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.

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Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

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.

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Click me for the next post in this series, “Desert Luxuries.”
Clck me for the first post in this series, “Racing the Sun.”

Copyright 2019 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.

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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

On the slopes of Slievenaglogh

One white horse

Horse pasture on northeast slope of Slievenaglogh peak (Irish: Sliabh na gCloch) on the road from Mullaghattin Townland to Riverstown.

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Foreground is yellow flowered gorse (whin bush, scientific name Ulex). Early morning, late May 2014.

This is the second 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

Farmhouse Ruin, Slievenaglogh

Two views

Built with care of fieldstone, windows now empty of glass, rotted roof and fallen, interior wall with chimney warmed rooms on two floors.

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This substantial abandoned farm cottage among fields now sheep pasture on the slopes of Slievenaglogh Townland of the Cooley Peninsula, County Louth, Ireland.

Surrounded by white flowering hawthorn, yellow Whin bushes foreground.

These are the first of a series using the Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L USM lens.

Click for another interesting post and story from County Louth.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills