I finished my Zion photographs from oyr 2007 trip. Click this link for the 22 images accepted by Getty.
My Zion Photography on Getty
My Zion Photography on Getty
I finished my Zion photographs from oyr 2007 trip. Click this link for the 22 images accepted by Getty.
Family Group with child
In this series of three exposures from a tripod mounted Kodak DSC Pro SLR/c and Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM lens, all were ISO 250, at f/8. The difference was the exposure time. In is the shortest exposure, 1.6 second, the human figures are blurred, though to a lesser extent than the second image, released earlier.
This is the last image of our trip to Zion National Park.
Yesterday, Pam and I headed to the peneplane behind our home to enjoy the Finger Lakes terrain graced by fall colors. The day before I noticed the Japanese Maple leaves had turned from maroon to vermillion. While waiting for Pam to get ready, I capture the following two shots.
This tree was planted by my father and mother in-laws. Developed over the centuries by the Japanese, specimens reached England in the 1820 and spread from there. It is not strictly accurate to call the color vermillion, since cinnabar finely ground produces the pigment for which the color is named, when the sun strikes the leaves vermillion is a metaphor for the impression made.
The scientific name for these trees is Acer palmatum with common names Palmate Maple (for the shape of the leaves “like a palm tree”, as for the scientific name), Japanese Maple or Smooth Japanese-Maple (for the bark).
We drove under the clouds, enjoying the rare dramatic shafts of sunlight and I gave up, finally, tying to time my shots. Here is the view from Connecticut Hill.
The previous photos were taken with a hand held Sony Alpha 700 with variable lens. The next two are with an Apple iPhone I had a hand when Pam and I returned home for a walk around the neighborhood to witness the transformations.
We were surprised by this orange maple, never recalling this shade before. Like our Japanese Maple were assume it is a non-native ornamental.
Our Japanese Maple is a challenge to capture photographically as it grows beneath a larger “nut” (don’t recall the kind at the moment) tree. We are working together to improve that, so I don’t have an overall photograph.
Here is our neighbor’s Japanese Maple. They have a story of carrying this tree, as a sapling, on the bus from Long Island. I love the impression of dark limbs among the clouds of red foliage.
This photograph (the “far” of the “near and far”) is from a remote corner of Chiricahua National Monument, during the trip mentioned in my post, “History and Ghosts of the Triangle T Ranch”. To get there, I drove over a mountain pass to a location was featured in an “Arizona Highways” I read long ago.
I call this photograph “Red Dragon,” the formation is known as a “maple “
dragon”, from the long sinuous form of the tree limb. Known for this reddish orange autumn color, this is a Big Tooth Maple, AKA Canyon Maple. Scientific Name Acer grandidentatum (as in “big tooth”). It is a wild specimen, living along the north fork of Cave Creek. It is a area well know to avid bird watchers and ornithologists.
The camera was my Kodak, DSC slr-c with a Canon 50 mm lens mounted on a tripod.
Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills
a monarch in steady progress south
On a sunny autumn morning we set out, my soon to be three grandson Sam and I, to the Lime Hollow Nature Center near Cortland for an adventure. For the first time I brought a newly purchased iPhone 7 instead of the usual slr camera. The phone can be carried in a pocket and is simpler to us, to allow me to give full attention to Sam.
At the start is a large, today sunlit, field with an “art trail.” There are various anthropomorphic transformations on the trees and a very large sculpture of a blue face. Here is a tree from another place near here, to give you an idea.
I do not point out the tree faces to Sam. His Mom likes to say he enjoys being frightened and, when the blue face came into view, he turned back and said, “home.” Sam was mildly anxious, so I carried him and tried to turn him up the trail away from the face. He turned to keep an eye on it while I assured him it could not move. This and a climb up a 230 foot hill were the only times he didn’t walk the half mile to a open grassy knoll with a bench.
There we sat for 30 minutes, still and watching, Sam and I talked about our sightings:
1. The sunlit sky of clouds, from a milky blue towards the north to, overhead, a bright robins egg blue.
2. A circling hawk, shadow crossing over us.
3. One blue jay in a maple turning red, loudly calling over and over.
4. A little while after a second jay, landing in a tree turned yellow, drawn in and giving answer.
5. A monarch butterfly’s steady progress south. Such a strong gliding path.
6. A yellow butterfly who did not leave us, fluttering round and round.
7. Four honking Canadian geese flying north east, turned to check out a nearby pond, the returned to the original heading.
8. The sound of wind through the trees, listening to the sound made by each tree.
9. The late season golden rod, now dried gray.
10. A distant chittering red squirrel.
11. Distant peeper frogs in the swamps at the foot of the hill.
Sam did not want to leave the bench, eventually we headed on to the pond the geese checked out.
