Portsmouth. The only hospital that had room to treat my wife’s illnesses was all the way in Portsmouth. I was ready for a road trip to Richmond, Kilmarnock, or even Newport News. The old port city on the Elizabeth River was nothing more to me than the hometown of a couple of my former college room mates. If it weren’t for my wife’s health, I would have chosen not to put a tire tread to it’s streets. I’ve heard the stories of traffic congestion on the tunnels to and from Norfolk. It does not border the Atlantic nor Chesapeake Bay. Nor does the Great Dismal Swamp extend into it’s city limits. Portsmouth would have easily not been on my itinerary for photographic locations for 2010.
Reading a map from AAA, I noticed the Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve. I made a point to visit this urban natural area. This is really a fine getaway in the heart of urban Tidewater. It is dominated by a saltwater lake and a shoreline of Hoffler Creek. The trails are well-marked and there are blinds to help visitors observe the variety of birds and other creatures. The preserve is most active in the warmer months with environmental monitoring, interpretive programs, and kayak rentals.
Although the Elizabeth River isn’t the most obvious place for nature photographers, I found the waterfront to be inviting as well. Seagull (“Airborneous ratacus”) antics are always fun to shoot. Cormorants are not uncommon targets either. Shooting cityscapes can be just as interesting as any shoreline or woodland trail. Portsmouth has an interesting combination of lines, water, and activity that makes me want to play with my camera (the passenger ferry to Norfolk is a jewel).
My wife was released from the hospital after a week. For that I am grateful. Secondly, discovering a city that I would have otherwise ignored has been a treat. My plan is to return soon for a happier purpose. My first stop will be http://www.visitportsva.com.