Autumn Mushroom

Moments from a September backpack

A budding mushroom

Autumn Mushroom

among autumn leaf litter

along mountain shores

Peaked Mountain

Peaked Mountain and Pond, Siamese Ponds Wilderness, The Adirondacks

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Copyright 2021All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Emerge II

Watch a Monarch butterfly leave the chrysalis

For Father’s Day 2021 I received cages for raising Monarch butterflies. A large zippered door is a great feature, one side of the cage drops away for easier access and photography. Here are some photographs of the developing chrysalis and emergence.

In the first step of chrysalis development, the caterpillar climbs to a chosen location and weaves a silk pad from the abdomen. We are looking down on the caterpillar through the top of the woven material that forms our cage. The silk pad is a small white dot to the right.

Click photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-+ (press down Ctrl, hold, then click plus sign repeatedly) to zoom in closer.

After the silk attachment pad is complete, the caterpillar releases itself to hang in a shape of the letter “J.”

The caterpillar sheds the outer skin as the chrysalis forms around it.

Just prior to emergence the chrysalis turns from opaque green to translucent Iappears dark). Here the wing pattern and body markings (white dots) are visible.

I used a Manfrotto tripod, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV dslr (high resolution video capability) and Canon’s EF 100mm f/2.8 USB macro lens for the following up close coverage of a Monarch emerging followed by wing expansion.

Click me for better experience viewing the following video. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page. Note the replay icon (an arrow circling counter-clockwise.

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Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Night Blooming Cereus VIII

reaction to cold temperature

Our “Night Blooming Cereus” is blooming earlier in 2021, blooms opened twice during nights of early August. I put the name in quotes because during the course of writing the first seven posts ( I through VII ) I learned this is NOT a member of the genus Cereus, it is actually an epiphyte of the Epiphyllum genus.

For those familiar with the early history of New York City and Hudson Valley it is easy to see why a common name of the plant is “Dutchman’s Pipe Cactus.”

Click me for another Night Blooming Cereus Cereus flower post.

References

Wikipedia, “Epiphyllum”, “Epiphyllum oxypetalum,”epiphyte.”

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

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

Smoke Tree, late June

Three species of the genus Cotinus, commonly called “Smoke Tree,”in the family Anacardiaceae exist in North America, Europe and Asia. Ours is more like a shrub with numerous, long branches. Flowers with profuse filaments in clusters resembling whiffs of smoke. Here we see the flower filaments, interspersed with small drupes, each containing a single seed.

The post header, and these photographs were made from the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Canon Lens EF 50mm f/1.2L USM stabilized with a Manfrotto 468ZMZ tripod with hydrostatic head. Late afternoons, evenings the tree is shaded by a hemlock hedge (line of trees running north/south) this is the shade here. This Canonn dslr excels in color rendition. The flower masses are a burgundy wine color, the leaves have a purple tinge. I do not directly fertilize, as the plant is said to do best with unfertile soil though the surrounding cedars do get fertilizer stakes.

Eight AM a following morning I followed up with a handheld session using a Sony DSLR-Alpha700, Sony Lens DT 18-200 mm F3.5-6.5. Took these two shots with a lower ISO and tweaked the images in Lightroom, reducing the exposure. The flower smoky effect is well captured, the color in bright sunlight is not as wine-like as in shade.

By the time I proceeded to macros, a morning breeze kicked up, handled by upping the ISO to 3200 for a faster shutter speed to stop the movement. The bright sun helped with this.

Fertilized flowers develop into fruit stalks with radiating filaments, the yellow dots are the drupes (fleshy bodies surrounding a single seed). Fresh leaves are purple, turning to dark green with age. The leaves are as unusual as the flowers: aromatic, simple and round on long stalks. Autumn, the leaves turn a stunning bright red-orange, a scarlet shade. In winter some stalks die off, new growth appears from the roots in spring.

References

“The Botanical Garden Vol 1 Trees and Shrubs”, Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix, Firefly Books, Buffalo NY, 2000, p 361

Wikipedia, “Smoke Tree”

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Personable Wildflowers

With wishes for a Blessed Easter 2021

Late one April afternoon these backlit Hepatica on the gorge wall above the South Rim Trail of Treman Gorge posed for their portraits.

Click me for the first post of this series.
Click me for “Finger Lakes Memories”, a gallery of fine art photography.
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Hepatica

Early Spring Beauties

Most every year since 2002 I’ve photographed these personable beauties, the first wildflowers to bloom as early as late February through the snows.

Click photograph for a larger version
Click photograph for a larger version
Click me for “Finger Lakes Memories”, a fine art photography gallery.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Hepatica, Fillmore Glen

Hepatica from April 2007

Back in 2007 I used a 100 mm Canon Macro lens on a Kodak slr along with a Sony DSC-F828 variable lens for this mix of macro and habitat captures presented as a gallery so you can flip back and forth among the larger images. Click any image to bring up a larger version.

Click for my “Finger Lakes Memories” Fine Art Photography Gallery.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Wildflowers Late Winter / Early Spring 3

With the thermometer in the 40’s on March 12 these crocus were open, under the same magnolia tree as the buttercups from the 10th. The blooms close during cold snaps much as you see in the first post.

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A tripod held the composition steady and the timer was set to 2 seconds for extra stability. With the leaf body worn away by time, the remaining veining turns the form lacy.

Here is a slideshow today’s and previous wildflowers.

Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Wildflowers Late Winter / Early Spring 2

With the thermometer in the 60’s on March 10 the “buttercups” of yesterday are open. We we first moved here, the plants were much thinner. I used fertilizer spikes on the Magnolia tree around which they grow. Each early the flowers pollinate, forming seeds and spreading.

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

A tripod held the composition steady and the timer was set to 2 seconds for extra stability at the f25 setting.

Here is a slideshow of yesterday and today’s shots.

Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

A fellow blogger, Audrey Driscoll’s Blog, provided the correct and exact species name Eranthis hyemalis. The latin name proclaims the early nature of its flowering both in the genus, “Eranthis” – “spring flower”, and species, “hyemalis” – winter flowering. The genus encompasses eight species, all early flowering winter aconite.

Reference: Wikipedia “Eranthis hyemalis” and “Eranthis.”