On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
This On The Road doesn’t involve a lot of road, since the Ivy Creek Natural Area is about seven or so minutes from my house in Charlottesville, VA. But I hope you can share the peace and beauty I felt when I took a day off and just wandered there for hours.
From their website (https://ivycreekfoundation.org/overview) :
Scenically shadowed by the Blue Ridge Mountains, this 219-acre preserve bordering the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir is a mix of upland woods, pine stands, open fields, streams, and two miles of shoreline. Its rolling hills and diverse habitats make the Ivy Creek Natural Area an ideal site to learn about the rich natural history characteristic of Central Virginia and has made Ivy Creek a favorite destination for visitors and community alike looking for a peaceful walk in the woods.
It was also a good workout for getting used to my Panasonic G85. I took with me a few lenses but really most of the photos were taken with the kit 12-60mm lens.
The Natural Area drops down into a creek area feeding a reservoir. Although some paths wind around the high areas I chose to follow one down to the creek and beyond. This was during the extended warm period in November and the day was just about perfect, weather-wise.
Ivy Creek runs through the Natural Area and there are numerous places to sit and listen to the quiet trickle of water. This day was special because of the soft leaf carpet and the brilliant light and blue sky.
This was near the farthest point from the entrance, off a short side path that led to this bench overlooking the reservoir as it narrowed at one end. I must have sat for nearly a half-hour, taking in the sun, the light breeze and watching birds fly back and forth.
I finally descended to the reservoir at this narrowed point. It was nearly a visual overload – the autumn colors, the deep blue of the water and the crystal-blue sky. My wife and I are able to paddle board on the reservoir nearer to the dam – we feel extremely fortunate to live and play near a place with such natural beauty.
I love the panorama feature of my iPhone – things have come a long way since manually stitching together a series of carefully framed photos, and dealing with the lines where the exposure differed.
The iPhone panorama feature, used vertically, allowed me to capture the sense of this area leading up from the reservoir as I saw it. I thought about darkening down the top of the photo but that’s really what it felt like: brilliant yet soft light playing in the treetops.
I am always reminded of the photo advice to change the viewpoint from standing up, where 90% of shots are taken. Get down, look up – get a different perspective.
Finally, on the way back out of the area I passed this beech which, like it or not, has become the catcher of various downed trees and branches. The light was getting lower by this point but that made the yellow leaves simply glow all the more. In the canopy of the tree I felt comforted as the day’s sensations were distilled into leaf, tree, and more leaf. A breeze was picking up, and the movement of the leaves along with all the other sensations created an amazing experience.