the left side of the image), and the swamps had settled into the first darkness of the night. So I had to add light to bring out the cypress tree and the camp. This process is called light-painting, and it’s so much fun. It allows me to really be creative and bring out central subjects while allowing the rest of the scene to fall into shadow.
I set up one light camera left to light the camp. The second light was placed camera right to bring out the cypress tree in the foreground. The lights also brought out the green switch grass in front of the camp. Perfect!
The result is a swamp photo of which I’m very proud. It speaks to the beauty of the swamps by highlighting the moss-draped cypress tree and the camp.You can just imagine sitting on the dock, sipping a cup of coffee and enjoying that brilliant sunset.
The image, titled “Cajun Camp Life,” is the latest addition to my fine-art photography gallery, and prints are available starting at just $35. Click here to see ordering options.
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