Why I Love Lake Pontchartrain

Thunderhead#2 near the 16-mile marker, Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. (Copyright 2011 / Andrew Boyd)

Thunderhead#2 near the 16-mile marker, Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. (Copyright 2011 / Andrew Boyd)

Lake Pontchartrain, just north of New Orleans, is the second-largest saltwater body in the United States (after the Great Salt Lake in Utah). I live on the northern side of the lake but cross it twice each workday on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway bridge, one of the longest bridges in the world at 24 miles length. Which brings me to my subject for today: why I love Lake Pontchartrain.

I lived in New Orleans for many, many years (almost 20) before moving to the lake’s Northshore, and like most New Orleanians, Lake Pontchartrain was something I was aware of, but not really connected to in any meaningful way.  This changed dramatically once I moved, though. Twenty-four miles on a narrow bridge over water, twice a day, has a way of focusing your mind!

Single street light near West End Point, Lake Pontchartrain. (Copyright 2011 / Andrew Boyd)

Single street light near West End Point, Lake Pontchartrain. (Copyright 2011 / Andrew Boyd)

After the initial terror and fear subsided, I came to really look forward to my Causeway commutes. The lake is a beautiful, very alive body of water, different with each and every crossing. Some days I’m fascinated by the clouds, which can take an infinite variety of forms. Other days it might be the Louisiana brown pelicans, which occasionally ride thermals just a few feet off the bridge’s surface but out over the water: I’ve never been so close to such majestic, prehistoric cruisers. At the right time of year, you can see pods of tarpon swimming just below the surface of the water.

Pier and cypress tree, Fountainebleau State Park at Lake Pontchartrain. (Copyright 2011 / Andrew Boyd)

Pier and cypress tree, Fountainebleau State Park at Lake Pontchartrain. (Copyright 2011 / Andrew Boyd)

Which brings me, finally, to the lake and my photography. Water plays a big role in my personal shooting. I’ve always been fascinated by water and trying to capture its mystery and essence with a camera. Lake Pontchartrain is easily my most constant ‘watery’ source of inspiration. I’ve included a few images from the last year or so to illustrate this point.

Katrina pier remains, Rat's Nest Road, Slidell, Louisiana. (Copyright 2011 / Andrew Boyd)

Katrina pier remains, Rat's Nest Road, Slidell, Louisiana. (Copyright 2011 / Andrew Boyd)

So stop, get out, and look around: what’s your source of photographic inspiration? You have one, or more, such sources, if you stop and think about it. I would suggest it would be a good thing to contemplate; you might be surprised at what you come to learn about your own photography in the process.

Hi, I’m Andrew Boyd, a.k.a. The Discerning Photographer, and I hope this post has been interesting and informative. Please leave me a comment about it, let me know what you’d like to see more of on the site! You can also sign up for email delivery of all future articles or my RSS feed. Thanks!–DiscerningPhotog

Related sites on the web

My other posts that mention Lake Pontchartrain

Lake Pontchartrain wiki page

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway web site

Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation web site

Lake Pontchartrain photos at Flickr

Posted in: Gallery

About the Author:

Photographer, videographer and photo editor. Host and creator of The Discerning Photographer web site. Currently a Canon shooter.

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