Christmas Tableau

Cozy Snowmen dance round the candle

My dear wife Pam is the heart of Christmas in our home. Over the years we have collected a treasure of ornaments and knick-knacks she crafts into displays around our one. Pam completed the project well in advance of our grandchild holiday visits, before card writing and gift wrapping.

My contribution is a photographic time capsule. Here is some of my artistic output from this work.

This grouping of five cozy snowmen (three males, two females) are warmly dressed in knit sweaters and stocking caps; the women with long skirts. The five hold hands in a ring, rising from a common platform. We place a cup and devotional candle in the center.

The tiny group evokes community, harmony, amity. I captured them with a Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III dslr, a fixed Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L macro lens mounted on a Manfrotto studio tripod and hydrostatic ball head. Fixed lenses provide the sharpest macros. The mounting allowed precise framing and use of the widest aperture and a low ISO. The light sources were sunlight from a large north facing bay window, a Canon Speedlite 600Ex-Rt and the candle. When used, the flash was angled in various ways toward the ceiling.

I start with a tight shot, maximum aperture. A single figure is in clear focus, the remaining gradually lost in the bokeh. The flash was used. I can almost see then circling around the candle in a winter wind.

Cosy Christmas Snowmen

Here the candle is lighted, aperture narrow to f8 using only the candle and ambient light (no flash). The group is visible within surrounding figures. I backed away and the viewpoint is higher.

The candle light enhances the perception of community.

Cosy Christmas Snowmen

Viewpoint is closer, still only the candle and ambient light. Aperture widened to 3.5. I must remove the hair in lightroom.

Cosy Christmas Snowmen

I backed off, aperture at the max with only the candle and ambient light. The figures are placed in a tableau with other snowmen and a structure, a birdhouse.

Cosy Christmas Snowmen

For this overview I swapped in a Canon 24mm f/1.4L II USM with a flash, aperture f2.2.

Christmas Snowman Display
Christmas 2017 snowman display laid out in our den on top of the entertainment cabinet.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Light, Hope

Frear Memorial Park on Hayts Road

Descending Hayts Road toward Cayuga Lake one photographic scouting expedition I spotted a mature linear maple tree planting forming the western edge of Frear Memorial Park. This day Pam and I headed out at day’s end, stopping here to capture the turning maples.

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A sunflower field was a hidden surprise. The 24 mm “wide angle” lens was mounted on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV dslr on a light carbon fiber tripod.

Click to view my autumn photographs on Getty.
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Will

Lengthening Shadows

Sere Goldenrod

West Hill, Ithaca, resolves to this plain here sere goldenrod, abandoned barn, silo, distant hills. We headed out from home as sunset approached.

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Click to view my autumn photographs on Getty.
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Will

Iquique by Sea I

Coastline Panorama

Very early morning, February 10, 2016 the Oceania Regatta cruise ship sailed the Pacific Ocean on approach to Iquique, the first Chilean port on our voyage along every one, and more, of the 2,672 miles of length.

These are views of the Atacama desert coastline, the driest land in the world, on par with the frozen Antarctic. The ship is making progress against the cold Humbolt current, flowing from southern Chile to northern Peru, the view encompasses contrasting cold water with land rising sharply from the Pacific.

Above and below are views of a dark point of land marking the abandoned town Caleta Buena on a 750 foot escarpment above the remains of piers. Nitrate mining was the reason for the town’s existence, just as it was for Iquique.

These are sequential shots, working north to south, using a 24 mm “wide angle” Canon lens, mounted on a tripod, to form a seascape panorama.

We are on the balcony of our port side stateroom. I did much great work from this spot. During out 250 mile overnight sail from Matarani, Peru absolute blackness was the norm along this desolate coast.

Those are coastal mountains rising to the Atacama desert plain.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Beauty and Infection

Cutting Trees to Fight Disease

White Hawthorne tree blooms grace hedgerows of the rural hillside facing Glenariff Forest Park. The other white is grazing sheep. The North Channel of the Irish Sea is visible at the foot of the glen, with the shore of Scotland just visible.

