Spring Outing V

Wildflower Groupings

Red Trillium are early bloomers, along with Hepatica. I often photograph them together. Click me for a 2019 Red Trillium post of photographs from 2007 taken in Fillmore Glen Park.

Here we have two photographs from the end of the April 20, 2020 session. I finished a series of macro Hepatica and, tired (emotionally, not physically) and not wanting to step up the slope, captured the following grouping of a single Red Trillium, lit by a bolt of sunlight, White Hepatica, fern and the budding White Trillim from yesterday’s post. Not the same trillium, a continuation of all the individuals in bud.

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These were 15 feet or so up the slope above the South Rim Trail. I used the 100 mm macro lens, with the spring breezes ISO set to 2500, f/5.6 for a 1/200 exposure.

Not far away, also upslope, was this flower grouping against a moss covered log. Park forestry leaves fallen trees in place to return to the soil. Camera settings are the same.

Both photographs were handheld.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Torr Head Wildflower Meadow

can you see any other flowers/plans in this photograph? Please leave a comment if you do.

We parked below the Coast Guard station, headed toward the height of Torr Head. I was stopped in my tracks by the hillside meadow wildflower profusion. 

Here are a few I identified, listed by common name: Bluebell, Daisy, Meadow Buttercup, Sea Campion, Yarrow.  We love daisies and buttercups around home.  We spotted Sea Campion on the Dingle Peninsula, as well.  Yarrow is common through Ireland.  I don’t recall seeing bluebells anywhere else. 

It was the bluebells in this photograph that clued me into why I took a photograph of the hillside.  The view north takes in coastal sheep pasture looking on a portion of North Channel and the Irish island Rathelin.

The web page I used for identification was wildflowersofireland.net . Great information and links to the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland with a distribution map.

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Sky Reflections

A Wall with Moss Padding

A Finger Lakes Trail footbridge crosses Fish Kill on the edge of Treman State Park.

These are images of the sky reflected on Fish Kill from that footbridge on August 24, 2022.

Robert H. Treman State Park, Enfield, Tompkins County, Finger Lakes Region, New York State

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Turned Back

Trail closed at bridge seven

Capturing photographs and videos on the fly using an Iphone, we visited Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, New York with our granddaughter, Nia. This is the ninth post of this series. Click me for “The Spaceship and the Waterfall,” the first post in this series.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

Seventh Bridge

We laughed at the trail-head sign, “Caution Muddy Trails.” White shorts beware. Somebody complained and demanded immediate resolution to the situation.

Another sign advised the Gorge Trail was closed after the seventh bridge. In my post “Bridge Views” these bridges are described. We could cross the seventh bridge, a barrier and a strongly worded sign, “Proceed no further, you will be prosecuted,” blocked the way. Here is the view, looking upstream.

The blocked path climbs the steep northern glen wall. This is the south wall, from the bridge. There was a young mother with two children, a girl, 6 or 7, and her 7 or 8 years old brother, each well equipped for the expedition with appropriate clothing and backpacks.

The family proceeded while I lingered to gaze up the blocked trail. I was tempted to crawl over the barrier, the ascending trail was clear the entire visible length. Being more cautious with age, or growing wisdom, I suppressed the urge and took in sights on the return trip.

On bridge number six the girl has her entire backpack contents spread over the path, a naturalist examining her kit. So sweet. Nia and Pam, at this point, were far ahead of me.

Moss is another plant proven valuable to humankind.

An Orchid

This strange orchid, the species name references a similarity to hellebore

With is we left the Gorge trail for this day, with a plan to return to approach the eight bridge from the north.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Life and Death

Rumination on wild flower blooms

Click here for my Online Gallery offering of trillium.

An access road, now blocked with huge boulders by the State Park, leads to this dam at the head of Fillmore Glen. I stop here for reflection at times and have climbed behind the dam for photographs. It is possible to drive up the south side of the glen on a poorly maintained road and park next to the boulders. In this season (spring) the surrounding forest is carpeted in wildflowers. Hepatica, trillium, dutchman’s breeches. One day, years ago, I pulled in behind a late model convertible with a license plate holder advising the owner was a member of the 10th Mountain division and a World War II veteran.

They were a well dressed and groomed couple. The white haired driver, in his late 80’s at least, patiently waited while she, a frail woman, walked the margins of the forest, enjoying the wildflowers. It was my impression this was a ritual for them, developed over the years. One of the few spring outings left to them.

