Sycamores and Riparian Space

a Preview of Reavis Ranch

….continued from the chapter “A Peaceful Day at Pine Creek.”

Compare these Arizona Sycamores with the struggling specimen from the last chapter, “A Peaceful Day at Pine Creek.” Many Sycamores such as this one flourish along Reavis Creek, a perennial stream of the eastern Superstition Wilderness. The drainage that feeds Pine Creek is far less acreage than that of Reavis Creek and, when the Pine Creek flow fades in the driest seasons, plants go into survival mode and halt growth and may even slough off limbs to conserve water.

These Sycamores grace a stream that seldom stops flowing, even in the driest of seasons. I had the good fortune to visit the Reavis valley of the Superstition Wilderness in November 2007, when these trees were at peak autumn foliage.

The tree requires a supply of water to thrive. This specimen demonstrates the species growth habit growing multiple trunks with a shape driven by water availability and the environmental context. The multiple trunks may be a desert survival mechanism. In dry periods a trunk or trunks are sloughed off to reduce moisture loss. This is why the Sycamore of “A Peaceful Day at Pine Creek” has a single trunk.”

To encounter a riparian space of the Arizona desert is a revelation, to progress from Sonoran desert spaces assailed by the breath of dry wind, to see the first signs of water in the distance as a welcome fluttering of leaves, to feel a welcome odor of water.

Yes, the first effect of a riparian space on the senses is the smell of water. Let’s finish this post with limbs of the Reavis Creek Arizona Sycamore reaching for the sky.

Click me for the next episode, “Desert Luxuries.”

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Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

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

Saguaro Sky

dramatic skies from Saguaro National Park

November is a special time for the ranges and basins of southern Arizona deserts.  Climb a bajada of foothills, face west and wait for the sunset.  That is what I did this day, November 3, 2005.  East of Tucson the Saguaro National Monument at the foot of the Rincon Mountain Wilderness is where I parked, unpacked the photo gear and climbed the side of the Tanque Verde Ridge for a favorable view.  Weather was pushing high level moisture from the west, clouds were developing.

You see here a shot from that session.  In the distance, looking across Tanque Verde, are the Santa Catalina mountains.  Months since the last rainfall, the giant Saguaros are using internal moisture reserves drawn up from a shallow root system, the flesh is less plump, the supporting structure of the ribs, always evident, are more pronounced.  The last light catches these ribs in relief against a dramatic sky.

Click this link or the photograph for my Online gallery of this offering

Saguaro Sunset -- CLICK ME!!!!

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Saguaro Sky

dramatic skies from Saguaro National Park

November is a special time for the ranges and basins of southern Arizona deserts.  Climb a bajada of foothills, face west and wait for the sunset.  That is what I did this day, November 3, 2005.  East of Tucson the Saguaro National Monument at the foot of the Rincon Mountain Wilderness is where I parked, unpacked the photo gear and climbed the side of the Tanque Verde Ridge for a favorable view.  Weather was pushing high level moisture from the west, clouds were developing.

You see here a shot from that session.  In the distance, looking across Tanque Verde, are the Santa Catalina mountains.  Months since the last rainfall, the giant Saguaros are using internal moisture reserves drawn up from a shallow root system, the flesh is less plump, the supporting structure of the ribs, always evident, are more pronounced.  The last light catches these ribs in relief against a dramatic sky.

Click this link or the photograph for my Online gallery of this offering
Saguaro Sunset -- CLICK ME!!!!

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

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.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Frame

green pastures framed by Whin Bush and Hawthorn windbreak

The road runs high on the shoulder of Slievenaglog peak, the 200 mm lens peers into the next townland over, Ballycoly (or Ballygoley), the valley floor broad, pastured.

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This is the seventh and last of a series using the Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L USM lens.

Here is a recap of recent posts with the 200 and 24 mm lens. Can you tell the difference?

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Abandoned II

So much depended on this wagon

Quickly moving sheep pass the hay wagon on May morning, early. A great start to this week.

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This mountainside pasture is grazed by a flock of sheep alongside a long unused farm wagon. Slievenaglogh Townland, Cooley Peninsula, County Louth, Ireland.

This is the fifth of a series using the Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L USM lens.

Here is a recap of recent posts with the 200 and 24 mm lens. Can you tell the difference?

Click for another interesting Ireland post and story

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Balwen? Shetland?

Or neither?

This breed may be a Balwen Welsh Mountain sheep, as it fits the description. When the ewe caught sight of me, she hightailed it for cover, the lambs followed.

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The Balwen is bred for meat and that is the rule in this area, the lambs are sold.

The description is of a black color with a white blaze on the face, four white “socks” and white on the tail. This individual is missing a white tale, so might be a Shetland and even more so as the others of the herd are white (Shetlands are a variety of colors), Shetland is common and the other rare.

These are on the hillside of Slievenaglogh Townland, County Louth, Ireland.

This is the fourth of a series using the Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L USM lens.

Click for another interesting Ireland post and story

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Abandoned

So much depended on this wagon

A hay wagon, unused since the twentieth century.

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No longer needed, this mountainside pasture is grazed by a flock of sheep. Slievenaglogh Townland, Cooley Peninsula, County Louth, Ireland.

This is the third of a series using the Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L USM lens.

Click for another interesting Ireland post and story

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills