Patricia Temples Photography

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Archive for the tag “Virginia”

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.

Tangier, Virginia

Historic Tangier Island is located in the Chesapeake Bay, accessible by tourist boat from either Reedville, Virginia on the west or Crisfield, Maryland on the east.  Our 1 hour, 40 minute trip over on the Chesapeake Breeze from Reedville was a bit rough, with rain and waves that rocked the boat to and fro.  The trip back was no different, but our three hours on the island were dry, if not a bit dreary.

Tangier Island was discovered by John Smith in 1608 when he was exploring the Bay.  The lifestyle of the island has not changed in many years.  Crabbing, fishing and tourism are the main sources of income for the 500 inhabitants, whose median age is 60 years.  The island is being swallowed up by the Bay at the rate of 30 feet per year!  Efforts to create a jetty are in discussion.

This is a small island, and it is possible to walk the entire area in a short period of time.  The main modes of transportation for the residents are motorbikes and golf cart, and the narrow streets tell the story of how they came to be used there. Occasional pickup trucks can been seen making deliveries gathered from the boats that bring in supplies.Even the U.S. Mail Boat had additional boxes and crates full of necessities. One power company truck, that had been brought over on a barge, had squeezed into a tiny space to erect new poles and change out the lines, repairing damage from recent storms. Evidence of the storms was also visible as we approached the island, where we saw many damaged crab shacks sinking into the Bay.

We had a delightful family-style lunch at Hilda Crockett’s Restaurant. Other folks who had arrived with us on the Chesapeake Breeze joined us at a table filled with platters of sliced ham, crab cakes, clam fritters, and assorted vegetables.  After lunch,  we took a tour around the island on a golf cart with a native of Tangier, who told us a bit of the history and the current status of the island. This year the school graduated five students:  2 females who are headed to college, and 3 males who are going into the tugboat industry.  Family names on the island include Parks (our guide’s married name) and Crockett.  Old cemeteries tell the geneaology of the families on the island.

This is a culture that is in decline.  The island is in jeopardy from the ravages of nature, and the lifestyle is difficult and unattractive to young people who thrive on variety.  I have to wonder what will be there in 50 years, or maybe less.

Trash Collection

These attractive containers are liberally available on the island.

Narrow Street

This is representative of the streets on Tangier Island.


The Methodist parsonage is in the background.


Hundreds of these pots are stacked throughout the island.


The landscape along the bay is beautiful.

Crab Pots

Crab Shack

This crab shack was damaged in storms and is falling into the Bay.

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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