Patricia Temples Photography

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Archive for the tag “animals”

Voices of the Land

I’ve been away from my blog for several months as I completed a project for the Blue Ridge Foothills Conservancy.  Called “Voices of the Land,” it is a mini-documentary of the last working dairy farm in Greene County, Virginia.  Photographs of the farm, both from a distance and from within, provide viewers with an opportunity to see how a dairy operates and to experience the beauty of the land that supports the dairy operation.  Originally the project was designed to be twelve aesthetic photographs, but with the title “Voices of the Land” I felt that there needed to be accompanying audio recordings by the brothers who own the farm. Interviews with the brothers revealed their love of the farm and the animals, and their great memories as children of growing up in an environment where hard work was the norm.  Milking cows cannot be done “when you feel like it.”  It is done twice a day on a regular schedule.  As children, the brothers went to work at dawn, then went to school (where sometimes they fell asleep at their desks), and in the afternoon, they returned to the farm to work past sunset.  If there was time and energy left, schoolwork was completed.  Commitment is the operative word of a dairy farmer.

As the project took shape, a slideshow emerged.  Using the (now) thirteen original photographs as the foundation, the voices of the farmers were added, then supplemental photographs completed the story.  The final product was a 25-minute slideshow with a history of the farm and descriptions of how the farm operates, as told by the brothers who have lived on the farm for over sixty years.  An additional feature of the project are QR codes that accompany each of the thirteen printed and displayed photographs, which allows access to a short clip by using a QR reader on a smart phone.  Below is the first image in the slideshow, and the QR code which accompanies it.  In this clip you will hear the history of Fairview Farm as told by one of the brothers.  Prints of ten of the images and copies of the DVD are available for purchase via the Blue Ridge Foothills Conservancy website:

Fog over Fairview Farm qrcode.photo10

An Animal Tour

Photographing animals is an awesome experience….when you have the opportunity.  They are elusive and skittish.  There are a couple of hawks on our private road who swoop down in front of me as I drive out, taunting me with their accessibility, which really isn’t accessibility.  If I stop to grab the camera, off they fly. Another ones lives along a road I travel frequently.  He knows I cannot pull off the four-lane highway to get a shot of him so he sits there and laughs.  But, occasionally I get really lucky and have the camera in my hand in a place where I can actually get a shot.  Today I will show you some of my favorite shots of animals.  I have gotten images of all kinds of animals, from the White-Tailed Deer in the Shenandoah National Park, to the tiny snail in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

A White-Tailed Deer in SNP

Two Dragonflies

Cedar Waxwings in a Wild Cherry Tree

At the Rookery — Two Great Blue Herons

Not Suitable for Children

Halloween Pennant Dragonfly

Ring-Necked Pheasant

Tiny Snail on a Leaf


Brown Pelican in Chincoteague, VA

Virginia Lovers

An Unlikely Pair takes a Break from their Battles

Fun on the Ranch

Dixie, Pepper and Molly

We have three horses.  Two of them came to our “ranch” almost 8 years ago as 6-month and 8-month-old fillies.  The youngest one, Dixie, is a beautiful black Saddlebred/Tennessee Walker mix with white markings on her mane, her tail and her legs.  The older one is Molly, and she is a brown and white Saddlebred, half-sister to Dixie.  They are as different as night and day.  Molly is a lumbering, large, peaceful animal whose only goal in life is to eat.  She has almost foundered a couple of times. Dixie is very spirited, energetic and she spooks easily.  Almost two years ago we adopted another mare who was rescued from a terrible situation in the middle of one of the worst winters we’ve had in a long time.  We call her Pepper because “she is a bit spicy.”  Pepper was rehabilitated in an equine hospital, then she went to a foster farm.  It was there that we went to claim her as ours.

Getting Pepper in the trailer was an amazing feat, but once we got her home, letting her out of the trailer was even more scary. She had never had a halter, and in fact, had never really had human contact.  Her instincts told her to run.   She ran right into a fence in a relatively small paddock area where she was released, breaking the top board and partially damaging the second one.  But, she didn’t get out.  With my husband’s tender loving care and a lot of patience, he has turned her into a sweet and loving horse.

Yesterday, our three precious horses made their way out of our pastures when my husband left the gate open.  They always wait for him at the barn in the mornings for their rationing of grain.  Yesterday he trusted that they were waiting there as they do every day.  So, the gate was left open.  The sneaky devils found their way out and took off running through our neighbor’s yard into her eight-acre pasture which is fortunately fenced all around except in the small section they found as they made their entry into her property.   My husband took a rope and closed that opening in the fence, then followed them through the fields until Molly lost interest in running. Remember, she is the large, lumbering horse who would rather eat.  Putting a rope around her made it easy to lead her back home, and with a little help the other two eventually followed.  Problem solved.   This is the third such adventure with our horses in eight years and it takes about an hour from start to finish.  And, for me, it is a terrifying experience.

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