Huntley Meadows Park, in Alexandria, Virginia, is one of our favorite local photography spots. Maggie likes to call it a “gem of a wildlife sanctuary in the middle of the Metro D.C. area.” The park consists of over two miles of trails that are a mix of natural, pavement, and hardpacked dirt set in a 1,500-acre wetland with a half-mile boardwalk that winds over the marsh and wildlife refuge. We can easily manage the trails and boardwalk in our manual wheelchairs.
On our numerous 6:00 AM visits (that’s when wildlife is most active), we’ve spotted beavers, frogs, great blue herons, egrets, ospreys, snapping turtles, and more! The park is known to be home to more than 200 bird species. It is definitely a photographer’s playground, and we’re never the only ones with cameras in hand on our early morning excursions!
Huntley Meadows is part of the Fairfax County Park System and offers a variety of programs throughout the year, including summer camps, educational classes for clubs and schools, and evening programs for environmental enthusiasts. We did an evening hike last summer and it was pretty cool hearing nature’s orchestra come to life at night. Fairfax County Park Authority also offers information and specialized programs for people with disabilities.
We love visiting Huntley because it offers ample wildlife viewing and it’s a quick 20-minute drive from our apartment, making it easy for us to be there for what’s known in photography as “the golden hour” – the hour after sunrise and hour before sunset. We’ve also joined the Huntley Meadows Park Photography Facebook page, and entered the Friends of Huntley Photo contest last year, our first photo contest entry! We didn’t win anything, after all, we’re still beginners, but it was fun to visit our photo that was exhibited in the visitor’s center! Huntley Meadows was the first place we started frequenting last year, shortly after getting our first DSLR camera. As our camera skills have improved, it’s been fun to compare the photos we took at Huntley early on, and those that are more recent.
If you’re ever in the D.C./Alexandria, Virginia area, we recommend taking an hour or two to visit Huntley. If you do, make sure to bring a camera. You never know what you’ll spot! Here are some of our best shots!
Until our next adventure,
Maggie & Abe