I was out prowling one of my favorite sections of the Lake Pontchartrain shoreline on a day last month, up before even the first bit of light had appeared…..it was surprisingly windy with a strong blow out of the south.
The water was bursting and spraying on the breakwater, churning everything into a choppy froth.
Then, as the first bit of light finally started to create those first dark, low-contrast shades of grey, I started to see it: white dancing sea monsters on the top of the water!
This was something I had never seen before, and for several minutes I wasn’t sure what it was. I started shooting as the light grew ever-so-slowly brighter, still not sure what was there in front of me.
Part foam, part substance, but floating on top of the water and mostly a dirty white tinge in the early dawn light.
But the images were wonderful! Eerie and mysterious, the slow shutter speeds gave the substance a wonderful movement in the half light. Here are a couple of them.
Two theories: the record-breaking high water on the Mississippi River earlier this summer had resulted in the opening of the Bonnet Carre spillway, flooding the lake with millions of gallons of fresh water. The lake is brackish and all of this fresh water can result in giant algae blooms afterwards. Could it be?
Alas, no, that’s not it. According to The Times-Picayune’s environmental reporter, Mark Schleifstein, the more likely culprit is regular, lowly old duckweed: unsightly, but not much of a hazard to fish or fowl. But duckweed is green. This material was white…so what was it?
I may never know. I’ve decided to stick with my original thought: sea monsters!
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. Or subscribe to our Facebook page or our Twitter feed. Thanks!–DiscerningPhotog