Lake Martin Swamp

Lake Martin is part of the Cypress Island Natural Preserve located near Breau Bridge, Louisiana.  It is described as a swampy ecosystem that with a natural rookery for a diverse animal and plant habitat.  It is difficult to photograph from the  limited access points along the shore.  Canoe and kayak rentals are available for those comfortable in exploring the lake on their own.  We, however, were not in that category!  We were not interested in a one hour group tour in the middle of the day either.  We arranged a one hour private tour with Bryan, owner of Champagne's Cajun Swamp Tours for late in the day.  His company has hosted photographers from National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, USA Today and The History Channel.  He is an avid photographer as well so he had a keen idea of what we would be looking for.  We were not disappointed!

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 The green 'scum' looking cover on the water is actually called Duck Weed.  Up close it almost looks like floating miniature clover.

The green 'scum' looking cover on the water is actually called Duck Weed.  Up close it almost looks like floating miniature clover.

 One of the first impressions I got as we started out on the swamp was that it is a messy looking place.  There is so much abundant life everywhere, including below the surface of the water.

One of the first impressions I got as we started out on the swamp was that it is a messy looking place.  There is so much abundant life everywhere, including below the surface of the water.

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 Another impression from being well within the swamp is how the light changes quite dramatically just by turning your head around!  Bryan understood that very well and kept steering the boat taking full advantage of the different light.

Another impression from being well within the swamp is how the light changes quite dramatically just by turning your head around!  Bryan understood that very well and kept steering the boat taking full advantage of the different light.

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 Bryan knew where to find this mama alligator.  If you look closely, you might spot the long darker yellow striped babies right behind her.  Bryan was very respectful of her greater aggressive behavior while protecting her babies.  He also did not want to stress her out.

Bryan knew where to find this mama alligator.  If you look closely, you might spot the long darker yellow striped babies right behind her.  Bryan was very respectful of her greater aggressive behavior while protecting her babies.  He also did not want to stress her out.

 When we lingered too long while clicking away, she let us know that she was willing to do more than just give us a cold warning stare.

When we lingered too long while clicking away, she let us know that she was willing to do more than just give us a cold warning stare.

 We were warned!  Bryan moved the boat away so she would return to her peaceful behavior.  Tom is using his long lens here!

We were warned!  Bryan moved the boat away so she would return to her peaceful behavior.  Tom is using his long lens here!

 Depending on the canopy, the position of the boat, the time of day, etc. the light just kept changing by the minute.  I resorted to setting my camera on aperture priority so I could more have more fun just enjoying the sights instead of continually changing my shutter speed.

Depending on the canopy, the position of the boat, the time of day, etc. the light just kept changing by the minute.  I resorted to setting my camera on aperture priority so I could more have more fun just enjoying the sights instead of continually changing my shutter speed.

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 The sign on the tree is posted to inform people that entry beyond that point is not allowed.  It is a protected part of the swamp to allow birds and other animals to breed and raise their families without the interference of human activity.

The sign on the tree is posted to inform people that entry beyond that point is not allowed.  It is a protected part of the swamp to allow birds and other animals to breed and raise their families without the interference of human activity.

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 Bryan had suggested we start the tour at 5:30 pm so we would have some of the golden light he knew would play so well on the cypress trees and reflections in the water.  He timed it perfectly.

Bryan had suggested we start the tour at 5:30 pm so we would have some of the golden light he knew would play so well on the cypress trees and reflections in the water.  He timed it perfectly.

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 For a long time I just could not take any more photographs!  The scenes were too rich and over stimulating.  When we rounded the final corner to head back to the dock I picked my camera back up.  This was the perfect way to end the tour.

For a long time I just could not take any more photographs!  The scenes were too rich and over stimulating.  When we rounded the final corner to head back to the dock I picked my camera back up.  This was the perfect way to end the tour.

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 This was taken after the tour was completed and we were on the bank.

This was taken after the tour was completed and we were on the bank.

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If you ever have a chance to take a tour of a swamp, please take it!  If you are serious about getting good photos you may have to arrange for a private tour that let's you take the time you want and is during the best time of day for light.  This adventure ranks right up at the top for both enjoyment and photography.