Wildflower displays develop over hundreds of years. The massed trillium are on land not disturbed for thousands of years, since the last ice age. These same spring wonders were certainly enjoyed by the Iroquois before us.

Click either photograph for a larger view.

On the gorge slope below the parking area, in a hollow on the north side of a large (I recall) oak, one early sunny spring morning I discovered the last resting place of a deer. Only the bones and some fur remained, the visible portion resembles the Capitulum and trochlea of a human arm bone and, indeed, there was a scapula close by. The season is evoked by the unfurling fern against the based of the oak.

Dark, Unwritten Forest Secrets
Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Zion Merged


The first photograph is the myriad fractures within the Zion Navajo sandstone, hidden water transits from rainfall miles away.

The second photograph, water emerging as a blessed sacrament, bestowal of life nourishing wildflowers, ferns, mosses, trees.

For this third photograph the first two were merged in photoshop for a revelation. I did not take time to smooth the transition, visible as a line. I graduated from this merge technique with the purchase of a wide angle (24 mm) lens. It is so difficult to organize all the angles and exposures, plus time to bring it together.

All photographs from the Kodak DSC Pro SLR/c, Canon Lens EF 200mm 1:2.8 L II stabilized via a Manfrotto 468MG with Hydrostatic Ball Head.

Can you spot the foot path?

Here is a gallery of the three photographs, to flip back and forth.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Three Zion Images

full of ferns, wildflowers, and mosses.

“Water seeping out of the Navajo sandstone creates tranquil springs and the unique “hanging gardens” for which Zion is famous, full of ferns, wildflowers, and mosses.”

Here are three exposures of the same scene.

Click on an image for a closer view.

Can you spot the foot path?

Here is a gallery of the three photographs, to flip back and forth. the primary difference is the exposure within the shadow under the projecting cliff face.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved


Fillmore Glen Autumn

Walking Up A Leaf Strewn Dry Creek to find….

Hint: click image for larger view. Ctrl/+ to enlarge / Ctrl/- to reduce

…a backlit fern frond.

Copyright 2020 All Right Reserved MichaelStephenWills.com

Fillmore Glen Gallery

A Successful Outing during COVID-19

Here is a gallery recapping my afternoon among the wonders of Fillmore Glen, a New York State park, Moravia, New York. I visited there during the New York COVID-19 “PAUSE.” ENJOY!!

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Click for my “Finger Lakes Memories” Fine Art Photography Gallery.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Early Spring III


A thumb’s width span for each unfurling stalk of this unidentified colony. Fern? Flowering plant?

Each image is from a Canon 100 mm macro lens, camera mounted on a sturdy studio tripod I carried a few hundred feet to this bank within Fillmore Glen New York State park.

Here is another assignment from the “Fundamentals of Photography” course, to capture a scene at different f-stops, the degree to which the diaphragm is open, to control the width of the lens aperture. Increasing f-stop narrows lens aperture.

For this f32 image, the least possible apeture for this lens, resulting in maximum depth of field. Everything in view is in focus, increasing the visual elements competing for the viewer’s attention. On the other hand, a distracting element is more information about where the plant is thriving.

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At 8 f-stop aperture is at a midpoint, elements of the background are out of focus, though still recognizable. The sturdy tripod, well situated, enables me to take the exact same view, changing only the f-stop (and associated shutter speed, the higher the f-stop the slower the shutter speed. As the aperture decreases, less light enters the camera and more time is required to collect enough light to expose the digital media. Slower shutter speed means more time for spring breezes to move the delicately balanced plant stalk, resulting a blur for a subject otherwise in focus.

In this image I removed all but the immediate surroundings of the red stalks.

At f2.8 the diaphram is wide open, a maximum amount of light enters the camera and shutter speed is higher as well. Less of the image is in focus, a single subject is in sharp relief. Prior to cropping more than one stalk is in focus, competing for attention.

After cropping a single stalk is the image subject, reminding me of swirling galaxies. The drawback is reduction in image size: 30 reduced to 1.3 (6,744 to 1,371). I needed to reposition the tripod and camera for a closer shot of the circinate scene elements and a image with a higher resolution of this fascinating episode in the life of a plant. I am tempted to visit Malloryville where large ferns unfurl.

Click for my “Finger Lakes Memories” Fine Art Photography Gallery.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills