Did you know that Reston Town Center has 15 public art pieces on display? Neither did I! One of my favorite photo assignments of 2018 was a commission by Public Art Reston to photograph those art pieces for an upcoming project. Basically I got to take beautiful photographs of beautiful things — it doesn’t get much better than that.

      Finding the artwork was half the fun. It was like a scavenger hunt around town. Of course I knew the most prominent sculptures, like Mercury Fountain, but some of the other artwork was unfamiliar to me and thrilling to discover.

      Here are some of my favorite photos from the project, with explanations of my thought process and strategy for each image.

      Mercury Fountain at Reston Town Center
      Mercury Fountain, by Saint Clair Cemin

      Mercury Fountain is the grand centerpiece of Reston Town Center. I chose a fisheye lens for this photo, to enhance this fountain’s central importance in the Market Square, and the way the buildings curve around it.

      Glass sculpture by Danny Lane at Reston Town Center
      Glass sculpture by Danny Lane

      This is the newest public art piece at Reston Town Center, and I photographed it shortly after it was installed. Even though it is a narrow, vertical sculpture, I chose to shoot wide and horizontally to highlight how the sculpture fits into the newest parts of the Town Center. This photo includes a new grassy park, the new Signature building, new lighting, and a new sidewalk — I like how this photo showcases the ever-changing Reston Town Center.

      Reston Rondo, by Mary Ann Mears at Reston Town Center
      Reston Rondo, by Mary Ann Mears

      To me, this giant sculpture resembles sprouting plants, so my favorite time to photograph it is the spring, when it is surrounded by redbuds and dogwoods.

      Weathervanes at Reston Town Center
      Weathervanes, by RTKL, Inc. of Baltimore

      These birds are displayed right in the middle of the main street of RTC, so I wanted to show how they add sparkle and interest to a bustling road. I set up my tripod in the median of Reston Parkway, and shot with a telephoto lens, which enabled me to compress the background and show the pedestrian and car headlights, to give life and action to the image.

      Mercury Fountain at Reston Town Center
      Mercury Fountain, by Saint Clair Cemin

      I chose this wide angle to highlight how the fountain fits into the open and inviting public square. I used a long enough exposure to add softness to the moving water, but not long enough to make the trees blur in the wind or show blurred pedestrians moving through the space.

      Midtown Community Mural, by Dana Ann Scheurer at Reston Town Center
      Midtown Community Mural, by Dana Ann Scheurer

      This painting is one of my favorite parts of the Town Center! I love Dana Scheurer’s modern, geometric,  and vibrant painting style, and this mural is such a fun addition to the beige buildings of the area. In order to photograph it without distorting its square shape, I stood on the opposite side of the street and took the photo with a telephoto lens. I chose a vertical alignment to show how the mural fits into the surrounding tall buildings.

      dog at the Midtorn Community Mural in Reston Town Center
      Dog in front of the Midtown Community Mural, by Dana Ann Scheurer

      This is my favorite photo of the mural! I was so excited that a doppelgänger dog happened to pass by as I was taking pictures.

      Fidelity of Form at Reston Town Center
      Fidelity of Form, by Dennis Heimbach

      This sculpture sits on the edge of Town Square Park, so I wanted to include the lifestyle of the park in the photo — I love the boy running through the fountain in the background. I positioned myself in a spot where I could see the afternoon sun coming through the sculpture, and I used a small enough aperture to create the starburst effect on the sunlight.

      Iris, by Daniel Goldstein at Reston Town Center
      Iris, by Daniel Goldstein

      This sculpture resembles a flower, so I chose to photograph it while cherry blossom trees bloomed in the background. The sunlight reflecting off the steel also resembles the texture of the blossoms.

      Vascular Form III, by Foon Sham at Reston Town Center
      Vascular Form III, by Foon Sham

      I photographed this wooden sculpture from several angles, until on a whim, I decided to stand between it and the wall to see how it looked from that perspective. To my happy surprise, from this angle I could see the sun poking through the sculpture, which gave it just the extra sparkle I needed.

      Mutual Understanding/Mutual Respect, by m.l. duffy
      Mutual Understanding/Mutual Respect, by m.l. duffy

      One night while I was driving home, this phenomenal sunset appeared and I decided to take a spontaneous detour to photograph one of the art pieces with the sunset in the background. I had only a couple minutes to work with, so I could choose only one location. Because I knew I would have to face west to photograph this sculpture, I made a rapid decision to go to the Fairfax County Government Center and hoped I chose wisely. I did.

      Orbs at Reston Town Center
      Orb, by RTKL, Inc. of Baltimore

      Because of the celestial theme of this sculpture, I wanted to photograph it with either the sun or the stars. I decided that its golden glow would look best in the bright sunlight, so I chose a time of day when a beam of light would shine at this perfect angle.

      Reston Rondo, by Mary Ann Mears at Reston Town Center
      Reston Rondo, by Mary Ann Mears

      Here’s a different perspective of Reston Rondo — I chose a close-up view that highlights its flowing lines. I like how the arched shapes frame the blossoming trees in the background.

      Mercury Fountain, by Saint Clair Cemin at Christmastime
      Mercury Fountain, by Saint Clair Cemin

      At Christmastime, Mercury Fountain is surrounded by holiday lights and a giant tree. I framed this picture with a line of lit trees in the foreground, and I stood close enough to some of the lights to make them look huge.

      Wakan, by Richard Lew in Reston, Virginia
      Wakan, by Richard Lew

      This sculpture represents the Lakota Sioux Indians, so I wanted to feature the natural beauty and tranquility that surrounds it.

      Danny Lane glass sculpture at Reston Town Center
      Untitled, by Danny Lane

      This sculpture sits in a quiet park next to a busy road. I used a tripod with a long exposure and a small aperture to show the two personalities of this location.

      Trolls at Reston Town Center
      Trolls, by Mary LaRue Wells

      This was by far the hardest art piece for me to find! There are three troll sculptures hidden under a bridge near the Town Center, and I walked all over the place to find them. I cheered out loud like a crazy person when I finally found them. I actually had to dangle upside down from the bridge to take this picture! Even though the photo itself isn’t one of my favorites from a creative perspective, I love it because of all that I went through to make it happen.

      Market Street and Mercury Fountain at Reston Town Center
      Market Street and Mercury Fountain

      I’ll close with this wide perspective of a beautiful summer evening at Reston Town Center. I sat on the sidewalk across the street from this scene, trying to blend into the darkness next to a sign. I sat there for a while with my tripod, taking in the scenery and finding just the right moment to document it.

      You can see more of my scenic photos of Reston in my online shop. Would you like to commission me to take photographs for your publication? Contact me to let me know what you’re planning and how I could help. It would be great to hear from you.

      Related posts:

      A tour of some of Reston’s varied and beautiful public art

      Award and quite the honor: Receiving the Certificate of Appreciation by Public Art Reston

      Publication: Lake Anne Public Art Tour Book

      The Sun Boat: Sculpture, playground, and brutalist gem

      The Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival at Reston Town Center

      Chalk on the Water: I was a judge at Lake Anne’s chalk festival

      Conservatory Ballet performs the Nutcracker at Reston Town Center

      20 photos that show why Reston, Virginia is an amazing place to live in the summertime

      All posts about Reston Town Center

      Scenic photos of Reston available for purchase

      Charlotte Geary


      Lifestyle, event, and portrait photographer with a vibrant, joyful style and 17 years of professional experience.

      Located in Reston, Virginia near Washington, D.C. and available for travel.