Hampton Roads Photography Location Guide: Newport News Park-Part 2

Newport News Park in the Fall is the follow up (part 2) of my original Hampton Roads Photography Location Guide of Newport News Park.

About

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.

Gear Needed

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.

Techniques Used

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

Copyright © 2006-2020 Lori A. Cash Photography. All Rights Reserved. All images on this website is the sole property of Lori A. Cash/Lori A. Cash Photography. Images may not be copied, printed or otherwise disseminated without express written permission from Lori A. Cash Photography.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I will get back with you.

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Harwood’s Mill Reservoir Photo Outing

Harwood’s Mill Reservoir is a gem of a place for a photo outing. The reservoir is a 265-acre impoundment which supplies water to the City of Newport News. Harwood’s Mill Reservoir is part of the City of Newport News Park system as they own the land, but the reservoir is actually located in York County, Virginia. The reservoir parking area is located off exit 255B on I-64 and is off of Oriana Road (SR 620) in Yorktown, Virginia. Oriana Road divides the reservoir into two sections. On the northern section there is an abundance of cypress trees while the southern section has more open water. The southern section is where the parking area is located for Harwood’s Mill Reservoir .

A couple of weeks ago while nearby the area, I decided to stop by the reservoir to check it out, and I saw a lot of potential for sunrise, especially with the fall colors on some of the trees around the lake. Also, I discovered they have kayaks and john boats with paddles and oars available to rent from Memorial Day to the end of October. The john boat rentals are $6 for all day, but I am uncertain about the kayak rental fee.

So, last weekend, I headed out to Hardwood’s Mill Reservoir for sunrise and to rent a john boat for an hour or two to do some landscape photography with the fall colors around the reservoir. Unfortunately, the sunrise was not the greatest sunrise as there was not much color in the sky. I did take some images of the sunrise using different foreground elements to help with the lack of color in the sky. In the sunrise photos I used AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing) by taking three pictures of a scene and then merging those three images in my HDR software, which is Photomax Essentials. Below is an HDR image of the sunrise from Harwood’s Mill reservoir. Even though, that morning did not have a great colorful sky with sunrise, there was potential with the subject and foreground elements to make some great sunrise images. Therefore, I will be attempting to photograph future sunrises here at Harwood’s Mill Reservoir as I really did like some of the landscape potential at this location.

As I explored the reservoir lake in the johnboat just after sunrise, I discovered something moving along with edge of the water, and as I got closer, I discovered it was an American coot. However, this coot did not have the usual all-black body. Its color was more grayish. I am thinking this bird may be an immature coot. Luckily, I happen to bring a short telephoto lens with which I was able to use to capture some images of this coot. The proximity of the background was too close and did not allow for blurring out the background, which I really prefer to do, but from the johnboat I did get some nice images of this coot in its habitat. I also encountered a pied-billed, herons and other birds that were too small to determine what they were from a distance. Next time I will bring my binoculars and my longer lens. Below are a couple of images of this coot from Harwood’s Mill Reservoir.

While spending couple of hours padding around the reservoir lake taking pictures of the various landscape views, I found some select trees with nice fall colors. I used a monopod in the boat to give me a little extra stability and compensate for the action of the moving boat on the water. Here are a couple of images taken of the fall colors of the lake from the johnboat.

Harwood’s Mill Reservoir was a fantastic find for me as a photo location and as an outdoor nature lover. It was very enjoyable and peaceful to be out on the lake. It had been quite a while since I had been in a small boat on the water like that. This will definitely be a place to return to frequently. I did briefly explore one trail and found some macro subjects such as fungi and mushrooms. Like all woods, because of the change in weather and seasons, you never know each time walking through the woods what you may discover for macro subjects. Next time I return, I plan to explore the trail around the southern section of the lake to see what opportunities present for photographing birds or landscapes.

Hope you enjoy my images from Harwood’s Mill Reservoir. I would love to hear what you think of my images.

Thank you for taking the time to view and read my blog.

All the very best,

Lori A. Cash

Copyright © 2006-2020 Lori A. Cash Photography. All Rights Reserved.
All images on this website is the sole property of Lori A. Cash/Lori A. Cash Photography. Images may not be copied, printed or otherwise disseminated without express written permission from Lori A. Cash Photography.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I will get back with you.

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Fall Colors at Stumpy Lake

Last Saturday morning, I headed to Stumpy Lake Natural Area in Virginia Beach, Virginia for a photo outing. I wanted to check on how the leaves were doing in changing colors and to see what bird activity might be around this time in the fall. Even though I knew it would not be a good sunrise, I still arrived as I normally do, at least a half hour before sunrise.

I knew that the rain was coming later that morning and had hoped for some dramatic clouds. There were some decent clouds but not as dramatic as I had hoped for. However, the leaves were turning into fall colors very nicely around the lake which made for some attractive fall color images. Here are a couple of my fall color images of Stumpy Lake.

As I was taking the landscape photographs this morning, there was a lot of bird activity in the sky, especially with the many great egrets around the lake. In addition, there was a lot of bird activity with terns, cormorants and great blue herons. I found myself to be quite focused on the great egrets and great blue herons as I found each of these birds in very scenic and picturesque locations in trees that had a lot of changing color leaves. I was glad to have such as cloudy morning as it helped to diffuse my lighting especially for the egret images.

I used my new Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens for Canon EF along with my new Canon 6D Mark II camera and was very pleased with the images that this combination provided. I especially liked the ability to change my focal length anywhere from 150mm to 600mm and that it gave me such a wide range of images with the birds. I could go tight for a up close and then back out to create a scenic type bird picture. I had a lot of fun playing with the lens and being creative in my photography.

Below are a couple of my egret and heron fall color images from Stumpy Lake. I am hoping to go back out in a few weeks to see how the changing colors are doing. Hopefully, I will have some new images soon to post from Stumpy Lake.

Thank you for taking the time to view and read my blog!

All the very best,

Lori A. Cash

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I will get back with you.


Please follow me on…..

Share with friends…..

Copyright © 2006-2020 Lori A. Cash Photography. All Rights Reserved.
All images on this website is the sole property of Lori A. Cash/Lori A. Cash Photography. Images may not be copied, printed or otherwise disseminated without express written permission from Lori A. Cash Photography.

Norfolk Botanical Garden Summer Images

One of the nicest advantages of living in Norfolk, Virginia is living so close by to the Norfolk Botanical Garden. I frequently make visits to the Norfolk Botanical Garden throughout the year. One of my favorite photography spots and my favorite subject matter this summer has been at the garden photographing the American bullfrogs. But I have also found some time to photograph some other subjects on my many trips to the gardens this past summer.

The Norfolk Botanical Garden is a photographer’s paradise with so many beautiful flowers, roses, butterflies, dragonflies, frogs, snakes, and other wildlife. But let’s not forget, as we are now in the fall season with the fall colors popping soon, that the Norfolk Botanical Garden is also a great place to photograph the change in the colors of the leaves this fall.

Below is an image I photographed late last fall at the Norfolk Botanical Garden after a raining morning.

Path along the Norfolk Botanical Garden after a morning rain with fall leaves on the ground.

Below are some of my favorite images from my summer photo shoots at the Norfolk Botanical Garden.

Thank you for taking the time to view and read my blog.

All the very best,

Lori A. Cash

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I will get back with you.


Please follow me on…..

Share with friends…..

Copyright © 2006-2020 Lori A. Cash Photography. All Rights Reserved.
All images on this website is the sole property of Lori A. Cash/Lori A. Cash Photography. Images may not be copied, printed or otherwise disseminated without express written permission from Lori A. Cash Photography.

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