Park Authority

Fairfax County, Virginia

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

TTY 711

12055 Government Center Pkwy.
Fairfax, Virginia 22035

Sara Baldwin,
Acting Executive Director

Snapshots E-Newsletter January 2020



January 2020

It’s the Little Things That Count in Winter Photography

Fall Photos

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


Winter presents its own unique challenges to photographers. Here are some hints from a collection of photographers to make that day in the cold or snow go more smoothly:

  • Remember that the camera meter exposes for 18% grey. You need to increase your exposure for scenes with a lot of snow or shoot in raw and correct exposure in post.
  • Watch where you step. Don’t let your footprints ruin that perfect shot of a blanket of newly fallen snow.
  • Pack extra batteries and keep them warm. Cold drains their power more quickly.
  • To keep your lens from steaming up, keep the camera cold while you’re shooting. Don’t try to warm batteries that are inside the camera by warming the whole camera near your body.
  • Keep yourself warm. Use pocket hand warmers and wear fingerless mittens or gloves that allow fingertip control to keep your fingers nimble on the camera buttons.
  • Use a zoom lens so you don’t have to change lenses outside. Fumbling with lenses risks getting condensation inside the camera.
  • If conditions are wet, bring a rain (snow) cover for your camera.
  • Keep your lens cap dry to avoid condensation on the lens. Pack some extra lens cloths, just in case, to wipe away condensation.

First Hike Photos

The New Year means new photo opportunities in Fairfax County Parks, and some folks wasted no time capturing special images.

Park visitors who participated in the New Year’s Day First Hike tradition were once again encouraged to submit their park photos for judging in our annual photo contest. Nearly 200 hikers submitted photos, and here are the six winners of Park Authority gift cards and fitness passes:

Mike Crosby, Huntley Meadows Park

People’s Choice Winner
Mike Crosby
Huntley Meadows Park

Jessica Jenkins, Burke Lake Park

Director’s Choice Winner
Jessica Jenkins
Burke Lake Park

Jeroen van Ek, Scott's Run Nature Preserve

Judges’ Choice Winner
Jeroen van Ek
Scott’s Run Nature Preserve

David Kravitz, Lake Accotink Stream Valley

Best in Show (Scenery/Landscapes)
David Kravitz
Lake Accotink Stream Valley

Heather Rascona, Holmes Valley Run

Best in Show (People)
Heather Rascona
Holmes Valley Run

Jon Taets, Burke Lake Park

Best in Show (Wildlife)
Jon Taets
Burke Lake Park


Friends of Huntley Meadows Photo Contest

The Friends of Huntley Meadows Park annual photography contest drew more than 80 entries this past fall, and all the proceeds collected from contest fees and photo sales will be used to support staff, events and equipment at this unique and highly photogenic wetland park. The contest had a nature theme, and all photos had to be taken at Huntley Meadows. All photos are being exhibited at the Norma Hoffman Visitor Center at Huntley Meadows Park through February 27.

Here are the winners and some of their photos:

Friends of Huntley Meadows Photo Contest

First Place: Watcha Lookin' At, by Beth Howell

Friends of Huntley Meadows Photo Contest

Second Place: Is This My Good Side, by Kim Sharp

Friends of Huntley Meadows Photo Contest

Honorable Mention: Exploring Away from Mom, by Mar Acevedo

Friends of Huntley Meadows Photo Contest

Honorable Mention: Mirror, Mirror on the Water, by Kim Sharp

Friends of Huntley Meadows Photo Contest

People’s Choice Honorable Mention: Singing for their Supper, by Jane Gamble


Click on photo for full resolution version.

Additional Winners:

  • Third Place: Running Away With Breakfast, by Tyler Reber
  • Honorable Mention: Heron Ballet, by Dorle Hellmuth
  • Honorable Mention: The Winter Sentinel, by Cynthia Loden-Dowdle
  • Honorable Mention: A Snail’s Life, by Tyler Reber

See more award-winning photos when Huntley Meadows hosts an exhibit from the National Audubon Society’s 2019 photo contest. There will be 10 prize winners on display at the park’s visitor center auditorium from Wednesday, March 4 through Wednesday, March 25, 2020. The exhibit will be open during regular visitor center hours.

Huntley Meadows Park is located at 3701 Lockheed Boulevard, Alexandria, VA. For more information, call 703-768-2525 or visit Huntley Meadows Park.

FROGS Photo Contest

Audobon Award-Winning Photo

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

Year round, Green Spring Gardens is one of the county’s most picturesque spots, and the Friends of Green Spring (FROGS) is sponsoring a photo contest to help highlight the park’s beauty and celebrate Green Spring’s 50th anniversary in 2020.

FROGS President Sarah Munroe says, “We’re hopeful it will engage lots of amateur photographers -- of which there are many who frequent Green Spring.” If the event proves to be popular, the group may sponsor more contests in the future.

This juried photography contest is open to non-professional photographers age 18 and older. Up to 75 entries that convey the beauties of Green Spring Gardens will go on public exhibit at the park from early September through October.

Find contest details here:

Green Spring Gardens is located at 4603 Green Spring Rd., Alexandria, VA. For more information about the park, call 703-642-5173 or visit Green Spring Gardens.

Instagram Top 9

The Park Authority’s Instagram site offers photographers a place to showcase their best park photos year-round.

It’s clear that whether they fly, swim, romp, crawl or slither, animals are always big attention-getters. Here are the photos that captured the most “likes” in 2019:

Instagram Top 9

Click on photo for full resolution version.

Follow the Park Authority’s Instagram site at and be sure to tag your favorite park photos #fairfaxparks.

To contribute to the Park Authority’s Instagram and other social media sites, email your best shots to

Photo Tips from Michael Glagola

Snapshots contributor Michael Glagola is offering a series of photography classes throughout the year at Centreville Library that will cover photography basics and help you overcome some common photography mistakes.

Monthly sessions will delve into issues such as exposure, auto focus and composition, light and color, and ways to capture the best nature, action, sports, people and holiday photos. Learn what it takes to make sure what your eye sees is what the camera captures.

Photo Tips from Michael Glagola

What your eye sees.

Photo Tips from Michael Glagola

Your camera’s image.


Click on photo for full resolution version.

The next session for teens and adults is Wednesday, February 12, 2020. Classes are free, and no registration is required. Find details on the Centreville Library’s events page:

Photo Classes

Photo ClassesIf you want to move beyond the automatic settings on your camera, consider a Park Authority photo class. Digital Photography and Digital Photography II are offered at parks and RECenters throughout the year. Sessions cover topics such as camera controls, resolution, flash, composition, stop motion and close-ups. There are weekly assignments with reviews. Software and printing are covered, too.

Find photography classes at Parktakes online.

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


Editor: Judy Pedersen, Public Information Officer

Writers and Contributors: Carol Ochs

Layout and Design: Don Tubel

Photograph Contributors: Don Sweeney

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