Salt Road

Summer View with Clouds

Travel to Fillmore Glen from our former home included a climb to an overlook of the Fall Creek valley, seen here on a summer afternoon in four parts.

Three exposures using a 50 mm Canon lens on a Kodak dslr. A tripod allowed me good orientation and, later, to use the Photoshop photoMerge feature to combine exposures into a panorama. At that time, I was limited to the 50 mm lens.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Cow Sheds (waterfall)

A Waterfall with this unusual name.

The gorge takes a turn here to face the west, where I caught the late afternoon sun lowering in these three shots in close sequence.

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Gorge Stairway

when the elms blazed a glorious yellow.

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A staircase leading to the Fillmore Glen Gorge

on a perfect October evening

when the elms blazed a glorious yellow.

Filled with Golden Elms

Fillmore Gorge is full with slippery elms.

The constant infall of the gorge keeps these trees small.

Once a year, for a few days, all the elms turn at once. We were lucky to visit at the perfect moment.


The elms blaze yellow for a day or two, early October.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Canyon of Music, Wind, Light

there if you want to see it

Canyon de Chelly View
Looking southwest from the Canyon de Chelly visitor center toward the eastern escarpment of Black Mesa of the Hopis.

The village of Chinle is a “census designate place”, in other words it only exists because people live there, it was not formally recorded in “official” records. On the Navajo reservation, people lived here beyond recorded time. It is called in their language “flowing out”, where live giving water flows out from the canyons.

There is a fine Best Western in Chinle, better than most of that brand and the only choice for mile and miles and miles.

Navajo Hogan
This is a cribbed log hogan. The domed earthen roof keeps the interior cool in hot weather and, along with a fire, warm in the winter. The Navajo hogan entrance faces east.

In Junction Ruin Musings, the previous post, a ruin from the Anasazi people was contemplated. Above is a traditional Navajo dwelling from a later, more secure, time.

Ramadan for shade
A good place to cook, read and sleep in hot weather. The entrance faces east and, for this one, the view was superb.

Ouch!! Everywhere in the southwest, watch where you tread.

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Pictographs Canyon De Chelly


A Native American, seeing the flute playing Kokopelli, hears in the mind the sonorous melodies of their native flutes carried in as if on the wind. The hands waving in rhythm, “Here we are.”

Clan Sign Petroglyph
Canyon de Chelly symbol carved into red sandstone cliff representing a clan sign.

I recall our guide, Peter, describes this as a scorpion.

Desert Varnish Petroglyph
Canyon de Chelly petroglyph, desert varnish over red sandstone. Image is dated by representation of horses, brought by europeans.

The feeling of movement and the story invoked viewing this drawing etched carefully on the rock demonstrates we are in the presence of an accomplished artist. The story of the times for us to learn from.

Raven Woman
Red sandstone formation on ridgeline, north side of Canyon de Chelly is remember by the Navajo for the story of the Raven Woman.

A Navajo woman, fleeing Apache captors, flew over this cliff, or seemed to. Survival depended on knowing how to run over slickrock without stumbling and to know where and how to disappear into the rocks.

South Cliffs below Junction
Canyon de Chelly below the first division into tow arms, the junction. This is looking south east. The cottonwoods are in autumn foliage.


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Juniper o Slickrock
Cahyon de Chelly is is possible here to climb out of the canyon over these lower slopes over what is called slickrock. In the foreground is a juniper tree.

Breadth, Light, Shadow
Canyon de Chelly vista from a slickrock ledge

Beetle on Slickrock
A two inch dung beetle crawls up sandstone slickrock, the origin of this stone apparent from the visible sand granules within an apparent clay matrix. The stone grain, described as cross bedded, suggests this was a former dune of wind blown sand composed of remnants of the Ancestral Rock Mountains.


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

Click for the next posting in this series, “Moon Fin”

Copyright 2017 Michael Stephen Wills Photography

Baker Lab with Autumn Trees

Double Irony

Baker Lab

Baker Laboratory dates back to World War I.  With 200,000 square feet of space, the lab is home to Cornell’s Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department, the Chemistry Research Computing Facility, the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility, and the Advanced ESR Technology Research Center (whew!!).

Trees on a Knoll

On the right, on a knoll, is a European beech tree (Fagus sylvatica).  The Latin name holds a double irony. Standing, alone, high above East Avenue on the Cornell campus  (sylvatica means “of forests”) as a memory of the forests growing above Cayuga Lake is a being once worshiped as a god.   In Celtic mythology, Fagus is the god of beeches.

A maple is on the left, genus Acer of unknown species.  I recognize it from the shape.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Little Red Maple

First to flower, first to turn

Red Maple (Acer Rubrum)

The Red Maple (Acer Rubrum) is tolerant of diverse conditions, making it a perfect choice for this  spot on the short of Beebe Lake.

Maple Syrup

Even though it is not a “Sugar Maple, early spring, the sap can be boiled down to syrup.

Turning Tree

The first to flower in spring and the first to turn in autumn.

From the Top Down

This maple turns from the top down and is already bare for most top branches.

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A Perfect Afternoon On Beebee Lake repost

Anticipating Our Tenth Wedding Anniversary

After work on a 2008 Friday afternoon in October we sped over to Beebee Lake on the Cornell University Campus to catch the late afternoon glow……

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Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Lib Slope Hickory

the largest and brightest yellow canopy on Libe Slope.

Libe Slope

Cornell University is on a west-facing hill above Cayuga lake.  Libe Slope is between the West Campus and Quadrangle / Libraries.

Besides the exercise of walking the 18 degree incline several times each day,  Cornell students and alumni remember The Slope for autumn color.

Built in 1868, McGraw Hall has the honor of having the first of Cornell’s towers. The building is built of Ithaca stone and is home to the American Studies Program, Department of History, Department of Anthropology, and Archaeology Intercollege Program. The first floor of McGraw Hall houses the McGraw Hall Museum, a collection of roughly 20,000 objects from around the globe used for teaching by the Anthropology Department.


This is a Pignut Hickory (Carya glabra),  the largest tree  according to a 2009 Campus Tree Inventory (see link, below).

Seen from the north on a cloudy October day, this Pignut Hickory (Carya glabra) is the largest tree on the Cornell Campus, at 79 inches in diameter.

This hickory grows south of the Johnson Museum and among the autumn glories, it is the largest and brightest yellow canopy on Libe Slope.


I remember this hickory for the contrast between the canopy and trunk, the way the clumps of yellow hang from dark boughs.  An overcast day is the best to capture this spectacle.  October 20, 2012 provided both bright sun and dark, rolling autumn clouds.  I waited on the north side, sheltered from the glare of the sky, for these perfect moments.

Leaves and Nuts

The pignut hickory is native to these Eastern United States.  It is known to favor moist slopes and this specimen has thrived on The Slope.  The ground beneath it is thick with nuts.

One week later as Hurricane Sandy approached the east coast

Just one week later, late afternoon on a sunny Friday as hurricane Sandy approached the east coast the hickory has fewer, tawny golden leaves.

Later in October the bright yellow leaves of the Libe Slope Hickory darken to a tawny gold. The Johnson Museum is in the right background.

Wonderful Flow of Limbs among Gold

Seen from the north on a cloudy October day, this Pignut Hickory (Carya glabra) is the largest tree on the Cornell Campus, at 79 inches in diameter.


A Photo Tour of Key Buildings at Cornell University by Allen Grove


Cornell Tree Inventory

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Sun and Shade, Canyon Del Muerto, repost

watch out for quicksand


Click me to explore this part of Canyon de Chelly, Arizona.”

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills Photography

Autumn Apple Orchard, landscape orientation

compare portrait vs. landscape orientation.

Unharvested apples on the ground and branches of this apple orchard off Black Oak Road on the slopes of Connecticut Hill, Newfield in the Finger Lakes of New York.

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Click to view this series on Getty.
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills