A Little Water Fall…

…and Gorge Cliffs

Purling of the water beneath this foot high waterfall was enhanced by reducing ISO to 100, tamping down the aperture to f/22 resulting in an shutter speed of 1/10th second. I set the graduated Neutral Density filter to shade the left side.

On the cliffs ahead is where the observation platform is cut into the rock. It has a great view of the waterfall, in some ways the experience of the falls is enhanced, compared to hiking the 3/4 mile path and standing below.

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A marvelous forest grows on talus from the high gorge walls.

A sign on a disused pier warns waders to leave the creek bed. Ahead the gorge walls tower above the creek. Rocks dislodge and crash down unexpectedly, crushing foolish waders. It is appalling to see, in warmer months, people walking below those cliffs gathering the fallen rocks to make delicately balanced cairns.

Here is a slide show from today and two prior postings. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Big Bend

A tripod and Neutral Density filter

Wednesday, this week, I posted “Winter People Watching” featuring the Sony F828 and candid street photography. Today, is a continuation of a followup, started yesterday, with “End of the Gorge Trail.”

What I love about this place, a unique feature, is the size and different vantage points making it possible to view the same place from different angles. November 2019, readers were shown “The Bend,” a place with Taughannock gorge makes a 90 degree turn, changing from a southeastern to an eastern flow. Here are photographs from spot overlooked by that post.

Here the camera faces away from the sun, the graduated neutral density filter allowing me to capture the cloudless blue sky, a little milky the way it is here February with a hint of spring.

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This little one is studying the information placard with rapt attention, learning how the African continent, pushing against North America, across the eaons, formed the right angle fractures mirrored by this dramatic change in Taughannock Gorge. For the Big Bend photographs I was standing behind them, along the stream bed.

Here is a broader slice of that sky.

Can you see the tiny figures of hikers, dwarfed by the frozen cliff?

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

End of the Gorge Trail

A tripod and Neutral Density filter

Yesterday I posted “Winter People Watching” featuring the Sony F828 and candid street photography. With the Sony F828 in hand, I carried on my shoulder a new camera bag with a new Canon EOS 5D Mark IV dslr camera, mounted with a Canon 24mm f/1.4L II USM lens with a graduated 0.6 Neutral Density filter. On my other shoulder was a Manfrotto BeFree GT carbon fiber tripod.

Saturday, February 22nd was a first outing with the new equipment. I was still learning the camera and, in my inexperience, did not shoot in “raw” format and the jpeg sizing was not the largest. The conditions are never very good within the gorge, either the sun is below the rim and light sparse, or the gradient between the lit and shaded gorge too great, or the sun is almost overhead.

The graduated neutral density filter solves some of this problem for Taughannock Falls, 215 feet high, the highest single drop east of the rockies. The view faces south, in the northern hemispheres, wintertime, this means shooting into the sun. For our late afternoon walk the sun disk was below the west cliff rim, still there is a large gradient between the sky and shaded falls / gorge.

The falls await hikers at the end of the Gorge Trail. I am standing on a bridge over the creek. To the right is a path to an observation platform. At f/22 fstop atop the tripod and low light, this is a longish exposure.

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Standing on the platform, visitors are washed over by the fine mist carried by a wind pushed by the falling water. The mist clings to the gorge walls and freezes. Today, on the bridge, we were dry. I pointed the lens at Taughannock Creek flowing beneath this bring for this second, longish, exposure. The graduated ND filter was not optimal for this shot. It is a circular filter (can be turned 360 degrees), using this I positioned the shading to the left. Of course, for the waterfall, the shading in over the upper, sky, portion.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Winter People Watching

Happy April Fools’ Day

On Saturday afternoon, February 22nd, Pam and I set out for Taughannock Falls State park, 15 minutes away. I had in hand a “prosumer” digital camera, the Sony F828 featuring an integrated zoom lens, from 28 to 200 mm and 8 mpg “raw,” tiff and jpeg images.

I’ve done some great work with this camera. For example the 2003 Homecoming Parade and the award winning Summer Dream: Buttermilk Falls. The swivel is a feature of the Sony F828 that fascinates people, it is possible to change the angle of the body and lens, at one extension the view panel can be seen from above.

Using this feature, I obtained the following series of 28 photographs. Most are candid shots of the hundreds of people who passed us this day as Pam and I walked the 3/4 mile Gorge Trail to the fall’s vantage platform.

Taughannock Gorge is wide enough to be opened throughout the winter. The trails of other public park gorges (Treman, Buttermilk, Fillmore) are close to cliffs, shut down November to reopen late spring, the following year, after the trails are surveyed for dangerous rock overhangs.

With the developing situation with Covid-19 Pam was anxious over the number of people on the trail. There was a steady stream of people, some in large groups, coming and going. We were able to maintain some distance, until I stopped and a group of Ithaca college students walked into us. We are NOT going back to this trail anytime soon. I might walk the Rim trails where 5 or 6 people might pass you on a busy day.

The large groups of young people are for the most part students from Cornell University and Ithaca College. Both colleges are now closed through April, to enforce social distancing to suppress spread of COVID-10. For many of these students, they did not realize it at the time, this was their last outing before campus closure. The seniors will never return. We miss the students.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Passing…..

….strangers on the beach

After 2 pm check in we interrupted unpacking for a sundown beach walk, IPhones and Sony Alpha 700 camera in hand on the last evening of 2019. There is a business on A1A, the main road through town, advertising “beach weddings” and “elopements.” Here, using the 18 – 200 mm f3.5-6.2 lens, I spied this grouping of a mature couple holding hands, minister in attendance, for a wedding ceremony witnessed by young adult children on the right, parents (?) left. The groom’s shorts contrast with the bride’s white gown.

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Sunlight, low in the western sky, was perfect for mirror-like reflections in the retreating surf.

A given of the Atlantic beach is the late afternoon light, best for capturing figures against the ocean.

Written below the high tide mark, a message inscribed, impermanent in spite of the deep cuts.

I have practice framing sunsets against beach development. Cannot complain as we enjoy our beach side condo.

A slide show of these images.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Drying Butterfly…..

….on a Sonic Drive-In Order Station.

On Tuesday, December 17, 2019 a caterpillar dropped from vegetation to crawl across the parking lot of Sonic Drive-In, 2140 N Courtenay Pkwy, Merritt Island, FL 32953, crawl up an order station, affix its tail to the kelly green semi-gloss enamel, to form a chrysalis.

The afternoon of New Years Eve, 14 days later, we spied the Retro theme of this fast food business, finding it appealing, stopped for a hi-fat lunch of hamburgers, onion rings (“highly recommended, very delicious”) and (ha, ha) diet sodas, choosing this same order station where the emerged Brush-foot butterfly, of the family Nymphalidae, clung, drying in anticipation of flight.

Captured here with the Apple IPhone 8. I cannot identify the exact butterfly species this is. Source: wikipedia article on Nymphalidae.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Queen Victoria Arrival

The instant of sunrise

Pam and I walked from Cheri Down park this morning to Jetty Park where we were fortuitous witnesses to the arrival of the Cunard ship Queen Victoria on an 84 day cruise around South America.

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I used my IPhone 8 to capture the event. Understanding the context of a ship’s arrival opens a whole new world. Standing on the pier I researched the voyage.

Here is the list of ports visited. These include the Caribbean, Central America and many of the same ports visited on the 2016 Oceania cruise Pam and I enjoyed from Lima, Peru to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Hamburg, Germany
Southampton, England
Kings Wharf, Bermuda
Port Canaveral, Florida
 Fort Lauderdale, Florida
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Bridgetown, Barbados
Manaus, Brazil
Santarem, Brazil
Salvador de Bahia, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Montevideo, Uruguay
Buenos Aires, rgentina
Puerto Madryn, Argentina
Ushuaia, Argentinia
Cape Horn, Chile
Punta Arenas, Chile
Puerto Montt, Chile
San Antonio, Chile
Coquimbo, Chile
Arica, Chile
Callao (Lima), Peru
 Manta, Ecuador
 Panama City, Panama
Panama Canal, Panama
Cartagena, Columbia
Willemstad, Dutch Antiles
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Ponta Delgada, Azores
Southampton, England
Hamburg, Germany

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Island Shrine

part of the Irish landscape

Modern stonework borders the 1/2 mile path to the inner Dún Aonghasa walls, keeping tourists off delicate plants, maintaining the integrity of this ancient site. 

The view north, northwest over the walled path to Dun Aonghasa (Dun Aengus) looking across karst landscape, walled fields, farms, the North Atlantic Ocean, coast of Connemara and the 12 Bens (12 Pins) mountains. Aran Islands, County Galway, Ireland.ng lintel) in the surrounding wall, to left of center in middle distance.

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Click the link for my Getty IStock photography of the Aran Islands

A roadside shrine on Cottage Road, Inishmore. The faith brought by the saints has deep roots here.

A large crucifix set with wet stone walls with cut flowers. The walls are the native limestone.

It is a spring (early June) afternoon and there are fern and wildflowers. The white flowers are Greater Burnet saxifrage (Scientific Name: Pimpinella major).

The existing dry stone wall was interrupted by the shrine. In the distance are dry stone walls around fields, a stone shed, feeding horses and the sea, being Galway Bay, storm clouds with distant rain.

Aran Islands, County Galway, Ireland.

Click me for the first post of this series, “Horse Trap on Inishmore.”

References: search google “Wet Stone”

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Dying Man House

Ageless

Cong Village, County Mayo Ireland. A scene from “The Quiet Man” has a man, on hearing a fist fight underway, jump from his death bed to run from this house on Riverview Street. This is the view heading east with the Cong River behind.

Dying Man House on Riverview Street is a popular photograph on my Facebook Photography page, to this day visitors leave comments with occasionally inside information about “The Quiet Man.”  Here are some examples:

Edward James Soul The dying man in the film was actually, John Ford’s (the director) brother in real life. And the actor who played the young priest was, in real life, Maureen O’ Hara’s brother. The movie is definitely a classic.

Diane Benson Morrow And 2 other brothers were in the film. The older priest and the man who met John Wayne at the railway station at the beginning of the movie were brothers.

Edward James Soul,you are in the right church but the wrong pew. The older priest was Ward Bond. The man who met John Wayne was Barry Fitzgerald. In real life he was the brother to Arthur Shields, the actor who played the Protestant Minister, ” Rev. Playfare”.  If you look at the two, you can see the family resemblance.

Diane Benson Morrow yes. I meant Arthur Shields

Edward James Soul, also remember the scene at the lnishfree race, where there were children sitting on a railing next to Maureen O’Hara? They were John Waynes children.

Kerry Keegan Mulhern  what was the name of Barry Fitzgerald’s horse?

Pauline Ryan Grew up and around the village of Cong lovely wee place its swarming with visitors most of the time but it’s nice and quiet for a few months of winter. It’s getting very commercialized but thank God there is very little room for it to grow.

Eileen Fitzgerald Uber So wonderful to maintain the precious buildings of the past.

John Feeley The guided tour of Cong includes the tourists playing a scene from the movie. I got to play the part of Barry Fitzgerald. I had one line…”Where’s me pint?” Type-casting?

Jackie Smith Just watched that movie this weekend.

Greg Thompson Will never forget our singing tour guide and the most glorious artisan shop ever there in Cong…….

Ethel Beth Gallagher That was John Ford’s brother. He’s the man who referred to Seaneen as “tall man” in the Pub and got the coat thrown over his head.

Kolokea Kakiki I didn’t realize that film was made in 1950! I watched it in the 70’s and loved it!

Diane Eiden Been there, it was great to see after watching the movie all my life. I believe Maureen O’ Hara grew up close to Cong, and spent her final years there.

Marnie Rosé This is on my bucket list of places I want to go and I only live up north .. my favorite movie 🎥 ❤️

Robin Axler Kupfer We really enjoyed our visit to Cong. Got some great poses of my husband and me on the Stone Bridge.
Enjoyed seeing where they filmed the race on the beach….charming town.

MichaelStephenWills Photography If you walk by the Abbey over the River Cong and forest path, you will recognize another shot from the film where Mary Kate and Sean walked along the river. 2

Ann McNamara Visited Cong a few MONTHS ago.Love taking photographs- so between Cong,the grounds of Ashford Castle,Ashford Lodge and Ballinahinch castle I was in 7th heaven.Lots of wonderful photos to use for my calligraphy + card making class in the Library over Halloween- if I can arrange it!!!!

Julie Dance I bet it is, my family are from co Clare, a little place called Kilkee, and I visit Killarney a lot got friends there.

Click this link to read the photograph’s story in my online gallery.
Click this link to read another Ireland story “The Cloigtheach of Glendalough.”

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Apollo 1 Anniversary

Memories from the catastrophe on Launch Complex 34

Here is the eighth, and last, in a series of photographs centered on the early history of space flight on Cape Canaveral mostly taken during a tour organized by the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation. “Google” the foundation for details of future tours. Here we remember the loss of the Apollo 1 astronauts on Launch Complex 34 (LC-34).

