Many people living in or visiting Southern Louisiana have driven the 18 mile stretch of the highway from Lafayette to Baton Rouge which is elevated over an immense wetland. The area below the highway is an incredible area of Cypress Trees growing in the water with an abundance of wildlife. This area, which I know as Henderson, from the name of the town on the West side of the area, has been one of the go to shooting sites for my tours for many years.
First obviously a boat is required. For my tours I use the folks at The Atchafalaya Experience, they know the area and have the right equipment to properly explore the area. The area can be accessed either from the commericial boat launches along the Levy in Henderson, or from the boat launch at the Atchafalaya Welcome Center near Butte LaRose.
Normally on the tours we launch from the Welcome Center and head west from the launch between the spans of interstate 10. Wonderful opportunities abound both South and North of the Interstate. Most often we visit Henderson in the morning and photograph landscapes first with the sunrise and for the first half hour or so. Then as we have more light, we run the canals in search of birds, usually an owl or two, yellow crowned night herons, etc. We have also gotten on ducks, bitterns, beaver, etc. The final hour or so is spent photographing Osprey on the nest, there are numerous nests, both South and North of I10, and the birds put on quite a show. For birders this is a wonderful place to view song birds particularly in the spring. While it's difficult to photograph song birds from a boat, many of the smaller birds can be seen. We've seen Indigo Buntings, Pileated Wood Peckers, and Prothonotary Warblers. There are also Alligators, Snakes, Beaver, and Nutria. With the abundance of opportunities, rare is the visit that doesn't allow a photographer to create incredible images.
The Cypress in the late Fall turns a beautiful rust color. Providing a strong contrast against a dark blue sky. We also frequently encounter foggy conditions in the fall, allowing a photographer to create almost etherial images. This is truly a magical time in the swamp.
This area is one of the best places to see the beauty of the state of Louisiana and get a close up view of our beautiful wetlands. If you are in the area, make it a point to see this wonderland.