Caddo Lake Texas Trip Report of Cypress Trees in Fall Color

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I was determined to go to Caddo Lake, Texas this year after a great fall season with very successful fall color expeditions to Washington State in September and Maine in October.

I arrived at the lake only to find that a rare insect infestation in October had resulted in the loss of leaves from the vast majority of the Cypress Trees in the lake. It was the second year in a row of this. It is apparently some type of non-native insect. It is unknown if this is going to continue to happen every year, which would be very unfortunate.

I was initially devastated by what I saw. I could only hope that there were some places in the lake or other locations that had escaped the devastation. I took a kayak out into the lake to see if I could find any nearby trees that still had leaves and color. There was nothing left in the area I was able to get to.

I checked with a nearby guide service, and they said there were some areas that survived without damage in the eastern end of the lake. I was going to be going on a boat with a guide in a couple of days, so I was now hopeful that all was not lost.

Nearby to Caddo Lake is Caddo Lake State Park, which has a small lake called Mill Pond. I was told it had escaped major damage, so I went there before sunrise the next morning.

I was excited to see there were trees with fall color! I wasn’t going to get skunked.

Cypress trees in red fall color at Caddo Lake, Texas
"Orange Everywhere" - Click on Photo to Purchase

I was immediately struck by the large amounts of moss that was here compared to what there was in Georgia. I looked at the various trees to see how I could capture this best. The following photo was the best example of this.

Cypress trees with red fall color and hanging moss at Caddo Lake, Texas
"Cypress Moss" - Click on Photo to Purchase

Mill Pond is not a large body of water, but large enough to capture a panoramic image of the scene. The following is an image that is the result of three images stitched together. This really captures the feeling of what it was like that morning.

a panoramic view of cypress trees in Caddo Lake, Texas with red and orange fall color
"Swamp Mysteries" - Click on Photo to Purchase

There was some cool fog that morning down at the far end of the pond. The challenge was balancing the image with the large trees on the left with the fog and smaller trees on the right. It wouldn't have worked without the fog.

fog over the water at Caddo Lake, Texas with cypress trees in fall color
"Swamp Fog" - Click on Photo to Purchase

I was scheduled to go out on a boat on Caddo Lake before sunrise with a very good local guide, Michael Landrum, on one of my next mornings there. He assured me that despite what I was seeing from where I was staying near the lake that he would have me photographing some beautiful color scenes. I was encouraged and very hopeful.
We headed out well before sunrise. The sun wasn't up yet, but there was enough light to shoot when we arrived at our first location. The trees were in great shape and lush with color. I had a big smile on my face as I shot frame after frame.

a lone cypress tree in the water in red fall color at Caddo Lake, Texas
"Early Morning Cypress" - Click on Photo to Purchase
a cypress tree in red fall color with its branches extending out wide at Caddo Lake, Texas
"Caddo Color" - Click on Photo to Purchase

Our next stop was in an area of the lake to capture sunrise with a group of cypress trees. During my five days there, this was the only morning where there were some clouds and a good sunrise. I considered myself lucky to have chosen that morning to be on the boat.

the sun rising over the horizon behind the cypress trees in the water at Caddo Lake, Texas
"Caddo Sunrise" - Click on Photo to Purchase

We quickly proceeded to an area where the rising sun was shining some really nice light on the trees. I tended to want to capture the more closeup type shot without the sky in the photo. These trees are just magnificent in the fall.

vertical view of a brilliant orange cypress tree in fall color in the water at Caddo Lake, Texas
"Caddo Lake Color" - Click on Photo to Purchase
Late morning sun on a beautiful cypress tree in the water with orange fall color at Caddo Lake, Texas
"Sunny Cypress" - Click on Photo to Purchase

I stopped at Navarre Beach on the way back through Florida to get another shot at getting a good sunrise there. It's one of those places where you have to shoot from November to January to get the sun in the photo. I had tried before on another trip without success, but this time it was pretty good.

sunrise skies behind the Navarre Beach pier with waves on the beach
"Navarre Sunrise" - Click on Photo to Purchase

As I continued my drive home from Texas, I could only think about how well my trip to Caddo Lake turned out. I kept remembering how bad it looked when I first got there.

I head out next to New Mexico to photograph the Organ Mountains and White Sands National Park. I had been out there many years ago, but only for a short time with limited success. The area has huge photographic potential, and I intend on coming away with some great images. Stay tuned.