One thing about COVID-19 is that it has given me a lot of opportunities to visit local state parks. My first park visit of 2021 is Leesylvania State Park, located close to Woodbridge VA. I didn’t know of this park until a family member mentioned it to me. We all know state parks have walking trails. But what else? I’m not known for walking trails by myself. Like I’ve always said it’s 2021 and things a way different from 20+ years ago. Safety is first. But if they have something that may be interesting I’ll go late morning or during the day. We talked about the park, it was mentioned that this park is near and/or near Occoquan Bay. There are boat ramps/docks so you can only imagine how busy it gets. As our conversation grew I was told you can park near the water and go right up to the edge to shoot. That perked my attention.
A list history about Leesylvania State Park: philanthropist Daniel K. Ludwig donated the land for the park in 1985. It opened full time in 1992. You don’t need the address for the park to get right to the pier. All you need to do is plug in Daniel K. Ludwig and it takes you right there. The road is named Daniel K. Ludwig.
I made the trip last Wednesday. Even though I went to their website I wasn’t for sure what I would see. A few people were out doing their morning walks, walking their dogs or just sitting on a bench looking out at the bay. As I walked they had a couple of boats that people are trained on - or should I say learn how the small boats operate. The first day the water wasn’t moving too much near the boats so I just did my normal shooting with my tripod. I walked over to the sand/beach area and saw a few logs/branches there almost in the water. I did some shooting there which was fun because I was able to use my ND filters. Right there was also like a gravel/rock road that goes out towards the water (I know I’m saying it all wrong but you get my drift) and I took several images there. I’m done and ready to go home.
Not often I look at my images and see something is wrong and I need to make a small print. The photographs of the log just didn’t look right. It wasn’t as sharp as I knew it should have been. The skies were beautiful - cloudy with a touch of magenta seeping through. I love to shoot on a cloudy day…plus it helps with using ND filters. Getting back to the log…the log was too overbearing. After doing some research I read to angle my camera differently.
I went back last Friday. If I didn’t I would have thought about it all weekend. Only 40 minutes from home and not many people out I know I could reshoot. There was a family relaxing along the water (too cold for that). It was still cloudy but no magenta and that was fine too. Not only did I reshoot the log, I also reshot the gravel/rock road with different angles. While waiting for long exposures to complete it gave me chance to look around. I saw three pieces of wood not far from me and I shot them also. Even though I liked my photographs of the boats, I wanted to shoot again…because I was already there. The water was a little more aggressive so I was able to get one decent photograph of them.
When I was photographing along the water I was shooting wide; not wide open (16mm) but around 25-30mm. That let me go back and crop in square format which was pretty cool. At times I set my camera in 1:1 ratio (normally I have it set 3:2) but not this time. I rather have more than not enough.
Now I’m happy!! Going back the second time around gave me the opportunity to shoot differently and find other things I missed the first time. Did I leave fast the first time because it was cold? No, it was colder the second time and it was a little later than the first day. I just didn’t look around for smaller things vs the bigger picture. I hung around both times; just didn’t think small. Will I go back? Probably not. It was something there but not enough to keep it in the back of my mind. It just gave me the opportunity to get out of the house and create.
Gear used: Fujifilm X-H1, XF16-80mm F/4 R OIS WR lens, Lees filter Big Stopper ND 10.