Patricia Temples Photography

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Archive for the month “December, 2012”


That’s what we called it in education when we had a day off from school due to snow.  There were always at least two exclamation points at the end of that phrase. I had thirty-one years in education as a professional, and another seventeen years as a student.  And I’ve now been retired 9 1/2 years!  But, I still feel the excitement of a “day off.” I awoke this morning eager to look out at the new-fallen snow that had been predicted to start after midnight last night.  Imagine how disgusted I felt when there was nothing happening!  But now, as I look out the door, it’s pouring down and I couldn’t be happier.

I like snow because it’s peaceful.  The quietness of it as it falls, the cover it provides to all the little blemishes on the land, the solitude of white everywhere calms and relaxes me.  I prefer deep snow because it makes everyone slow down.  Well, not everyone.  I feel sorry for the folks running snow plows, or having to make emergency calls to pull cars out of ditches or to deliver folks to the hospital …. because emergencies do not cease to occur.  But, for many of us, we stop our daily routines of working, shopping or just going, and get back to the basics of reading, talking to loved ones, or taking it easy.

When I was a kid living in a small town, all of us came out of our homes dressed in layers of clothes, and walked to “the hill” where we created a fantastic sledding track.  It ran behind about seven homes, wove in and out of small trees and ended at the bottom where it leveled out nicely.  Initially, we spent some time walking the track, patting down the snow with our boots to make it nice and slick.  Then, off we’d go for a thirty-second ride which required a five-minute walk back to the top.  We sledded all day.  I guess we must have gone in for lunch, but I don’t really remember that.  I just know that cold and hunger didn’t cross our minds.  We were there for the thrill and nothing else mattered.

When I hit my teen years, snow days called for different activity.  When I was thirteen my parents, mostly my mother, taught a bunch of us teens to play bridge. Four or eight or sometimes twelve kids would show up at my house mid-morning and we played bridge all day!  We ate, we laughed, we competed and we had a blast.  One of my friends, when he was an adult with grown kids, told my mother that any time it snowed he thought he should be at the Burton house playing bridge.

I just realized that not only do I love falling snow, I love the memories it brings forth. Have a wonderful SNOW DAY everyone!!  And, by the way, when you look at my images, don’t forget to look for the elephant!!

Parrott Farm Snow at Lamb Farm Our yard Greene Hills Elephant on South River Deer 2 Cardinals Big Meadows

In Celebration of Trees

Many photographers have a love affair with TREES.  I am one of them.  I should have a bumper sticker that says:  “Caution:  I stop to photograph trees.”  I admire their strength, structure and longevity.  The four seasons reveal things about deciduous trees that I find exciting.  Now in the winter season in Virginia, I see the strong dark trunks, the reaching arms and the smaller branches sometimes overlapping and fighting for space.  In spring, the emergence of the pale green leaves or the blossoms on a fruit tree make me feel energy and enthusiasm.  In summer, trees provide respite from the heat with their shade and breezes.  And, in fall the warm colors impart a sense of peace and calm  to prepare us for the resting period of winter.  Evergreen trees are special in other ways.  In religion, they are a symbol of eternal life.  They exude stability, nobility, and constancy.  They complete the landscape with a backdrop of strong greens amid the white or pink blossoms in spring or the autumn orange, gold and red. When the snows come they are adorned in white blankets, holding their arms to embrace the cold and quiet of the winter.

Photographing trees requires some planning.  Sometimes the initial view of a tree is not its best side.  There is a tree on a golf course near my home that survived a serious tornadic event in 2004.  From one view it is a small, compact and shapely tree with nice curves.  But viewed from another side, the damage from the storm is very obvious.  One lone branch reaches out, upsetting the balance of the tree.  It is a survivor, and it will be exciting to see how it changes as it matures.  And, oh, the stories it could tell.  Another set of trees that I have photographed many times is a row of Bradford Pears along my neighbor’s driveway.  I have told her that I need to pay her rent for my time spent with her trees.  I’m so glad I repeatedly aimed my camera at her trees, because a derecho last June took out more than half of them, and a subsequent wind storm a few weeks later damaged others.

It is no surprise to me that the TREE has become a major player in our Christmas decorating.  I wondered about how and when that became a tradition.  While the use of the tree in religious customs can actually be traced back to the time of paganism, as Christianity grew, the use of the tree carried over, and may have become a Christmas tradition as early at the 15th Century.  Early modern Germany is the birthplace of the decorated tree and emigrants carried this tradition with them overseas.  In the 1960s, due to the popularity of the Charlie Brown Christmas, aluminum Christmas trees adorned homes.  In my childhood home we had a somewhat garish one which was white aluminum, and a rotating color wheel shone different colors on it to create special effects.  That lasted two years until some brave soul in my family told my mother than we didn’t really like the white tree.

In this holiday season, I pay tribute to TREES.

Bradford Pears in Fall Bradford Pears in Spring Bradford Pears in Winter Survivor in Fall Survivor in Winter Before the storm took it down Stately EvergreenSpruce Knob LakeChristmas Tree at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

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