Test Mice

In “Launch Complex 14 Today” we visited the place where John Glenn launched into the first American orbital mission. In ” John Glenn: A Memoir,” Glenn writes: Friendship 7 crossed the African coast twelve minutes after liftoff, a fast transatlantic transatlantic flight. I reached for the equipment pouch fixed just under the hatch. It used a new invention, a system of nylon hooks and loops called Velcro. I opened the pouch and a toy mouse floated into my vision. It was gray felt, with pink ears and a long tail that was tied to keep it from floating out of reach. I laughed; the mouse was Al’s joke, a reference to one of comedian Bill Dana’s characters, who always felt sorry for the experimental mice that had gone into space in rocket nose cones. In the early days, especially, the astronauts talked of this feeling among themselves, of being test subjects in a can and, by extension, like mice, expendable.

A monumental relief on the facade of Kennedy Space Center “Heroes and Legends” is from an iconic Project Mercury 7 photograph. Glenn is third from left, front row.

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Mural on the outside wall of the “Heroes and Legends” immersive experience, Kennedy Space Center near the Rocket Garden.

Gus Grissom, center top in the relief, was the veteran astronaut on the Apollo 1 crew, with Ed White and Roger B. Chaffee. White was the first American to walk in space during Program Gemini . Chaffee entered the space program with Program Apollo. These are images from the “Heroes and Legends” memorial to Apollo 1: the mission patch created by the crew, the three on-site in front of the launch pad. The patch is reproduced on the space capsule.

For this and the other slide shows, click on image for a larger view, use navigation arrows. Click elsewhere on larger view to exit.

Gus Grissom, who almost drown when his Liberty Bell 7 capsule hatch opened prematurely after an Atlantic Ocean splashdown, was a vocal critic of the problem plagued Apollo 1 capsule. The crew sent the following photograph to the project manager, Joseph Shea, with the message, “It isn’t that we don’t trust you, Joe, but this time we’ve decided to go over your head.” On issue was the quantity of flammables in the capsule. The use of velcro fasteners increased since the Glenn’s first orbital flight. There was 34 square feet of velcro throughout the capsule, almost like a carpet. Shea ordered it removed August 1966 and sometime before January 26 it was reinstalled. There were other flammable materials as well and a pressurized 100% oxygen. atmosphere.

The following photograph is low resolution, clicking on it will not yield a larger image.

The Apollo 1 crew expressed their concerns about the capsule in this parody of their crew portrait sent to ASPO manager Joseph Shea on August 19, 1966. From left to right: Ed White, Gus Grissom, and Roger Chaffee. April 1, 1966. NASA photograph

On January 27, 1967 the crew was suited up, in the capsule, for a “plugs out” test on Launch Complex 34.

A spark started the fire, it quickly spread and the inward opening hatch cover could not be opened under cabin pressure. It took five minutes to open the hatch, Grissom, White and Chaffee were lost: asphyxiated and burned.

My photographs are from the “Heroes and Legends” exhibits of Apollo 1 and later missions. Above, next to the burned capsule hatch is the seared capsule mission patch. Below, a moving display is the personal effects of the lost astronauts.

Launch Complex 34 Today

By chance our Lighthouse tour was January 27th, the 51st anniversary of the loss of Grissom, White and Chaffee. As we approached the complex parked buses and a gathering of people came into view. All that is left is the massive poured concrete base of the launch tower, topped with rusting pipes.

LC-34, site of the Apollo 1 disaster

The following two images are taken from the above photograph. On the left is the LC-34 information kiosk. The other is people gathered around a display of photographs and a person walking toward our approaching bus.

This turned out to be Dr. Sonny Witt, Director of Operations for the 45th Mission Support Group , Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Dr Witt came onto our bus and explained it was not possible to visit LC-34 today, with no further details, then went on to provide interesting background to Cape Canaveral Lighthouse. We were so lucky, instead of experiencing the abandoned structures, we had the attention of an expert who had published books on the subject.

Here is a UTube video featuring Dr. Witt on a tour of the lighthouse.

Sources of information for this post: I used information from the Wikipedia site for the key words Apollo 1. Memoir excerpt is from “John Glenn: A Memoir”, (pp. 341, 343). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Click for the first post of this series, “Cape Canaveral Lighthouse.”

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved.