Falcon 9 rocket puts satellite into orbit for Luxembourg

Here is a series of photographs of the January 31, 2018 SpaceX launch of a Falcon9 bearing a Govsat1 (aka SES-16) satellite for Luxembourg.  The re-used Falcon 9 was in expendable mode. The photographs, taken from Cocoa Beach, Florida show the rocket rising above the city and port of Cape Canaveral, through cumulous clouds and into space.

There are the unedited “jpeg” files from the series. I need to crop out the dust spots and such.

Click for complete mission details.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Sunset Visions of Kite Surfing

One day before the 2019 Total Lunar Eclipse a full moon rose 4:25 pm above the Atlantic Ocean off Cocoa Beach, the “Space Coast” of Florida. We saw a power kite to the south, with the southerly winds there was time before he was on us. I took the following photographs with what was at hand, an iPhone 8.

Risen Full Moon and Surf Boarder at Sunset

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At 50 minutes post moonrise, I included the orb in this frame as the rider tacked, rising a water crest.

Risen Full Moon and Surf Boarder at Sunset
Risen Full Moon and Surf Boarder at Sunset

A flick of the fingers to zoom in, the moon and rider are together as he rides toward shore.

Risen Full Moon and Surf Boarder at Sunset with cruise ship
Risen Full Moon and Surf Boarder at Sunset with cruise ship

This time of, Saturdays, the cruise ships depart Cape Canaveral Port. The kite is above the distant ship. It is amazing the kite allows sailing into the wind, his heading is southwest. The shore limits his progress, forcing a tack towards a southeast heading.

Kite Surfer coming to shore at sunset.
Kite Surfer coming to shore at sunset.

Or not, it seems he plans to tack to the northeast, continuing progress north up the coast. I have to wonder how he will return to the starting point?

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Kite Surfing Action Series

three shots in one second

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.

Click the photograph for my Online Galleries
Click any photograph for my Online Galleries

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.

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Panning the scene (swiveling on the tripod), the camera in rapid exposure mode, I pressed the shutter release and held it down.

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The surfer was captured mid-jump to landing.


Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Stalking Grey Herons

exploring the stalking style of young herons

Time was on our side on these leisurely strolls on Cocoa Beach. depending on the weather, tides and the direction chosen, we encountered Herons.

Here is a series of meetings with two individuals, both young. For the stills the larger approached from the north, working the surf. I experimented with standing very still with minimal hand/arm motions. Intent on the food search, this heron approached steadily without apprehension…..

Until a distance of eight feet, then it stopped hunting proceeding at a slightly faster, though stately pace, to approach no more than four feet away. I chose a position in the surf, the Heron needed to either fly over or approach between myself and the final break of the waves. There is a sand bar near shore where the wave break, then continue to break again.

In approaching from the south, here in the norther hemisphere, the sun was to my back until the heron passed when the photographs changed from somewhat backlit, never in the full sun because this is the east coast of Florida, morning. On passing the photographs have a pronounced back lit aspect.

Here is brief video of a fully lit not fully grown individual at the prime time for photography, the evening golden hour with sun in the west.

I positioned closer this time, it is wary throughout the clip. It is possible to feel the strength of the surf, the slow unhurried pace of each stride.

Click for “Surfing Grey Herons,” the first series posting.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Cocoon Story — update

mystery solved

Sunday afternoon, July 25, 2021 I heard back from the Butterfly identification team. If only I had taken prompt action at the time. Here is the email:

From: Butterfly Identification Team <identifymybutterfly@gmail.com>
Sent: Sunday, July 25, 2021 3:06 PM
To: Michael Wills <msw8738@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: Moth that emerged from cocoon today. Photo attached Hello,
It looks like a female Gypsy Moth and a cocoon for that same species. It is an invasive moth and huge pest, and it is found in your state. This year, northeastern states seem to be experiencing growth in the Gypsy Moth population.
Thank you for sharing your photos with us. The male looks different from the female and the faster it is identified, the better.
Sincerely,
ButterflyIdentification.org

Click photo to open a larger version in new browser tab. If you are in WordPress Reader, you need to open the full post to do this.

My photographs are now up on the butterfly identification site.

As noted in the first posting, I released the moth. I needed to take swift action last year: identify and remove egg clusters. This spring our legacy oaks, favored by Gypsy moths, were chewed up and the caterpillars, when landing on exposed skin, cause a nasty rash.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Cocoon Story

No polite way to say it, a moth emerged from what appears to be, photographed below, a dried-out dog turd. I discovered the cocoon early June 2021 ago hanging under a bird bath I was cleaning. Curious, I collected it. There it was hanging in a mesh collection cage until a few weeks later…..

