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.
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.
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.