Phoebus Waterfront Park is located off Mellen Street in downtown Phoebus. There is a 96-foot pier with an attached floating dock. This waterfront park is fairly new as it had its grand opening in March 2019. Also, there is a small beach area on the right side of the pier. This park was designed to allow smaller boats or dinghies to come ashore from Mill Creek. The pier can also serve as a public landing for canoes and kayaks.
Best Time to Arrive
I happen to be on the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel Friday morning just before the sunrise and saw the potential for a very colorful sky. Even though I did not have my camera or lenses with me, we still decided to get off at the Mallory exit to drive down East Mellen Street to the waterfront area. It had been a number of years since we had been down to this area, so we were surprised to find the Phoebus Waterfront Park with a parking area, a pier and floating dock. We parked our car, and since I did not have my camera, I pulled out my iPhone and took a number of HDR images with my phone’s camera. Sunrise is definitely a good time to come to this location.
The Photography Potential
Phoebus Waterfront Park is great for sunrise pictures as there is a good eastward view over water and as there are a lot of different foreground elements that you can use to frame the sunrise over the water and the Fort Monroe Bridge. The foreground elements include pilings with gulls sitting on them, a small beach area, the pier, and hibiscus flowers in the summer. While I was there taking pictures of the sunrise with my iPhone, checking out the photographic potential and contemplating returning with my camera, lens and tripod, I did see a green heron fly over. So, I would bet that there is great potential for bird photography at this location as well. Plus, there were lots of gulls sitting on the pilings in the water near the end of the floating dock.
A wide-angle lens would be very handy at Phoebus Waterfront Park to capture a sunrise image. I would also bring a zoom lens like a 100-400mm lens just in case there happens to be some birds to photograph. A tripod and using either a remote switch or timer would be beneficial in capturing a sharp image of the sunrise. I also like to use a graduated neutral density filter and a bubble level on my camera hot shoe. Bracketing for High Dynamic Range (HDR) images would also be really effective for a nice sunrise image with all the potential of shadows and highlights you may capture in your image.
Even though these sunrise images were taken with my iPhone, I still tried to employ the techniques that I would used as if I was taking pictures with my DSLR. I framed images of the sunrise with the different foreground elements that I found in this park such as the hibiscus, trees, pilings, pier or even the small beach area. I often like to vary my angle of view either by going low or going even higher with my tripod. In addition, I always keep the horizon out of the middle of my image by either having more sky or more foreground. I will use more foreground elements in my sunrise images especially when the sky is not as dramatic. The park is small enough to be able to walk around to different areas to get different looks of the sunrise instead of being glued to just one spot.
Any Other Pertinent Information
Phoebus Waterfront Park is a very small waterfront park which has great opportunities for shooting sunrise images and where you possibly might find some birds passing through the area. I am definitely returning to this park with my tripod, camera and wide-angle lens, and hopefully, next time I will have another beautiful sunrise to document and capture and to share here on my blog.
Thank you for taking the time to view my blog and this Hampton Roads Photography Location Blog series.
All the very best,
Lori A. Cash
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