Adirondack Respite

Seven new photographs from the Adirondack Wilderness

Advertisements

One weekend my nephew Chris and I backpacked to Peaked Mountain Pond, the Adirondacks wilderness, in the rain. My son, Sean, was to meet us later. The constant rain made the easy trek into a slog. Our attitude improved after the tents setup and the fire. The skies clear to a brilliant display of the Milky Way away from light pollution.

Peaked Mountain in the light of an August dawn taken from the west pond shore. Siamese Ponds Wilderness, Adirondack Park, New York State. At 2,919 feet, Peaked Mountain is a modest height though it rises an impressive 675 feet in 0.4 mile.

Peaked Mountain Dawn Light – CLICK ME for more Adirondack photography.

Looking north across Peaked Mountain Pond from the west shore shortly after dawn.

Peaked Mountain Pond – CLICK ME for more Adirondack photography.

Click the photograph to visit my Fine Art Gallery

We used the canoe as a punt, using a solid branch to push around the shallow pond for short distances, after bailing.

Abandoned Canoe – CLICK ME for more Adirondack photography.

Click the photograph to visit my Fine Art Gallery

Mid-morning, we headed up the trail to the peak. I caught this orb-weaver spider web on the way.

Orb Web with Dew – CLICK ME for more Adirondack photography.

Click the photograph to visit my Fine Art Gallery

…and a detail. Technically, this is a macro. Did not wait around for the owner.

Orb Web with Dew, detail – CLICK ME for more Adirondack photography.

Click the photograph to visit my Fine Art Gallery

Later, in the afternoon, Chris caught some Zzzzz’s in a time out from water gathering. We pumped water through a filter, this is necessary throughout New York State to avoid giardia infection.

Adirondack Respite – CLICK ME for more Adirondack photography.

Click the photograph to visit my Fine Art Gallery

The ultimate in peace and tranquility, though disturbing a hornet pollinator can lead to excitement. This water lily bloom was caught with a tripod mounted long lens. Look closely for the hornet at work inside the flower. HHealthy water lily leaves are the epitome of tranquility because they are always clean, giving the illusion of tranquility. Scientists study water lily leaves to learn how the leaf surface sheds dirt. Imagine self-cleaning cloths.

Correction: it is the Lotus leaf, not lily pad, that is self cleaning.

Water Lily Flower with hornet – CLICK ME for more Adirondack photography.

Looking for the perfect photo for your web site and blog?

Browse my reasonably priced stock photography. This blog features seven (7) photographs I published today to Getty Istock and my Fine Art gallery.

License the photo, download and use it. Click this link to browse all my Getty IStock Photography offerings.

Or click this link or any photograph or this link to select a print with custom framing from my “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” Fine Art Gallery.

Copyright 2018 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Lady Feeding Gulls, Cocoa Beach Dawn

unflappable lady hand feeds seagulls

When my wife read my post “Black Skimmers Feeding” she asked, “Where is the photo of resting Skimmers?”

To answer her question I looked through Cocoa Beach photographs and discovered I did NOT capture the Skimmers resting.  Instead, here are a related species, the Royal Tern (scientific name: Thalasseus maximus), whose behavior is similar in that it exclusively feeds from the water. There was a wind that morning and these individuals face into it.  These birds are, from a human point of view, well behaved, unlike the opportunistic gull.

Royal Terns at rest – CLICK ME for more Florida photography.

I searched around the web for identification of this gull without success.

Scavenging Gull – CLICK ME for more Florida photography.

It dines on a dead fish washed up by the surf.  In my previous posting I used the word “grifting” to describe gull behavior, again this is from the human point of view.  Gulls are notorious for stealing food from unwary beach goers, brazening walking over to unguarded chips (any kind), for instance, grabbing them and flying off.  If the chip stash is large, this sets off a nasty feeding frenzy when tens of gulls swoop in and grab.

Here is a series of photographs, demonstrating this behavior.

Click this link or any image in this article for my Fine Art Gallery from Florida.

The dawn flowed over Cocoa Beach as a lady attracted a crowd of hungry gulls, reminiscent of scenes from Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”

Lady and Gulls – CLICK ME for more Florida photography.

