(WVUE) - For the past 40 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 wild land in half of the state's parishes. Now, those natural areas are documented in a new book. Dave McNamara takes us on a photographic journey with Lockwood in the Cypress Island Preserve 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," Lockwood said.
After graduating from LSU with a finance degree in the early 1970s, Lockwood picked up a camera and immersed himself in Louisiana's 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 said.
"Always been out there early and staying late," Lockwood said. "And just in that process, you're going to end up with 223 great pictures to go in a book."
One of Lockwood's favorite sites is at Lake Martin.
"I say there's good sunrises and great sunrises, and most of them are great," he said.
In the nature preserve are marshes and swamps and rare longleaf pine savannahs where 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. And some of them, like Cypress Island, have easy public access. You can take boat tours, fish, 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," Lockwood said. "But you really have to get to know them and stay out there to get that right moment, the right light."
And his favorite image came on a mostly cloudy day.
"They say look behind you all the time," Lockwood said. "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."
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 just for a more peaceful, clean air, clean water just a better place for the whole world live in," he said.
And with a little patience, you can experience for yourself the peaceful beauty of a wild Louisiana. Lockwood's book is now available in bookstores.