Ocotillo Sunset from Saguaro National Park, a diary Part 2

The creation of a photograph

A retrospective diary of the day I captured “Octillo Sunset, continued from PART 1

 

Moving to a Better Location

On the ground in Sabino Canyon, I rethought my plans for the afternoon, given the potential of an incredible desert sunset, and decided to seek the high ground east of Tucson up against the Rincon Mountains in the Saguaro National Monument. There was still plenty of time to travel there and set up.

On arrival at the monument I took the scenic “loop” road that meandered around the desert. The Lime Kiln Falls trail makes some elevation, so I hiked that to the end. In the 1800’s the rocks in the area were exploited for their mineral content by heating them, on site, to high temperatures that released a highly caustic (chemically reactive) “quick lime” that was in high demand. All that’s left of this work is some ground discoloration.

The Dry Water Fall and former Mining Site

The “Falls” in question were a totally dry rock ledge that I climbed for these views. In the first photo, on the right in the distance, you can see the same mountain peaks I shared in Part One. I used the same 200 mm telephoto lens because that interesting stand of saguaros were over 100 feet away across a steep slope.

Young Saguaros

The saguaros are interesting, to me, because they are all so young and grouped together. As though s clutch of seeds from the same specimen landed together on the same spot. The saguaros are notable for their lack of arms which will form with the passing years.

A View of the Catalinas

Late afternoon is the perfect time to photograph the Catalinas in the distance and the high, thin gathering cloud cover made for dramatic shading of the peaks. I needed to wait for a perfect moment because the light and view changed, literally, second by second. If you look closely, the city of Tucson can be seen among the foothills, to the left.

Why the Distance Stands Out (high contrast)

The lens was fitted with a deep hood. Besides being black, the interior of the hood is surfaced with black felt, the same as used for large telescopes, to capture any stray light. Light falling across the lens surface causes reflections, which is what this hood prevents. The result is the amount of contrast I captured, using the appropriate exposure and other settings. For this photograph I used F14, 1/125 and ISO160.

Click any photograph to view Ocotillo Sunset Young Saguaros and the Catalinas – CLICK ME to view Ocotillo Sunset.

Another Catalina View

A bit further down the same trail, the desert view features an army of saguaros marching into Tucson.

Click any photograph to view Ocotillo Sunset Saguaros and the Catalinas – CLICK ME to view Ocotillo Sunset.

The Catalina Highway runs along the escarpment, in the distance, and to the top of Mount Lemmon, a 9157 foot peak. In season, you can ski in the morning, on the peak, and in an hour or so travel to the desert to sunbathe comfortably. From the trail to the top of the Rincon Mountains this view just keeps opening up farther and farther and farther. My wife, Pam, and I backpacked up there April 2011.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Summer Garden

2021

Pam requested photographs of hosta flower stalks with blooms and developing buds. I setup the Manfrotto tripod, the Canon dslr mounted with an Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6L lens at ISO 1600 and these are the results.

Native to northeastern Asia, In 1812 the genera Hosta was named for the European botanist Nicholas Thomas Host. Also called plantain lily for the habit of the herbaceous stalks to grow radially from a center.

The name “Hydrangea is derived from Greek and means ‘water vessel’ (hydria), in reference to the shape of its seed capsules. The earlier name, Hortensia, is a Latinised version of the French given name Hortense, honoring French astronomer and mathematician Nicole-Reine Hortense Lepaute.” _wikipedia


The common name “Marigold” refers to the Virgin Mary.

Begonias come in so many shapes and colors.

Garden Gnomes, Bird Bath and Sculpture

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Katrina Sunrise, August 28, 2005

The effects of the category 5 hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina approached the Gulf Coast and New Orleans as the sun rose on the West End of Jones Beach on Long Island, August 28, 2005. This amazing sunrise was an element of the unusual atmospheric effects that are evidence of the power of this storm.

The featured image (heading this blog) is my print, “Katrina Sunrise”.  This work is enjoyed by hundreds of my clients.  Use the link, below, to acquire your own.  Custom framing is available.

Click this link for Katrina Sunrise from my Memory Dreams Reflections Online gallery
The following images are the rough drafts taken in the early morning hours. The beach was literally deserted as I mounted the camera and framed the view for this series. Many image captions include the file time stamp, for example 6:07:13 is 6 am and 7 minutes 13 seconds.

