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Charles Fort People I

echoes across time

After exploring Kinsale town and lunch Pam and I drove two miles, along the east side of the cove, to the ruins of Charles Fort, one of a pair of fortifications protecting Kinsale from seaward attack. The “New Fort,” Charles, faces the “Old Fort”, James, across the cove.

Built in the 17th century on the site of an older fortification, Ringcurran Castle, it is named for Charles II, the English monarch of the time. The fort was burned during by retreating anti-treaty forces in 1922 during the Irish Civil war. It lay derelict until today’s 1971 until now restoration.

Upon our arrival this young man was handling a hurley and sliotar beneath the fort wall, an incarnation of  Cúchulainn playing hurling at Emain Macha. From Wikipedia, “Hurling is older than the recorded history of Ireland. It is thought to predate Christianity, having come to Ireland with the Celts. The earliest written references to the sport in Brehon law date from the fifth century. Seamus King’s book A History of Hurling references oral history going back as far as 1200 BCE of the game being played in Tara, County Meath. The tale of the Táin Bó Cuailgne (drawing on earlier legends) describes the hero Cúchulainn playing hurling at Emain Macha.”

References

“Hurling and Charles Foryt” – wikipedia

Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Summer Walk

Experience a hike around Taughannock Gorge on a summer morning with thunderstorms threatening

Constant winds from thunderstorm updrafts, I brought along an umbrella just in case.

Click photograph for slide show. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

Click the “Watch on YouTube” for a larger format view and more information about each video.

Taughannock Falls Gorge on a humid summer morning
Hemlock Forest on South Rim Trail
Taughannock Falls Gorge from South Rim Trail
Taughannock Falls from South Rim trail
View of Taughannock Falls Gorge from the North Rim trail on a humid summer (July) morning. Turkey Vultures circle overhead…they are there most summer days.
View of the first waterfall of Taughannock Gorge from the railroad bridge linking the North and South Rim trails on a humid summer (July) morning. This large waterfall empties to the gorge above the 210+ foot Taughannock Falls.
Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Black Skimmers Feeding

An early morning revelation

I published six fine art prints from this photo session. Click this link for any photograph to visit my new Florida Gallery.

One early morning, just after dawn, Cocoa Beach, Florida, I had a revelation.  My wife and I walk the beach four or more miles each day we are lucky enough to be in Florida for the winter.  Yes, we are “snow birds” who flee the snows of New York for a few weeks, now and then.
Viewing Platform with Sheep – CLICK ME for more Ireland photography.

We love to catch the sunrise together, have breakfast, pull together a lunch for a long walk.  We catch the passing beach scenery, find a place to enjoy our meal, and return late afternoon.

The Black Skimmer (Scientific Name: Rynchops niger) literally stands out from the gulls.  The individuals gather together in a large group.  If there is a wind, most group members face into it.  They are aloof and dignified, unlike the gulls who grift for food, obnoxious and bothersome if you make the mistake of throwing a gull a morsel.

Viewing Platform with Sheep – CLICK ME for more Ireland photography.

Black Skimmers are just as large a gulls.  Slender, tern-like, black and white bodies.  Recognize a Black Skimmer from the colorful red of the base of the bill.  If you view my Fine Art versions, notice the lower mandible is much longer.

Viewing Platform with Sheep – CLICK ME for more Ireland photography.

My early morning revelation was how the Black Skimmer feeds, flying just above the surf, the lower mandible extended to fish by feel.  Unless you beach walk early mornings, you will be most familiar with the habit of grouping together, facing into the wind. I captured this individual, a member of a larger group, just after sunrise, on Cocoa Beach. It was just me and the Skimmers.

Viewing Platform with Sheep – CLICK ME for more Ireland photography.

Their feeding is successful enough to allow them to longue on the beach most of the day.  I have only seen them feed early mornings.  Here is another part of their feeding behavior.  They feed as a group in long sweeping lengths.  At the end, they turn as a group and head the other way.  Here are three Black Skimmers in a turn.

Viewing Platform with Sheep – CLICK ME for more Ireland photography.

One morning, after our sunrise view, I pulled together my photography kit for this successful photo shoot.  Enjoy!!

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Weedy Orchid IV

Presenting a macro of a Broad-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine) growing in our rose garden, in full bloom, a profusion of orchid flowers.

Helleborine, the scientific name species designation, means like a Hellebore. It must refer calyx, the outer leaves forming the flower bud, these open to reveal the flower. In this macro, the unopened buds are upper right. Bottom center the calyx, fully open, with the flower ready to accept pollination, fertilization. After opening, the calyx seems to be part of the flower, a characteristic of hellebore (see Helleborus argutifolius).

The flowers attract a variety of Hymenoptera. I observed wasps, yellow-jackets visiting. Today, each flower is a ripening fruit. I need to photograph is stage.

Click photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

Photograph is from a 100mm “macro” lens, f6.3.

Thank You for visiting.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Hanging Gardens II

Refreshing and live-giving mist

Effects of these dual waterfalls is deeply refreshing for the people on the narrow walkway underneath.

Photograph two of this Hanging Garden series has the aspect shifted slightly to include the sheer cliff hovering over the waterfalls. A low ISO and tamped down diaphragm (f/8) resulting in longer exposure (1.3 sec) impart a presence for two low volume waterfalls.

Captured with a Kodak DCS Pro SLE/c dslr and a Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 lens stabilized with the Manfrotto Studio Tripod model 475 and the 468 Hydrostatic ball head.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Weedy Orchid III

This series reveals an an interesting plant I encountered July 2019. the Broad-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine), a wild orchid.

Each flower produces a seed capsule with an uncountable profusion of minuscule seeds. Germination is only possible if a fungus is present, mycorrhizal symbiosis the scientific term from the root words myco (fungus) and rhiz- as in rhízōma “mass of roots.”

Click photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

This photograph minimizes the clutter of this rose garden site, lost in a beautiful bokeh, at a cost of much flower detail. Many of the numerous blooms are out of focus. F-stop is set to wide open, f1.2. The apparent image distortion, upper left hand quadrant, is the blurred arc of a juniper bush limb.

Today’s header image is from yesterday’s post, by way of comparison.

Click me for the first post of this series.

.to be continued.

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Weedy Orchid II

July 2019 I photographed an interesting plant growing in the wild. Motivated by curiosity I identified it as Broad-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine), a wild orchid.

A few years back we fenced in the rose garden as protection against marauding deer. This orchid specimen thrived within the enclosure, possibly turbocharged by rose fertilization.

The number of tiny flowers on a single stalk give a freakish, monstrous impression.

Click photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

Here, the tripod is moved to the fully illuminated side, at f9 the details of the interesting leaves, entire flower stalk including the top bent toward the view, are in focus. The background fencing is a distraction.

Click me for the first post of this series.

.to be continued.

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Hanging Gardens I

Waterfalls high overhead

Visitors to Zion on a narrow path beneath this vast overhanging cliff of Navajo sandstone.

Changing the camera angle from the last “Hanging Garden” photograph, with visitors, here the visitors are less apparent, overawed by the waterfall. A low ISO and tamped down diaphragm (f/8) resulting in longer exposure (0.8 sec) captures and blurs just enough the fine waterfalls.

Captured with a Kodak DCS Pro SLE/c dslr and a Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 lens stabilized with the Manfrotto Studio Tripod model 475 and the 468 Hydrostatic ball head.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Weedy Orchid I

July 2019, while hiking Fillmore Glen I photographed an interesting, till then unknown to me, plant growing on shale till beneath the gorge wall. Motivated by curiosity I identified it as Broad-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine), a wild orchid.

Using this information, I found the plant growing in our yard as a persecuted weed, observed closely a specimen surviving in a neglected nook and discovered the tiny face of an orchid flower.

2020, on my request, germinating plants with the same leaf form were spared weeding, even allowed to grow among the roses were the specimen of today’s photographs thrived.

Click photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

I captured this and all following (posts) photographs of this orchid in late afternoon light, after the sun was behind the hemlock hedge to the west, mounting on a portable tripod made the shot possible in this light.

This specimen benefited from the ample fertilizer applied to the surrounding roses. Compare with the specimen photographed in Fillmore Glen, in post header. I needed to fit into a tight space, so the smaller tripod was used. The lens is a 50 mm, f-stop 5.6. I could open up the diaphragm to 1.2, though the additional blur would not improve the background very much (over f 5.6) at a cost of much of the plant out of focus. Each orchid is smaller than a “pinky” fingernail.

..to be continued.

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Kinsale Walking Tour 10

along the River Bannon

The tenth and final of a series of idiosyncratic posts from a walking tour of Kinsale by Dermot Ryan. My Sony Alpha 700 captured the events back in May 2014.

We are headed toward lunch along the River Bannon. The Kinsale Chocolate Boutique, Exchange Buildings, 6 Market Square, did not survive the pandemic. This iconic corner is now the First South Credit Union (sigh).

With headquarters in Dublin, the Irish Red Cross provides in Ireland (click the links to learn more):

MIGRATION SERVICES,

PRISON PROGRAMME – COMMUNITY BASED HEALTH & FIRST AID

FREE DEFIBRILLATOR CHECK

RED CROSS AND IHL

EMBLEMS OF THE RED CROSS MOVEMENT

INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW

RESCUE SERVICES

AMBULANCE

MISSING RELATIVES

Come out of the center town to walk along Pier Road, River Bannon on its way to the harbor, on one side, town parks on the other.

Across from Kinsale Town Park rises this Tall Ship mast and other memorabilia from Kinsale’s maritime heritage.

A few hundred feet away are moorings for the Kinsale Yacht club, ” located in Kinsale, County Cork lies just 120 nautical miles from Wales, 240 from North West France and only 500 from the Galician Coast of North Spain. Most significantly it is only 30 km by road from Cork, Ireland’s second city, and between the two lies one the region’s main assets – Cork International Airport – with its daily links to many European capitals. Keelboats and Dinghies. The club runs inshore and offshore races, has active cruising and powerboat sections and most significantly for any real club, a strong and dynamic junior training program. Kinsale Yacht Club and marina are only a few minutes walk from every shop, hotel, pub and restaurant in Ireland’s gourmet capital.” — from the Yacht Club web site.

Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills