Patricia Temples Photography

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Archive for the tag “landscapes”

My Iceland Adventure, Part 4

The Westfjords or West Fjords is a large peninsula in northwestern Iceland. The Westfjords are very mountainous; the coastline is heavily indented by dozens of fjords surrounded by steep hills. These indentations make roads very circuitous and communications by land difficult. In addition many of the roads are closed by ice and snow for several months of the year. The cliffs at Látrabjarg comprise the longest bird cliff in the northern Atlantic Ocean and are at the westernmost point in Iceland.We arrived at our hotel, Hotel Latrabjarg, after traversing a winding, narrow gravel road into the middle of nowhere.

Drive in van

Across the water we could see a small community, but when we arrived at our hotel, we were the only ones for miles.  It was great.  The hotel was so comfortable, with large rooms, wonderful showers, a dining room that had old wooden tables and chairs and was more like the dining room of a home than a hotel.  We stayed three nights and did a variety of things while we were there. 

The beach was a a short walk below the hotel and that was our first shooting location. We were photographing arctic terns, because when the sun was behind the cliffs, a black background was perfect for the white terns.  But, alas, I am not a great bird photographer, especially when they are in flight.  I found the terns to be difficult because they flew fast, darted around in every direction, and they were generally pretty far away from me.  I preferred photographing the Eurasian Oystercatcher, a larger bird whose flight was slower.  Anyway, here are a few bird photos, since that first day that was what it was all about.

Beach near hotel

The beach near our hotel.

The second day at Hotel Latrabjarg, we drove a few miles to Raudasandsbugur, the Red Sand Beach.  What a special location this was.  As we approached the beach, there was a terrific vantage point from on high, but alas, there was no parking for the vans.  However, later, when we returned, the light had improved and we walked a bit to get higher shots.  Wow. 

Red sand beach 1Red sand beach 4Red Sand beach bestRed sand beach with light

In between the two visits to the beach, we stopped at a church. Churches are plentiful in Iceland because property owners know that if they have a church on their land, their taxes are lower.  Churches are frequently painted black with white trim and red roofs, as this one was, and I found them to be beautiful.  I wonder what they would look like in the snow.  In winter when it is dark for 23 out of 24 hours, and there is snow on the ground, it must be amazing.  Someone told us that the snow is very white because there is no pollution, and that what little light is available is reflected on the white snow and gives the appearance of more light in the sky. I’d love to see that.

We stopped sometime along the way at an old house, built in 1907 and vacant since 1962. We photographed there, and I’ll share those another time. Across the road from that house was an old barn, a spring house, who knows?  It was built into a mound so that part of it was underground, with the side with a door above ground.  Here are some views of that interesting building.  Look at that landscape!

Sunken structure 1Sunken structure 2Sunken structure 3

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My Iceland Adventure, Part 3

On our long travel day, I took photos from the van, while moving, and we stopped along the way where I got some shots of the landscape.  It varied from mountain scenes and poppies to scenes along the shore line as we approached our destination on the West Fjords.  Enjoy.

Landscape 3 with church and horsesLandscape 2Landscape 4Poppies 2Landscape 5Landscape 6 with horsesLandscape 8Poppies 3Poppies

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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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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Adventure in Western Virginia

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Over the weekend my husband took me on a birthday adventure to Monterey, Virginia by way of Bath County (Warm Springs).  It was a perfect weekend.  The temperatures were terrific both days, and even dipped into the 30s overnight to give us crisp autumn air on the first full day of fall.  The countryside is so awesome and gives credence to the term folks like to use about the region:  Little Switzerland.  In many ways it reminded me of the Italian countryside in Umbria with the rolling hills and vibrant shades of green. Already the colors of fall are beginning to emerge.

When we first drove into Bath County on the trip down on Saturday, we started seeing hay bales decorated in all kinds of creative ways.  Roger called it “Hay Art” and we began to look for them after seeing a couple on the outskirts of Warm Springs.  Later we learned that they were part of the Harvest Festival in Bath County this weekend.  Forty-seven hay bales were decorated all over the county.  We only saw a few of those, but of course, I had to get some images of the ones we discovered.  In the community weekly newspaper, we saw photos of others we missed. The last treat of the weekend was seeing the barn quilts in Highland County.  All-in-all, it was a fun adventure.

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