Friday, November 27, 2020

CADDO LAKE COLORS

After the sidecar rally at Caddo Lake in October, returned in November with a small group of photographers to capture the infamous red leaves of the bald cypress trees.  The red leaves only last for a couple of weeks each year. Timing to be here during the peak is a roll of the dice.  
Photographers come from all over the world to capture the colors. There were several tour boats going out the weekend we were there, on which no english was being spoken 

The worms had stripped most the leaves off the cypress trees near the mainland, so we went out into the lake where there are islands of cypress that the worms could not reach. Guide called that "Social Distancing". 

When I say island, the cypress survive best in 3-5 feet of standing water, not on dry land or in very deep water.

Here is a late afternoon shot of the trees glowing. What was amazing is how the color went from a dull red to a glowing red just by changing your position. 


Even as the sun dropped lower in the sky, the famous colors remained strong.



Tried a similar shot but in black and white to compare the difference.



Sunset on Caddo Lake found us heading back to the dock. 
We will go back out again in the morning, leaving at 5:30 am with a cup of hot coffee in hand.


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Small point of imformation - Caddo Lake, which Texas shares with Louisiana, is the only natural lake in Texas. All of the other Texas lakes and bodies of water are manmade. It is north of Marshall, TX and Shreveport, LA. near one of the oldest settlements in Texas, Jefferson.  During the 1800's. Jefferson was the second largest water port in Texas, after Galveston. It sits 300 miles north of the Gulf Of Mexico on the Caddo River.

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By sunrise the guide and I are back out on the lake, in position for some great photos. 
The day looks promising in the predawn light.




Suddenly a thick fog bank rolls in from the south. The sun never made it above the horizon before being obscured.  
That does not stop one from trying to get interesting photos.

Foggy Red Cypress



Of course there are fishing birds around the lake, here one is skimming the surface looking for an opening and a meal. What looks like green ground you could walk on is actually an invasive Brazilian water plant called Salvinia. It floats on top of the water choking everything, other plants, boat motors, etc.  The first cold snap will kill it, only to return next year. 



Capturing that feeling of dripping Spanish Moss is more difficult than I thought it would be. 
Then this showboating character arrived to complete the photo.
Am not into bird photography but wanted to recreate the mood of a damp foggy morning on the bayou. What better subject than a great white egret.



Spotted an old shack back up a small bayou, Yes, it's occupied.  Hmmm... did not approach someone's fishing camp, or home.



The lack of sound in the bayou deafens the mind. 
Almost disturbing not be submerged in constant noise.

The fog was not quite so bad in the bayou leading back to the dock. 
Even the colors were starting to show again. 


A little disappointed in not having
 a brilliant sun to work with, but the fog presented new challenges for a different effect. One has to roll with the situation and find the best in whatever comes your way.

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By mid-day the fog had dissipated, which by then I was off the lake and out riding. Stopped to take a photo of a tree farm after harvesting. This is a paper tree farm. 

Could never understand why some people get so upset at the harvesting of trees but don't think twice about the harvesting of corn. Both strip their growing fields bare. Both are cultivated and grown for harvesting. The only difference is the length of the growth cycle. 


It's not like they are not going to replant the trees. They did here. 
These are still young trees. Trees engineered for paper use will grow very fast.



Off in the brush spotted movement, there looking back at me was a young doe.



Returning to  Jefferson, TX , stretched the legs with a walk along the river, following the elevated boardwalk thru the woods.



That wraps up the weekend at Caddo Lake and Jefferson. 

Ride safe my friends, mask up.

CCjon



14 comments:

  1. Great pics overall CCjon, but the sunset and blue hour ones I liked best.

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    1. Thanks, was my first time to visit Caddo Lake in the Fall. Will return another year to try for colors in the sun.

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  2. I agree with Dom, some great photos. I'm especially drawn to the ones in the fog where the space and color is more subtle. But that's just me.

    After working for most of my career in Ag Sciences at Penn State, I can say that while it seems to be the same harvesting trees as it is corn, it's not. Plantations for pulp or utility poles have a bottomline different than those harvesting timber, but for both the effects are the same. Erosion, habitat destruction, carbon issues, soil fertility, and a host of other more subtle things make it a management problem. Here in Pennsylvania you seldom see clear cuts anymore because of those issues. And what's sort of amazing is timber profits have gone up as a result. But timber is a more diverse crop than pulp so it's important to recognize the difference between a $50K veneer log and a $100 saw log.

