Big Bend

A tripod and Neutral Density filter

Winter 2020 I posted “Winter People Watching” featuring the Sony F828 and candid street photography.

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.

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 2023 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

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.

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.

Copyright 2023 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Our Sally II


We continued down the half mile “Sallyport” footpath, marked in red on the Google Earth view provided at the end of this post, along shoreline cliffs to find these croppings of Sea Pink on jagged rocks.

Oddly, the jags being perfect places for Sea Pink to perch. Scientific name, Armeria maritima, and also known by Thrift or Sea Thrift, a reason these evergreen perennials are found on the obverse of the British Three Pence coin issued 1937 – 1952. Thrifty can mean to buy a lot for a little money — three pence is very little money.

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Another sign informing hikers of the view.


Armeria maritima” – wikipedia

Copyright 2023 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Lighthouse Point 5

Sundry elements

Uncategorized details from our Lighthouse Point adventures.

Seen from a resting place, a bench just off the trail and before the causeway.

A humble and fertile weed.

On a bright early November day Pam and I walked to Lighthouse Point. Ithaca, Tompkins County, New York

Before the parade of mast-like iron poles was this wooden one where it was apparent there could be no light on the white tower without power.

On top and under the surface

Look closely, children




A demon greeting

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Lighthouse Point 4

The Views are the Reward

Here is the south end of Cayuga Lake on a bright November afternoon. Stewart Park is enjoyed by Ithacans year round.

Everyone is a fan of the Willows framing the lake views.

Can’t get enough of Stewart Park..

An unzoomed view, to give an idea of the distance across the water.

Pam and I have great memories of sailing this stretch from our years of membership in Cornell Family Sailing.

The east lake shore.

The West Lake Shore. This photograph captures the electric line that powers the Red Tower light. Seagulls enjoy that causeway…I’ve never seen humans walk it.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Lighthouse Point 3

At the White Tower

The quarter mile jaunt over the causeway yields the reward of this view up the White Tower…..

…and this vantage of the Red Tower, the west shore of Cayuga Lake leading down to Crowbar Point in the distance, colored by Autumn.

The shore is privately owned, some lake houses are visible. To the right are moorings of the Ithaca Yacht Club.

A closer view of the Red Tower.

On a bright early November day Pam and I walked to Lighthouse Point. Ithaca, Tompkins County, New York

White Tower graffitti.

My thoughts exactly…

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Lighthouse Point 2


Post 1 of Lighthouse Point provided an impression of our hike along the golf course, from there we turned onto this wooded path on the shores of Cayuga Inlet.

First view of the paired Lighthouses marking the Cayuga Inlet. The white tower is connected to shore by a causeway something less than a quarter mile in length. The red tower marks the other side. These navigation guides allow boats to safely enter the channel exiting the south end of Cayuga Lake. The Erie Canal connects to the north end, allowing access to the Great Lakes and, eventually, the Atlantic Ocean.

The 4-foot-high step up to the concrete causeway path is an insurmountable obstacle to some. I managed to clamber over.

Looking back to shore….

Rusted iron poles support the electric line for the white tower. They remind me of ship masts.

The straight shot back to shore.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Lighthouse Point 1

Tree Atlas

November 3rd, 2022, Blessed Us with an azure sky, an Indian Summer Day. During our walks on Cass Park Shorts we’d look across to see hikers emerging from the gold course to walk the Lighthouse causeway. After decades of longing, these Ithaca residents took upon themselves the adventure of finding the path and walking it. This series of posts documents the walk and some treasures discovered on the way.

Sycamore, aka Plane Tree

Willow on Cayuga Inlet and Newman Golf Course

might be another Sycamore on the golf course

Unidentified tree on golf course

Unidentified tree on golf course

Unidentified tree on golf course

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Our Sally I

Views of Celtic Sea

A half mile footpath, marked in red on the following Google Earth view, leads from the Charles fort sallyport, along the shoreline cliffs, surmounted by working farmland and looks toward the Celtic Sea.

