Thursday, December 25, 2014

Best of 2014: April

Nana Buruku

This ancient, immense cypress tree presides over Lake Martin in south Louisiana on the edge of the Atchafalaya Basin. To be more precise, Lake Martin is south of Breau Bridge and east of Lafayette. It is more swamp than lake.

I am in awe of the place. My second trip in April 2014 I went on a swamp tour--a mere $20 very well spent--and hiked part way around the lake. And although I came home with more than 200 photos, of which several are outstanding, this one is my favorite.

All while processing the photo I kept thinking "spirit of the swamp." And so, with some searching, I found Nana Buruku, a large, strong, dark-skinned wise old woman from Yoruba religion who presides over waters, especially swamps. Surely this is she!

A couple of photographic notes:
     1) This looks like a pretty straight documentary shot, and it certainly is "documentary" in intent and result. But swamps are over the top in terms of visual distractions, and I spent several hours in photoshop using a variety of tools to make the tree stand out and bring out the texture and light, but keeping the fullest sense of context possible.
     2) The January and February photos I shared can't be anything but color. This one for April and the one for March are black & white, and really can't be anything  but black & white. They just don't work in color. In perusing my swamp tour photos, I passed over this one again and again, until one day I was looking with an eye toward black & white, and it popped out. I couldn't even see it until I was seeing it in black & white!

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