Patricia Temples Photography

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Archive for the tag “autumn”

More Fog in the Shenandoah National Park

I headed out a few days ago to Shenandoah National Park on a morning when the fog was so thick at my house that I couldn’t see the road in front of me.  But, I sensed that when I got out of the foothills and up into the mountains, I would have some awesome photography opportunities.  What a morning it was!  I drove north to the little town of Sperryville and found spotty fog along the way. Then I drove through the clouds into the Park where I found sunny skies and dense clouds below. I stopped often as I headed south toward Big Meadows. When I arrived at the meadow, the fog and cloud cover were so thick that there were no photo ops. In a matter of four hours, I felt that I had spent several days on Skyline Drive because of the changing conditions.  But, it did not disappoint me.  The Park never does.

Champe Plain Road

In the valley below SNP

Sharp Rock Vineyard View

Also in the valley, near Sharp Rock Vineyards.

From the car

Driving along Skyline Drive

Tunnel near Thornton Gap

The tunnel just south of the Thornton Gap entrance to SNP

Layers of Fog

Tree and Big Fog

Thick clouds

Sea of Fog

Clouds were filling the gap in the mountains.

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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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Shenandoah National Park in Autumn

I was born and raised in Virginia and I have never lived anywhere else.  Now in my retirement years, I am lucky to live near the Shenandoah National Park.  In fifteen minutes I am on Skyline Drive, and in another thirty minutes I am in Big Meadows, my favorite area of the park.  This week I had the good fortune to drive up three times.  Even though in the “low land” where I live autumn is just beginning to make its mark, in SNP red, golds and oranges are emerging everywhere.  In another week or two it should be fantastic.

In the meadow there are berry bushes changing to a deep rich burgundy color, milkweed pods opening to spread their seeds, grasses blowing in the wind with an occasional goldenrod pepping through.  The ferns are dying back to lovely shades of gold and brown.  It is quiet and peaceful.  Because the full moon occurred this week, the animals were not out at sunrise.  They use the brightness of the moon to feed and forage at night, so when we arrived their tummies were full and they were sleeping in the woods.

National Public Lands Day was Saturday, September 29th, and entry to the park was free.  There were many people hiking and enjoying the crisp autumn air.  I was part of a group of volunteers who worked in Big Meadows to control Black Locust trees that are threatening to change the landscape there.  It was a wonderful day in the Park.  But, then, every day in the Park is a wonderful day.

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