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Christmas Ornaments 2018 I

for the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8

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During the summer of 2013, while, gathering my Mother’s estate I found this statue, about 9 inches high on a wood plinth, among her belongings.  It is of a type of unglazed porcelain called “biscuit” or “bisque” commonly used for decorative figures.  From the coloring, especially the brushwork on the robe and shade of the cloak, it is a product of an Asian workshop.  The halo, erect stature and figuration of the arms and hands, identify it as the Immaculate Conception.  December 8th is the feast day of the Immaculate Conception for the Roman Catholic church and, so, I have chosen this as our first Christmas ornament to post for this year.     

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Click this Photograph for my Fine Art Photography Gallerry

In 2017 I produced four posts featuring photographs of Pam’s Christmas displays or our household Christmas ornaments.  These were “Christmas Tableau”, “Ireland on the Mind at Christmas”, “Christmas Angels”, “Me and the War on Christmas”.

This year, Pam featured our Asian Immaculate Conception on the mantle with festive silver ornaments.  She is placed in front of a wall sized mirror in which the reverse of her cloak and halo are reflected.

Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Keuka Terroir

a vineyard in context

Here is a fourth post from a trip Pam and I enjoyed to the Dr. Frank Winery on the west side of Keuka Lake.  The previous posts are “Keuka Lake Winter I”, “Iron Grace”, “Keuka Lake Fall Winter”.  Let’s talk about the environment of these vineyards.

For this photograph I came down from the overlook building, right next to the vines, where it all starts, each plant growing from and clinging to the soil.  Genetics play an important role, particularly the epigenetics, the expression of a crop’s genetic traits as affected by the context of the local environment.  Here we see row after row of vines on the west side of Keuka Lake, the land sloping enough so the lake is clearly visible below.  On the other side the land is clearly forested with few, if any, vines, on a steeper slope.  There is more sunlight on the west side, the land tilts a bit to the southeast and northwest on the east side.  In the northern hemisphere, a southern exposure means more sunlight.    

There is a geological reason for this topography.  In this part of New York State sequential, long plates of land aligned on a general north-south axis each sloping to the east causing longer, more gradual slopes on the east side and, one the west shorter, steeper slopes as we see in this photograph.  The crease where the plates meet is where each of the Finger Lakes formed.  It is the combination of the lake water holding of warmth and the long slope exposure to sunlight that creates a microclimate favorable to the vines.  

Click this link for another posting about the Finger Lakes.

Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Keuka Lake Fall Winter

We visited Keuka Lake on a December day for my last two posts,
“Keuka Lake Winter” and “Iron Grace”.  October 5, 2014 found Pam and I at the same overlook after my son completed the Wine Glass Marathon.  Here we are at the finish line in Corning, home of the Corning Glass Factory.  You may know it from your set of Correlle dinnerware.

Marathoner and his proud father

Afterwards, Pam and I made it up to the Dr. Frank Winery for a tasting followed by dinner at a local restaurant.  Here is a photograph from the same viewpoint, using the “zoom” setting of my Sony DSLR A700.  The view is more interesting than the winter shot of “Keuka Lake Winter I”  from the autumn clouds and the burst of late day sun on the eastern lake shore.

This is the juncture of the “Y” shaped lake where the two arms joint the long foot.  The pointed high headland is the point where the two arms meet.  We are looking north here.  The western arm, on the right, is unique in that the water is flowing down into the juncture.  In Keuka Lake the water flows in two directions.  The flow of lake foot and eastern arm is in the opposite direction, Keuka Lake empties at the top of the eastern arm, eventually reaching Lake Ontario.  

North View from Overlook using “Zoom” lens

Here is the eastern view, from the overlook, looking over a vineyard ready for harvest, covered with fruit and leaves.  Every once in awhile there is a loud “bang” from a noisemaker used to discourage birds from feasting on grapes.  The buildings along the shore are summer cottages, Keuka is lined with them.

East View on an autumn afternoon

The same view, from our December 2018 visit.  The vines are bare, the fallen leaves cleared, the vine roots covered under banked earth to protect them from the cold.

Pam and I, enjoying wine after the 2014 Wine Glass Marathon.  Cheers!!

Click this link for my Fine Art Photography Gallery.

Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Iron Grace


A storage building fashioned into an overlook, just off South Pulteney Road, Routh 76, as the road climbs the hillside. This cast iron decoration graces the fence around the roof. The building is built into the hillside, one edge level with the ground.

As far back as I can remember, over thirty years, yet unmarked on maps, this building and view has been part of the experience of Keuka Lake.  During that time, the fence was erected to protect us.  The place symbolizes the gracious hospitality of the Finger Lakes Region.

I caught this feature during our last outing to Dr. Frank Winery, just a ways up the road, one day of an unusually cold early December.

Keuka Lake Winter I

Keuka, the crooked Finger Lake….

Sunday, Pam and I travelled across the peneplanes, past three Finger Lakes, to reach the Dr. Konstantin Frank winery where we subscribe to the “Wine Club,” a quarterly release of three 750 ml wines along with a newsletter with information and recipes.  For 2018/2019 we elected to “pickup” our selections, looking forward to these drives through the country and villages between Ithaca and the winery perched on the west side of Keuka Lake, just below the “branch.”

Yesterday, I posted “Glacier!!” and today there is this photograph of glacial topography 10,000+ years after the melt.  Keuka Lake is shaped like a “Y” chromosome, here we are looking northeast across the “foot” of the “Y” from the west lakeside.  Above the evergreens, to the left, is the headland separating the “arms” of the “Y”. 

 Spread out below our viewpoint are row upon row of grapevines, enjoying the microclimate surrounding the deep lake.

Click this link for my Fine Art Photography gallery.

Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Glacier!!!

experience a glacier of Patagonia

Two person ship launch against glacier base.
Summer was the season for our visit to the edge of eternal, for now, Patagonian ice fields.  Remnants from the last ice age, larger than some (small) countries.  The site is surprisingly noisy with sharp, explosive, ice crackles.
More amazing even than the sounds, the dark shading on the ice is volcanic dust from recent eruptions of many cones. 

Click this link for my series of posts about Chilean fjords and glaciers we visited February 2016.

Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Winter Captures

two captures during a time of lengthening days

Here are two offerings from winters past.

Late In the Day
Small Break Against the North Wind

Click this link for my Fine Art Gallery

Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills