Hampton Roads Photography Location Guide: Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterways Historic Park

About

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.

Gear Needed

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 Used

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

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

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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.

Sunrise at Buckroe Beach

Friday morning, I went to Buckroe Beach in Hampton, Virginia for the first time in twenty-something years to photograph the sunrise. I was pleasantly surprised with the change in the beach since I was last there with the addition of jetties and shoreline rocks, and a pier.

All of these additions made for some interesting compositions for my sunrise images. I was fortunate that it was a great morning for a sunrise with the sky full of orange and yellow colors.

In addition to the beautiful sunrise that I witness and photographed, there were quite a few black skimmers hanging around the beach. The skimmers would often take flight when the beach tractor came by combing the sand on the beach. This made for some great opportunities for in-flight bird photography.

It was definitely a great morning at Buckroe Beach. I wanted to share a few images that I captured Friday morning.

For my sunrise images, I used auto exposure bracketing (AEB) of 3 images to process as high dynamic range (HDR) images. I used a +/-2EV for my exposure bracketing with a low ISO and varying apertures from f/11 to f/22. Although, with HDR I like my images to be more of a realistic HDR image.  Hope you enjoy these images. Let me know what you think.

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.


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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.

Hampton Roads Photography Location Guide: Phoebus Waterfront Park

About

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.

Lori A. Cash Photography Blog is where I will discuss all things related to wildlife, nature and vineyard photography.
Sunrise over pier at the Phoebus Waterfront Park on Mill Creek in Hampton, Virginia.

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.

Lori A. Cash Photography Blog is where I will discuss all things related to wildlife, nature and vineyard photography.
Sunrise over the Front Monroe Bridge in the summer in Hampton, Virginia.

Gear Needed

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.

Techniques Used

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.

Lori A. Cash Photography Blog is where I will discuss all things related to wildlife, nature and vineyard photography.
Hibiscus flowers at sunrise at the Phoebus Waterfront Park in Hampton, Virginia.

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

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


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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.

When It Rains on Your Nature Photo Shoot

A couple of weekends ago, I had plans to open up First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, Virginia when it opened at 8:00 a.m. to do a nature photo shoot around the grounds of the park. I had never been to First Landing State Park. So, I was excited for the potential of finding different subjects at the park and to exploring the park to see what all the photography potentials were for nature photography.

However, as we were driving to the park, the weather was not cooperating as it started to rain. Of course, we proceeded onward to the main entrance of First Landing State Park on Shore Drive in Virginia Beach. When we got to the park, we drove up to the trail center and parked the car. At this time, it was lightly sprinkling, so I gathered my camera, lens and tripod and walked around the flower gardens at the front of the trail center. I took a few flower pictures until it started to rain a little more heavily. Fortunately, there is a porch area in the front of the visitor center, and we headed for some cover from the rain.

So, when it rains on your nature photo shoot, you have to try to make the best of the situation, and actually, photographing in the rain has its advantages, as I discovered on this day. We never left that porch area in the nearly four hours that we were at the trail center. There were so many nature photo shoot opportunities right in front of me.  The subjects I encountered during this time included flowers with raindrops, ferns under the porch, wet rocks in the gardens, a frog wandering around the porch area, a grasshopper on a flower, a snake roaming around the flower gardens and a snail on a leaf on the ground. 

Lori A. Cash Photography Blog is where I will discuss all things related to wildlife, nature and vineyard photography.
A grasshopper on flower at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

I did not have any rain protection for my camera with me that day, so when the rain would briefly subside to a sprinkle or momentarily stop, I would dart out with my camera, lens and tripod to take some photographs of the flowers with rain drops. I focused on trying to find different compositions that also included raindrops on the flower petals. When it started raining again, I would return to the shelter under the porch at the trail center. I would hang out there and photograph the various subjects that I could photograph from the covered porch in order to keep my camera gear and myself as dry as possible.

About an hour after arriving at the park, while hanging out under the porch area, I was alerted to a snake that was slithering across the side of the porch area just beside me. So, I luckily had my 55-200mm zoom lens on my camera, and I quickly changed my camera settings to photograph the snake. I was able to stay a safe distance away and got down low to the ground to photograph the red-bellied water snake.

Over the course of the next three hours, I had several opportunities to photograph the red-bellied water snake as it kept slithering around the gardens at the trail center. In fact, at one point, it was tracking a frog. I did not realize that the snake was tracking this frog. I was too busy, glued to my camera taking pictures of the snake. Suddenly, the snake darted very quickly towards the frog. I thought for one second that the snake was coming for me, but then I saw the little frog frantically hopping as fast as it could to get away from the snake. The little frog did get away. However, the snake did take a big bite and latched onto my tripod leg. I was not sure if the snake had mistaken my tripod leg for the frog that scurried by my tripod or if my tripod leg was just in the way. I eventually stood on a nearby bench on the porch and took a few more pictures as the snake was slithering around looking for the frog. Anyway, that action was a little heart stopping, and eventually the snake went back to the gardens area, and I did not see it again that day. I did manage to take a few really nice images of the red-bellied water snake.

Lori A. Cash Photography Blog is where I will discuss all things related to wildlife, nature and vineyard photography.
A red-bellied watersnake slithering in a flower garden at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

For the next couple of hours during the moments when the rain would let up enough, I would venture out from underneath the porch area with my camera, lens and tripod and focus on working with compositions of flowers with raindrops and getting the blurred background. I would try various angles to find what I was looking for and would change my camera’s depth of field to obtain that composition. Eventually, the rain stopped, and we were able to venture more around the park and find some other subjects such as mushrooms, trees, and the beach area.

Lori A. Cash Photography Blog is where I will discuss all things related to wildlife, nature and vineyard photography.
A Black-eyed Susan flower with a raindrop on petal.

Even though it rained on my nature photo shoot and my first visit to First Landing State Park, I did not let that deter me from being creative and taking pictures, and I was rewarded with some great subjects including wildlife that I was not expecting to see while taking cover under the porch area of the trail center. ‘Always expect the unexpected and be prepared for anything’ is a motto that I always say to myself in regards to my nature photo shoots.

When it rains on your nature photo shoot, you should embrace the creative opportunity that the rain gives you for your nature photography. Whether it is wildlife, macro or close-up photography, there are endless opportunities to be creative and to find different subjects in the rain. Next time it rains on your nature photo shoot, experiment and be creative with your nature photography. It just may pay off with some excellent rain inspired images. Hope this inspires you to go out and photograph on a rainy day.

Stay tuned as I will be posting an upcoming Photography Location Guide blog entry for First Landing State Park.

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

All the very best,
Lori A. Cash

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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.

Hampton Roads Nature Photography Facebook Group

For those wildlife, nature and landscape photographers who are in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia and who are interested, today, I started a private Facebook group called Hampton Roads Nature Photography Group. This group will discuss nature photography topics, share techniques and advice, plan photo shoots or meetings in the area, share stories related to nature photography and meet like-minded nature photographers living in or near the Hampton Roads area.

Here is the link for the Hampton Roads Nature Photography Group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hamptonroadsnaturephotographygroup.

Click the link above or find the group on Facebook and click ‘Join’. Once I receive your join request, I will approve you as a member of the group. Hope to see some local Hampton Roads photographers on the group page.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and I will get back with you.

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.


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Hampton Roads Photography Location Guide: Newport News Park-Part 1

Newport News Park is a hidden gem for the Hampton Roads nature photographer. This park is located, of course, in the City of Newport News, Virginia and is one of the largest city-operated parks in the United States.  The park is located in the northern part of Newport News and has over 8,000 acres. It has 30 miles of wooden walkways that meander through the property and a wooden bridge that is built over a dam. With 30 hiking trails in this park, there is a lot to explore and discover within these grounds. A printed map of the Newport News Park is available outside the visitor center at the entrance of the park off of Jefferson Avenue. The Newport News Park is open sunrise to sunset.

Best Time to Arrive

On the Saturday that I photographed at the Newport News Park, I had arrived shortly before 9:00 a.m. as it was a cloudy summer morning and as there was not really much of a sunrise. The park is open to sunrise to sunset, and there are plenty of opportunities with potential to photograph a sunrise or sunset over the scenic waterway of the Lee Hall Reservoir. Views from the dam #1 bridge can be seen in all directions across the water. In addition, especially on cloudy days, there is potential to photograph reflections of the trees and clouds in the water along the walkways. An example of this possibility is demonstrated in the below picture that I photographed on a cloudy morning.

Mirror reflections of the trees and clouds in the water on a summer morning at the Newport News Park in Newport News, Virginia by Lori A. Cash Photography.
Mirror reflections of the trees and clouds in the water on a summer morning at the Newport News Park in Newport News, Virginia.

Unless you are there on a cloudy or mostly cloudy day, I would stick to the preferable early morning or late evening hours to capture your artistic images at the Newport News Park.

The Photography Potential

There are just so much to explore within this enormous city park. I have only touched the surface in exploring the opportunities that present for wildlife and nature photography. Thus, the reason that this blog is titled, Hampton Roads Photography Location Guide: Newport News Park-Part 1, is because there is much more to explore and to share in future posts. There are a lot of nature subjects like some flowers and cattails which was the first thing that I spotted on my morning visit to the park. On side of the road that travels through the park there was a pull off to the right side where I found the white Rose of Sharon flowers and cattails. The cloudy morning along with no wind was perfect to capture some lovely flower and cattail images.

Cattails in the wetland area at the edge of a pond at Newport News Park in Newport News, Virginia by Lori A. Cash Photography.
Cattails in the wetland area at the edge of a pond at Newport News Park in Newport News, Virginia.

Along the wooden walkway that meanders around the waterway, there are several opportunities to photograph other landscapes such as the reflections mentioned above and the shoreline stumps, which make for some interesting subjects as well. There is some potential for wildlife, even though I was not focusing on wildlife on my visit. However, I did take a few turtle images. Plenty of turtles swam in the water and were on some logs that made some great subjects. There were also some gulls and few other birds flying over the water. I also saw a couple of grebes swimming in the water. I think that the potential for nature and landscape photography is much greater than wildlife photography at the Newport News Park.

An Eastern painted turtle resting on a log in the water at the Newport News Park in Newport News, Virginia.

Gear Needed

I used minimal gear on my first visit to Newport News Park that included my camera attached to a my Bogen monopod and a 55-200mm lens. I also used a bubble level in the hot shoe of my camera to make sure that my horizons were straight on my landscape images. If I would have been photographing sunrise or sunset or anything in really low light, I would suggest bringing a tripod. In my future visits to Newport News Park, I plan to spend some time walking the trails to explore the endless possibilities of photographing various nature subjects, and I plan to bring my diffuser, macro lens and close up filters. A telephoto zoom lens would be beneficial to bring if you are interested in photographing the wildlife subjects at the park.

Techniques Used

I always shoot in raw mode which will give me the greatest quality of a captured image and the best degree of control to pull out all the details during my post processing. I used aperture priority mode with evaluative metering, and I set my ISO high enough at 200 to get a fairly decent shutter speed to keep my images sharp. I used mainly around f/11 for an aperture on this cloudy morning. I also changed my main subject and focus points along the edge of the water to a variety of different looks of the reflections in the water. My main focus on the this particular visit, since it was a cloudy day, was to focus on taking pictures of the reflections of the trees, stumps, and clouds in the water.

Any Other Pertinent Information

I definitely plan to make many return trips to Newport News Park to continue to explore the various areas and trails of this huge park and photograph the variety of nature and landscape scenes that change throughout the year and seasons. I definitely think that this fall in November will make for some awesome fall foliage images.  As I discover more about this park and the photography potential, I will share this information in future continuations of this blog about Newport News Park.

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

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


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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.

Hampton Roads, Virginia Photography Location Guide Blog Series

I will be starting a series of blog posts regarding Hampton Roads photography location guide for my local area in coastal Virginia. As I visit and photograph each location in the Hampton Roads area, I will post about my experience at that location and the potential for photography. I will share some of my images to showcase the location’s potential in each Hampton Roads photography location guide.

Since fairly recently relocating to Virginia, I am just now starting to scout out and photograph the local area of Hampton Roads. There is a lot of photography potential in this area, potential that I did not even realize. Boundless opportunities exist to find creative and unique images of this region. The Hampton Roads area is comprised of several cities, counties and towns on the Peninsula and South Hampton Roads that include Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Newport News in Virginia, two counties in the Middle Peninsula and two counties in Northeastern North Carolina. This photography potential is what inspired me to start a Hampton Roads photography location guide blog series.

This wide range of land area of Hampton Roads encompasses a lot of different historical sites, beaches, harbors, parks, and waterways. This area has a lot of potential for a variety of landscape, nature and wildlife photography, and each weather season brings different scenes to photograph, even from the same location. There is always something new to capture. The area is vast, and there is a vast range of potential for a variety of subjects in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area.

In my series of blog posts on Hampton Roads photography location guides, I will share tips about each location, when best to arrive, the photography potential, what type of photography, gear needed, techniques used and any other pertinent information that will encourage and inspire photographic creativity in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.

Stay tuned as I will be making by first post in this Hampton Roads photography location guide blog series later this week.

Thank you for taking the time to view 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.
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