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 October 2019



October 2019

Open your Eyes and your Shutter to Capture Stunning Fall Photos

Look up, down and around this season to get your best fall foliage images. There are lots of ways to capture the changing leaves in Fairfax County parks. Shoot up through the treetops to see colors framed against the blue sky. Look down and shoot a close-up of a vividly colored fallen leaf sitting along a trail. Shoot across a river, lake or stream and capture the changing leaves reflected in the water.

Park Authority photographer Don Sweeney advises, “Shoot early and often go back to the same location. Different locations in the county change at different times. For example, Riverbend Park turns earlier than most everywhere else.”

Don’t worry if the skies are sunny or cloudy. Colors may pop on a sunny day, but when clouds roll in, you don’t have to be as concerned about shadows or glare. Fall colors don’t last very long, so don’t wait for that “perfect” photo day and miss the show.

Get a new perspective on the changing leaves this autumn with a Fall Foliage Kayak Expedition at Lake Accotink Park or Fall Foliage Tour Boat Ride at Burke Lake Park. Search Parktakes online for available dates.

Find more fall photos and photo tips from Sweeney in the October 2016 edition of Snapshots.

Fall Photos

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

Chainsaw Wood Carver Attracts Photographers and TV Crews

Professional photographers, TV news videographers and lots of kids turned out at Hidden Oaks Nature Center last month to watch a unique artist at work. Chainsaw wood carver Andrew Mallon spent a week turning a tree stump into a piece of art. A tulip poplar that once stood outside the nature center had been struck by lightning twice and was brought down for safety reasons. Mallon’s efforts turned the remaining stump into a tribute to the assortment of wildlife that calls Hidden Oaks home.

Bob Kovacs, a professional local photographer and filmmaker, captured images of the final sculpture from all sides.

Chainsaw Wood Carver

Click on photo for full resolution version. Photo credit: Bob Kovacs

He also posted a fascinating time-lapse series of the project that can be found here:

Photography for Posterity

The Park Authority preserves more than just green space. It preserves history, too.

The agency’s Archaeology and Collections Branch catalogs photos from the past that were taken in Fairfax County, and it uses photography to document its archaeological discoveries. Photos from and of the county’s collections are shared online each month through the artiFACTS website. Here are some archeological finds that have been photographed for posterity.

Photography for Posterity

Quartz Palmer projectile point made by Native American hunter-gatherers approximately 8,000-9,000 years ago, recovered during Fairfax County Park Authority excavations.

Photography for Posterity

Adult and child thimbles recovered from a slave quarters site near Centreville.

Photography for Posterity

Pieces of a plate commemorating 1802 Treaty of Amiens recovered from a slave quarters site near Centreville.


Click on photo for full resolution version.

Award-Winning Audubon Photos to Go on Display at Huntley Meadows Park

Audobon Award-Winning Photo

Click on photo for full resolution version. Photo credit: Kathrin Swoboda

The Audubon Society of Northern Virginia will display winning snapshots from the National Audubon Society’s 2019 photo contest at an exhibit at Huntley Meadows Park this winter.

It’s a perfect fit, as this year’s grand prize-winning photo was shot at Huntley Meadows. Local amateur photographer Kathrin Swoboda took top honors for her shot of a Red-winged Blackbird that seemed to be blowing “smoke rings” when the rising sun backlit the vapor that formed as the bird sang out on a cold day.

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

Over the Moon About Discovery Trail

Amateur photographers had a chance to get their 15 minutes of fame over the summer by posting Discovery Trail photos with the tag #FCPAmoonwalk to the Park Authority’s Instagram site. Kids of all ages had fun posing for photos in the astronaut and rocket cutouts that popped up at parks across the county. The cutouts tied into the Discovery Trail’s 2019 transportation theme, which was chosen in honor of the 50th anniversary of the first moonwalk.

Over the Moon About Discovery Trail

Click on photo for full resolution version.

Go Wild for Photography at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park

New to photography or looking to boost your nature photography skills?

Go Wild for Photography at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park

Join a nature photographer and learn some photo basics while exploring Ellanor C. Lawrence Park on Sunday, November 10. Register for “Wild for Photography” through Parktakes online and experiment with landscapes, critter close-ups and aquatic abstracts.

The class is for shutterbugs age eight to adult and runs from 1 to 2:30 p.m. The cost is $10 per person.

Ellanor C. Lawrence Park is located at 5040 Walney Road, Chantilly, VA. For more information, call 703-631-0013 or visit


Click on photo for full resolution version.

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, Kathrin Swoboda, Bob Kovacs

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