I used the “panoramic” feature of the iPhone 7 for this shot. On the hill we were sheltered by trees and bushes from the steady northeast wind. Here, on a bench by the pond, that direction was open to the wind. The sun kept us warm. It was clear why the geese did not land, the water surface was deserted, filled only by rippling wind driven waves.
On our walk back we sat on a bench on the edge of the art trail field, the blue face out of sight. A woman, the only other person encountered, emerged from one of the trails cut from the brush, camera in hand. She was collecting images for a Cortland Historical Society publication and asked to take our photograph. “OK,”, I said and gave the story of living here for 25 years in the house on Fall Creek where my son’s family lives now. She replied, “My daughter is in San Francisco. We don’t know who will have our house when we are gone.”
Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved
Each year I make a point of walking Cascadilla Gorge at least once in the fall. This week on a 84 degree October 9th afternoon Pam was too busy with chores, I parked in “downtown” Ithaca and stopped by the grandchildren’s. They were hanging out with Mom and were “just too tired” after school to do anything. Well the middle child, 4 years old, was open to visiting the skate board park and ,for me, that was not going to happen. I ambled from there, up Court Street, past the Buddhist monk residence at the entrance to Cascadilla Gorge.
The gorge is part of Cornell Botanic Gardens (until recently it was called the Plantations), the organization of the university bureaucracy responsible for elements of the campus. Cascadilla Gorge, running from Ithaca and through the campus, is one of those elements. Today, the traffic of people going into and out of the gorge was light and a sign provided the reason: the path was closed at Stewart Avenue, there the bridge crosses above the gorge. Instead to passed by the Christian Scientist Church on the north side of the gorge and walk up the winding Cascadilla Park Road to the gorge rim trail that climbs East Hill to the Cornell Campus.
The trail is lined with homes, porches on the gorge side where the sounds of creek and falls can be enjoyed. I was not feeling ambitious, so took a few snapshots with my phone. Here is path approaches a porch build from the “bluestone”, a type of feldspathic sandstone, native to this area.
This pot is visible in the previous shot, here is a closer view of the bluestone.
The fall to the gorge floor is steep, several hundred feet in places. The barrier fence here appears solid, in places it barely exists. A few years ago a recent Cornell graduate, coming home late from a bar on this path, was found dead in the gorge the following day from a fall. I continued along the trail until the path fork over to the Ithaca City Cemetery where it is possible to climb West Hill to Stewart Avenue. Turn right to reach the bridge over Cascadilla Gorge, another right onto the Gorge Rim Trail and back down to Ithaca. I noticed at the bridge part of the work that closed the gorge was a repainting of the bridge and the suicide prevention fence below the bridge. On September 24, 15 days before, a senior year Cornell student jumped off the bridge into the fence and was rescued by the fire department.
It is possible to stand next to the concrete barrier of the above snapshot to see this view into the gorge. I enjoy the beautiful view, the sound of the water and leave the dark stuff where it belongs, at least until I notice the bridge and net are freshly painted.
Last year Pam and I walked Cascadilla with our granddaughter, here she is on that walk next to Cascadilla Creek. There are large and small waterfalls the length of the gorge trail.
I took this photograph in 2005, the September before my previous post, “Autumn Stroll in Sapsucker Woods” with the Kodak DSC pro slr-c, an ND filter, 50 mm lens and a tripod. It was a planned session, I work waterproof boots and was able to stand in the creek after a series of rain-free days. At this time of the year the gorge opens to the setting sun. I waited, taking a series of photographs for the perfect amount of light on the footbridge. The feature photograph (the header to this posting) is a detail from a shot with the bridge more fully lit.
We have this photograph print framed, I had it mounted as a gift to Pam on our first Valentine’s day. It will make an excellent Christmas or Birthday gift.
Blurred water and human figures
The image is from a tripod mounted Kodak DSC Pro SLR/c and Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM lens, ISO 250, exposure 3.5 sec at f/8. The flowing water in forground has an appealing blur, fellow waders, in the distance under beeteling cliffs, are blurred and unrecognizable.
Here the canyon turns sharply to the right.
On Halloween morning 2004 I set out with a camera upgrade purchased spring of that year, a Sony “Cyber Shot, DSC-F828” with an inexpensive tripod. My photograph “Autumn Stroll in Sapsucker Woods”, the feature photograph and below, achieved prizes with the Photographic Society of American and a few sales of self-produced prints. It was an early success.
It is available on my Finger Lakes Memories online gallery where I provide recommendations for sizing, the best print medium with ideas for frame and matt.