She is obviously an experienced gull feeder, unflappable with a steady hand.

Lady and Gulls – CLICK ME for more Florida photography.

She had come to the shore at dawn for a photo shoot.  Her male companion (husband?) was there with a camera.

Lady and Gulls – CLICK ME for more Florida photography.

Pam and I were there for the dawn, me with the Sony camera.
Lady and Gulls – CLICK ME for more Florida photography.

At first, I stood there amazed at the spectacle.  She was in such control of the situation, not a victim, more like a lion tamer.

Then, Pam said, “You have to get this.”  And I did.

Copyright 2018 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Juniper Sunrise

crack of dawn

In this post we start the day of my posting “Family Trek”, July 19, 2008, when, well before the sun rose at 6:23 am Mountain Daylight Time (the Navajo Reservation observes daylight savings, the rest of Arizona does not), Pam and I were at the Spider Rock Overlook.

Most visitors to the canyon make use of a system of roads and parking lots next to strategic views.  There is the White House Overlook we visited our first day, July 18, to hike from the trailhead into the canyon.  There are also, on the south side of the canyon:

    • Tsegi Overlook, taken from a Navajo word that translates directly to “between the rocks” and usually refers to a deep canyon with steep cliffs.
    • Junction Overlook above the point where Canyon Del Muerto (see my posting “Sun and Shade, Canyon Del Muerto”, and Canyon De Chelly intersect.  There is an Anasazi ruin in the south-facing cliff across the canyon.
    • Sliding House Overlook, another Anasazi run across the canyon.
    • Face Rock Overlook, to view the eponymous formation.
    • Spider Rock Overlook, the most stunning rock formation.  I will have a postings about it later.  That is our location for these shots.
Click any photograph for my Online gallery.
Sunrise Canyon De Chelly
Looking east from the Spider Rock overlook, Canyon De Chelly.

While getting ready I scoped out the location for interesting visual tropes.  Utah Junipers are exceptionally hardy shrubs, stressed individual plants grow into compelling forms shaped by hardship.  As the sun rose, this specimen emerged from the gloom and caught the first sun rays.

 

Click any photograph for my Online gallery.
Juniper Sunrise
A distressed Utah Juniper on the edge of Canyon De Chelly overlooking Needle Rock a few moments after sunrise.

Enjoy!!

Click for the first posting of this series, “Portrait of a Navajo Guide.”

Copyright 2017 Michael Stephen Wills Photography

Katrina Sunrise, August 28, 2005

The effects of the category 5 hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina approached the Gulf Coast and New Orleans as the sun rose on the West End of Jones Beach on Long Island, August 28, 2005. This amazing sunrise was an element of the unusual atmospheric effects that are evidence of the power of this storm.

The featured image (heading this blog) is my print, “Katrina Sunrise”.  This work is enjoyed by hundreds of my clients.  Use the link, below, to acquire your own.  Custom framing is available.

Click this link for Katrina Sunrise from my Memory Dreams Reflections Online gallery
The following images are the rough drafts taken in the early morning hours. The beach was literally deserted as I mounted the camera and framed the view for this series. Many image captions include the file time stamp, for example 6:07:13 is 6 am and 7 minutes 13 seconds.

West End Sunrise 6:07:13
6:07:13 First image of the set. Below the horizon the sun lights the upper atmosphere.
West End Sunrise 6:07:34
6:07:34 As the sun approaches the horizon the lower clouds catch light. My Camera was a Sony DSC-F828 tripod mounted with a polarizing filter.
West End Sunrise 6:07:56
6:07:56 I panned slightly to the east. ISO was set to 64 throughout.
West End Sunrise 6:08:16
6:08:16 Gradual brightening. The lens is 7.1 – 51.0 mm f/2.0-2.8.
West End Sunrise 6:08:38
6:08:38 All levels are brighter. It seems those low clouds will block the horizon. That was not the case. The variable focal length is 15.6 mm.
West End Sunrise 6:09:05
6:09:05 It is happening!!!! Exposure was set to automatic on a f stop of 8.0. It was 1/3 second for this image.
West End Sunrise 6:14:34
6:14:34 The view is panned west. That is the Robert Moses water tower of Jones Beach State Park looking like a rocket ready to blast off.
West End Sunrise 6:15:15
6:15:15 Will those low clouds block the sun? Looks promising.
West End Sunrise 6:16:11
6:16:11 Clouds on the upper margin catching the sun. Horizon brightening….. Exposure 1/20 second.
West End Sunrise 6:14:39
6:14:39 This will be a disappointment if that sun does not show. Exposure 1/25 second.
West End Sunrise 6:18:27
6:18:27 Almost there….1/15 second exposure….
West End Sunrise 6:19:07
6:19:07 Quick framing adjustment to bring the lighting of shore margin into the composition. The final version was created from two images captured seconds after this.
Hurricane Rainbow Panorama
As the sun rose a rainbow formed in the western sky.

