The Lake that Wasn't There

Back in the fall, our church youth group had a retreat at Sardis Lake Christian Camp in Mississippi. You might remember a photo of a nice sunrise from the camp that I shared a few months ago.

While we were there, the camp director suggested that we take a walk down to the lake. It wasn’t all that far, he said, only about a mile and a half. So late in the afternoon on Saturday, a few of us decided to go check out the scenery. Because it was getting dark, a few others were going to come in their truck to pick us up, so that we wouldn’t have to walk back in the dark. So off we went.

Either we were walking really slowly, or the walk was a good bit more than a mile and a half, because it took us a while to get there. I was even starting to wonder if there would be any daylight left by the time we arrived at the lake, hoping that we wouldn’t stumble into the water in the dark. In fact, it took us long enough that the truck arrived before we ever got there, so that we got to ride the rest of the way.

And then, we arrived at the lake. Except that we were greeted by a curious sight:

Sardis Lake in Mississippi, minus the lake

As you can see, there wasn’t much lake to see. See? You can see some water waaaaaay out there, but you can also see the line around the middle of the photo where the water usually is, and you can see that the water apparently sometimes comes all the way up to the immediate foreground where the short pine tree is. So although we walked out to see the lake, we didn’t actually see that much of the lake.

Apparently, the level of the water had something to do with how they were running the water through the dam at the time, and we learned later that it had something or other to do with the fish in the lake. I guess we didn’t actually learn it, come to think of it, because I can’t remember the exact reason now. But it was evidently not all that unusual, except that the camp guy forgot to tell us that we couldn’t hardly get to the lake from where we were going.

Oh well, at least the scenery was still nice, and those of us who went had a good time in going, too. We enjoyed our walk almost as much as we enjoyed our ride and not having to walk all the way.

We did take a interesting group photo while we were there:

Sardis Lake Group Photo

This actually wasn’t that much of a planned group photo, but I just had everyone stop where they were while I took the photo. There were actually six of us there, not including the photographer (that would be me). But you have to squint pretty hard to be able to see all six in this photo, because some in the group were able to get pretty far away. At least we didn’t have to worry about anyone falling into the water and not being able to swim.

Sardis Lake

Here is one more photo of the lake that wasn’t there. I actually did not mind it all that much. The clouds were nice, and the sky was starting to take on that interesting evening blue color. Plus, the colors of the mud and dirt on the ground were quite a bit different from what I was expecting to see. And there was also some water here and there to reflect the sky colors, too. While the trees weren’t quite in their fall colors yet, you could still see a few hints of color here and there among the evergreen trees.

While we might have had a little bit of disappointment that the view wasn’t quite what we were expecting, it was easy to find plenty to be happy about while we were there. All you have to do is look a little harder sometimes, and you can find it.

The depths of the sea became visible, the foundations of the world were exposed, at Your rebuke, Lord, at the blast of the breath of Your nostrils. - Psalm 18:15

About the photos:

As it was starting to get dark when we were walking, I was starting to wonder if I should have brought along my tripod to steady the camera for whatever photos I might take. But the more we walked, the more I was glad I hadn’t brought the tripod, deciding that I would just do the best I could with whatever light was left when we got there. As it turns out, everything was good, even if it wasn’t quite as bright as I might have preferred. High ISO settings and wide apertures saved the day!

As with most of my recent photos, these used the fisheye lens. It was nice to be able to get so much of the view in the frame. With a zoom lens, I could have zoomed in on the water way off in the distance, but I rather liked the barren view better, once I got used to the fact that the water wasn’t there.

Photo: A single Raw exposure, processed in Photoshop. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10
Lens: Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye Lens
Date: November 5, 2016
Location: Sardis Lake, Mississippi

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.