Fall in the Atchafalaya Basin

Fall in the Atchafalaya is my favorite time of the year.  Frontal systems push out the heat and haze that makes photography difficult and makes way for clear, clean, blue skies dressed with slight  wisps of clouds that produce October sunsets.  The moss is spectacular in the basin.  As for the moonrise  you can expect a clear night to see it over the bald cypress trees.  October 22 is the next full moon.

Full moon rises over Bald Cypress Trees on Belle River

This time of year is also good for camping.  You don’t  have to deal with the cold of winter, the high water of spring or the insects and heat of summer.  

Autumn campers in the Atchafalaya Basin

If you are uncomfortable going out into the basin by yourself, be sure to check out October’s Atchafalaya Days program.  For the entire month educational seminars and field trips will be available to help the public learn more about , as well as provide the opportunity to view,  America’s largest river basin swamp.  

You can see more of my Atchafalaya Basin photographs HERE.
Are you a photographer interested in going out into the basin to shoot?  Check out more info on my Atchafalaya Basin photography workshops HERE.  The next one is in November!


Isles Dernieres Barrier Island Refuge

Monday’s paper quotes Thad Allen saying the cement is holding and the Deepwater Horizon well is capped for good.  No new oil will leak out, but what about the oil that’s left on the bottom of the gulf. Only time will tell. Yesterday more good news as I had my first happy trip into coastal Louisiana since before April 20, 2010: a rehabilitated bird release.

We took off from Lumcon in Cocodrie, Louisiana at 6:30 AM.  The destination was Raccoon Island, one of my favorite colonial bird rookeries on the coast and part of the Isles Dernieres Barrier Island Refuge. On board five boats were twenty people from LWF, FW Service, Tri-State Bird Rescue, Gulf Coast IMT and some press. It was a bit of a rough ride as the wind was 10 to 15 knots out of the southeast and once out of the marsh and into the bay the boats were rocking and rolling.

Once on the island, the cages were unloaded. Rhonda Murgatroyd and Danene Birtell set up the release.  The first was a ruddy turnstone, a small shorebird that hopped out, looked around, hopped a few more steps then took off to freedom.  Next were two terns, one a sandwich and the other a royal. Both these species nest on this island in the thousands.  It’s comical to see their nursery pods where a large group of young is watched by only a few adult birds so most of the parents can go find food.

Mike Carloss watches as Rhonda releases a pelican

The highlight was the pelicans.  The first one didn’t stay long.  It was an adult that took to wind after about a minute of walking on the beach and joined a wild pelican flying by.  The next five were juvenile birds, born this spring and not able to fly when they were captured covered with oil.  They were let out separately about two minutes apart.  Each hung around near the people and as the next bird was released they immediately joined their fellow birds.  You could almost tell they were smiling and happy as the group of five waddled together on the beach. 

Home and free at last

Rhonda and Danene tried to herd them toward a pile of fish the helpers put out on the gulf side of the islands.  The young birds did the opposite and headed for the bay and once in the water they flew and dove for fish like old pros.   

Pelicans playfully practicing fishing 

I am guessing these birds were well prepared for the wild and will live just fine on Louisiana’s Gulf Coast.


Print of the Month: September '10

We're trying something new over here starting this month of September 2010:
The Print of the Month. I'm hoping everyone will enjoy it.

Print of the Month #1: 

This photograph entitled "Bonding" is our first in  the series of Prints of the Month we are now offering. This signed archival print is available at a special price of $40 until the next Print of the Month becomes available. At that point this print will be available at its regular price of $100.

For more details and/or to purchase your own signed CC Lockwood "Bonding" print visit the
Print of the Month webpage: HERE

If you have any questions please let us know!


Five-year anniversary of Katrina

Volume 1 Issue 2   

Yesterday was my five-year anniversary.  It was September 1, 2005 when I found out about this devastating storm that hit on August 29, 2005.  How could one not know about the hurricane heard around the world?  One way is to be at the bottom of the Grand Canyon on an eight-day river trip.  Each year I join a Grand Canyon Expeditions Colorado river rafting trip as a Photography guide.
S-rig white water raft
On August 24th, I met with my 28 students in a conference room of our Las Vegas Hotel to explain to them how we would photograph 100 wild rapids, majestic desert bighorn sheep and mile high canyon walls.  None of us had a clue what was brewing in the Atlantic.  The next morning at 5 AM we took a bus to Lee’s Ferry to begin our adventure with no radios, cell phone or any communication with the outside world except a signal mirror and a satellite phone that was hidden in the Guides box and only to be turned on in emergency.  We had no emergency on this wilderness river, unlike friends and family back home that lost lives, homes and their way of life.  Some with problems still going on today.

On September 1 our trip ended at South Cove in Lake Mead. Our two 37 foot s-rigged rafts were pulling up to the truck with long trailers when I heard one of the drivers yell, “Where is CC Lockwood, I have a packet of letters and a newspaper for him”.  I was startled, for never in 29 previous Colorado River trips had anybody been waiting for me at the boat ramp with a newspaper.  When I saw the cover of USA Today showing the Superdome surrounded by water, I did not have to read the headline mentioning Hurricane Katrina to know that we had the big one.
80% of New Orleans flooded by Hurricane Katrina
I knew with the loss of 2,000 square miles of marsh and barrier islands along coastal Louisiana that it was only a matter of time before New Orleans got the Sockdolager, which means knock out punch in German and is also the name of one of the bigger rapids I had just run in the Grand Canyon a few days before.  With a ton of trouble I managed to fly home the next night and get in the air and on the ground to photograph the wake of destruction left by Katrina on Louisiana’s vanishing coastline.  Much more to come in future blogs about this subject so critical to all Americans.