Down by the River
You are invited to our first field trip: a photo excursion to Jones Bridge Park on the Chattahoochee River here in Peachtree Corners. We’ll meet at 7:30 AM on Saturday, March 3 and stay for a couple of hours.
Recommended equipment to bring: insect repellent, walking stick, water, and stout walking shoes, boots, or other appropriate footwear. No parts of the trails are very steep, but some areas have exposed rocks and roots. Attendees will need to pay attention to their footwork on the trails to cope with the tripping hazards.
Suggested photo equipment: Your camera; be sure the battery has plenty of charge and that you have plenty of space on your memory card. Bring your lenses. A tripod or monopod is useful. A small, collapsible chair or stool is also handy when you’re using slow shutter speeds and want to avoid camera shake when not using a tripod or monopod.
Typical Photo Subjects at Jones Bridge Park
There are 3 categories of subjects commonly photographed at the park. We will not see all of these, of course.
- Fog in and along the river
- Spider webs, sometimes dripping with dew
- Winding trails
- Mosses, lichens, and fungi
- Fallen logs
- The river itself, including rocks and vegetation along the banks
- Wetland area with standing water after a rain
- Huge variety of vegetation along the trails such as vines, shrubs, wildflowers, and trees, including towering pines and hardwoods
- Paddlers in canoes and kayaks
- Picnickers on the rocks in the river
- Dogs fetching tennis balls or sticks
- Fishermen netting a catch
- Wooden observation deck across the river just downstream from the A-frame pavilion
- Park structures, including the A-frame pavilion and two other small buildings
- Bridges—two small bridges plus the remains of Jones Bridge
- Soccer field
- Photo shoots of brides-to-be on the bank or the rocks
- Graceful, looping casts of fly fishermen
- Children on the playground equipment
- Children feeding ducks and geese from the bank
- Remnants of a small rock and mortar wall and steps. A mostly buried timber is also close to the wall. It appears that most of the steps have degraded over time and been replaced with tree roots that have extended into the spaces where steps had been. (This site is wide open to interpretation.)
Great blue herons
- Canada geese, cormorants, and mallards
- Ospreys — spectacular as they hover above and then dive, crashing into the water to grasp a fish in their talons
- Hawks (red-tailed and red-shouldered)
- Squirrels and chipmunks
- Songbirds such as titmice, chickadees, cardinals, phoebes, pine warblers, robins, bluebirds, and Carolina wrens
- Crows and vultures
Maybe you’ll discover more subjects!
Jones Bridge Park is on the Gwinnett County side of the river. It’s a county facility. Directly across the river in Fulton County is a federal (National Park Service) facility called the Jones Bridge Unit of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA). Unfortunately, that federal facility is also commonly called “Jones Bridge Park,” and that can be confusing. Make sure you come to the Gwinnett County park, not the CRNRA.
Here are directions from the northern perimeter of The Forum on 141. Take a left on East Jones Bridge Road (you’ll see the CVS Pharmacy on the corner). Go about 1.4 miles, and you’ll pass Simpson Elementary on your right. Go another 0.3 mile and take a right into the parking area of the park. We’ll meet in the big A-frame pavilion. The park address is 4901 East Jones Bridge Road.
The trip leader will be identifying points of interest to nature photographers. Attendees are responsible for their own safety. Attendees who choose to bring minors will need to serve as chaperone and guardian. We as a group need to make sure we “take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints.”
Although snakes are not a common sight at the park, both venomous and non-venomous snakes may be present in early March. The black rat snake (non-venomous) is common in the CRNRA directly across the river. It’s a graceful, calm snake when not threatened. If we encounter this or any other snake, keep a respectful distance. Even non-venomous snakes can inflict a painful bite if they perceive a person as a threat.
See You There!
David Dunagan will be leading this outing. He’s been living in Peachtree Corners about 3 miles from the park for 31 years. David can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions before or after the field trip.
David uses a Panasonic Lumix camera without interchangeable lenses. For members who use interchangeable lenses, Ludwig Keck will be available to advise on lenses to use for particular shots during the trip.