Pioneer Park is about 58 acres of beautiful goodness with many opportunities for your photographic interests. As of this writing the aviary is under construction so I’ll be focusing my efforts on the other parts of the park that look good through the viewfinder. I’ll reference locations as they relate to the gazebo which has recently been renovated and looks pretty sharp.
The Main Pond. The main pond is located southeast of the gazebo. It has a path that you can follow to walk around it. You’ll find geese, ducks and other wildlife along this path and especially as you get close to the tiny island that is somewhat close to shore. This is a nesting island and the geese, as shown in this first photo, like to remind you who lives here and who doesn’t. They get a little noisy.
Trees. The park is loaded with trees. From the sycamore in the center around the gazebo to the other trees, many of which are also sycamore, that populate the rest of the park grounds. You’ll also find a few evergreens as well. Fall is great for the colors seen here. But anytime is great for enjoying the trees. You can see some details in the other pics whether they’re bare, or the roots showing, the trees definitely help define the character of Pioneer Park.
Gazebo. If I remember right, the gazebo was built in 1910, but I can’t find my reference. I know the park was established in 1902, but anyway, the gazebo has been the central focal point for the Park for likely more than a century. It was recently renovated and things are looking pretty sharp. It’s fun to walk around and see how the background of trees changes as you move. Compositions are fluid and the slightest move to the right, left, up or down can change the scene rather dramatically. It’s great fun to explore.
Other ponds. Straight west and a slight bit to the north of the gazebo is a secondary pond You’ll find a more “natural” setting here as there’s no paved pathway that goes all the way around, at least not really tightly as with the main pond. You’ll find many insects, fish and other birds in this area. This is also a popular spot for folks to pass by as they’re out on their morning or afternoon walk. It’s smaller, so it’s more intimate and peaceful than the main pond. Other ponds are in the aviary and I can’t wait until that construction is finished so we can get to photographing the great variety of birds they have there. Hopefully they’ll put in a few photo stations so we don’t have to constantly fight the chain link fence that has been there for years.
Really wide angles work perfectly here. Go ultra-wide to capture the expanse of the trees that surround the gazebo.
A lens in the 24-105 range is likely going to be your go-to option here at the park. It’s great for getting a few details and groupings of the wildlife. I haven’t even mentioned the bird sanctuary at the park yet. A medium range lens may do perfectly well here so you can get a few of the birds in their habitat. The struggle will be fighting the fence to get a good shot.
Anything from 70mm to 400mm can be used at the park as well. The further you zoom the better you isolate the details such as wildlife (geese, ducks and other water fowl). You can also isolate details of trees really well and remove the distracting elements from the surrounding area.
Do bring your macro or extension tubes if you have either. There’s great flowers to shoot in the spring and summertimes as well as great textures and leaf details in the fall. It’s the perfect place to sharpen your macro skills.
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Part 2: Downtown Walla Walla.
All photos and text ? Brent Bergherm. All rights reserved. If you’d like to use a photo for any project please contact me.