Plan. Point. Click. Shoot. – Photography Workshop at Menokin

On Saturday afternoon, members of the Rappahannock Art League’s Photography Group gathered at Menokin for an enriching afternoon of philosophy and photography.

Hullie Moore – photographer, thinker, teacher, Menokin Trustee and all-around-great guy – shared his time and expertise with the group. I was unfortunately unable to attend, but I would like to share the email I received from Micki Clay, the Photography Group’s Coordinator and a fabulous photographer in her own rite.

Here is a picture I took of Hullie last year when he and his camera were just beginning their love affair with Menokin.
Here is a picture I took of Hullie last year when he and his camera were just beginning their love affair with Menokin.

We had a marvelous afternoon with Hullie at Menokin yesterday. He packed more truly useful information into his 25-minute talk than any photography presentation I’ve ever seen, and he did it in a witty, warm, and engaging manner. He put us at ease instantly.

He worked with each one of us…encouraging us to use our tripods and sharing his with those who hadn’t brought theirs, pointing out interesting subjects and perspectives, viewing our shots and suggesting composition and setting tweaks to get it just so, gently prodding us to stick with it, so the day would yield one or two really good images instead of a bunch of throwaway snapshots.

I am just starting to put a lot more thought and planning into my photography. It’s a little daunting after years of snapping away, hoping that so much quantity would yield a few quality keepers. But, as Hullie said yesterday, you actually make your own luck, by scouting your subject and figuring out when and how to shoot it before you even pick up your camera. Doing just that with Hullie at Menokin yesterday was a transformative experience.

Thank you again for giving us this exceptional experience,


If you’re photography group is interested in organizing a workshop at Menokin, contact me at

Eruditionem ilex.

Here are three things I learned this past Saturday:

1. The Latin word for holly is ilex.
2. There are whole societies of people who are organized around their love and knowledge of genus ilex.
3. These Holly Society people are fun!

web_004I learned all of these things because the Colonial Virginia Chapter of the Holly Society of America held their meeting at Menokin on Saturday.

The Holly Society of America, Inc. is an active, non-profit organization with members throughout the United States and numerous foreign countries. The purpose of the Society is to stimulate interest, promote research, and collect and disseminate information about the genus Ilex. The society provides the medium for all people interested in hollies, including both novices and skilled growers, to communicate and exchange information through scientific studies, publications, lectures, meetings, visiting holly collections, and other educational endeavors.

I have to admit that I had no idea what to expect, but definitely not who showed up. The front line of organizers swarmed in and within minutes transformed the Menokin Visitor’s Center into Holly Central. There was a table for holly clippings, a table for FOOD (lots and lots of food), a table for books about holly, and a table for fern (yes, fern – go figure) samples for the day’s lecture.

There was also a patio full of beautiful potted plants for the auction that concluded the activities. The proceeds from the auction are earmarked to send a well-deserving 5th grader from Gloucester to Nature Camp. As a former Nature Camper myself, I threw in a winning bid for a pair (male and female) of
Ilex verticillata “Chrysocarpa” (yellow-fruited winterberry) bushes.

The members of the Colonial Virginia Chapter came from all over – many from Tidewater, some from the Northern Neck, a few from Maryland, and two visitors from Ohio. All were new to Menokin and enjoyed hearing about our programs and plans.

By the end of the meeting I felt as if I was bidding farewell to old friends.



Here’s What Geocachers Are Saying About Menokin

Geocaching_logoI have read about this place. Never knew I would make it here. Thanks so much! Awesome place and enjoyed the walk and history!


Geocaching_logoMenokin was definitely on our to-do list. It was better than we anticipated. We had the muggle-free run of the place.


Geocaching_logoI finally made it down to Menokin. I have been wanting to visit this site for some time now. Nice location.


Geocaching_logoI’ve seen these caches on my maps for many months and glad to finally get here. This area is nothing like I imagined.


Geocaching_logoIt was difficult to find a cache for this county that didn’t take us completely out of our way. But reading this cache description, we knew this would be the perfect place to stop. We checked out the visitors center as well, and found the volunteer to be extremely helpful and friendly. We are already planning a return trip.


Geocaching_logoI am having a great time walking the grounds here.



Tree Huggers at Menokin

The Northern Neck Chapter of Master Naturalists are conducting a flora and fauna survey of Menokin as part of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Grant from the  National Park Service that was received in 2012.

The purpose of these volunteers is to help Menokin prepare trails/areas for viewing sheds and soft kayak/canoe public access sites. In addition, the survey will provide information for:

  • designing content for maps, guides and on-line resources
  • researching best alternatives for piers and viewing stations
  • locating and identifying native plants and restoring native habitat displaced during the construction process

In return, these volunteers will receive:

  • practice in the roles, taxonomy, and identification of native plants in Virginia
  • an understanding of living shorelines
  • volunteer hours
  • great walks in the out of doors

A recent team of volunteers shared some photos of their work measuring beech trees in the woods along the nature trail.

A botanical survey of Menokin prepared by Lise Maring, Northern Neck Chapter of the Master Naturalists, is available on our website. Scroll to the bottom of the Selected Articles and Books section and click on the link.