To “sally” is to suddenly charge out from a besieged place against the enemy. The word is also used as a noun. It can also be used to describe our walk, as a sally to an unusual place.

Here is a view of the Celtic Sea from the Sallyport

From Wikipedia: “The Celtic Sea receives its name from the Celtic heritage of the bounding lands to the north and east. The name was first proposed by E. W. L. Holt at a 1921 meeting in Dublin of fisheries experts from Great Britain, France, and Ireland. The northern portion of this sea was considered as part of Saint George’s Channel and the southern portion as an undifferentiated part of the “Southwest Approaches” to Great Britain. The desire for a common name came to be felt because of the common marine biology, geology and hydrology of the area. It was adopted in France before being common in the English-speaking countries; in 1957 Édouard Le Danois wrote, “the name Celtic Sea is hardly known even to oceanographers.”[3] It was adopted by marine biologists and oceanographers, and later by petroleum exploration firms. It is named in a 1963 British atlas.. A 1972 article states ‘what British maps call the Western Approaches, and what the oil industry calls the Celtic Sea […] certainly the residents on the western coast [of Great Britain] don’t refer to it as such.'”

Views of the wall from previous photograph. The vines were separated from roots to preserve the walls, leaving interesting patterns.

The distant land to the right, beyond the walls, is the Old Head of Kinsale.

Informational placards along the walk give background to the views enjoyed by hikers.

Here is the above view.

Pam, at start of our walk. Poking above the walls is the Charles Fort Lighthouse. “This lighthouse is a directional light marking the way to safe anchorage close to Kinsale. In 1665 King Charles II granted letters patent to Sir Robert Reading to erect six lighthouses on the coast of Ireland, including one at Barry Oge’s castle, near Kinsale later to become Charles Fort. The original structure would have had a coal fire on its roof. In 1810 powers given to the Commissioners for Barracks and others between 1767 and 1806 were all vested in the Corporation for Preserving and Improving the Port of Dublin or the Ballast Board. This board took over the general lighting and marking of the coast when fourteen lighthouses were transferred to it including that at Charles Fort. This lighthouse, built in 1929, is one of the more recent to be found along the coast, with most dating to the nineteenth century. A new mains powered light at Charles Fort Lighthouse was put into operation on the 14 April 2004 marking the end of a long era of gas and oil powered lights in Ireland.” Quote is from the link provided in references.


“Celtic Sea” – wikipedia

“Charles Fort Lighthouse” — Charles Fort Lighthouse, FORTHILL, CORK – Buildings of Ireland

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Flip Flop Reef Fish

Various reef fish set up “cleaning stations” where turtles and other fish come to have parasites nibbled off.

50 recycled flip flops were used by Ocean Sole Africa Project artists to create each Reef Fish sculpture from a 2019/2020 exhibit hosted by McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida.

Coral reef fish live among or in close relation to coral reefs. Coral reefs form complex ecosystems with tremendous biodiversity. Among the myriad inhabitants, the fish stand out as colorful and interesting to watch. Hundreds of species can exist in a small area of a healthy reef, many of them hidden or well camouflaged.

Reef fish have developed many ingenious specializations adapted to survival on the reefs. Safe habitats, many different species of fish inhabit coral reefs where they are protected from predators and find food. In turn, reef fish eat algae, preventing overgrowth and smothering of the coral animals. Common fish in Caribbean reefs have interesting names: parrot, angel, puffer, surgeon and clown.

Coral reefs occupy less than 1% of the surface area of the world oceans but provide a home for 25% of all marine fish species. Reef habitats are a sharp contrast to the open water habitats that make up the other 99% of the world oceans. Loss and degradation of coral reef habitat, increasing pollution, and overfishing including the use of destructive fishing practices, are threatening the survival of the coral reefs and the associated reef fish.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved