Alex Mody Photography

Category

Virginia



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  • -News-, Virginia

    New article titled “Photographing Great Falls National Park” up on NatureScapes.net now!

    A new article I just wrote about photographing Great Falls National Park is now online at NatureScapes.net. Feel free to read the article here, and be sure to check out all of the other informative articles featured on the site!

  • Virginia

    Falling Spring Falls in Fog, George Washington National Forest, Virginia, USA

    03.24.10 | Permalink | 5 Comments

    Here’s yet another from the archives. Last May, I spent a few days photographing streams and waterfalls in the George Washington National Forest of Virginia. It was quite a rewarding trip, and I really enjoyed photographing Falling Spring Falls in these conditions. These falls were a favorite of Thomas Jefferson’s, and upon arriving I quickly saw why.

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  • -Articles-, Virginia

    Photographing Great Falls National Park, Virginia

    03.24.10 | Permalink | 1 Comment

    Just ten miles from Washington, D.C., Great Falls National Park is an often overlooked gem of our National Parks system. Here the mighty Potomac River, which acts as a watershed basin for a 11,000+ square mile area encompassing sections of Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, drops 77 feet in just a half-mile, separating Maryland and Virginia in quite a fierce manner. The great volume of water is funneled into the 60-100 foot wide Mather Gorge, thus creating the fast-flowing, intense, and incredibly photogenic section of rapids we now call the Great Falls of the Potomac. The gorge has been cut through layers of sharp metamorphic rock formations, providing many beautiful scenes with rushing water and jagged rock shapes for your eyes, camera, and lens to feast upon. This makes Great Falls easily my favorite place to photograph in the immediate Mid-Atlantic area, although it doesn’t hurt that I live a mere fifteen minutes away from the park’s Virginia entrance.

    No season is the wrong season to be at Great Falls, though I typically like to avoid it after massive snowmelt, or in the middle of spring when the water is up at it’s highest. High water usually means the river is quite muddy, and that most of my favorite rapids are obscured by the high flow. With late spring and summer usually come the fearless Great Blue Herons and their fishing antics, beautifully foggy mornings, and preferable water levels. In autumn, the fog and water levels are likely to remain, and there is excellent fall foliage throughout the park. In winter, it is possible to get lucky with a snowstorm, or find fantastic ice formations to photograph if we’re experiencing a cold snap.

    Great images can be made on either side of the park, but I tend to prefer photographing the Virginia side at sunrise and the Maryland side at sunset, due to having slightly different angles of view.

    There are three main overlooks on the Virginia side. While one could conceivably make very nice photographs at these locations, I’ve found that all of my best shots have been from when I bushwhack down to the river and search for compositions upstream of the main falls and overlooks. I can only wholeheartedly recommend this to adventurous photographers in reasonable physical condition, because the rocks are steep, and extremely slippery when wet. There’s a very astute sign in the Men’s room at the visitor’s center that reminds me to stay careful when I’m down there. It states, “IF YOU FALL IN, YOU WILL DIE” and highlights that on average, seven people drown per year in the park. The well marked and easy to get to area called “Fisherman’s Eddy” is also a wonderful place to photograph on the Virginia side. I usually head there with my super-telephoto lens after sunrise or in the late afternoon to try and photograph the Great Blue Herons present from May to July. In addition to being a fantastic spot for the Great Blue Herons, if the weather is nice in the afternoon you will likely be able to photograph kayakers dropping the main falls and braving the Class V+ rapids.

    Things are slightly different on the Maryland side, with even more walking and much more scrambling in rocky areas involved with getting to the most photogenic spots. The six-mile long aptly named “Billy Goat Trail” runs along the Maryland side of the Potomac. It takes some scouting out in advance, but there are plenty of nice views of the Potomac and Mather Gorge from along the trail that can be photographed at both sunrise and sunset. Be careful when visiting on a weekend, though, as this is perhaps the most popular hike in the D.C. area. Also on the Maryland side is the Overlook Trail. If you’re sure footed and in good shape, you can scramble down to the river from the overlook to find a plethora of compositions that I prefer to shoot at sunset.

    The natural beauty present at Great Falls is easily unparalleled in the area. If you find yourself around Washington, D.C., or if you’re looking for a location to photograph in the Mid-Atlantic, I highly recommend visiting Great Falls National Park.

  • Virginia

    Dawn light, Great Falls National Park, Virginia

    01.04.10 | Permalink | 2 Comments

    Hey everybody,

    A few weeks ago, I met up with my friend and fellow nature photographer, Joe Rossbach, for a morning shoot at Great Falls National Park, Virginia. I was running a bit late, despite living about 10 minutes away, and just barely got my gear set up before the beautiful red and pink hues faded away. I wasn’t too high on the idea of visiting this time of year due to the bare trees, but after this visit I find myself liking the way they look at Great Falls.

    I’ve processed this on my laptop, so colors may be a little off, in which case I’ll revise the post when I return home.

    Please click the above image(s) to view larger.

    To purchase a print or stock rights, please contact me.

  • Virginia

    More sunrise over the Mather Gorge, Great Falls National Park, Virginia/Maryland

    07.08.09 | Permalink | 5 Comments

    I like this one more.

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    Please click the above image(s) to view larger.

    To purchase a print or stock rights, please contact me. Feel free to view more of my work at my website.

  • Virginia

    Sunrise over the Mather Gorge, Great Falls National Park, Virginia/Maryland.

    Hey there,

    I hope everybody enjoyed the past holiday weekend. I sat around and did a whole lot of nothing, and it was honestly wonderful. Over the past few weeks, and hopefully for the next few weeks, I’ve been trying to make the most of local summer photo ops. I’ve been concentrating on the White-tailed Deer fawns up in Big Meadows of Shenandoah National Park, sunrises, sunsets, and the resident Great Blue Herons of Great Falls National Park, and I’ve been searching for decent locations to photograph Least Bittern and Pied-billed Grebe, since they’re among the few area birds that are easily photographed in the summer that we have here. If all goes as planned, some time soon I’ll be making a weekend trip up north to photograph Common Loons.

    Anyhow, I’ve been making many a sunrise/sunset trip to Great Falls over the past few weeks. I haven’t had great luck with the Herons, but on a morning trip with my friend Chris, we had this nice sunrise.

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    Please click the above image(s) to view larger.

    To purchase a print or stock rights, please contact me. Feel free to view more of my work at my website.

  • Virginia

    male Common Yellowthroat

    05.18.09 | Permalink | 3 Comments

    Hey everybody,

    I’ve been shooting a lot this spring, but it has been almost exclusively landscapes. I haven’t been giving bird and wildlife subjects too much time lately. So, I took a visit to Huntley Meadows in Alexandria, Virginia, where I photographed this striking male Common Yellowthroat. I have very little experience shooting songbirds and warblers, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what I can do over the next few weeks.

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  • Virginia

    Thoroughfare Dawn

    Here’s an old favorite from Shenandoah National Park last spring. I have yet to see any natural light show top this.

    The Thoroughfare Gap overlook is a favorite spot of mine to photograph sunrise from in Shenandoah National Park. I had gone to the park that day to photograph White-tailed Deer fawns in Big Meadows, but when I saw this cloud formation with the clear patch of horizon on the east, I had to change my plan!

    Shenandoah Sunrise

    Please click the above image(s) to view larger.

    To purchase a print or stock rights, please contact me. Feel free to view more of my work at my website.

  • Virginia

    (D/F)ogwood

    05.12.09 | Permalink | 2 Comments

    Nothing too fancy. I was down on the good ‘ol Blue Ridge Parkway near Buena Vista, Virginia. Delighted with the foggy conditions, I set out to photograph dogwood trees and fresh green foliage! Here’s one I came up with.

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    Please click the above image(s) to view larger.

    To purchase a print or stock rights, please contact me. Feel free to view more of my work at my website.

  • Virginia

    Clearing Piedmont

    I took this photograph a few days ago, on the seventh. Chris Kayler and I took a morning trip to Shenandoah National Park hoping to photograph a waterfall or two. Much to our dismay, the clouds began to break up hours before they were forecasted to. We decided to roll with the punches, something every nature photographer knows all to0 well. Instead of hiking Overall Run, we drove Skyline Drive looking for interesting things to photograph along the way. We came across these foothills just as the clouds were clearing out of the Piedmont. Seeing gently lit foothills in contrast with fairly thick ground-level clouds, we had no choice but to stop for a while!

    Here’s my best take from that morning.

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    Please click the above image(s) to view larger.

    To purchase a print or stock rights, please contact me. Feel free to view more of my work at my website.




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