Exploring an old favorite

I recently needed to get my kids out of the house, because, well, climbing the walls and such. My hope was that the American Tobacco Campus would have its pop-up ice skating rink open for the season. My expectations were low, as I hadn’t seen any media announcing the rink being up and running.

I brought along my camera in the event that I could snag a few photos of the campus’s holiday decorations, which are stunning this time of year.

The kiddos were fascinated by the strands of lights and wondered at the logistics of stringing them along the tower. 

I love visiting the American Tobacco Campus because there is always something new to discover, even for frequent visitors. Like this sweet little mural. I’ve never noticed it before.

And I love that the holidays offer a fresh perspective on a familiar space.

My nuggets, acting momentarily sweet. 

And one final glimpse before we headed home for the evening.

No ice skating rink. Not even close. But a trip to the American Tobacco Campus is always worth the views.

Woodlake Community trail

As a photographer who leans toward taking portraits in natural settings, my eyes are always peeled for new and different locations. I once visited the Woodlake Community trail in southwest Durham with a photography class and fell in love with the variety of scenes found there. There is a playground, two lakes and three miles of paved walking trails.

For families, this is great. It provides a great deal of entertainment for young children within a small space and keeps them energized throughout a photo session.

From the photographer’s perspective, the setting is nice because there is both shade and sun, plus a variety of backdrops that range from forest to fence, and lake to tall grasses.

While it is most exquisite during fall, when the foliage surrounding the lake is on fire, today’s visit (and inexcusable cell phone photos) showcase some nice nooks for photos even in the dead heat of summer.

One critical thing to note: this is a neighborhood community. I would recommend bringing only very small groups here (4 ppl or under) for photos, and absolutely no equipment beyond a camera and maybe a reflector. Also, because it is a natural setting, there are often geese present. Just something to consider. 

Now snap away to your heart’s content.

Ready for take off

For years I’ve been told that the RDU Observation Park is a must-visit gem of the Triangle, particularly with young children. Today, I finally brought my children to check it out, and it did not disappoint. 

It has an observation deck to watch planes of all sizes take off and land, a climbing area built over a sandpit, a “runway,” sprawling grassy areas and restrooms. The air is filled with the soundtrack of jet planes. It is only a short walking distance from the General Aviation Terminal, which is air conditioned and features big glass windows for private flight viewing.

This is one of those magnificent locations that is fun for families, unique and works quite well for some interesting photos. I’m so glad I packed a camera to test out the space on my favorite subjects, my Busbee babies.