Nature’s Thanksgiving

Well, it seems that the birds have decided that Thanksgiving is the time to return to the feeders.  I had been seeing only the most steadfast Cardinals of late but suddenly, the other birds returned.  The bluebirds and pine warblers and woodpeckers and finches have been coming in bunches.

I don’t know if the recent drop in temperatures has cut back on the birds natural food sources or what but, I am happy to see them more often.  They seem to be enjoying the bounty of my feeders and I give thanks for the chance to enjoy their color and activity so near by.  While you are preparing for the big feast day coming up, don’t forget to give your feathered friends a treat too.  They will be thankful, I’m sure.

Nikon D500
Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263AB 100 tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/6.3 – 1/640sec – ISO 3200

#BirdWatching #birds #EasternBluebird #Roswell #Georgia #WithMyTamron

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Clear Lake

One of the effects that I was playing with at Caddo Lake was using shallow depth of field on landscapes.  In this shot, I had my apperture almost wide open and focused on the trees at the front edge of the scene.  The sharpness of the foreground against a soft backdrop came out pretty well in this case.

The contrast in these scenes was great.  The dark blacks in the water and shadows with pright colors in the leaves really make colors pop.  It was wonderful to have still waters where we were paddling.  Very few instances where motorboats were going past and those were really only times when we were on the way to our destinations not, where we were actually shooting.  The beautiful mirror effect gives you a taste of the quiet stillness that we felt while being here.

Nikon D800
Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AF Micro-Nikkor
105mm @  ƒ/4.0    1/125     ISO800

#CaddoLake #Karnack #Texas #CypressSwamp #nature #landscape #autumn

Autumn daybreak

Orange was the predominant color in the Texas cypress swamps but the rising sun magnified this on our first morning out.  With color in the trees, in the sky and reflected in the water, we knew this would be a great day.

I still can’t quite believe the overall size of Caddo Lake and how the bald cypress trees cover so much territory.  We toured a corner of this massive natural wonder and came away very impressed.  Though we saw only a small portion, our tour guide described the layout, ecology and history of the region for us.  It was a great lesson in how important wetland areas are and how fragile they can be.  I love going to locations where I can admirie the natural beauty and also understand more about what makes it special.  This is definitely a special place.  You have to see it to understand completely.

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
44mm @ f/8 – 1/13 sec – ISO 400

#CaddoLake #Karnack #Texas #CypressSwamp #nature #landscape #autumn #sunrise #WithMyTamron

Right this way

At times, the light coming through the cypress tress was almost magical.  The darkness of the still water and the tree trunks were suddenly illuminated by beams of sunlight pouring through the autumn leaves.  These were the moments when my breath was taken away and I wished that we could just stay and watch nature’s beauty forever.

I think I need to print some images from this trip and hang them on my walls so I can remember this feeling.  When the often crazy, frustrating world that we live in makes me feel like giving up, thinking of the quiet and beauty of those natural settings might make things easier to bear.  Then again, maybe I just need to spend more time appreciating the natural beauty that always surrounds us.  Of course, doing this always makes me want to take pictures.  What a wonderful cycle to be caught in!

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
24mm @  ƒ/8    1/15     ISO 500

#CaddoLake #Karnack #Texas #CypressSwamp #nature #landscape #autumn

Swamp greens

Most of the waterways we paddled through on Caddo Lake were clear with beautiful reflections of the cypress trees in the dark waters.  There were places however, that were full of a multitude of green hues.  Some of this is normal and some is not.

One of the thing we learned while on this visit was how invasive non-native plants are clogging the waters and choking out native plants and fish.  A major problem plant here is one called Giant Salvinia.  This stuff is like kudzu on the water.  It grows like crazy and because there are no native species that feed on it, it goes unchecked.

While checking out the nearby area, we found a wildlife refuge area (formerly a military ordinance storage facility) where research was underway to eradicate the salvinia.  They are experimenting with use of a natural biological control method – the salvinia weevil.  Assuming this is an approach that can control the plants without causing other adverse effects, maybe the can get a handle on it.

There are a number of species, including the salvinia, which have been introduced either intentionally or by accident into the environment here.  Ecosystems like this are often quite delicate and can be devastated by non-native species.  I’m glad there are people working to reverse this issue.  I only wish we were all more respectful of the amazing gift we have in natural places like this.  It’s something that can be easily lost if we’re not careful.

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
62mm @ f/8 – 1/60 sec – ISO 400

#CaddoLake #Karnack #Texas #CypressSwamp #nature #landscape #autumn

Bald cypress kingdom

It is somewhat of a miracle that Caddo Lake remains as the amazing natural refuge that it is.  This is actually the world’s largest bald cypress swamp which attracts scientists and researchers from many places across the globe.  There are other spots in surrounding areas that have similar environment but not nearly as large.

Cypress trees have been harvested in huge numbers over the years to support the oil industry and other construction.  In some areas where this happened, the cypress have been totally destroyed and will likely never return.  It is a shame that greed and neglect have wasted such natural treasure.  I hope that we have learned our lessosns but I’m not sure that is true.

Nikon D800
Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AF Micro-Nikkor
105mm @  ƒ/4.0    1/125     ISO800

#CaddoLake #Karnack #Texas #CypressSwamp #nature #landscape #autumn

Cypress bowling

This was a neat spot with a grouping of cypress trees forming a split between two passages at the edge of Clear Lake.  They really lined up in a triangle like bowling pins.  The fantastic fall colors made this such a beautiful spot.

When you think of beautiful landscapes, swamps may not be the first thing to come to mind but this place is enchanting.  There is a mixture of quiet solitude, spooky scenes and primal nature that make it a magical setting.  I didn’t get a chance to work on wildlife photography on this trip but there would be more than enough here to work on that as well.  I think the key to knowing a place is really special is if you want to go back as soon as you leave.  This is one of those places.

Nikon D800
Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AF Micro-Nikkor
105mm @  ƒ/5.6    1/250     ISO800

#ClearLake #Karnack #Texas #CypressSwamp #nature #landscape #autumn