Patricia Temples Photography

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Archive for the category “FLORA AND FAUNA”

Trees and their Stories #2

Today I want to share my American Chestnut photos. American Chestnuts are rare today, having almost been decimated by the Chestnut Blight in the early part of the 20th Century. The blight, a fungal disease, was introduced into this country on a Chinese Chestnut tree brought into the Bronx in 1904. By 1906, 98% of the chestnuts in the Bronx were infected.

Over 100 years ago there were 4 billion chestnut trees in the U.S., many of them in the northeastern states. Within 40 years the trees disappeared. The loss of the American Chestnut was devastating to U.S. economy. It was used for building, furniture, fencing, and the nuts were food for wildlife and humans alike.

These photos of an American Chestnut were taken a couple of years ago in Virginia. I was with a member of the American Chestnut Foundation who had learned of the existence of a couple of small American Chestnuts. The trees were small and are being watched carefully members of the ACF.

American Chestnut Tree

Last June I visited a friend in Belgium who had a European Chestnut on the property where she and her husband were living. There is a huge difference between what I saw there and what I saw in Virginia. This is a healthy group of three trees with new growth and abundant chestnuts on the ground.

The American Chestnut Foundation is making efforts and great strides to create a blight-resistant tree. Read about this here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_chestnut

In Virginia, the Blue Ridge Parkway has split rail fences, many of them of chestnut wood. Old homesteads were built of chestnut logs, and in my own childhood home, there was a room with wormy chestnut paneling, virtually non-existent today. What a loss.

My Iceland Adventure, Part I

I had the thrill of a lifetime going to Iceland for a thirteen day adventure.  The major focus of the trip was a Birding and Landscape Photography Tour.  We did so many different things and stayed in such a variety of places that I am having difficulty organizing the trip for this blog.  But, I am going to jump in, posting in several stages.

Today I am going to tell you about our first stop, Myvatn (Me-vah’-tin).  We spent three nights in this beautiful area, exploring along the river Laxa, Lake Myvatn, and at the geothermal areas near Krafla.  The lake is known for its abundance of birds, and thirteen species of ducks nest there.  Many of them are migratory.  The harlequin duck is the duck everyone wanted to see and photograph, and they didn’t disappoint us.  They played on the bank of the river and swam in the bubbles of a small waterfall.
Harlequin ducks

Harlequin Duck

The phalarope is the first bird I photographed in Iceland, and probably the bird I saw the most in every location.  Many other birds were on the river and at Lake Myvatn.

Phalarope

Phalarope

In the photos above, clockwise from top left, are Tufted Ducks, Long-tailed Ducks, a Merganser, a Barrow’s Goldeneye, and a Horned Grebe.

But, of course, I am a landscape photographer, and I had the best opportunities on this trip for beautiful and unusual landscapes.  At the river, snow-capped mountains were the backdrop for beautiful farm buildings.

Lake Myvatn was a small lake that we could walk around in about 1.5 hours at a leisurely pace while stopping to photograph.  Of course, we met sheep along the way.

Lake scene 1Lake scene 2

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Changing of the Seasons

This morning I went for a walk as I sometimes do on my private road.  This time I had my golden retriever Jesse, and a guest dog, Frannie, who belongs to my stepson, along for the adventure.  I also took my camera because I had spotted a lot of birds this morning and wanted to capture some of them. On the walk, I didn’t see birds, but I saw leaves.  All shapes and colors, some with ice on them, many still showing the colors of fall even though winter appears to be close by.  When you are a photographer, it’s good to set a theme for your shooting, then try to find as many different ways to capture it as possible.  Today is was LEAVES.  I hope you like what I found.

Fun on a Golf Course

I played golf for twenty-five years, and during that time I focused on very few things on the course besides that little white ball below me, the green grass in front of me and the expectation of hitting that spectacular shot.  It rarely happened as I hoped, although there were days when I had relative success.  But, I gave up the game four years ago, and I haven’t looked back.  Now my trips to the golf course are for the purpose of monitoring a bluebird trail, which grew from my involvement in Master Naturalist training and volunteerism.  I enjoy my outings even more now because of all the wonderful things that are hiding out there, and I take my camera along almost every week with the expectation of getting that spectacular shot.  Here are some I took today that I think gave me relative success on the golf course.

Cardinal Flower Green Heron 2 Green Heron Spider 2 Spider Turkey Vulture Willow tree

Shenandoah National Park

I live about fifteen minutes from an entrance to Shenandoah National Park and sometimes I am engaged in volunteer activities there.  Memorial Day was one of those days.  After getting the “work” done, I took some photos along the trail on the way back to the car.  Enjoy.SNP 11 SNP 12 SNP 10 SNP 9 SNP 7 SNP 6 SNP 5 SNP 4 SNP 3 SNP 2 SNP 1

Signs of Spring

Spring was a long time coming this year, but once it emerged, everything popped out suddenly, creating beautiful colors everywhere and washing all of us with pollen, and subsequently, allergies.  My photography excursions have been few lately because of the latter, but today I feel re-energized by my contact with nature as everything comes to life.

My husband and I monitor a bluebird trail on a local golf course, and today was our second day out checking what is happening in the boxes.  The bluebirds have been so busy since last week.  There are nests in 14 boxes and a total of 22 eggs.  Last week we had only 2 nests and 5 eggs.  The chickadees are also busy and now have three nests, one of which has 5 eggs.  This was so exciting to us.

But, the added bonus of monitoring a bluebird trail is the opportunity to see other wildlife.  Today we saw a beautiful heron on the golf course near one of the larger ponds. It is smaller than the familiar Great Blue Heron.  I photographed it and identified it as a Green Heron.  It flashes a lot of blue in flight, and no green that I could detect, even in my image, but it is a beautiful bird, no matter the name.  I also photographed a Meadowlark and a Kingbird, as well as a bumblebee on large blue hyacinths.  I am so glad for spring and new life.

Bumblebee on Hyacinth Green Heron Green Heron Meadowlark

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