Foreground are the stumps of mature trees cut by the forest service to control the oomycete plant pathogen Phytophthora ramorum. We visited June 2014, the year before, October 2013, the Belfast Telegraph reported “Northern Ireland is close to the point where it will be impossible to eradicate a virulent disease from the forests where it has taken hold.” Glenariff Forest part was one of those forests and the tree stumps are victims of that struggle.

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Here is a link to this photograph on Getty.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Getting My Work Out There

A Blessed Easter to Everyone

Comparing this view with the first of this series, first glance, with the camera held steady on a Manfrotto studio tripod, it is identical but from the play of light and cloud. My model Pam walked a few feet to sit in quiet contemplation of the beautiful surroundings.

To produce stock photography I research the details of the image, to write an informative caption. For example, in the post “Another Glenariff View” my identification of the Rowan was from a two volume atlas, paging through page after page.

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Here is a link to my Glenariff photographs on Getty.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Another Glenariff View

…with a flowering bush.

After photographing the broad expands of a wide Glenariff valley, moving the tripod on that same eminence, here is a near and far view.

The foreground white flowering bush of pinnate leaves is Rowan (Sorbus in the family Rosaceae subfamily Maloideae). In Irish it is crann caorthainn, a plant considered sacred in ancient times by both Celts and Vikings. The fruit is made into preserves, jellies. The pinnate leaves are similar to Ash, the reason it is also known as Mountain Ash, Rowan is not botanically related to Ash.

The Canon lens EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM was mounted on the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III camera. The graduated neutral density filter was perfect for the setting. Notice, between the hills in the distance, is a patch of the Northern Channel (of the Irish Sea), and just visible the Scottish Coast, a tilted horizon uncorrected.

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Here is a link to this photograph on Getty.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Going backward….

….to Glenariff

Here is the first stop on our tour of the Antrim Glens and coast, Glenariff Forest Park. These blogs have gone backward from Torr Head towards the started our day with breakfast in Coleraine, proceeding south along the plain to the head of Glenariff. The name, in Irish Gleann Airimh, means “Glen of arable land.” The Glenariff River flows from the height of Tievebulliagh, a 1,300 foot mountain, to form the broad valley of Glenariff. Arable, means tillable, and the land is tillable because the valley is wide.

This is one of my most popular photographs, it is from that day. I set up the tripod on an eminence overlooking the glen and a park path. Pam, in her red raincoat, headed down. The Canon lens EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM was mounted on the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III camera. The graduated neutral density filter was perfect for the setting.

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Here is a link to this photograph on Getty.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Slievenaglog Slideshow

A May Morning, Early

Every photograph from my recent posting were accepted by Getty IStock. Click this link to visit the photographs on IStock.

Here is a slideshow of my Slievenaglog photography. To visit from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.
Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

50 vs 24 mm focal length

A Cooley Peninsula Valley on a May Morning

On the northeast slope of Slievenaglogh peak (Irish: Sliabh na gCloch) on the road from Mullaghattin Townland to Riverstown. This day I swapped lenses and took in the same general direction for each. This is the first and last of a series using the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens and I pulled in the shots from the Canon 24mm f1.4 L II USM lens, published in previous posts.

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Here we look northeast from the Slievenaglogh Townland over the valley between Slievenaglogh and Slieve Foy peaks. Slieve Foy is the far ridge lost in clouds.

This is the first and last of a series using the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens.

The view includes Little River, Castletown River, Ballycoly and Glenmore Townlands. Adjacent is a sheep pasture with a farm ruin behind the yellow flowered gorse (Whin bush, scientific name Ulex).

Early morning, late May 2014.

Here is a slideshow of the 50mm and 24mm images of this post.

Click for another interesting Ireland post and story

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills