Peter’s Mesa Sunset

Can You Find the Eye of the Needle?

Peter’s mesa is at the center of Superstition Wilderness treasure legends. I was a member of an expedition to the top of the Mesa March 2008. This is a sunset view, looking south, southwest. Light raking across the desolation and an approaching storm behind Miner’s Needle create a fascinating spectacle. Ancient volcanism, apparent throughout the Superstition Wilderness, is here seen in the texture, form and type of rock as well as the mineral deposits. Miner’s Needle, like Weaver’s Needle (no seen in this view), are eroded volcanic summits. Look closely for the “eye” of Miner’s Needle, backlit by the storm cloud itself lit by the setting sun. To this day, hopeful prospectors search for gold nuggets around the Needle. There is one form of volcanism present today as an eerie rumble or hiss, similar to an enormous distant jet engine. We heard now and then during our two days on the mesa, louder and closer than a overhead plane could produce. The view includes many notable Sonoran desert plants. Many young Saguaro cactus are in the form of green poles and, on the rim of the ravine running left to right below the closer ridge, an excellent specimen with multiple arms. Catching the dramatic light, on the ridge is a tall single flower of an Agave, known as the “Century Plant” it flowers once in a long life and dies.

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Peters Mesa is named after “Old Pete” Gottfried Petrasch, father of Hermann and Rhiney Petrasch. Old Pete worked for Jim Bark for awhile in the 1890s doing odd jobs. Irregular employment gave Pete and Sons time to s searched for the Lost Dutchman Mine in the years following the death of the source of the legend, the “Dutchman” Jacob Waltz. The Petrasches were one of the first groups to search for the mine, and gold in general. They covered almost the entire Superstition range in their combined searches.

On our first day on the Mesa we came across the remains of one of these camp, on the top of Squaw Canyon. This was only deplorable junk a presumably disappointed bunch of searchers were too lazy to cart out. That March, we were lucky to find the remants of winter rains in the form of a meager trickle at the bottom of a shallow draw off Peter’s Mesa trail up from La Barge canyon. We had a good time of it until the trip was cut short by a storm front and torrential rains. We were back in Apache Junction before they hit.
This panorama is from our last evening on the Mesa. As the sun set I put the Kodak DSLR with a 50 MM lens on a Manfrotto tripod and hiked a mile higher onto the mesa for a view of Miner’s Needle. I quit only after the last light was extinguished by the approaching front. My reward for persistence was this dramatic light ennobling a craggy desolation. This is a composite of several images, combined using Photoshop. I have since invested in a Canon 24 mm wide angle lens.

Here is another Superstition Wilderness Episode

Copyright 2017 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Bullet Dodge Series 3

Not quite murmuration

Today, enjoy two videos of shorebirds taking flight at once. Starlings can flock and swarm in clouds of birds, called murmuration. My videos of a shorebird colony taking fright, at something unknown as the beach was empty, are from my IPhone 7.

This is a still image, high resolution, similar to the view of the second video. A repeat from yesterday.

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With a tripod it is simpler to achieve a level horizon….

December 3, 2014 President Obama warned of the coming pandemic and passed along plans and a team to the incoming Trump administration. By December 2019, the pandemic unleashed in China, Trump gutted this capability and, while Pam and I were planning out January 10th Walt Disney World trip, hid the truth from United States Citizens.

We were keeping an eye on China, by January 10th the Chinese communist government was lying, “there is no human-to-human” transmission they told the WHO (World Health Organization). Knowing the truth, our plans for that day would be different.

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Sunrise, January 109, 2020 Cocoa Beach, Florida

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

References:

CNN YouTube, “Hear what Barack Obama said in 2014 about pandemics.”

Daily KOS, “How the Obama administration tried to save us from what Trump is doing right now.”

FOX News, “WHO haunted by January tweet saying China found no human transmission of coronavirus.”

Bullet Dodge Series 2

Shroomed (Happy May Day)

One week before January 10, the dawning of the day photographed here, “the CDC Director Robert Redfield was notified by a counterpart in China that a “mysterious respiratory illness was spreading in Wuhan [China]”. Redfield notified HHS Secretary Alex Azar shortly thereafter, who shared his report with the National Security Council (NSC). According to The Washington Post, warnings about the virus were included in the President’s Daily Brief in early January, an indicator of the emphasis placed on the virus by the intelligence community.” December( and maybe October/November), 2019 through January, 2020: COVID-19 was spreading across the USA as visitors from Wuhan disembarked from planes.

The following images compare IPhone 7 to a dslr mounted on a tripod.

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With a tripod it is simpler to achieve a level horizon….

I heard the word “shroomed” (as a verb) used in Episode 1, Season 6, of Bosch. As in “the Federal Government treats us like mushooms”: grown in excrement and kept in the dark.

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Sunrise, January 10, 2020 Cocoa Beach, Florida

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Reference: the quote is from the Wikipedia article “Timeline of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic in the United States.”

Bullet Dodge Series 1

First of a looooonnnngggg series

One day after my “Sunrise Texture” series as the sun rose on Cocoa Beach I was waiting with the same photographic kit. It was perfect weather for a visit to Walt Disney World, planned for that day: unsettled.

This image couple demonstrates the effect of long / short exposure without using filters. I changed the ISO and F-stop to achieve these effects.

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With a tripod it is simpler to achieve a level horizon….

I turned around to observe the colonies of shore birds…..

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Want to see more? Visit this my “Sunrise Textures” series on Getty IStock.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Sunrise Texture Series 7

Final Series, Sunrise Completion

Betelgeuse, AKA “Alpha Orionis”, was the first star disk, other than our Sun, measured. One hundred years ago the apparent size of Betelgeuse was then as now 0.003% of the sun. I bring this up because this “red” star at the end of its life cycle, is in the news, being now 40% of its brightness last year.

Betelgeuse is so far away this dimming is 700 year old news, the time it takes for light span the distance. News of our sun is more recent, sunlight informs us of the Sun’s surface from 8.33 minutes ago. Sunlight bursts from clouds to the camera in an instant of a second. In comparison my reactions to capture it are glacial. Sixteen seconds passed since the images of Series 6, time for three exposures at a slowed pace now the sun breaks free from the clouds.

Twelve minutes, fifty four seconds elapsed from the first images of this series. Seventy nine exposures taken with 16 selected moments, these last without the sand mirror.

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A Willet feeds in the new day. This is a species sandpipers, a cousin of the Sanderling of yesterday’s post.

All sixteen Sunrise Texture moments are presented below.. Suggestion, for this series in a larger format, open a separate browser tab for each post. At series end you will then have eight (including the very first post a few weeks ago) landscapes to compare.

Want to see more? Visit this series on Getty IStock.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Sunrise Texture Series 6

Sunburst

Two minutes pass from Series 5, and not because I have stopped snapping. My routine is to insert a (automated) sequential number into each filename. Using this it is possible to calculate the number of exposures in a series. Since Series 5, 16 were snapped before the first I could use in Series 6. Ten exposures between the first and last of Series 6, during which a minute, twenty eight seconds elapsed..

The sun disk is above the horizon, bursting from clouds.

Ten minutes, eighteen seconds elapsed from the first images of this series. Seventy one exposures taken with 14 selected moments of shining sand mirror, a strong curving return flow.

The small bird feeding, of the first image, is a Sanderling, one of the smallest species of Sandpipers.

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In this second image, the mirror is erased as sand absorbs surf. I needed to show the developing sun burst.

A slide show of these images. This set compares short exposure with open aperture (f 4.5) to a much longer exposure driven by a narrow aperture (f 22) and the lowest film sensitivity of the camera (ISO 50). Suggestion, for this series in a larger format, open a separate browser tab for each post. At series end you will then have eight (including the very first post a few weeks ago) landscapes to compare.

Want to see more? Visit this series on Getty IStock.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Sunrise Texture Series 5

a paradox

A scant five seconds pass from Series 4, with the sun above the horizon I strive to catch the moment.

The sun disk is above the horizon, shining behind the clouds.

Seven minutes, 34 seconds elapsed from the first images of this series.

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I selected moments of shining sand mirror, a strong curving return flow with a continuing mark of a southeast wind of seventeen miles per hour, with bursts above twenty. Wind, waves, even the rounded particles of sand all created from the energy of the celestial body I am waiting to appear.

A slide show of these images. Suggestion, for this series in a larger format, open a separate browser tab for each post. At series end you will then have eight (including the very first post a few weeks ago) landscapes to compare.

Want to see more? Visit this series on Getty IStock.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Sunrise Texture Series 4

a paradox

Thirty three seconds pass from Series 3, the high clouds shine less bright, the sun disk now blocked by those clouds on the horizon, the rising sun brings darkness yet a first hint of sunburst.

Seemingly, the first image foam-wave swath will erase the mirror.

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Fifty seconds later, instead of erasure the new water brings clarity.

Six minutes, 39 seconds elapsed from the first images of this series.

A slide show of these images. Suggestion, for this series in a larger format, open a separate browser tab for each post. At series end you will then have eight (including the very first post a few weeks ago) landscapes to compare.

Want to see more? Visit this series on Getty IStock.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Sunrise Texture Series 3

Gathering Light

You will notice the sky changing, compared to the first set published here , Almost 6 minutes have passed, 4 minutes from the last image from Sunrise Texture Series 2. From behind the horizon, the first rays of sunlight catch the sky undersides. Unseen. the sun disk broaches the horizon.

Working fast, I used the dial to change from aperture-priority to shutter-priority with settings saved from the last use. In this way the duration is only twelve seconds between shots. The sun disk is near to/passed the horizon hidden behind those distant clouds.

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Breaking of a small wave.

A slide show of these images. Suggestion, for this series in a larger format, open a separate browser tab for each post. At series end you will then have eight (including the very first post a few weeks ago) landscapes to compare.

Want to see more? Visit this series on Getty IStock.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Sunrise Texture Series 2

Time measured by the waves

Twelve minutes, fifty four seconds separate the first and list images of this series of 16 images, starting with the first set published here fourteen days ago.

Almost a minute, fifty two seconds, separates the images of this post, enough time for a wave to sweep over a boss of sand, forming a mirror, and to start a return flow to the sea.

Happy turning of February to March.

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A sand boss held water briefly each cycle to form a mirror.

A slide show of these images.

Want to see more? Visit this series on Getty IStock.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills