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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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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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.
Please follow me on

Share with friends…….

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