My Favorite Places to Photograph

College Creek/Colonial Parkway

The December issue of Outdoor Photographer has its list of “25 Favorite Hot Spots Where the Pros Go.”  I am not nearly as experienced, skilled, talented, nor armed to the teeth as George Lepp and the great photographers in this fine magazine.  But, as paid amateur and native of this region, I can give you a list of places around the Chesapeake Bay that you really ought to take your camera.  Except for the sites on the Northern Neck, these places are quick road trips from Richmond and Tidewater.  The small towns between the Potomac and Rappahannock have nice little motels and (if you wish to splurge) b&bs.  I haven’t visited the Eastern Shore yet.  My goal for 2011 is to at least camp at Kiptopeake State Park.  Assateauge Island is my ultimate dream.  Thus far, I think any beginner or pro will enjoy these locations.

  • York River State Park- Of course I am biased!  But, bias aside, the river sunrises are fantastic.  Trips along Taskinas Creek are beautiful as well.  Plenty of birds and deer.
  • Colonial Parkway- I especially spend time around College Creek’s confluence with the James River and points toward Jamestown.  Williamsburg to Yorktown has some good opportunities there  as well.
  • Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge/False Cape State Park- Surrounded by the immense Back Bay and the great Atlantic Ocean, this strip of land between Sandbridge and North Carolina offers the most unique wildlife opportunities south of the Eastern Shore.Morning Take-Off at Hughlett's Point
  • Dameron Marsh/Hughlett’s Point Nature Area Preserve- A marvelous view of the Chesapeake.  All but untouched and undisturbed.  Don’t go on Mondays during waterfowl hunting season.
  • Bethel Beach Nature Area Preserve- A miniature version of Hughlett’s Point.  Fabulous bird populations all year-long.  Bring a kayak to explore Winter Harbor and Garden Creek.
  • Zoar State Forest- Just before the Mattaponi River turns tidal, the water is crystal clear.  A fine wooded trail and canoe launch is available.  The main section of the forest has good photo opportunities too.
  • Hog Island Wildlife Management Area- Aside from going through security at the Surry Nuclear Power Station, there is no better place along any river to photograph a wide variety of birds.
  • Chippokes Plantation State Park- Just up the road from Hog Island.  Aside from the wildlife along the James and the creeks, the plantation grounds and farm animals are cool subjects too.

    Marsh Life

  • New Point Comfort Natural Area Preserve- Best experienced by kayak as the only other access is the observation pier.  Great for marsh life and sunsets.  Avoid it on summer weekends.  Too many beach hounds trash the place.
  • Belle Isle State Park- Sunrise or sunset, this is a great place to photograph the Rappahannock.  Plenty of wildlife and camping is availiable as well. 
  • Chickahominy Wildlife Management Area- One of the northern most areas where bald cypress thrives.  Camping here is primitive.  Many scenes are pristine.
  • Hoffler Creek Natural Area- A little wild oasis in the midst of Portsmouth!  There are observation blinds to help you get close to the action.
  • Sandy Point State Forest- The Mattaponi is wider here than Zoar.  A great place to see life in a freshwater tidal marsh.
  • First Landing State Park- See the confluence of the Chesapeake and Atlantic on one side.  Or, stroll through bald cypress dressed in Spanish moss.  Weekday mornings before or after summer are less crowded.
  • Newport News Park- I am not sure if you’ll find more footbridges and overlooks at any other park in the state.  I just came to this park thanks to a hiking group.  I may go back next Friday solo.
  • Your River Country Guides


One thought on “My Favorite Places to Photograph

  1. This is a great post! I’ve been to many of these spots myself and have wanted to visit many more of them. Good to learn some opinions of the spots I have yet to visit.

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