Park Authority

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Open during regular business hours 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday

703-324-8700
TTY 711

12055 Government Center Pkwy.
Fairfax, Virginia 22035

Jai Cole,
Executive Director

Snapshots E-Newsletter April 2020

 

Snapshots

April 2020

Combat Boredom and Seek Solitude with a Camera in Hand

“Whosoever possesses a camera should never know boredom.” – Wayne Gerard Trotman, professional photographer and filmmaker
Combat Boredom and Seek Solitude with a Camera in Hand

Click on photo for full resolution version. Photo credit: Don Sweeney

 

Avid photographers can get lost for hours in their art and often seek those less-traveled spots to capture their best images. In this period of social distancing, make friends with your camera and wander to a nearby trail to pass some time and work on your photo skills.

Spring is the perfect time to capture images of budding trees, wildflowers and local wildlife, and being in nature can have a wonderfully calming effect. Tune into the sounds of the chirping birds, rambunctious squirrels, a rushing waterfall or splashing fish as you let your eyes focus on the scenery around you. It’s a perfect tonic for stress.

To find a trail close to you, consult the Park Authority’s Trails website, Trail Buddy or the Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail.

When parks reopen and you want to venture farther afield, here are a few park sites with plenty of trails and an abundance of scenery to consider for your photo expeditions:

If you’re inspired by history, you can experiment with architectural photography outdoors at Colvin Run Mill or Sully Historic Site.

For now, focus on the wonders of nature that all around your neighborhood and nearby parkland!

Combat Boredom and Seek Solitude with a Camera in Hand
 

For the Best B&W Photos, Shoot in Color

For the Best B&W Photos, Shoot in Color

It may seem counter-intuitive, but to get the best black and white photos, it helps to shoot digitally and in color.

Park Authority Photographer Don Sweeney explains...

“I get this question a lot. Don’t you miss the old days of working in a darkroom with the magic of the black and white print developing before your eyes. The answer is a definite no. Working with toxic chemicals in dark conditions for hours a day isn’t all that glamorous, despite its depiction on TV and in the movies.

Isn’t it better to actually work with film to get a pure black and white image? If that works for you that is great, but you capture more information with a modern color digital camera or cell phone. You will have much more information to create a black and white image, and you have the option to have color, partial color or tint of color after the fact.

Using modern software, you can adjust each color to create your image. For example, in Photoshop, you can use the BW conversion tool and you will have six colors that you can adjust to create the best version of a black and white image.”

Here are some more examples from Sweeney’s archives:

For the Best B&W Photos, Shoot in Color
For the Best B&W Photos, Shoot in Color
For the Best B&W Photos, Shoot in Color

Shop for Veggies & Photo Ops at Local Farmers Markets

In the wake of COVID-19, farmers markets around the region are most likely opening later this year, and more products are likely to be found in boxes and bags rather than in open displays. As restrictions are eased and markets open again, these venues will present plenty of opportunities to play with color, texture and lighting in your photography. Unlike human subjects, fruits and vegetables won’t blink or move just as you hit the shutter!

Shop for Veggies & Photo Ops at Local Farmers Markets

Professional food photographers emphasize that it’s important to work with the freshest subjects, which make farmers’ markets a photographer’s dream. Fairfax County’s 10 producer-only Farmers Markets feature products from local farms that arrive fresh from the fields. The limited shipping and handling help to keep the items ready for their close-ups.

Shop for Veggies & Photo Ops at Local Farmers Markets

As with all photography, lighting is key. In food photography, backlighting or side lighting help to bring out the texture in your subject.

Pay attention to the background so it doesn’t distract from your subject. Play around with different angles in your composition. Try filling the entire frame with your favorite fruits and veggies. Keeping it simple can lead to dramatic effect.

Not sure how to frame the food items? Fall back on the rule of thirds. Imagine a grid of nine squares and place the items you want to feature in the spots where the lines intersect.

Shop for Veggies & Photo Ops at Local Farmers Markets

Shoot some photos in the market and take your purchases home to continue working on your still life photography skills. Spritz the produce at home with a little water to recreate that dewy, farm-fresh look.

Photo credit: Don Sweeney

Find Summer Camps in the Parks for Budding Photographers

Though Park Authority facilities are currently closed, registration is still underway for summer camps.

Junior shutterbugs can work on their skills and build their portfolios this summer with photography camps in the parks. The Park Authority is offering a variety of all-day, weeklong camps for photographers age 8 to 17.

Find Summer Camps in the Parks for Budding Photographers

Photo credit: Instructor Melodie Stehling

Camps on “Wildlife Photography” are scheduled in June and July at Huntley Meadows Park – one of the county’s premier wildlife photography locations. Campers age 11-17 will explore trails and discover local wildlife as they learn how to use a DSLR camera to capture images of the natural world. Participants will be encouraged to try a variety of techniques to compose creative images of animals and landscapes and will learn how to upload, enhance and print images. Campers will need to bring their own DSLR camera.

Fish & Explore is running a “Nature Photography & Hiking Camp” that will transport campers off-site from RECenters to explore the outdoors. Campers age 11 to 17 will work on their skills as they photograph animals and landscapes on extended hikes. The camp covers camera functions, lighting, composition and flash drives. Special lessons include in-depth techniques to enhance images through lab sessions. Camps are being offered throughout the summer and will be based at the Lee, Providence and Spring Hill RECenters.

Photo Explorers Camp is designed for photographers age 8 to 13. Campers will learn new skills while exploring their own creative talents. Topics will include focusing and motion techniques, separating subjects from backgrounds, using creative modes, exposure and some basic editing. Campers do one major project a week and many smaller activities to learn and practice skills. This camp is being offered at Frying Pan Farm Park and Oak Marr RECenter. Oak Marr campers will also get a daily swim break.

Expiration Dates Extended on Commercial Permits!

PermitWhile Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) parks remain closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, commercial photography is prohibited. For those holding permits, the expiration date on the commercial photography permits will be extended for the length of time of the closure.

All photographers conducting business on FCPA property or in FCPA facilities must obtain a photography permit that is good for one year. When it’s time to get a new one, you can quickly purchase that $25 Commercial Photography Permit online at: Commercial Photography in the Parks.

Permit holders automatically become part of the Photographer's Ambassador's Club, which includes a subscription to SNAPSHOTS. Those who wish to participate in the creation of Ambassador's Club activities and materials are asked to contact the Public Information Office at 703-324-8662.

Don’t Forget to Check the Expiration Date on that Permit!

PermitAll photographers conducting business on Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) property or in FCPA facilities must obtain a photography permit. Those permits are good for one year, so if you have one, please take a moment and check the expiration date. If it’s time to get a new one, you can quickly purchase that $25 Commercial Photography Permit online at:  Commercial Photography in the Parks.

Permit holders automatically become part of the Photographer's Ambassador's Club, which includes a subscription to SNAPSHOTS. Those who wish to participate in the creation of Ambassador's Club activities and materials are asked to contact the Public Information Office at 703-324-8662.

SNAPSHOTS Reflections

emailWe would love to hear from you! Comments or suggestions for SNAPSHOTS E-News are welcome. We encourage you to contribute an article and share your photographs to be included in a future SNAPSHOTS E-News.

Email comments, articles and photographs to Parkpix@fairfaxcounty.gov.

Contributors

Editor: Judy Pedersen, Public Information Officer

Writers and Contributors: Carol Ochs

Layout and Design: Don Tubel

Photograph Contributors: Don Sweeney

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