A few days prior the Gaeltacht held the annual Irish football championship the weekend of May 21 through June 1 in Moycullen, County Galway. It was the Three Aran Islands (Oileaín Árann) team who won the 2014 championship. Sunday, June 1, the weekend of their victory, the cup was presented to Inis Mór, the largest Aran island and the one furthest into Galway Bay.
The team on Monday, June 2, the day of our trip, was on Inis Meáin, in celebration mode. Some of them were waiting for the ferry when we pulled into the Inis Meáin, the second largest Aran island between the other two, dock.
The first of the previous three photographs is of the waiting team members who boarded and we left for Inisheer Island, the smallest of the three and the closest to Galway City. The Queen of Aran was well out of the harbor when I imagine the radio in the pilot house said, “Come back, there are more team members on the dock.” So we turned around, docked and several more came on board.
In way once again, well away from the harbor, the ferry turned around for a second time for a third landing at the Inis Meáin dock. With the full compliment of champions on board the ferry turned out of the harbor a third and final time for the last leg of with Silver Cup’s tour of the islands.
The population of Inisheer is about 250 souls. It seemed all were waiting to greet the team.
Standing and smiling. Here is a flock of fans, from Galway apparently, very pleased at the sight.
The team was on the upper ferry deck. I turned around and was lucky enough to capture the team captain (Not sure, but who else would it be?) holding the silver cup for all to admire. Theirs for a year.
In 2003 I was 50 years old, my son Sean graduated college and started his first job and we made time for a tour of Arizona together in November. The timing was perfect for me to take in the University of Arizona (U of A) Homecoming, my first since graduating 1975.
One absolutely positive memory from my time at the U of A was trying out for freshman cheer squad when I first arrived in Tucson, somehow being chosen and then serving for the fall and spring terms. So, when I received an invitation of the cheer alumni events I accepted and planned to be there in Tucson for November 7 and 8.
November 7 there was a reception for cheer alumni and current squad members. Everyone was welcoming and friendly, as you would expect, and I learned a bit about the younger members, how many were on academic scholarships.
The squad advisor, Phoebe Chalk, and I chatted briefly. She responded, “We have photographers,” and I floated the idea of my taking photographs during the parade so I let that drop with the intention of doing it, anyway.
I came prepared the next day with a Sony Cybershot F828. It was “Sony’s flagship prosumer digital camera” at the time. It worked well that day, the variable lens was especially helpful.
At the staging site I encountered a problem. The cheer squad headed the parade, behind the University President with the cheer alumni well behind. My solution was to approach Peter Linkins, the outgoing University President, with a request to photograph the cheer squad.
He said, “OK”, made a phone call and I walked up to the squad. They remembered me from the reception and I was on my way, “embedded” for the parade.
I walked alongside and on the alert. As we crossed passed the Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium and into the intersection with Cherry Avenue the squad broke formation for a stunt. Three men formed the “base”, they were J. Justin VandenBerg, Ricardo Abud (captain) and Robert Scoby, around a “flyer”, Taylor Hendrickson, and launched her into the air, above the pavement.
My sense of amazement, awe and concern is reflected in the reactions of the team members. Taylor was thrown more than 15 feet high for a complete flip to land in the arms of the three base members. I call this image, “Mind.”
They did it again and I was more prepared to capture the instant of launch. “Aerialists,” is the title of this image. The next flyer to launch was Kristen Ortega, here standing on the shoulders of her partner.
Kristen was launched in front of the review stand. “Grace,” is the image title. The three base members are the same.
Awhile after encountering the hydrofoil the same north wind powered a large, eight foot wingspan kite high overhead. Cheri Down Park, my meeting point for lunch with Pam, was in sight as I took a detour to talk with the kite flier.
