Bayou Kayaker: the man behind the lens - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Bayou Kayaker: the man behind the lens

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - He's a local man of mystery, taking pictures and posting them as the bayou kayaker on a Facebook page with thousands of fans. But really, Stephen Sodom, the man behind the camera is just a regular guy, pursuing his passion.

The calm, dark water of Black Bayou isn't exactly an inviting place; home to many gators and other creatures.

But it's where firefighter Stephen Odom feels right at home.

"I like being out here. I've never gotten scared. I actually like the excitement," said Odom.

Two years ago his brother gave him a kayak and from there it was history.

"It started out just for exercise. Then I started getting into backwoods swamps that nobody goes to and started seeing cypress knee formations and crazy looking things so I started taking pics," said Odom.

Pictures with a cell phone no less. Though you can't tell from looking at his pictures "Odie" as his friends call him, has no background in photography.

"You think that I'd look up photography, but I just kinda go. Its just whatever works, works," said Odom.

His inspiration?

"Anything unusual, out of the ordinary, anything that looks a little different. Even animals, like the gators we've seen today. People don't' get to see them in their natural environment," said Odom.

For good reason: to stay away from danger. But the danger doesn't scare Odie.

"You see an alligator and it's head goes down and you know you're going over it. You just keep on paddling. What else you gonna do?" said Odom.

Whatever it takes to bring his fans a picture of Louisiana in it's wildest and purest forms.

"People thank me and say there's no way I could get out to see that. You're bringing it home to me. Other people have moved away and say thanks for bringing me home. I feel homesick," said Odom.

His "Bayou Kayaker" fan page is bringing Louisiana to fans across the world. It's a work of love for this ever-learning photographer.

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