West End Sunrise 6:07:13
6:07:13 First image of the set. Below the horizon the sun lights the upper atmosphere.
West End Sunrise 6:07:34
6:07:34 As the sun approaches the horizon the lower clouds catch light. My Camera was a Sony DSC-F828 tripod mounted with a polarizing filter.
West End Sunrise 6:07:56
6:07:56 I panned slightly to the east. ISO was set to 64 throughout.
West End Sunrise 6:08:16
6:08:16 Gradual brightening. The lens is 7.1 – 51.0 mm f/2.0-2.8.
West End Sunrise 6:08:38
6:08:38 All levels are brighter. It seems those low clouds will block the horizon. That was not the case. The variable focal length is 15.6 mm.
West End Sunrise 6:09:05
6:09:05 It is happening!!!! Exposure was set to automatic on a f stop of 8.0. It was 1/3 second for this image.
West End Sunrise 6:14:34
6:14:34 The view is panned west. That is the Robert Moses water tower of Jones Beach State Park looking like a rocket ready to blast off.
West End Sunrise 6:15:15
6:15:15 Will those low clouds block the sun? Looks promising.
West End Sunrise 6:16:11
6:16:11 Clouds on the upper margin catching the sun. Horizon brightening….. Exposure 1/20 second.
West End Sunrise 6:14:39
6:14:39 This will be a disappointment if that sun does not show. Exposure 1/25 second.
West End Sunrise 6:18:27
6:18:27 Almost there….1/15 second exposure….
West End Sunrise 6:19:07
6:19:07 Quick framing adjustment to bring the lighting of shore margin into the composition. The final version was created from two images captured seconds after this.
Hurricane Rainbow Panorama
As the sun rose a rainbow formed in the western sky.

Click this link for my blog “Sunrise Photo Album March 2 2017.”

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Hosta

Hosta Blooms on a cloudy, still summer dawn

On July 17, 2021 Ithaca was socked in with heavy clouds obscuring sunrise, a perfect moment to capture Pam’s hostas flowering with the upper stalks still budding. I setup the Manfrotto tripod, the Canon dslr mounted with an EF 50 mm 1:1.2 L at ISO 800 and these are the results.

Native to northeastern Asia, In 1812 the genera Hosta was named for the European botanist Nicholas Thomas Host. Also called plantain lily for the habit of the herbaceous stalks to grow radially from a center.

This series moves from the lens diaphragm starting at the smallest opening, greatest depth of field and longest exposure, to the widest, most shallow depth of field and shortest exposure. The air was very still this morning, allowing me to experiment.


Here is my favorite version from the above experiment. Do you have a favorite? Named it in comment and please explain your choice.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Newlyweds and the Cruise Ship

Images of Newlyweds on the beach

With grandchildren in the Miami Area and a sister in Daytona Beach, Florida was on my mind this morning and memories of this beautiful experience on Cocoa Beach came to mind. After an eventful day touring the NASA launch control center, Pam and I took an evening walk during the golden hour, me with camera in hand.
Full in expectation of catching the passing scene with lots of shot I set to full size jpeg mode using a Sony Alpha 700 dslr with a DT 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 lens. The light was exceptional, so I did not expect much post production work.

My first impression was of the line of cruise ships heading south from Port Canaveral, the starboard side lit perfectly behind human denizens of the Cocoa Beach shore, in full enjoyment mode. A synergy of the images struck me. I took a few experimental shots then, as we progressed down the beach front this unusual tableau came into view.

Wedding Immersion
Newlyweds on Cocoa Beach give rapt attention to a distant cruise ship, it looks like an elegant child’s toy.
Click this link for my Online gallery

Pulling back the focal length a bit the reason for the bride and groom on the beach is clear.

Newlyweds and Photographer
Photographer approaches from left.
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The session proceeded smoothly and professionally, it was a pleasure to watch. I felt no compunction for capturing these private moments on a public beach, the transcendence of the images reflect well on all participants.

Newlywed Photoshoot
Bride and groom pose while photographer composes the shot, her assistant behind.
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Pull back to capture the entire environment.
Enjoy!!!

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Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Blooms: Hosta and Echinacea

Hosta and Echinacea Blooms in a summer dawn

My wife, Pam, requested photographs of her hosta taken in the first sun of a summer day. Just after the sun broke the clouds this Summer 2017 morning I had the Manfrotto tripod set up, the Canon mounted with my new EF 50 mm 1:1.2 L, and this is the result.

Overview of the hosta and blooms. These are also called Plaintain Lilies. Over the years, Pam has propagated three plants by splitting them and replanting. In 2016r we invested in a fence around the front yard to prevent the deer from browsing them to the ground. In pandemic year 2020, Summer, another fence was installed for the backyard. Pam plans more hosta propagation in celebration.

Study of hosta flowers.

Purple cone flowers, aka Echinacea.
HostaEchinacea-0093

Copyright 2021 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.

Click photograph for larger image. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

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.

Click to open video in a new browser tab for better experience and also more information about the context.

Sunrise, January 109, 2020 Cocoa Beach, Florida

Click to open the next video in a new browser tab for better experience and also more information about the context.

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.

Click photograph for larger image. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

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.

Click to open video in a new browser tab for better experience.

Sunrise, January 10, 2020 Cocoa Beach, Florida

Want to see more? Click me to visit my Florida photography on Getty IStock.

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.

Click photograph for larger image. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

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

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

Click to open video in a new browser tab for better experience.

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