The fall of 2005 I invested in a Kodak DCS Pro dslr-c and a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens. October 30, 2005, one day short of the 2004 Halloween shoot, found me driving down Fall Creek Road on a mission of revisiting Sapsucker Woods to possibly improve upon my offerings.
Over the years, travelling Fall Creek Road on my daily commute, I admired this well formed maple next to a farm field. At 6:45 am the sun was about this rise, the frost limned grass not yet burned off. This tree turned a bright yellow, here a green-yellow and dull. The form of the tree is perfect. I was never able to catch this at the right moment, it is still there and maybe I can time it this year during a pick-up of my grandson. If I do, my intention is to climb the fence and use the 24 mm lens to capture the tree and shed with less sky (unless there are some dramatic clouds). That day, I needed to make time for Sapsucker woods.
On site, thirty minutes later, as the leaves of the Fall Creek Road maple predicted, Sapsucker Woods foliage is behind last year’s by a week or so. In “Autumn Stroll in Sapsucker Woods” the over story leaves have fallen and the understory is at peak. Here, I believe the overstory is gone, the understory leaves are yellow-green.
I carefully choose the sites and this one is a risen walk of boards. In the nine years since, the walk as deteriorated and this scene will be different, possibly.
This is a match for the 2004 photograph as far as the camera position. What I enjoy from the 2004 version, aside from the foliage, are the details of the fallen leaves taking up the foreground, a carpet filling the field to lead the eye up through the trees, path fading from view to the right.
This effect is not possible on the boardwalk, above. With the fixed focus 50 mm lens it might be possible with effort. Today, the 24 mm is my first choice to capture this effect.
Here we can see the leaf carpet is possible, if the f-stop is higher to allow a crisp focus. In this scene it is f2 because I happened upon a buck in a daze. He was just standing there as I headed back to the car. I did not risk changing out lenses to the telephoto, so I moved forward slowly.
The best I did was this rear view as he looked backward. Lack of flexibility is a draw back of a fixed-focus lens.
In 2004 my day concluded with Robert Treman State Park. In 2005 the 50 mm fixed focus with a ND filter and tripod was in its element. The sun is higher and overcast, one background tree is a peak foliage. The moderate water flow and stair complete the effect. This was my best work of that day. I need to get this up on the “Finger Lakes Memories” gallery.
Flash Flood Refuge?
The first of three long exposures of the Virgin River from the Narrows on the way back to Pam. Earlier on Pam headed back, concerned about thunderstorms and the possibility of flash floods. I hung on, for the perfect photo. I came pretty close here, with the flowing water coming aound this outcrop of picturesque boulders, canyon turning sharply right up ahead.. The Narrows, Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah
The title is a fragment from the thirteenth chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians.
During brief moments of the upstate New York autumn season perfect images are mirrored in quiet pond waters.
It this case the effects lasted a few seconds.
The site of this photograph, McLean Bogs, is part of Cornell Plantations. McLean Bogs is known for its biodiversity and is reserved for research.
This work is a composite of four images, the mirror image of each of two photographs. I print it on a stretched canvas 5 feet wide by 4 feet high.
Potential danger abounds
Capturing photographs and videos on the fly using an Iphone, we visited Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, New York with our granddaughter, Nia. This is the third post of this series. Click me for the first post in this series.
Emerging from the blind canyon of Cowsheds Waterfall, we are faced with this gorgeous pool fed by Dry Creek (yes, that is the name). Formed by a dam, the water is deep and very cold.
We were standing on this footbridge for the above photograph. The trail to Cowsheds is on the far side of Dry Creek and to the right.
We have yet to count these steps, don’t know why. The limestone blocks were quarried locally from the same stone of the creek bed. The gorge trail begins at the top.
This is a Purple Trillium, I believe, formal name Trillium erectum. It is a large specimen judging form the width of the bracts, leaf like structures at the based of the flower stalk. When fertilized, the ovaries form this seed capsule containing up to 16 seeds, each with lipid with a high content of oleic acid. During summer, the capsule opens, seeds disperse. Ants encounter the seed elaiosome, the oleic acid content triggers “corpse carrying behavior.” The ants carry the seeds into their nests, consume the lipids leaving the seeds. After a year dormancy the seeds sprout and the additional depth in the ant nest provides a good start.
Trillium are a favorite food of deer, unfortunately. Some seeds are spread this way, passing through the digestive tract and out in fecal waste. I use the color of the seed capsule to identify it was Purple Trillium. In my experience the white variety (Trillium grandiflorum, and others) has a light colored seed capsule.