    Anyway, forestry and harvesting have always been an interest to this once city boy.

    Wouldn't mind riding my Vespa or my BMW K75 through that part of Texas someday. But not sure that will ever happen. In the meantime I can dream via your pictures!

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    1. Welcome Steve, glad you joined us and enjoyed my photos.

      I agree completely, logging timber is different from harvesting trees grown for paper. East Texas with its sandy soil hosts hundreds and hundreds of acres of tree farms owned by the paper companies. They are profit oriented so they are cautious to maintain the right spoil conditions for future tree growth. Seldom do their lands come up for sale so they must have confidence it will continue producing. Come on down, I have a contact or two in that industry I can introduce you to.

      Even introduce you to other K bike owners down here. We are now in our best riding months, from October to April. Summer is too hot and humid, so many Texas riders park their bikes then or head out of state seeking cooler temperatures.

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  3. Yes, I have to agree, the sunset and the contrasting blue and orange on the trees pics are my favorites. Always amazes me to see how you can capture a story in a pic. And I don't mind not having the sun. The sun can be harsh with shadows sometimes distracting (ex faces). Overcast is softer but harder to bring the colors out. Good to have both opportunities for diversity. It's also impressive how much time and effort you put into just getting out there to take these pics. Really appreciate your work in sharing them with us all.

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    1. Thanks VP, am always pushing myself to take better photos so as to tell a better story. It's all about the story.

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  4. Well done! Beautiful photos, amigo.

    That stunning silence, I know exactly what you mean. I had that experience for the first time as a teenager, on a windless winter morning on the summit of Mount Cadillac, in Maine. There was simply no sound to be heard.

    About clearcutting, dunno how they do it in TX but it was terribly destructive in Maine. I left in '86, not sure what the practice might be now. But in the 80s the paper companies replanted nothing, they just strip mined the land and moved on. They'd leave a few tall spruce or pine out in the middle of a clearcut to reseed the ground. Of course, the first storm comes through and the tops blow off, or the seed trees are blown over entirely. When I was there the vast clearcuts outside the west gate of Baxter State Park used to look like a bombscape, quite a contrast to Baxter, the only old growth forest left in Maine. Most everything else is puckerbrush.

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  5. Totally agree on clear cutting and leaving the destruction behind. Irresponsible.

    The Texas tree farms are just that, farms. Am sure the trees are genetically engineered for fast growth, disease resistant and produce the desired product for their customers. Am not sure how or if they fertilize between crops. Good question to ask my friend who works there.

    Stunning silence can be very unnerving to those who experience for the first time. Even scary. Our brains are so accustomed to a constant barrage of sounds and noises, it doesn't know how to react to zero audio input. I love the quiet solitude, and my music when wrenching on the bikes.

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  6. https://www.texasforestry.org/

    Who We Are
    More than 100 years ago a handful of conservationists, motivated by a deep concern for Texas' forest resources, formed Texas Forestry Association. As the years passed, they were joined by others, forming a continuous bond of dedication, service and support to the forest lands of Texas.

    Today, the Texas Forestry Association, still guided by a conservation philosophy, has become more than just an association of forest-minded landowners, businesses and professionals. It has reached far beyond the original concept of TFA in 1914, and today offers programs for almost every Texan interested in conservation, business, history, education, wildlife and more.

    See Also: Texas A&M: https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/TimberHarvesting/

    https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/WesternGulfForest/

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    1. Thanks for finding that information and posting the link. Am sure some of the readers here appreciate your find.

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  7. The first picture is BEAUTIFUL! I love how you were able to capture the colors of the leaves.
    It's interesting you mentioned the lack of sound in the bayou. For some reason when I hear the word "Bayou", I hear frogs, insects, birds. Maybe in the Spring and Summer?
    The lone tree in the fog reminds me of a Japanese Maple Tree (my favorite). Beautiful shot with the foggy backdrop. As always, great shots, Abu.

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    1. Thank you 10LE, in some ways am happy the sun did not come out, working fog and diffused lighting was a new learning experience.

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  8. Replies
    1. Thank you Kofla, glad you enjoyed them. Was a great time to be out on the lake in a small flat bottom boat.

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