Blog Archives

Summer Photography

This past summer was great for my photography.  I was lucky to see numerous butterflies, dragonflies, and flowers.  I hiked a lot less than I normally do. The free weekends I had were spent running Spartan Races versus hiking and that’s okay.  I’m hoping that my Saturdays will free up soon so I can get back to it. I imagine I’ll be hiking a ton this winter to make up for it.

I wanted to share a handful of photos from this past summer.  Some of these are included in my calendars that can be pre-ordered but I am also leaving some as a surprise.

Enjoy!

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2019 Calendars for Sale

I’m pleased to share that my 2019 calendars are available for pre-order.  Last year I made a calendar almost on a whim and people went crazy for them.  This year, I had a request for an all-flower calendar.  To be honest, it was hard to pick photos for that because I have so many flower photos. I also wanted to do a landscape/nature calendar so I have two for people to choose from.

The options are on my website and all orders will be sent or delivered in December.  For those who live near me, I’ll be hand-delivering them. Otherwise, all will be sent priority mail.  These are full 8×10 calendars with sturdy pages.  Each page is like receiving an 8×10 color print of my photo. I have gotten samples from other, less-expensive places but I couldn’t do it. I had to go back to my original vendor because quality is important.

Go to https://jennifergonzalez.com/calendar-pre-orders/ to place a pre-order.  Obviously, I recommend ordering one for the office and one for home.  Or one for you and one for a friend.

calendar flyer

Place your order soon to receive in December!

Questions? Let me know!!

Wandering Around

August has literally flown by… I can’t believe that it is almost September. I sound like my mom right now. She always is commenting how fast time goes and I usually agree with her. But August was something else… I guess having two Spartan Races, a family party, with just one free weekend does make the month go by lightning fast.

I had two photo shoots scheduled for this past weekend. The weather forecast changed by the minute and I ended up re-scheduling both of them.  And, of course, the weather turned out perfect for both time slots I had scheduled.  Incredible.  It did leave me with free time yesterday.  I’m still struggling with getting my son to want to do anything outside of the house. I have attempted a few things: beach, exploring, fishing, taking a friend… nothing works.  I try very hard to not be offended or hurt…but I honestly still am. Since he wanted to stay home, I gave him a list of chores to do while I was gone.  I supposed I could force him to go but then we’d both be miserable. One of the issues I have with leaving him home is that I don’t like to go anywhere I don’t have service.  That means no hiking in Shenandoah or Sky Meadows State Park or other close areas. So… I drove around.

I put 90 miles on my car yesterday. I stopped at a few favorite spots but they didn’t produce too much in the way of photos.  And then I found country roads in Loudoun County that were just blissful. I thought I would find random barns (I found a couple) but instead I think I found where all the wealthy horse farms are in Loudoun.  The pastures were just amazing.  I found an area where at least 15 goldfinches had taken up residence. I drove past a milkweed plant with butterflies galore.  I saw cows and horses and fawns. Because it was a one-lane, dirt road, I basically could stop anywhere to take photos. Only once did a truck come down the road which left me scrambling to try and move my car out of the way.

Eventually, I grew tired and decided to finally go home. I was gone for 4.5 hrs and while I didn’t have a ton of photos to show for it, I did have peace of mind. I had calmed down and wouldn’t return home angry and hurt (well, still a little hurt). I was glad to see so much open space in the south-western part of Loudoun County.  There is a new county plan and it really doesn’t allow for much green space. The focus is on building, building, building and growth.  I do hope that the protest and comments people are providing will cause them to re-think the plan and keep these open spaces.

These area a few photos from my day.

white barn bw

Barn along a country road

pink wildflowers

Wild Phlox

dragonfly on lotus flower

Dragonfly on white water lily

 

A Return to South River Falls

I really wanted to visit a waterfall this past weekend. I never can decide where to go but decided to do a return trip to South River. If you’ve been following me for a few months, you may remember I went this past winter in 0 degree weather. I think I prefer that trip and I’ll explain why below. The South River Falls trailhead is located in the South River Picnic Grounds at mile marker 62.7.  The circuit I hiked is approximately 6 miles long and covers 2,300 feet of elevation.  I started on the South River Falls Trail and went all the way to the base of the falls. You’ll get to a post that says, “Base of Falls”.  Continue down that path. On my way back up, I stay on the fire road. This will cross the Appalachian Trail where you’ll make a left.  This will take you back to the South River Falls Trail where you’ll turn right and just about be at the parking lot.

South River Falls is not my favorite waterfall in Shenandoah National Park. It’s kind of weird looking and split. I much prefer Doyles River Falls but I love the hike to South River. There are many pretty cascades. I know it sounds silly but when I made my way to the river I was surprised at how different everything looked. I know. Duh. But in March we had a massive wind storm and the downed trees added to how it had changed. I had to spend time crawling on rocks, balancing on wet rocks and wading through water to get some of my photos. And I loved every minute. The green does add beauty to the photos but I also loved how wide open everything was during winter. I was able to get to some other small falls because I didn’t have to worry about poison ivy or as many ticks or stinging nettles. I had more to photograph and I like that. Also, I think the falls look really cool when they are partly frozen (better than they look now but that’s a personal opinion).

One of the many cascades

Jump in!

Is there anything prettier?

I kept telling myself to keep moving. It was partly cloudy and I was worried the sun would be too bright by the time I got to the falls. I just couldn’t help myself when I passed certain small falls and cascades. And unfortunately, a few of my shots ended up with dappled sun. And when I got to the falls the sun was hitting the top of the falls. A photographic disaster. (Laughing) I shot it in a few exposures and I guess the final image came out okay. Sometimes I rush and don’t really think about my compositions.

South River Falls

I prefer this side of the falls

Eventually the sun was out to stay so I had to hike back. But, before I forget, I almost ran into a bear on the trail. I was all alone on the trail. And I mean really alone. I didn’t see anyone for 3 hours. I came around a corner and there was a bear. It was as surprised as me. I backed away slowly as I greeted the bear. I expected to hear it run off but it didn’t. I called out a few more times. Eventually, I saw it walk through the woods at a lazy pace. I was thrilled! Bears don’t scare me. I do wish I had gotten a photo but I thought I should follow protocol. I haven’t ever seen a bear while hiking so this was exciting.

Hiking back I forced my pace. With an upcoming Spartan Race this weekend, I wanted to test my fitness and not stop. I did have to stop once or twice but the 2,300 foot climb back up wasn’t so hard. Loved it!

I still recommend South River Falls. If you want to be in the water, it’s a great option! And the hike is just about 6 miles. Any time spent in Shenandoah National Park is time well spent.