Patricia Temples Photography

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Archive for the tag “Shenandoah National Park”

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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A Day in the Park

What could be better than a drive into Shenandoah National Park in the fall?  A drive in the fall on a rainy day.  It was so beautiful today in the mountains with the thick clouds and fog below us, the colors around us and the glistening of the raindrops on everything.  I was so happy to see some out-of-state cars on Skyline Drive because I felt that today was the kind of day I want to share with non-Virginians. This is why I love Virginia.

View from under the tree Wildflowers and mountains Mountains, fog and fall colors Rocks, mountains and fog 2 Rocks, mountains and fog 3 Rocks, mountains and fog Rugged peak Sassafras

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

Harvest Moon, Where Are You?

A couple of weeks ago a photographer friend and I decided to go to the Shenandoah National Park to photograph the harvest moon on October 29th.  We picked out a perfect location that would afford us an eastern view of the moon, which is huge and orange in the autumn.  We also knew that at this same location we could see the sunset to the west. So, this morning the forecasts of Hurricane Sandy, the Frankenstorm, made us change our plans to the day before the actual full moon.  That way when the rains hit Virginia, we will have our images and be safely at home.  We arrived at the designated location before 5pm, ready to watch the huge moon rise up over the eastern ridges.  Not being quite ready for cold weather, we elected to sit in the warmth of the car awaiting the glorious event.  A couple of quick shots before huddling in the heat told us not to be too optimistic.

In about forty-five minutes, when the moon was expected to emerge, the fog dropped on us.  Literally.  It wasn’t there, and then it was!  We gave up.  But not before documenting our efforts to photograph the Harvest Moon in the Park.  What you are seeing as huge spots of dirt in the sky are rain drops all over the lens.

I thought about several things as I drove home.  I imagined what it must have been like 100 years ago when people lived in those mountains.  Rainstorms in the Park are not rare, and fog often envelopes everything.  But now we have roads, yellow lines to guide us through the fog and rock walls to stop us from toppling down the  mountain.  I also thought that it looked a lot like Halloween with the eerie shapes emerging from the woods.  I am completely sure I saw Sasquatch just off the road as I hastened back to safety in the flat lands below.

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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