Heart of Louisiana: Nature photographer C.C. Lockwood

Updated: Mar. 23, 2021 at 9:45 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - For the past 45 years, photographer C.C. Lockwood has been capturing the natural beauty of Louisiana.

He has found some of his most amazing images in places managed by the Nature Conservancy, which has tracks of wildland in half of the state’s parishes.

We go on a photographic journey with C.C. Lockwood in the Cypress Island Nature at Lake Martin.

“You can follow the weather channel all you want, but until you get out here and snap the shutter, you don’t know what you’re gonna get,” says Lockwood.

After graduating from LSU with a finance degree in the early 1970s, C.C. Lockwood picked up a camera and emersed himself in Louisiana wilderness.

“I had the gumption to go out and just experiment and just wanting to be outdoors and figured out I could be a nature photographer,” he says.

Over the years, Lockwood has published his photographic journeys. And now in book number 14, he explores areas protected by the Louisiana Nature Conservancy. He calls it “Louisiana Wild.”

“Always been out there early and staying late. And just in that process, you going to end up with 223 great pictures to go in a book.”

The nature preserves marshes and swamps and rare longleaf pine Savannahs. Fire is used to clear the undergrowth which lets wild orchids and unique bug-eating pitcher plants thrive.

The Nature Conservancy has 60 properties scattered throughout Louisiana. Some of them, like Cypress Island at Lake Martin have easy public access.

You can take boat tours and fish and spot alligators in the wild, and photograph birds like the great blue heron.

While shooting tens of thousands of images for “Louisiana Wild,” Lockwood figures he saw a hundred sunrises and sunsets and spent 250 days in the field.

“A lot of photographers will just come out and see a flower, a bird, snap a shot and leave. But you really have to get to know them and stay you there to get that right moment, the right light,” he says.

And his favorite image came on a mostly cloudy day.

“And they say look behind you all the time. And patch of light came out and lit these, lit the scene with the prettiest light I’ve ever seen. I popped off a shot and it disappeared within seconds,” he says.

Being a nature photographer has enabled Lockwood to follow his passion for the outdoors. It’s a passion he shares through his books.

“It’s still important to, just for a more peaceful clean air, clean water, just a better place for the whole world to live in,” Lockwood says.

And with a little patience, you can experience for yourself the peaceful beauty of a wild Louisiana.

You can read more about photographer C.C. Lockwood’s Louisiana journeys, pick a few photography tips and see more images from Lake Martin and the Atchafalaya Basin at heartoflouisiana.com.

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