Patricia Temples Photography

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Archive for the month “October, 2012”

Harvest Moon, Where Are You?

A couple of weeks ago a photographer friend and I decided to go to the Shenandoah National Park to photograph the harvest moon on October 29th.  We picked out a perfect location that would afford us an eastern view of the moon, which is huge and orange in the autumn.  We also knew that at this same location we could see the sunset to the west. So, this morning the forecasts of Hurricane Sandy, the Frankenstorm, made us change our plans to the day before the actual full moon.  That way when the rains hit Virginia, we will have our images and be safely at home.  We arrived at the designated location before 5pm, ready to watch the huge moon rise up over the eastern ridges.  Not being quite ready for cold weather, we elected to sit in the warmth of the car awaiting the glorious event.  A couple of quick shots before huddling in the heat told us not to be too optimistic.

In about forty-five minutes, when the moon was expected to emerge, the fog dropped on us.  Literally.  It wasn’t there, and then it was!  We gave up.  But not before documenting our efforts to photograph the Harvest Moon in the Park.  What you are seeing as huge spots of dirt in the sky are rain drops all over the lens.

I thought about several things as I drove home.  I imagined what it must have been like 100 years ago when people lived in those mountains.  Rainstorms in the Park are not rare, and fog often envelopes everything.  But now we have roads, yellow lines to guide us through the fog and rock walls to stop us from toppling down the  mountain.  I also thought that it looked a lot like Halloween with the eerie shapes emerging from the woods.  I am completely sure I saw Sasquatch just off the road as I hastened back to safety in the flat lands below.

Sherando Lake Adventure

There is a beautiful small lake tucked away in the mountains near Waynesboro, Virginia.  I visited there over thirty years ago in the fall and I’ve never forgotten that visit.  However, I moved away from that area of the state to Richmond, then back to my current home about an hour north, so it hasn’t been a destination for a very long time.  That is going to change.  Yesterday’s adventure to  Sherando Lake was one of the best.  The colors were at their peak, the mist was rising off the water at sunrise, and it was peaceful, as the campers nearby were still sleeping.  Before daybreak, we heard three owls in the woods talking quietly to each other across the lake. Saw-whets, perhaps?  My favorite little owl. A pileated woodpecker called to us later in the morning.  The reflections of the golds, reds and greens in the water took my breath away.  Even the oaks had color, which is unusual in Virginia this time of year.  Sherando, I have neglected you, but it won’t happen again.

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My Mountains

I have mentioned before that I am a Virginian since birth.  I grew up in a small town in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains, not far from the Blue Ridge Parkway. When I started driving, going up and down mountain roads became second nature to me.  Now I live near Skyline Drive and the beautiful, ever-changing Shenandoah National Park.  It thrills me to be there among the ridges and the wildflowers and now, in autumn, the colors and the falling leaves.  Tonight I went up with a friend to photograph the sunset.  It wasn’t a spectacular sunset, but it was peaceful there and the mountain ridges went on and on into the distance.  We met a fellow at an overlook who explained to us in broken English that he was German, in the States visiting several locations.  He mentioned that he will be going to Washington, D.C, Baltimore, Philadelphia and the Big Apple.  But this smart young man put the Shenandoah National Park on his must-visit list.  He was as impressed as a newcomer as I am as a native.  He was all smiles as he drove away, proud to have conversed in English with us, which, as it turns out, wasn’t so broken after all.  I managed to get a big grin from him when I bid him “Guttentag!”

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New Moon

We had our first frost this morning.  I left a little after 6am to find silvery fields at sunrise.  As I drove I noticed the sliver of a new moon, and knew it had to be part of an image.  I became enamored of the silos with the moon.  It was a beautiful clear, crisp morning.  Apparently skunks like this kind of morning.  As I stood in the alfalfa field shooting the moon, I smelled one nearby.  All good photographers know when to move on.

Montpelier Fiber Festival

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The Fiber Festival is held every year at Montpelier, the historic home of James Madison in Orange County, Virginia.  I had never been before, and it didn’t take any arm twisting to get me there.  It exceeded my expectations.  The variety of animals, the colors and textures of the yarns and fibers, the demonstrations of spinning and carding and weaving were fantastic.

Then there were the sheep dog trials.  The dogs were so alert and ready to show off their skills.  The sheep were so ready to be, well, sheep.  They stuck together and tried to avoid the herding by the dog.  Two dogs out of five I saw were able to perform the entire course.  This involved a fast run from the starting pole around the field to the back section where three sheep waited.  Then the dog had to herd the sheep straight up the field to the handler, following his/her directions given by verbal command or whistles.  After circling a pole behind the handler, the sheep had to be herded through a course between fences and back to the starting pole, then into a pen.  The last test for the dog was to separate one sheep from the group.  The commentator told the crowd that all of these feats are contrary to the natural instincts of the dog.  Their goal is to bring the sheep to their master, not move them away from him or her, and it is also their goal to keep the sheep in a herd. Separating one sheep, the one designated by the handler, was the toughest job of all.  Two dogs did it masterfully.  What a fun day in Orange County for a new adventure.

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