Prince William Forest Park
Quantico Creek and Fall Line
The Fall Line is a 900-miles geological feature where Piedmont and Atlantic Coastal Plain meet. Here rivers form a series of rapids and cascades, that presented a significant obstacle to early explorers. To me, on another hand, it is an opportunity to enjoy those natural elements that make my outdoor experience so pleasing. Quantico Creek turned out to be one of those streams. The level of water was low enough to allow me safely cross it to another side and frame this composition. Upon setting the camera, I faced a challenge: the rock under my feet resembled an arrow, pointing at the waterfall in front of it. But limited in space, I was not able to step back or get lower to give it enough room in the image without losing details in the background. Fortunately, I had my 50mm wide-angle lens with me. With its help, I managed to make the right framing. I metered the light on the dark surface of the rock and set the exposure to capture enough details in there.
That day I set a record of silly mistakes: taking a wrong trail before the sunrise was the first. Then I, naturally, missed a brief window of light. Attempted to scout a few locations for possible compositions with zero results. Then I forgot to get my tripod on a second hike, making hauling my heavy bag a pointless task. I was ready to call it a day but decided to make one final stop at the Carters Pond in the Prince William Forest Park. There I found my only photograph of the day: a decomposing log, soaking in the water. Its center was already gone, and with the surrounding carpet of leaves floating in the water, it resembled a cornucopia, spilling out a plethora of autumn foliage. The result is not as neat as envisioned it, but its value in keeping me motivated to come back and find new subjects.
Rocks of Fall Line and Water of Quantico Creek
It seems that some of my subjects are looking for me, rather than I'm looking for them. That day I was standing by the Quantico Creek in the Prince William Forest Park and just finished with another composition. I turned around to reach my bag when a spot of light caught my attention. It definitely was not here just a few minutes ago. Now, when the sun moved in the sky, something very ordinary turned into a pretty scene of colors, shapes, and textures. Since I had my camera right there, setting this shot up was an easy task. The result pleases me a lot. I like the soft light illuminating the rock and foliage on the ground, the blue tint of the cascade, and the complimentary orange of the leaves.
Reflections in Quantico Creek
My first visit to Prince William Forest Park was not very productive, but I liked the place and decided to come back and explore it further. This time, I took a trail to Quantico Creek. It turned to be a pretty stream with a few gentle cascades. I spent there some time, enjoying the sound of running water, and calls of squirrels, rustling in leaves on the forest floor. When I was about to leave, this scene caught my eye. The water was very calm, and the reflection of the trees in the distance was so clear. Elongated rock formations in front of me slowed the water even more. They created areas of almost still pools, with some fallen leaves slowly drifting in them. Fortunately, I had one frame left on my roll of Kodak Ektar 100, and I set up my camera for this shot. I like how this image came out. The reflection of the sky has a rich blue tone, and leaves are perfectly still. With the help of the polarizing filter, I was able to capture some details of a large rock, hidden beneath the surface, which added a delightful sense of dimension to the whole composition.
The Bad Hair Day
I had a lot of doubts about this photograph. How should I call it? Do I like it at all? The composition is not well balanced and somewhat random. I would toss this image into my "rejected" pile, if not an element of humor that I cannot stop seeing. I will not be elaborating on this any further, and simply name this scene instead. "The Bad Hair Day".
While hiking South Valley Trail in the Prince William Forest Park, I came across a group of old fallen trees. The diversity of colors and textures caught my attention, and unusual density of elements looked amusing. My initial goal with composition was to balance forms but juxtapose the elements. I wanted the logs to form a zig-zag shape to lead the eye through the frame, divided into two color zones: green and yellow. Smaller elements of the scene, the green plant, and leaves at the top, while separated by the distance and tree trunks, are connected by their size. But while working on the image at home, I discovered that even parts of the whole scene could work as individual compositions. In other words, I like the result and enjoy studying details of this simplistic yet diverse image.