Huntley Meadows

September 02, 2010  •  Leave a Comment

Blue Dasher dragonfly in Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, Virginia.Blue Dasher Last week, I made a couple of trips to Huntley Meadows Park, an unexpected 1,425 acres of forest, meadows, and wetlands in the middle of suburban Alexandria, Virginia.

On my first visit, I was fascinated with the dragonflies.




Huntley Meadows is most famous for its wildlife--primarily birds. The ducks (or are these geese?) were my closest targets. The proximity was important because the longest lens I own is only 300mm--the minimum focal length for birding is largely considered to be 400mm.


But a relatively short lens wasn’t my only difficulty. The sun was setting behind cloud cover, resulting in heavy glare on the water. I tried using a polarizer to fight the glare, but the polarizer only exasperated my third problem, viz. that the light was fading and my telephoto lens isn’t very fast (doesn’t have a very large aperture). The polarizer couldn’t eliminate all the glare and only cut down on the amount of light I was collecting. So, I tried to make the best of it by accepting the glare and going for a high-key look.


Here’s my attempt to add a little color.


Besides ducks (or geese), Huntley Meadows also features herons. This guy looked great, but I couldn’t get close. I had to crop quite a bit on this one.


On my second visit, I caught the sunset without cloud cover and this time the egrets decided to cooperate.


Of course, that’s just relative. Without a long lens, there’s no way I would have been able to get close without wading into the water. So I tried to get creative again. This time, I decided to focus on the light and the empty area of the water around the birds.



I hope you like my photos. Feel free to check them out on Flickr and send me an email or leave a comment below.

Edit (9/3/2010):

Let’s throw in a nice photo of a butterfly just for good measure.

 

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