Click this link for my blog “Sunrise Photo Album March 2 2017.”

Copyright 2017 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Rincon Peak Summit

Experience the Sky Island view from Rincon Peak

The Rincons are one of 42 Sky Mountain islands isolated from each other by the gradual warming and drying climate changes since the last ice age, 10,000 years ago. While this marvelous environment of oak and pine forests only accessible with much effort on foot, it is literally visible from every point of the Tucson valley and million human inhabitants.

Rincon is Spanish for corner, the mountains are called that from their shape enclosing a space on the west, northwest until recently used for ranching and is now falling into use for tract housing. The mountains themselves are reserved as wilderness, parts in the Saguaro National Park and the Coronado National Forest.

In the past 44 years I was lucky enough to visit the Rincon Wilderness interior three times, shouldering different style backpacks onto the mountain, walking different boots. The first, during college the 1970’s, a party of six left from the end of Speedway, up the Douglas Springs trail. The climb was an exercise in desert survival that several friendships did not survive, replace by new friends met on Mica Mountain. I have no photographs from that experience, only memories and the backpack.

Reconnecting with Arizona in 2004, thirty one years after that first experience, I took no chances. My first attempt on Rincon Peak was a success. Risk and effort were reduced, not eliminated by hiring a guide for the four day trip. We made it to Rincon Peak via the Turkey Creek Trail out of Happy Valley, climbing a mountain buttress, views ever widening and lengthening.

These are some photographs from that experience and a landscape photograph of the peak at sunset, taken the following year.

Click this link or the photographs for my Online Gallery

Sego Lilies bloom among a stricken oak and drying grasses on the Turkey Creek trail. This is an overview of the environment, it is the winter rains that trigger the bloom.

Sego Lilies -- CLICK ME!!!!

We paused while I unpacked my gear to capture Sego Lilies growing along the Turkey Creek Trail.

Sego Lilies -- CLICK ME!!!!

Sego Lilies -- CLICK ME!!!!

Deer Head Spring, at the top of Turkey Creek Trail was a moist spot with no accessible water when we reached it April 27, 2004. With the remains of a gallon of water each we needed to press ahead to Heartbreak Ridge and climb into Happy Valley Saddle were, thankfully, the creek was low and full of algae but usable. Here are my first views of Rincon Peak, looking across the aptly named Heartbreak Ridge and Happy Valley Saddle.

Distant View of Rincon Peak-- CLICK ME!!!!

Telephoto view of Rincon Peak -- CLICK ME!!!!

The view to south from Rincon Peak. The white rocks at lower right forms a Valley of the Moon wall. San Pedro River valley at the root, Mae West Peaks at left margin, Dragoon Mountains with Cochise Stronghold center. Taken around 12:30 on April 28, 2004 as a thunderstorm approached.

View from Rincon Peak -- CLICK ME!!!!

The Rincon Peak view looking south, southwest over the Valley of the Moon to the eastern Tucson Valley and the Sky Islands the Whetstone Mountains (Apache Peak), behind are the Santa Ritas. The works of man are overpowered by sky, rock, distance.

We made a hasty departure in front of the thunderstorm. It was a touch and go decision to attempt the peak that day, we made it with moments to spare.

View from Rincon Peak -- CLICK ME!!!!

April 29, 2004 the morning after reaching Rincon Peak I set up the tripod near our Happy Valley Saddle camp to capture Rincon Peak in early morning sunlight.