Seated in a comfortable beach chair, he turned a one foot diameter reel pulling the kite in. Kite flying was a relaxation for this permanent resident. As the kite descended overhead I caught this short video. In retrospect the beauty is ominous, a metaphor for the approaching novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
A week after Rough Surf pounded Cocoa Beach a north wind was up, I set out on a long beach walk. Our plan was to meet at Cheri Down Park, Pam driving up with lunch.
After I emerged from under the Cocoa Beach pier, I spotted this sailboarder. At first it was the handheld sail that caught my attention, enough to capture this video. Watching the recording, I see his board is equipped with a hydrofoil. He is about a foot above the water.
Morning walks through January 2020 were solitary events, more so on stormy morning such as this, January 23rd. Even the dog walkers stayed home. The surf surged to the dunes. Click me for my posting, “Rough Surf.”
By sunset the waves were roaring. Viewing from the safe distance of our condo porch we spied two surfers incredibly among the waves, taking rides. Waiting and attempting a ride. You can see for yourselves the two tiny dots of humanity, appearing and hidden among the waves. I spot them first and Pam does not believe me, I do not blame her. It is beyond my comprehension people are out there. I cannot recommend the quality of the video from my IPhone, our comments are humorous.
Whoosh….whoosh. Taking out the garbage last Monday evening, July 15th, I heard the unmistakable sound of a liquid propane burner. As the propane is gasified and ignited, the flame and exhaust is directed into the balloon, all under control of the human operator. What a sound!!
This year, hot air balloons started launching from West Hill and, when the breeze (balloons never launch in winds, as far as I know) is right the balloon and gondola full of passengers drift in the direction of our home. One time, directly overhead, I estimate 200 feet away. We could clearly see and converse with the passengers. What fun.
Each previous viewing I regretted not filming the balloon as the vision floated away. Last Monday, I dropped everything (not literally, I did leave the garbage in the bin), mounted the Canon lens EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM on a EOS 1Ds Mark III body, returning to the north side of our property as the balloon emerged from the trees, only the envelope visible.
We have enjoyed this balloon before, the envelope pattern evokes a classic Navajo Rug, the colors really pop against the blue sky.
Why the Whooooosh?
Tourists and local residents pay $230 per person for the experience of floating silently over Finger Lakes landscape with a launch from Trumansburg, ending up over Ithaca, in its valley surrounded by hills. Cayuga Lake is visible the entire flight, to the east, then northeast as the path reaches Ithaca. As they approached the balloon elevation was not so high relative to our home. You can see this clearly in the first photograph. With the zoom on 300 mm I was almost able to look into the basket, each of the four riders (the operation, looking at a cell phone, and three passengers) was recognizable.
There are three propane burners, two in front and the edge of a third just visible between the front pair.
Ethereal silence and reveres are broken when the burner lights up. Here it appears only one burner is running, sending the craft high above us.
Seven of the forty images are shared here. The duration was three minutes. With a goal of capturing the action, I had the camera on burst mode, with the shutter pressed the exposures run serially, in close succession.
I perfected these seven photographs to represent the perfection of this colorful event as it passed from the northwest, disappearing in the tree line to the southeast.
I am listening for the next event, camera and lens ready.
Post script….it was my usual early morning blogging time when I heard the familiar Whooooosshh, whoooosssshhh, grabbed my IPhone for a video and captured the following. You will hear the gondola occupants chatting. The burner was turned on at 1:03 when the balloon was fairly distant. The Whoooosssshhhh is low, but audible.
Today, they were headed North/Northwest in the opposite direction from Monday and are backlit. Enjoy!!
Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved
For a change of scene we visited Cape Canaveral, the beach at Cherie Down Park were an informal gathering of Kite Surfers was underway. Here is a series of action shots, one second elapsed from first to last.
Conditions were excellent: good northerly wind, the sun overcast and, it being afternoon, in the west. Surfers stayed relatively close to shore, near their starting point. I had packed the “heavy gun” camera with a tripod.
Panning the scene (swiveling on the tripod), the camera in rapid exposure mode, I pressed the shutter release and held it down.