Newport News Park in the Fall is the follow up (part 2) of my original Hampton Roads Photography Location Guide of Newport News Park.
Newport News Park located in Newport News, Virginia has tremendous opportunities for photographing fall colors. The fall and autumn season brings out the beautiful colors of the foliage of the leaves around the water of the Lee Hall Reservoir. The cooler temperatures also bring chances for more weather enhanced images such as fog across the water with the fall foliage colors of the trees. Newport News Park is a great place for landscape photography in the fall.
Best Time to Arrive
I really like to arrive when the park opens at sunrise as the park tends to get very busy with people as the day progresses and, too, because I like to photograph the sunrise at Newport News Park. Even in the early morning hours there are still a bit of folks out enjoying the park, and this sometimes can cause a little bit of vibration when people walk by on the bridge at dam #1 that crosses the reservoir lake, the place where I like to photograph sunrise. I always pause until the people pass if I am photographing from this bridge.
The Photography Potential
Newport News Park with its 7500+ acres is a very large municipal park with a lot of photography potential for various types of photography including landscape, macro and wildlife. Newport News Park offers several trails and boardwalks along the Lee Hall Reservoir in addition to the bridge that crosses the reservoir at Dam #1. The colors of the fall foliage reflecting off the water has a great photography potential as well. With the different trails along the reservoir and several scenic overlook areas there are many opportunities to capture different perspectives of the fall foliage in the park.
I also use my tripod, ball head, shutter release for my landscape photography in addition to my camera and wide-angle lens. I suggest bringing a mid-range zoom lens to capture more intimate images of the fall foliage. I recommend using a circular polarizer filter while photographing the fall foliage to help reduce the glare especially on bright and sunny days and because the polarizer helps to intensify the colors of your scene. A polarizer filter is most effective in capturing the intensity of the fall colors when using it in the brighter part of the day such as before mid-day. Another important thing to remember when using a polarizer filter is to keep the sun at a 90º right angle to the camera.
Another filter that I like to use when photographing fall colors is the neutral density (ND) filter especially when I want to slow my shutter speed, such as with flowing water, which brings a dynamic element to your fall color images. Often fall foliage is most seen by rivers, creeks, lakes and reservoirs. The ND filter allows us photographers to be creative in the images that we capture. A third filter that I might use on occasion is the graduated neutral density (Grad ND) filter which allows better control over the light source of your scene. The filter has a darker area at the top and a clear section at the bottom and comes in various strengths. You place the dark area of the Grad ND over your sky area to help with balancing the light in your scene. Using the Grad ND filter will help from overexposing your sky and to keep the exposure balance with your foreground. I use Singh-Ray ND and Grad ND filters, and I have several strengths of the Gallen Rowell Grad ND filters in my camera bag.
The best lighting for capturing fall color images is taking your pictures on an overcast morning as the cloudy skies act as a diffuser to your fall foliage scene. On cloudy days, I like to focus more on the intimate or close up of the fall colors of the leaves. On cloudy days it is best to leave the cloudy sky out of the scene. Sunny days with blue skies are better days to include the sky in your fall foliage scene.
Any Other Pertinent Information
This fall season, I did not find the fall colors as colorful and beautiful in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia as in years past. I noticed in the Hampton Roads area that a lot of the leaves were turning yellow and dropping prior to the time of peak colors. Although this year I did not capture the full fall colors at the peak time, Newport News Park has a great potential for fall color images. I plan to be back there in 2021 to photograph the fall foliage image that I have been envisioning to capture this year but did not get this fall.
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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