The Great Bridge and Battlefield and Waterways Park is located in Chesapeake, Virginia just north of the Great Bridge bridge. This park is an historic park as it is serves as a tribute to the history of the Battle of Great Bridge which was fought on December 9, 1775 during the Revolutionary War. There is a museum, the Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterways Museum, on the park grounds. This park is located on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and has several trails on the property that included a marsh overlook, eco preservation area and waterway trails that go north and south along the Intracoastal Waterway.
Best Time to Arrive
Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterways Park is open from sunrise to sunset, and if exploring the woods for macro photography, this location would be suitable for photographing just about any time of the day. Sunrise would be a good time to capture the colorful sky over the Intracoastal Waterway. Early morning or late evening would be ideal for scenic or landscape photography along the Intracoastal Waterway or at the Marsh Overlook area.
The Photography Potential
The photography potential at Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterways Park is very good for macro, landscapes/sunrise, and wildlife. I have seen deer in the early mornings in the woods at this park, and the marsh area has the potential for waterfowl. The woods are great to explore here at this park for macro photography as there is wealth of different subjects to be found such as mushrooms, fungi, leaves, etc. The Intracoastal Waterway provides some unique perspectives to sunrise with the boats that are moored along the canal, and there is always potential to get a kayaker going down the canal in the early morning light as well. There is a docking pier on the causeway at the park, and this lends a better view of the Intracoastal Waterway at sunrise.
The photography gear that is needed for this location depends on the type of photography you might want to explore at the park, but a wide-angle lens for sunrise or landscapes and a short telephoto zoom lens such as a 75-300mm would be ideal. A longer lens would be needed to photograph waterfowl or wildlife at the marsh area since there is a bit of distance from the overlook to the water area in the marsh. A macro lens, close up filters or extension tubes would be ideal for doing macro photography in the trails in the woods. I would suggest a tripod for sharper images, whether you are photographing sunrise or macro. I like to use a remote switch for capturing my sunrise or macro images, and if you don’t have a remote switch, you can use your timer on your camera so that you don’t inadvertently cause any camera shake on your images. I also like to use a hot shoe bubble level to make sure my images are level and straight with the horizon.
Techniques I used for some of my sunrise images at Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterways Park included using auto exposure bracketing (AEB) of 3 images at +/- 2ev. With that, I merged the 3 AEB images during my post processing procedures for a more realistic type of high-dynamic range (HDR) look. For capturing my macro/close-up images, I used my Vanguard tripod with the legs open wide to get close down to the ground and used my center column on my tripod to position my camera close to my subject.
Any Other Pertinent Information
Other pertinent information for this location is that there is another small park along the Intracoastal Waterway across the street called the Great Bridge Locks Park. This location would be convenient to explore after leaving the Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterways Park. At the Great Bridge Locks Park there are opportunities to photograph scenic or landscapes of the Great Bridge bridge, the locks, or even the waterways. In addition, there is wildlife photography potential with ducks, herons, osprey and crabs along the trail of the waterway. Also, I should mention that there is a restroom located at the Great Bridge Locks Park while there is only a port a potty outside at the Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterways Park. If you are there while the museum is open, there may be indoor options, however, with the COVID situation, I am not sure of the museum hours at this time.
Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterways Park has a lot to offer for the nature photographer whether you like to photograph sunrises or landscapes, macro or wildlife. Hope you can get a chance to get out to this location and explore the possibilities it offers and capture some great images.
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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