In the Field at Fort Monroe National Monument

Sunrise along the Chesapeake Bay from the view of Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia.

June 9, 2021

Over the past two months I have been out in the field at Fort Monroe National Monument capturing a lot of wildlife and nature photography images. Fort Monroe National Monument is located at the tip of the Virginia Peninsula in Hampton, Virginia. I have spent quite a bit of time at Fort Monroe, even spending a one full day there from sunrise to sunset. I have been fortunate to photograph a variety of birds as well as different compositions of sunrises and a sunset at Fort Monroe. The potential for wildlife photography and nature photography is very good, as usually every time I photograph there, I see something new such as a different species of bird or a different composition for a sunrise or even a sunset.

Sunrise Photography at Fort Monroe

There are a variety of potential sunrise compositions that can be found along the beaches at Fort Monroe National Monument. The sunrise compositional elements that are located at Fort Monroe include the jetty rocks, fishing piers, sandbars at low tide, beach grass, and of course, sand and the water. The sunrise photography at Fort Monroe has given me many different opportunities to find a different type of sunrise image each time I have photographed the sunrise there.

The beaches at Fort Monroe are right near the channel of the mouth of the Hampton Roads and the Chesapeake Bay. Therefore, one of the most interesting compositional elements that I have found are the cargo ships, tankers, fishing boats and sailboats that are often in the channel in the early morning, and I have begun to include some of these boats and ships into my sunrise compositions. I believe that, with being here in the Hampton Roads of Virginia area, including in the images some of the commercial ships or local fishing boats that travel the area could have good potential for conservation related images for conservation organizations in Hampton Roads and/or Virginia.

Lori A Cash in the field photographing wildlife and nature photography.
A very colorful sunrise through the silhouette trees at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia.

Bird Photography at Fort Monroe

Being in the field at Fort Monroe National Monument weekly for the last two months has provided me many opportunities for wildlife photography, especially birds. I have photographed and observed a diverse amount of bird species over these last two months at Fort Monroe National Monument. Of course, there are about 8 pairs of ospreys nesting along the Mill Creek of Fort Monroe, and the osprey are often seen flying around Fort Monroe as well as hanging out at their nesting platforms and on top of light poles. Shorebirds that I have observed and photographed at the beaches and along the rocky shoreline of the Hampton Roads include ruddy turnstones, sanderlings, spotted sandpiper, and a pair of American oystercatchers with their one chick.

Yellow=crowned night heron walking with crab in Mill Creek at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia.
Yellow-crowned night heron (Nyctanassa violacea) with crab walking towards the edge of Mill Creek to eat the crab.

I have spent a bit of time photographing a yellow-crowned night heron along the low tide mudflats of Mill Creek. I have photographed this yellow-crowned night heron catching and eating fiddler crabs and larger crabs. These herons would catch their prey and then walk back closer to the shoreline to devour their meal.

Other birds that I have observed in the field at Fort Monroe National Monument include bluebirds, purple martins, Eastern kingbirds, clapper rails, red-breasted mergansers snowy egrets, black ducks, ospreys, juvenile bald eagles, common loons, horned grebes, buffleheads, laughing gulls, common terns, royal terns, and black skimmers.

Ruddy turnstone in breeding plumage standing on the rocky shoreline at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia.
Ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres) in breeding plumage standing on a rocky shoreline at Fort Monroe.

Sunset Photography at Fort Monroe

Most of my in the field time photographing at Fort Monroe National Monument has been in the early mornings, but recently I did stay for sunset. I wanted to see what the potential was for sunset photography along Mill Creek at Fork Monroe. Due to the angle and location of the setting sun during the spring and summer, there are not a lot of compositional opportunities for sunset photography at Fort Monroe National Monument during this time frame. However, I have discovered that the best location for the spring and summer sunset photography is the marsh area in Mill Creek behind the campground at the end of Fort Monroe.

Sunset over the marshes on Mill Creek at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia.
Sunset over the marshes at Fort Monroe captured by using three bracket exposure merged as an HDR image using Photomatix Essentials.

Location of Fort Monroe National Monument

Fort Monroe National Monument is located at the tip of the Virginia Peninsula in Hampton, Virginia. Fort Monroe is surrounded by the Hampton Roads, the Chesapeake Bay and Mill Creek.

In my recent time at Fort Monroe National Monument, the variety of wildlife and naturescapes and the gorgeous sunrises really does make this place special and a haven for wildlife photography and nature photography. Even though my weekly in-the-field shooting visits at Fort Monroe may start to be more sporadic visits, this is definitely a location where I will continue to spend a lot of time photographing.

Lori A Cash photographing the sunrise at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia.
Lori in the field photographing the sunrise at Fort Monroe on an early spring morning.

Thank you for reading my Field Notes blog, and I hope you will share this post with others.

Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!

All the very best,

Lori

Copyright © 2021 Lori A Cash

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2 thoughts on “In the Field at Fort Monroe National Monument

  1. A lovely story and wonderful pictures!!! Very nice! You capture nature and the connection to the human world well.

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