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 July 2020



July 2020

Photos Help to Tell the COVID-19 Story in Parks

As the Park Authority grappled with the safety restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, photographer Don Sweeney visited sites throughout the county to document the impact the virus was having on park facilities. When facilities were closed, people found respite from the coronavirus stress and room to socially distance on trails, open spaces and golf courses. Staff continued to tend gardens and care for exhibit animals, create virtual camps and programs, deep clean facilities in anticipation of their eventual reopening, and install yards and yards of plexiglass to help ensure the safety of customers and staff once doors were unlocked and gates were thrown open.

Photos Help
Photos Help

Photo credit: Don Sweeney

A Picture is Worth 280 Characters

The notion that a picture is worth a thousand words has been around for hundreds of years and has been expressed in many ways, from Chinese proverbs to Napoleon Bonaparte’s belief that “A good sketch is better than a long speech.”

In an age driven by tweets and other social media posts, photographs can succinctly tell a story when word and character counts are limited. As conditions changed quickly in parks due to COVID-19 restrictions, Park Authority photos and infographics provided easy-to-understand updates on what was opening, what was new and what to do to stay safe in parks.

A Picture is Worth 280 Characters

Help Protect Huntley Meadows as a Wildlife Photography Destination

Help Protect Huntley Meadows as a Wildlife Photography Destination

Photo credit: Don Sweeney

In many cases, what’s good for wildlife is good for photographers, too. That’s certainly the case at Huntley Meadows Park.

Shutterbugs are drawn to Huntley Meadows by the variety of wildlife that can be easily spotted and photographed from the boardwalk that stretches out over the park’s rich wetlands environment. Photographers can get relatively close to the park’s animals because the critters don’t feel threatened. To protect the wetlands and that feeling of safety for the animals, there are rules that apply to the boardwalk that you won’t find on other park trails.

When visiting Huntley Meadows, please remember that no bikes, scooters or dogs are allowed on the boardwalk because it is narrow and has no shoulder area. In addition, there’s no wading, swimming or fishing in the park. It also helps to keep your voice low so you can enjoy the sounds of nature and not scare away any potential photo subjects.

Help Protect Huntley Meadows as a Wildlife Photography Destination

Photo credit: Jane Gamble

Find your Distance with Nature Photography Classes

Find your Distance with Nature Photography Classes

Photography is the perfect hobby to pursue at a time when we’re all being encouraged to get outdoors and keep a safe social distance from others. The Park Authority is offering classes this summer to help amateur photographers take their craft to the next level.

Huntley Meadows is hosting Nature Photography classes for adults in July and August. Participants will learn how to use their DSLR cameras and a tripod to compose creative images of animals and landscapes. This class is designed for photographers with beginner to intermediate skills.

Wildlife, landscape and close-up techniques will be covered in the Outdoor Photographing Fairfax County class at Spring Hill RECenter. Learn about shutter manipulation, use of flash and use of filters. This class is for participants age 16 to adult.

Discover how you can go beyond your camera’s automatic setting with Outdoor Photography I at Oak Marr RECenter. Cover topics such as resolution, flash, composition, stop motion and editing in this class for participants age 13 to adult.

To get details on all the classes, go to Parktakes Online and enter photography in the search box.

Find your Distance with Nature Photography Classes

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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