Rincon Peak from Happy Valley Saddle, dawn -- CLICK ME!!!!

The day we descended to the X9 Ranch via the Rincon Creek trail. My guide’s grandfather had a homestead at the X9 and his access to the trailhead through private lands opened this route for us. This is a photograph of sunset on Rincon Peak from the X9 ranch. I am looking east from the Rincon (Spanish for corner) made by the massifs Rincon Peak, Mica Mountain and Tanque Verde ridge.

Rincon Peak from the X9 Ranch-- CLICK ME!!!!

The evening of November 2, 2006 I climbed the Saguaro National Park, East, Tanque Verde trail for about 30 minutes to reach this view of Rincon Peak and waited until just before the sun set behind the Tucson Mountains for this shot. Then hiked back to the car in twilight. In my hurry, I tripped on a stepped turn and dove headfirst into a large prickly pear. It was a very painful experience and I regretted damaging the cactus and the loss of and good hiking shirt. There were large spines in my face and tiny, pesky spines covered my chest and back. The large spines are not barbed and come right out. I needed to visit a physician to remove them.

Rincon Peak from the X9 Ranch-- CLICK ME!!!!

Copyright 2017 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Sunrise Sand Castle

Sights along Cocoa Beach

Even on vacation I rise early to better enjoy the day. This year’s escape from the Ithaca winter, at Cocoa Beach, up at 5 am with a beach chair and oranges in hand I walked in darkness from our beach side resort to the tide high point. My time occupied by sky watching I peeled, and ate, oranges while locating stars through the wind blown clouds. When the barely perceptible dawn light began I packed it up to find Pam, who asked to be awake for sunrise.

This day, we ate breakfast from ready to eat food purchased from the Publix market close by on Atlantic Avenue, and caught up with the news craziness. We had a day at the Kennedy Space Center planned after the sunrise walk.

Here is our view while walking north along the tide line. In the far far distance are the Kennedy Space Center Vehicle Assembly building and a space launch gantry.  Follow the shoreline to find the pier.

We walked nowhere near the pier, barely visible, not to mention Sam Shepard park. The pier and park are a day’s walk. We had a few hours free before our “Lunch with an Astronaut” event at Kennedy Space Center.

Click the photographs for my Online Gallery.

Cocoa Beach North View– CLICK ME!!!!

The highlight of this sunrise walk was this large sandcastle on the beach in front of a condominium,  the  Hilton is to the left.  Lori Wilson Park is out of sight to the left.  A great feature of the park, for us since the International Palms were we stayed is next to it to the north, was the park life guards.

Cocoa Beach North View– CLICK ME!!!!

So, we approached this sandcastle from the north.  It survived the high tide to a new day, obviously it required time and resources to build.  The day before was a big beach day.  Wednesday was a brilliant, summer-like day for the first of March.

Cocoa Beach North View– CLICK ME!!!!

A little closer, the footsteps inside the first moat are interesting.

Cocoa Beach North View– CLICK ME!!!!

Pam next to the castle provides scale

Pam and the Sand Castle– CLICK ME!!!!

Here is the central pyramid.  I enjoy the dawn light on the grasses.  That is a sea gull feather on the apex.

Central Pyramid– CLICK ME!!!!

Decorative sea shell band facing the ocean.

Decorative band of sea shells– CLICK ME!!!!

The destiny of all our human conceits.  Impermanence is part of the beauty of sand castles.

Decorative band of sea shells– CLICK ME!!!!

Click for the first post in this series.

Copyright 2017 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

March 2 2017 Sunrise Photo Album

a new start

Click this link for my Online gallery

As would a proud parent here I present a sequence of images taken over a 2 minute 12 second interval, the morning of Thursday, March 2nd, 2017.  While standing facing the Atlantic Ocean I captured this series of images as the sun emerged from the clouds. Technically, sunrise was hidden by the distant cloud cover obstructing the horizon. The emergence of the orb from the clouds adds drama to the images, the hazy atmosphere filters light to the benefit of the overall effect.

I worked with a Sony Alpha 700 DSLR with a UV filter, handheld in spot mode. I set the exposure by hovering over the sun.

Click on a photo for a closer look.

 

Copyright 2017 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved