In the Field at Fort Monroe National Monument

June 9, 2021

Over the past two months I have been out in the field at Fort Monroe National Monument. I have spent a lot of time capturing tons of wildlife and nature photography images. Fort Monroe National Monument is located at the tip of the Virginia Peninsula in Hampton, Virginia. I have even spent a full day there from sunrise to sunset. I have been fortunate to photograph a variety of birds. In addition, I have photographed many different compositions of sunrises and a sunset at Fort Monroe. The potential for wildlife photography and nature photography is very good. Every time I photograph there, I see something new, 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. There are many sunrise compositional elements that are located at Fort Monroe. These 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 provided me many different opportunities to find diverse scenes on each visit.

Fort Monroe beaches 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. I started incorporating these subjects into some of my sunrise compositions.

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. There are about 8 pairs of ospreys nesting along the Mill Creek side of Fort Monroe. The osprey are often seen flying around Fort Monroe as well as hanging out at their nesting platforms and on top of light poles. I have observed and photographed several species of shorebirds at the beaches and along the rocky shoreline. Some of these shorebirds include ruddy turnstones, sanderlings, spotted sandpiper, and a pair of American oystercatchers with their one chick.

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 (Arenaria interpres) in breeding plumage standing on a rocky shoreline at Fort Monroe.

Sunset Photography at Fort Monroe

Most of my time in the field photographing at Fort Monroe has been in the early mornings. However, recently I did stay to photograph a sunset. I wanted to see what the potential was for sunset photography along Mill Creek at Fort Monroe. During the spring and summer, there is not a lot of compositional opportunities for sunset photography. This is because of the angle and location of the setting sun during this time frame. However, I did discover the best location at Fort Monroe for the spring and summer sunset photography, which is the marsh area in Mill Creek behind the campground at the end of Fort Monroe.

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.

There has been a variety of wildlife and naturescapes and gorgeous sunrises that I have experienced in the field at Fort Monroe. This place is special and a haven for wildlife and nature photography. My weekly in-the-field shooting visits at Fort Monroe will now start to be more sporadic visits. But this is definitely a location where I will continue to spend a lot of time photographing.

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,


Copyright © 2021 Lori A Cash

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2 replies to “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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