Happy new year! Somehow 2018 has passed and I don’t have a flying car yet. But the year did bring me fun travels, rewarding projects, and lots of beauty all around. Here are a few of my favorite scenes from the past year.

 

Lake Anne Plaza when the lake is frozen
Lake Anne Plaza during a deep freeze (Reston, Virginia)

One of the area’s longest-lasting cold spells arrived in January, bringing several inches of ice to my neighborhood of Lake Anne. This is a photo I never expected I’d take: Two people were walking on top of the lake, and I was also standing on the lake to get this perspective. Just after taking this photo, I took a self-portrait that you can see HERE. [See more from this day, including my ice skating adventure]

 

Melting ice on Lake Anne in Reston, Virginia
Melting ice on Lake Anne (Reston, Virginia)

I had so much fun playing on the ice-covered lake that for the first time in my life, I was sad to see the temperatures warm up. Then I discovered that melting ice is really pretty, too.

 

Lake Anne canal swing in different seasons
March 24, 2016 and March 21, 2018 (Reston, Virginia)

Just as spring was supposed to arrive, we got hit with a snowstorm. I noticed how different this spot looked than it had on about the same date two years earlier. I recreated one of my favorite cherry blossom photos with very different results.

 

The magnolias of the Enid Haupt Garden at the Smithsonian Castle
The magnolias of the Enid Haupt Garden at the Smithsonian Castle (Washington, D.C.)

When spring finally arrived to stay, I headed to one of my favorite DC-area spots — the gardens of the Smithsonian Castle in DC. If you haven’t seen the magnolias bloom there in the spring, add it to your list. I even prefer it to the Tidal Basin’s cherry blossoms. [More spring 2018 photos]

 

Rainbow and cherry blossoms over Lake Anne in Reston, Virginia
Lake Anne in the spring (Reston, Virginia)

Every sunny morning and afternoon, there is a rainbow in the fountain at Lake Anne. The rainbow is even more magical when it reaches toward cherry blossoms. [More spring 2018 photos]

 

Times Square in New York city
Times Square (New York City)

In May, my friend and I headed to New York for a long weekend. While my favorite part of the city was Central Park, I couldn’t resist photographing the colors, contrast, and mayhem of Times Square. [More of my scenic photos and street photography from NYC]

 

Sun reflecting off One World Trade Center in New York
One World Trade Center (New York City)

Neither of us had seen the rebuilt World Trade Center, so it was a powerful experience for us to visit. I think New York has done an exquisite job of making this space feel sacred, beautiful, and awe-inspiring, while still keeping it useful in the heart of a bustling city. I took this photo because I liked the sun reflecting off Freedom Tower. It wasn’t until later that I realized I had also captured an airplane seemingly flying toward it. That gave me chills. (You might need to zoom in to see it.) [See more of my photos of the World Trade Center and Oculus]

 

Aerial view of Reston Town Center
Reston Town Center as seen from the top of a building (Reston, Virginia)

This photo is fun for me just because it was the first time I’d been to the top of this building. I worked with the security team at Reston Town Center to capture aerial views of the Fine Arts Festival, and it was a thrill for me to be climbing around on rooftops to get these images. [More of my photos of the 2018 Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival]

 

The Virginia is for Lovers sign at Lake Anne Plaza (Reston, Virginia)
The Virginia is for Lovers sign at Lake Anne Plaza (Reston, Virginia)

In June, Lake Anne celebrated Pride Month with this wonderful sign on the Plaza. I love the way this photo really captures the culture and vibrance of my neighborhood. [More of my photos of the sign]

 

Fidelity of Form sculpture at Reston Town Center
Fidelity of Form sculpture at Reston Town Center (Reston, Virginia)

One of my favorite projects of the year was being commissioned by Public Art Reston to photograph the 15 pieces of public art at Reston Town Center. Basically I was hired to make beautiful photos of beautiful things. It doesn’t get much better than that. This sculpture is Dennis Heimbach’s “Fidelity of Form” at Town Square Park, and it’s one of my favorites because you can see my daughter splashing the fountain in the background.

 

Glass sculpture by Danny Lane at Reston Town Center
Glass sculpture by Danny Lane at Reston Town Center (Reston, Virginia)

I also love this photo of the newest public art piece at RTC, a sparkling glass sculpture by American artist Danny Lane. I like this one because it shows the new side of the ever-evolving Reston Town Center — a new park, a new building, and new art. And of course, I adore the blue twilight time of evening.

 

Fourth of July fireworks at Lake Fairfax (Reston, Virginia)
Fourth of July fireworks at Lake Fairfax (Reston, Virginia)

I can’t believe we had never taken our kids to see the fireworks at Lake Fairfax before! The show was excellent, the setting divine, and the process relatively hassle-free. I set up my tripod and took fireworks photos, but my favorite picture of the night was this one of my family. The kids were spellbound and overjoyed by the fireworks. It’s a special memory for me to see this image.

 

Fourth of July fireworks at Lake Fairfax
Fourth of July fireworks at Lake Fairfax, photo by 7-year-old Daniel (Reston, Virginia)

My second favorite photo of the night was this one, and I didn’t take it! My seven-year-old son, Daniel, took it with my camera. The kid has skills! [More photos from the Fourth of July]

 

The sunflower fields of the McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area
The sunflower fields of the McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area (Poolesville, Maryland)

I have heard about this place for years, and seen it all over Instagram and the Washington Post, and I just had to see it. There are four massive sunflower fields that bloom in mid-July each year, and it’s all completely free and open to the public. It’s majestic and absolutely worth the drive from Northern Virginia.

 

The sunflower fields of the McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area (Poolesville, Maryland)
The sunflower fields of the McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area (Poolesville, Maryland)

It was extremely hot the day I went to McKee-Beshers, but I didn’t even feel the heat. I was too overwhelmed with beauty to care. [More of my sunflower photos]

 

Vicars Close and the Wells Cathedral
The moon over Vicars Close and the Wells Cathedral (Wells, Somerset, England)

In late July, the four of us headed to England to visit my husband’s family. Mike grew up in the countryside of Somerset, just outside the city of Wells. This street is called Vicars Close, and it’s one of my favorite places in Wells. It’s a residential street that has been continuously inhabited since the 14th Century. In the background is the enormous and grand Wells Cathedral. This particular evening had clear skies, great light, and a moon centered in my frame. [More photos of our trip to beautiful Somerset]

 

St. Ives Harbour (Cornwall, England)
A gorgeous summer evening at St. Ives Harbour (Cornwall, England)

During our trip to England, we spent a few days in St. Ives, on the coast of Cornwall. I’d always wanted to see Cornwall, and it was even more beautiful than I’d imagined. If you look in the top left corner of this photo, you’ll see the castle that was our hotel. Yes, we stayed in a castle overlooking the water! It was magical. [More photos from the beaches, castle, and winding streets of Cornwall]

 

alligator with mouth wide open
A wild alligator greeting us (Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson, North Carolina)

During a visit to Southport, NC to visit my cousin, she took us to a lake where she had seen wild alligators. While we were there, this massive creature startled us as it rose suddenly out of the dark water, about 10 feet from us. [More photos of this alligator encounter]

 

Orb weaver spider eating a moth
Orb weaver spider eating a moth (Reston, Virginia)

In September, I was captivated by a monstrously huge spider that built its home in our neighborhood. I took my macro lens out a few times to photograph her, but this image is probably my favorite. You can see rain falling in the background, and beads of raindrops on her web. Most interestingly, she was eating a moth that had flown into her web as I watched. She pounced on that poor thing and devoured it rapidly. Fascinating.

 

Sunrise over Lake Anne (Reston, Virginia)
Sunrise over Lake Anne (Reston, Virginia)

One of my favorite views of our lake is the steam that rises early in the morning when the water is warmer than the air. We had a sudden cold spell in October, which led to sunrises like this.

 

Panoramic of sunrise at Lake Anne in Reston, Virginia
Sunrise at Lake Anne (Reston, Virginia)

I took this one on my phone, because my Fuji wasn’t cooperating in its pano setting. I’d love to recreate this one with better gear and some Lightroom adjustments, but for now, this one makes me happy.

 

Cardinal Springs Farm (Sperryville, Virginia)
Cardinal Springs Farm (Sperryville, Virginia)

In October, we spent a weekend with my parents at a rental house on a working farm in the Virginia mountains. The leaves were starting to change, the weather was lovely, and the weekend was truly special for all of us.

 

Cardinal Springs Farm (Sperryville, Virginia)
Cardinal Springs Farm (Sperryville, Virginia)

This is another view of the farm, as seen from the top of the hill where the owners live. We stayed at the bottom of the hill, and I had some kind of wretched bronchitis brewing (which eventually became pneumonia), but I still walked up that winding trail a few times to take in the majestic scenery. Totally worth it. [More photos from our storybook mountain farm getaway]

 

Lake Anne Plaza during the holidays
Lake Anne Plaza during the holidays (Reston, Virginia)

Fortunately my pneumonia cleared up in plenty of time to enjoy the December holidays. Lake Anne Plaza was sparkling with lights.

 

Lake Anne Plaza at Christmastime (Reston, Virginia)
Lake Anne Plaza at Christmastime (Reston, Virginia)

I took my fisheye lens out to Lake Anne Plaza to capture the Christmas tree under my beloved twilight sky. I like using the fisheye lens with curved buildings, to exaggerate the flowing lines of the scene.

 

The Christmas lights at the Van Gogh Bridge at Lake Anne (Reston, Virginia)
The Christmas lights at the Van Gogh Bridge at Lake Anne (Reston, Virginia)

Every year, I’m grateful to the family that decorates the Van Gogh Bridge for the rest of us to enjoy. [More photos of sparkling holiday scenes at Lake Anne]

 

The LightUp Fest at One Loudoun (Ashburn, Virginia)
The LightUp Fest at One Loudoun (Ashburn, Virginia)

This Chinese lantern festival is easily the best holiday lights show I’ve ever seen. I hope it returns next year! [More photos of the incredible LightUp Fest]

 

wine glass and Christmas lights
Cozy in my home sweet home (Reston, Virginia)

I wrapped up the year with family and friends at home in Reston. Wine by the Christmas tree is one of life’s best simple pleasures.


If you enjoyed these photos, please browse my online shop, where you can see lots more scenic photos from around the world, and even order prints and gifts. And please follow me on Instagram @charlottegeary for more photos like these.

Happy New Year! Please stay tuned for lots more adventures in the year to come. I hope 2019 is a wonderful one for you and your family.


Related posts:

A year of fascinating people: Some of my favorite portraits of 2018

The stories I witnessed over a year: Some of my favorite photojournalism of 2018

Some of my favorite scenic photos of 2017

Some of my favorite scenic photos from 2016

My favorites of the year: Weddings

My favorites of the year: Portraits

Breathtaking fall scenes around Reston, Virginia, the city within a forest

Photography tips: 5 ways to improve your fall foliage pictures

The Reston gallery in my shop

The DC Area gallery in my shop

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Charlotte Geary

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.

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