Copenhagen Hills

This is the start of a series on places I visited for my new book. Most will come from my journal on a day we visited that site.

Journal……7/31/13.  We are off to a great start. The first day of shooting is at Copenhagen Hills Preserve in Caldwell Parish.  This the home to the largest diversity of woody plants in Louisiana and a spectacular show of purple coneflowers.  We just missed the peak, but there is plenty left to shoot.  I decided to think like I did with my film camera, look for the good shot first and not waste too much film.  Got to think that way, makes for better images over all.  When I finished my last book 5 years ago I switched to digital and now shoot more frames and less with a tripod.  Why, images stabilizer and free clicks.  Now I have to get serious and go for great images to make a wonderful book. This project is about good things, the lands of The Nature Conservancy.  Saving endangered plants and animals, producing clean air and water and leaving places of joy, quietness, solitude and meditation for all of us.
Image# 130731-0001
The first photograph I took on this project

I found some purple coneflowers, a touch ragged but still pretty and made my first image count.  I think I did. Why is this place different?  First the limestone-based soil is rare here in Louisiana and gives the flowers a place to grow. There is more than prairie here, you also see the piney woods, the hardwood bottomlands, a cypress lake and the riverbank communities. Butterflies are all over the flowers.  Not much wildlife today.  Too hot, they are in the shade resting. Fall Spiders are out.  Lots of Maple on the slope to the river could be good colors. 

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Maple Magnificence    

Ronnie Ulmer, the Northeast land manger for The Nature Conservancy sums this preserve up best with one of his Ronnie-isms, “You can see more kinds of nature here with the fewest steps than anywhere else in Louisiana.”  Its true we came back and visited this site five times.

LouisianaWild in your bookstore or on this web site soon.


Digital Wonders

At 12:10 PM the other night I used my Nikon D-800 to shoot a night shot at a friend’s lake.  The moon was setting to my right and it along with the stars made my exposure of 30 seconds at f6.7 give me great detail in the water and sky. I shoot in raw format and by using the exposure slider in Adobe Lightroom I was able to make another rendition of the above image. This one showing detail to make it look almost like day time.  Look closely at the second image below and you can still see the stars.

Southern stars over Havenwood Lake
Image# 150627-0130

Way back when (2006) when I was still shooting film, there was no way to get these two different versions of an image out of one Kodachrome 200 slide or any other film. These days you can do hundreds of editing tasks with LR or Photoshop much easier and quicker than you could in the darkroom and many more such as this two examples that you could not do before because of the limitations of film.

Fake daylight over Havenwood Lake
Image# 150627-0130 adjusted

But with traditional photographers like myself, you can use these remarkable cameras to make straightforward images of beautiful places such as the lands protected and restored by The Nature Conservancy in Louisiana.  I did so over the last two years when I visited multiple times the 60 plus properties covering over 350,000 acres in Louisiana by TNC.  My book, Louisiana Wild, which has been researched, photographed, written, edited, designed and printed is now being shipped to the warehouse.  It will be in books stores by September.

New book cover

Every Tuesday, I will write about one of the areas I visited making this book. I will start July 28 with one of the most interesting areas which is named Copenhagen Hills.  This hilly sylvan paradise has more different species of trees than any place in Louisiana.  I started my shooting for this book there on the last day of July 2013 and have been working on it since.  Please tune into my blog every Tuesday to learn more about these interesting habitats. And look for Louisiana Wild in your bookstore or on this web site soon.