A picture of a swamp: it’s not a bad picture, but compared to my numerous other pictures of swamps, it may not look like much at first. However, this piece is the result of over a year’s worth of research, obtaining access to private property, crawling over boulders, trudging through wetlands, and numerous cuts/scrapes/wet boots.
What’s so special about this image is not the composition, lighting, or other photographic qualities. Instead, as I’ve been working on my book about the Potomac River, I’ve been trying to highlight all of the unique aspects of this watershed, namely the plants that call it home. Particularly, I’ve been searching for a naturally growing bald cypress, to demonstrate how the Potomac watershed houses so many unique plant communities.
The bald cypress, is a beautiful tree (used ornamentally in many locations, including in LaFayette Square next to the White House) that grows naturally in the swamps of the Southeastern US. Despite being a hardy plant, its seedlings cannot survive the winters endured North of here.
Sure, I’ve shot much more visually interesting images of this tree in the Great Dismal Swamp and Louisiana Cajun Country, but I want to convey how much the Potomac is at the juxtaposition of the American natural landscape. Travelling down the 302 mile long River is “biologically” equivalent to the 1500 mile journey from the Gulf of Mexico to the Bay of Fundy.