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Behind The Shot: Ascension

Cypress Island Preserve, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
Cypress Island Preserve - Breaux Bridge - Louisiana

Photo By Zeralda LaGrange

Lake Martin and Cypress Island Preserve in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, is a haven for a variety of species of birds, reptiles and amphibians. A nature lover’s paradise, if you’re a nature photographer, this is the “it” spot in southern Louisiana.

On one foggy morning this past January, serendipity allowed me to capture this magical moment. My original intent was to practice landscape photography in the fog. There’s an isolated tree in the lake that’s rather iconic, as almost everyone who has ever been to the lake photographs it, and it was the subject I had in mind. However, upon arriving, the fog was so thick over the lake that I knew it wouldn’t produce the image I had envisioned. I decided I’d wait for the fog to lift enough so I could pursue the photo I had set out to make.

The road that runs into the preserve leads toward a rookery. I knew it was still too soon for the rookery to be showing much activity, but you never know what delights will surprise you when you go to Lake Martin. It was on my way to the rookery that I encountered the breathtaking scene of birds gathered. It was filled with egrets, cormorants, anhingas and a lone great blue heron. The fog was not nearly as thick over this area, and it created a perfect ethereal atmosphere.

The road is wide enough that you’ll often find cars parked along the sides as people are admiring the view. This provides the opportunity to utilize your vehicle as a blind. However, some days, others have already occupied the coveted spots. In that case, one is often forced to park and exit the vehicle to reach a suitable spot, and that was what I had to do. I made my way slowly so as not to disturb the birds. I wasn’t in the exact spot I wanted to be in, as I had hoped to be lined up in the middle, right in front of the scene. However, someone else had claimed that spot. Instead, I was off to the side shooting through branches of shrubs.

Egrets are ubiquitous in southern Louisiana, to the point that it’s almost a letdown when you arrive to shoot and that’s all that’s there. It’s a challenge to find a unique way of showcasing their beauty, as we take it for granted because of their pervasiveness. Mother Nature, however, has a way of spectacularly reminding us to pay attention to the extraordinary in an otherwise mundane scene.

See more of Zeralda LaGrange’s photography at

Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2, handheld. Exposure: 1/250 sec., ƒ/9, ISO 1000.