Today will be such a wonderful memory! For the first time since we’ve lived here, the lake is frozen so thick that I got out my ice skates. I started out timidly, keeping close to the Plaza, just in case. Two hours later, I was exploring most of the lake, twirling, wandering, and zigzagging without any of the confines of a rink. I felt so free!

      Ice skating on Lake Anne in Reston, Virginia
      Thanks for the photo of me at such a happy moment, Melissa Romano!

      I’ve lived at Lake Anne for seven years, and I’ve never seen anything like this. Sure, it freezes over during some winters, but rarely is the ice thick enough to walk on. The ice usually has big holes in it and is best observed from afar.

      Not this week. Right now it is frozen 6-8 inches thick, and is much more solid than I’ve ever seen it. I grinned from ear to ear as I twirled around the lake.

      After a brief break inside to get some circulation back in my feet and brain, I went back outside with my tripod for some twilight photos. My longtime readers will know that twilight is my favorite time for photos, and this was definitely a rare opportunity for some cool shots!

      It was bizarre and surreal to take an evening stroll on top of the lake. I walked directly across the lake, under the Van Gogh Bridge, and along the canal.

      Lake Anne frozen in the winter
      Pedestrians above the ice, pedestrians on the ice, and bubbles under the ice

      The canal was filled with fascinating layers of bubbles frozen in the thick ice. I stood there for a while, admiring the bubbles, when some fellow walkers entered the scene at a perfect time.

      Ice skater on frozen Lake Anne in Reston, Virginia

      I walked on to the Plaza, where I was delighted to discover a figure skater twirling around. I introduced myself to her, and learned that she’s a fifteen-year-old skater named Maria who was out on the ice for the first time. She and her dad gave me permission to take photos, much to my excitement.

      Ice skater on frozen Lake Anne in Reston, Virginia

      A figure skater on the water in Lake Anne Plaza! Amazing! But by this point it was really dark out, and I hadn’t expected to be taking portraits or action photos, so I was woefully ill-equipped for this amazing experience. Fortunately my Fuji xt-2 has beautiful image quality at high ISO, so I lined her up with the background lights and made it work. Beautiful.

      Ice skater on frozen Lake Anne in Reston, Virginia

      Frozen Lake Anne in winter in Reston, Virginia

      I said goodbye to Maria and started to head back home. I turned around to admire the scene one last time, and marveled at the eerie sight of people walking to the Plaza on top of the water. Remember that this is my backyard, and I see it every day, and it NEVER looks like this. Phenomenal.

      Lake Anne Plaza covered in ice
      Self portrait at Lake Anne Plaza

      So I finally decided I needed to document this moment with a self-portrait. I put the tripod on a 10-second timer, used a high ISO and high aperture, and tried to hurry into place without slipping. Then I stood as still as I could for the six-second exposure (which wasn’t easy while shivering.)

      The result: I love it. And I loved this whole day. I’ll be talking about this day for years to come.

      Related posts:

      We walked on the lake for the first time, and it was a thrill!

      Silver Bells, Silver Bells, It’s Christmastime at Reston Town Center

      A freezing rain storm has turned Northern Virginia into a massive ice rink

      The madness and tremendous fun of the Snowzilla Blizzard of 2016

      Reston in the winter of 2015

      Snowy Red Rock Canyon

      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.