A new scene, a few sights

February 5, 2009

With Skyline Drive still closed in all three districts on Wednesday due to the snow, I abandoned plans for the park and started scanning alternative options.

First I looked into the possibility of hitting Massanutten Mountain away from the ski area, but didn’t know all of the logistics of that, so I kept thinking. Next I dabbled in the possibility of going to George Washington National Forest, but since I’ve never been there before and the day was getting late, I gave up on that one too.

My last thought was sticking closer to home and going to Lake Shenandoah in Rockingham County. I have to say, it was definitely a good choice. Arriving at the public lake a little after 3:30, I suited up for the sub-freezing temperatures and walked briefly along the shore near the parking lot.

020409lake1ed

A large number of Canada geese were in the area and they slowly began to move away from me, while other ducks came closer to see what I was all about.

020409lake2ed

Birds are nice, and I was able to get some nice shots, but I don’t want to saturate my collection of images with our little feathered friends, so I set off around the wooded perimeter of the lake.

The snow was still plentiful and made for a great scene.

I was the only person at the lake, which was great, but made perfect sense after my hands went numb and face began to burn from the wind.

Rounding the far side of the lake I slowed my pace since there is a rather dense group of trees along that side. As the sun popped in and out of the late afternoon clouds, I kept adjusting my camera settings against the snow. I shoot in all manual mode, so doing that periodically reduces any delay with surprise appearances.

Suddenly I stopped and noticed I wasn’t alone. Ten feet in front of me, just sniffing the air, was a huge muskrat. He did not seem to notice me so I quickly leveled my camera and let it fly. The second it heard the shutter, it dove for the lake, but not before I made two successful images of it against the snowy scene. I was ecstatic, and I still am, about the shot. And no, you’ll have to wait to see it!

With a newfound vigor, I kept pushing through the cold and made my way to the dam at the far side of the lake. Along the way, I found a group of bluebirds that were just made to be photographed. I haven’t seen many of those and it was another welcomed surprise.

Finally, I couldn’t take the temperature anymore and I walked back to my car the way I came, scanning for anything else of interest.

It was nice making use of the snow while I still have it. I’m afraid the rising temperatures coming in the next few days will make short work of it.

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One Response to “A new scene, a few sights”

  1. Renee Says:

    I think I went canoeing there once – looks like the lake I found by accident when I was driving around exploring, but I don’t remember the name…


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