Lower Cane is a scenic image included in the upcoming photo exhibit at Magale Library, Centenary College, Shreveport, Louisiana. The exhibit runs from June 1st throughout the summer during regular library hours. Sponsored by the Friends of Red River National Wildlife Refuge, a non-profit Friends support group, the exhibit features images taken at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge. The non-profit Friends group supports and promotes the Refuge in many ways, from running a bookstore at the Headquarters Unit Visitor Center to endeavors such as this photo exhibit.
The exhibit features over two dozen images I’ve taken over the past several years, as well as images from other photographers. Most of my images are of wildlife, such as birds in flight, mammals and insects, but there are a couple of scenics.
I included Lower Cane for several reasons. First, the image is actually a two-image panorama digitally merged. For my typical photography style of birds in flight or single subject images a scenic panorama is way out of my comfort zone but the field of view just needed to be as wide as possible to appreciate the scene.
Second, the composition is very appealing (at least to me). Horizontal layers of yellow flowers, water, the distant tree line, two distinct cloud layers and the vertical cypress trees scattered across the image sort of tie everything together and provide a sense of depth. The yellow flowers and cloudy skies seem to indicate early fall (the images were actually taken in October 2009).
The third reason, and really the whole point of including this image, is to emphasize that Red River National Wildlife Refuge in northwest Louisiana is more than the 650 acres and Visitor Center we call Headquarters Unit. The general public is just beginning to discover the Refuge even exists and many folks are spending a little time at the brand new (and very nice) Visitor Center and perhaps walking the trails or even fishing at Lake Caroline. Headquarters Unit could be a small compact Refuge in itself. Headquarters is 650 acres. There are three other Refuge Units located farther south along the Red River. Bayou Pierre Unit is about 30 minutes south of Shreveport just off of Hwy 1. Spanish Lake Lowlands Unit is several miles north of Natchitoches, bisected by I-49. You might have noticed the familiar brown Refuge signs or the blue goose boundary markers. Lower Cane River Unit is down below Natchitoches near the Melrose Plantation. These three units are all much larger in acreage than Headquarters Unit. The entire Refuge may one day be as large as 50,000 acres. So the 650 acres called Headquarters will only be 1.3% of the entire Refuge at some point in the future. The small Refuge staff has several persons you might see on a day to day basis assisting and educating the public. But what you don’t often see are the other staff members that spend a great deal of their time at the other Units doing the behind the scenes work of preparing and maintaining the Refuge as a resting and refueling place for migratory birds, as well as assisting landowners better utilize their property to support wildlife. The majority of the Refuge is not accessible to the public. In many cases, there aren’t even public access roads or the properties are landlocked between other landowners or the marshy areas are only accessible by boat. But the Refuge does have several public access places (such as Headquarters and Bayou Pierre Unit) available now and will have more places available as they are prepared.
So enjoy the Visitor Center and Headquarters Unit and Bayou Pierre Unit. But keep in mind the Refuge is much larger and serves a much larger purpose.