Patricia Temples Photography

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Archive for the tag “trees”

Trees and their Stories

I recently decided to start another project for an exhibit I will hang in the fall.  Trees came to mind, because I photograph them often, and some of them have great stories.  So, I am going to give you a preview of my plan.

The first tree that came to mind is one I photographed a number of years ago.  The shot was taken at sunset, facing the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.  Yes, the tree was dead.  But it had a history that it could have told if it had been alive.  I had to rely on the memories of local folks who know its significance.

Parrott Farm Schoolhouse Field

It is located on what is known in Greene County as the Parrott Farm.  At the site of the tree was a one-room schoolhouse where the Parrott children and others from nearby homes were educated in the early 1900s.  The locals refer to this as the Schoolhouse Field.  Two months after I made this image, a large storm blew it down.  Here is what remained.

Parrott Farm Schoolhouse Field after

Not far from this location is Westover United Methodist Church on land which was donated by the Parrott/Early families who owned the farm.  In 1913, the first wedding took place in that newly created church.  After the ceremony the bride took a sprig of hemlock out of her bouquet and planted it in the ground behind the church.  This Old Hemlock grew and remains on the property.

Westover view 3

Westover view 1

Another notable tree was new to me this past year. On a property now owned by Spring Hill Church, which is in Albemarle County, near the Greene County line, there was a tree that grew from a number of shoots, forming an interesing multi-trunked base. It was located near a resting place of the former owners of the farm, now donated to the church.

Not long after I made this image, a microburst, as described by nearby residents, split this tree in half. You can see the multiple trunks that created one tree, but which also led to instability in the storm. It was a big loss to the folks of this church who use this property for spiritual and recreational activities.

More on trees at another time. I wish I knew all of their stories.

An outing in Orange

Another recent adventure was to the little town of Orange, Virginia.  Another historic location.  This outing was with my two artist collaborators, and it was a scouting expedition for our next creation.  Since they had their cameras with “normal” lenses, I decided to take my wide angle lens along.  What a great idea that was.  I needed to do some shooting and I loved the perspective that lens gave me  It was another good day!  Here are my favorites.

Bookstore Ductwork to the Sky Grace Baptist Church window Lighting in a Store Orange Courthouse Tree at Waddill Church

Not so beautiful, but interesting to look at.

Not so beautiful, but interesting to look at.

 

A Foggy Morning

This has been a period of amazing fog in the mornings.  It has been so dense that travel has been treacherous.  I talked myself out of going to shoot two mornings, but this morning my husband shamed me into getting dressed and getting out there.  I didn’t travel far from home, and I quickly learned that I needed to go east because the fog was clearing out in a west to east direction.  It is important for photographers to remember that distant venues are not always necessary to provide interesting images.  In fact, the challenge is to stay close to home and find new ways to shoot old subjects.  So, that’s what I did this morning.

In Celebration of Trees

Many photographers have a love affair with TREES.  I am one of them.  I should have a bumper sticker that says:  “Caution:  I stop to photograph trees.”  I admire their strength, structure and longevity.  The four seasons reveal things about deciduous trees that I find exciting.  Now in the winter season in Virginia, I see the strong dark trunks, the reaching arms and the smaller branches sometimes overlapping and fighting for space.  In spring, the emergence of the pale green leaves or the blossoms on a fruit tree make me feel energy and enthusiasm.  In summer, trees provide respite from the heat with their shade and breezes.  And, in fall the warm colors impart a sense of peace and calm  to prepare us for the resting period of winter.  Evergreen trees are special in other ways.  In religion, they are a symbol of eternal life.  They exude stability, nobility, and constancy.  They complete the landscape with a backdrop of strong greens amid the white or pink blossoms in spring or the autumn orange, gold and red. When the snows come they are adorned in white blankets, holding their arms to embrace the cold and quiet of the winter.

Photographing trees requires some planning.  Sometimes the initial view of a tree is not its best side.  There is a tree on a golf course near my home that survived a serious tornadic event in 2004.  From one view it is a small, compact and shapely tree with nice curves.  But viewed from another side, the damage from the storm is very obvious.  One lone branch reaches out, upsetting the balance of the tree.  It is a survivor, and it will be exciting to see how it changes as it matures.  And, oh, the stories it could tell.  Another set of trees that I have photographed many times is a row of Bradford Pears along my neighbor’s driveway.  I have told her that I need to pay her rent for my time spent with her trees.  I’m so glad I repeatedly aimed my camera at her trees, because a derecho last June took out more than half of them, and a subsequent wind storm a few weeks later damaged others.

It is no surprise to me that the TREE has become a major player in our Christmas decorating.  I wondered about how and when that became a tradition.  While the use of the tree in religious customs can actually be traced back to the time of paganism, as Christianity grew, the use of the tree carried over, and may have become a Christmas tradition as early at the 15th Century.  Early modern Germany is the birthplace of the decorated tree and emigrants carried this tradition with them overseas.  In the 1960s, due to the popularity of the Charlie Brown Christmas, aluminum Christmas trees adorned homes.  In my childhood home we had a somewhat garish one which was white aluminum, and a rotating color wheel shone different colors on it to create special effects.  That lasted two years until some brave soul in my family told my mother than we didn’t really like the white tree.

In this holiday season, I pay tribute to TREES.

Bradford Pears in Fall Bradford Pears in Spring Bradford Pears in Winter Survivor in Fall Survivor in Winter Before the storm took it down Stately EvergreenSpruce Knob LakeChristmas Tree at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Collaboration is the Spice of Life

About two years ago I was invited to join the Firnew Farm Artists Circle in Madison County.  Who, me?  A photographer?  Didn’t they know I couldn’t draw, sketch, paint, or mix colors?  As I soon learned, there were other photographers in the group!  My affiliation with this talented collection of people has been incredibly inspiring, and I have learned  so many things that have made me grow as a photographer.  About six months ago two friends in the group and I started discussing a collaboration.  One of them is a colored pencil artist, one a watercolorist, and then there’s me….the photographer.  A very unlikely TRIO for a collaboration, for sure.  But, we set out to see if we could make it work.  We kept it our little secret in case we weren’t successful, and we collaborated in the car, at each other’s homes and on email throughout the weeks to come.  The challenge was this:  each artist contributed one piece for the theme TREES, and it would be passed to the other two for embellishment and change until it emerged as one cohesive and original work of art.  When we were finished we would have three pieces, a TRIO of works.

My first challenge as a photographer was to choose a photograph that could serve as a foundation piece for the others.   We met together one morning to share our foundation pieces.  Now my biggest challenge emerged.  What in the world do I add to these beautiful watercolors and colored pencil drawings to make it work?  Originally we had talked about working independently, but soon it became apparent that collaborating along the way was going to be the best plan.  I needed the most guidance of the three of us because….well, I told you I have a handicap when it comes to art.  After they were finished, we discussed how we would sign the pieces. They belonged to all three of us, but three signatures would have overwhelmed the pieces.  We thought about using last initials, which were B for Barham (Leslie), L for Lacy (Frances) and T for Temples.  BLT!  A sandwich.  How fitting!  We had layered our works together, creating tantalizing original art.  Let’s go with it!!

We are very proud of the results, which are now matted, framed and hanging in the Annual Christmas Exhibition of the Firnew Farm Artists Circle through December 27th.  You can see them at The Culpeper Cheese Company in Culpeper VA.  The opening reception is December 1, 4-6 pm.  Please join us if you can!

Light through the Fog

Another foggy sunrise called to me this morning.  I love the way fog accentuates some patterns and diffuses others.  The colors in the fog really came out when I brought this image into the computer and worked with it a bit.  Amazing.

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