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When this fluffy moth, beige with chocolate markings appeared. The cocoon, now a dried out husk has no apparent breaks where the insect emerged.

The moth, surprisingly inactive, remained so until released in the evening. It did not fly away when I released it. Instead, it dropped out of site into a juniper bush. I tried to identify it without success.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Blasket Islands with Clouds

a road like no other

On the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland photograph taken from Slea Head Drive (R559), looking west down the cliff toward the North Atlantic Ocean breaking on the rocks. In the distance, Slea Head and the Blasket Islands. In the forground, the wildflower of Red Clover (Scientific Name: Trifolium pretense) (Irish Name: Seamair dhearg).

Click the links for my offerings on Getty Istock.

Blasket Islands with Clouds I

Blasket Islands with Clouds II

BlasketsFromSleaHead2014-1

Exploring Lime Hollow

excursion with grandchildren

Here is a video of an visit to Lime Hollow Nature Center we enjoyed on Columbus Day this year. My grandchildren had the day off.

Suggestion: Click “Watch on YouTube” for a better experience.

A slideshow of still images from the day.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Pinelands Connections VIII

Ancestral Byways

……continued from “Pinelands Connections VII.

These photographs were taken the last days of August 2021, the 26th and 27th, while exploring Burlington County, New Jersey, with my sister. I will be writing about our Thursday and Friday for awhile, starting with today’s installment.

Quaker Bridge Road traverses the wilderness of Wharton State Forest with a beginning off Route 206, Atsion Mansion. Our planning included Jeep Wrangler rental, only high-clearance 4-wheel vehicles are appropriate, the road surface is humpy sand, water filled holes abound. Still, sitting there at the start, with Atsion Mansion house in view, I waited awhile until a high clearance tour bus packed with adventurers, kayaks passed into the pines and out of sight. We proceeded an uneventful ~4 miles to Quaker Bridge at a stately 5 miles per hour, invoking four-wheel drive low gear a mile or so in.

Here is Quaker Bridge over Mullica River today, facing East.

Quaker Bridge road was a well traveled main route through the Pines for almost a hundred years with an inconvenient crossing of The Mullica at this point. During the year 1774, some sa 1772, West Jersey Quakers travelling to the Little Egg Harbor Yearly Meeting, started “a day early”, built a bridge. From a c.1940 photograph it is clear in that “day” they felled large trees for pilings, smaller trees, pines and cedars, for the other bridge elements. Since then, the crossing has been called “Quaker Bridge.”

Over time, the east side became a resting place, with at least one Inn/Tavern. Here is the east side today.

Even without hospitality and bustling humanity, after 4 miles of dreary road from Atsion this spot carries a sense of lightness, the well spaced straight pines over several acres conveying peace and rest. Over 35 miles from the ocean, the white sand presents as beach. There is a reason for this feeling, a 15 million year reason.

Between 15 and 10 million years ago the earth climate turned colder, so much water evaporated from the oceans to fall as snow and ice in the polar regions ocean levels fell 150 to 250 feet. As the ocean fell away, over eaons, mountains to the west were ground down, pulverized by the elements to flow, gather on the exposed plain. The white “beach” sand we see today, at Quaker Bridge and other Pinelands places, are surfaces of this “Cohansey” sands and clay ranging in thickness from 25 feet in the west to more than 300 feet at the Atlantic Ocean.

Over millions of years the land raised to become the drainage patterns we see today. The renewable resources of “bog iron” and water spring from this history.

Standing there I imagined Great Great Grandmother Ann (Milley) McCambridge resting on the journey from the McCambridge home near Speedwell. I placed the pebble, collected from Long Island Sound, on Grandmother Ann’s headstone the evening of August 26th. Click this link for more about Ann McCambridge.

Reference
I found Quaker Bridge background in “Heart of the Pines, ghostly voices of the Pine Barrens” by John E. Pearce, pp 748 – 750, Batsto Citizens Committee, 4110 Nesco Road, Hammonton, N.J. 08037-3814.

“The Geologic History of New Jersey’s Landscape”, Scott Stanford, Unearthing New Jersey Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 2, Summer 2005, New Jersey Geological Survey, Department of Environmental Protection e, Scott Stanford

“Hydrostratigraphy of the Kirkwood and Cohansey Formations of Miocene Age in Atlantic County and Vicinity, New Jersey,” Peter J. Sugarman, 2001, New Jersey Geological Survey Report GSR 40, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

“Background information on the Cohansey Formation aquifer.”

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved