Flip Flop Seahorses

Evolutionary Success Story

Up to 150 recycled flip flops were used by Ocean Sole Africa Project artists to create these seahorse sculptures from a 2020 exhibit hosted by McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida.

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Seahorses are tiny fish with heads that look like…horses! Their curved flexible tail is used to grasp objects, mostly anchoring the seahorse to plants.

Their genus, Hippocampus, includes 46 species indicating evolutionary success for their body shape and adaptations. Just hatched seahorses cling together in groups, hook by their tails. Excellent at camouflage, a seahorse hides from predators while waiting to ambush dinner.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Flip Flop Manatee

Happy “Profitable Friday” 2022

Up to 400 recycled flip flops were used by Ocean Sole Africa Project artists to create this Manatee sculpture from a 2020 exhibit hosted by McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida.

Manatee with fans

Manatees are protected under the Endangered Species Act and under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Today, the range-wide population is estimated to be at least 13,000 manatees, with more than 6,500 in the southeastern United States and Puerto Rico.

Florida has cherished the Sea Cow with the population increasing 25% from 1991, going from 1,267 to more than 6,300.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Flip Flop Crab

Eyes on stalks and an exoskeleton composed of chitin

Up to 400 recycled flip flops were used by Ocean Sole Africa Project artists to create each sea turtle sculpture from a 2019 exhibit hosted by McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida.

Blue land crabs inhabit McKee Gardens, only resembling these specimens, made from as many as 400 discarded flip flops, in having ten legs for which the Order Decapoda is named. The front two legs are specialized chelae (claws) for grabbing and eating whatever is in front of them (omnivorous). Two other characteristics are eyes on stalks and an exoskeleton composed of chitin. From an exhibit of creations by the Ocean Sole Africa project, McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida.

Blue land crabs inhabit McKee Gardens, only resembling these specimens, made from as many as 400 discarded flip flops, in having ten legs for which the Order Decapoda is named.

The front two legs are specialized chelae (claws) for grabbing and eating whatever is in front of them (omnivorous). Two other characteristics are eyes on stalks and an exoskeleton composed of chitin.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Flip Flop Sea Turtle

Light pollution from beach development is a threat to baby sea turtles; the glow from city sources can cause them to head into traffic instead of the ocean.

450 recycled flip flops were used by Ocean Sole Africa Project artists to create each sea turtle sculpture from a 2019 exhibit hosted by McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida.

Sea turtles (superfamily Chelonioidea), sometimes called marine turtles, are reptiles of the order Testudines and of the suborder Cryptodira. Sea turtles can be found in all oceans except for the polar regions. Sea turtles are generally found in the waters over continental shelves.

During the first three to five years of life, sea turtles spend most of their time in the pelagic zone floating in seaweed mats. Once the sea turtle has reached adulthood it moves closer to the shore. Females will come ashore to lay their eggs on sandy beaches during the nesting season. Sea turtles migrate to reach their spawning beaches, which are limited in numbers. Living in the ocean therefore means they usually migrate over large distances.

All sea turtles have large body sizes, which is helpful for moving large distances. Large body sizes also offer good protection against the large predators (notably sharks) found in the ocean. Light pollution from beach development is a threat to baby sea turtles; the glow from city sources can cause them to head into traffic instead of the ocean. There has been some movement to protect these areas. On the east coast of Florida, parts of the beach known to harbor sea turtle nests are protected by fences.

This Sea Turtle sculpture graces the entrance of McKee Gardens as a permanent exhibit.

Conservationists have monitored hatchings, relocating lost baby sea turtles to the beach. Hatchlings find their way to the ocean by crawling towards the brightest horizon and can become disoriented along the coastline. Lighting restrictions can prevent lights from shining on the beach and confusing hatchlings. Sea turtle-safe lighting uses red or amber LED light, invisible to sea turtles, in place of white light.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Flip Flop Octopus

890 recycled flip flops were used in this sculpture

This common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) specimen was created by artists of Ocean Sole Africa. 890 recycled flip flops were used in this sculpture. from a 2019 exhibit hosted by McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida.

Octopuses are adaptable and intelligent 8-limbed creatures known live in and around ocean reefs, deep ocean and intertidal zones. Invertebrate, without a skeleton an octopus can hide in tight spaces. Maneuvering and hunting, each tentacle is lined with suckers that grab rocks and prey. Existing solely on meat, these carnivores prey on crabs and shellfish, finding them with sharp binocular eyesight and devouring with a sharp parrot-like beak. Their defenses include camouflage, changing skin color to made surroundings, ejection of thick black ink to distract a predator and escape. A last line of defense is sacrificing an arm that can grow back over time. These blue-blooded aristocrats have three hearts!

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Autumn Survey

Across the land

Good news….Click Me for the link to my latest photographs accepted by Getty, from this series of 2022 Fillmore Glen. You may acquire reasonably priced rights to use these photographs in your work.

My Sony Alpha captured our October 16 drive to Fillmore Glen. As we traversed landscapes, the spectacle of Tompkins and Cayuga Counties autumn glory passed by the open passenger side window and, even, the front windshield. Thank You, Pam, for driving.

A turn around our home: Smoke tree, Japanese Maple, Pam’s flower baskets, fallen Oak leaves

Panoramas from our front porch and on to Hector Street descending into and through Ithaca

Headed up Route 34 along Cayuga Lake, into “Farm Country”

Turning onto Locke Road and crossing from Tompkins to Cayuga County

Travelling through Cayuga County, the town of Locke, then Moravia and Fillmore Glen State Park

This is my farewell to “Fall” for now.

Copyright 2022 All Right Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Last Bridge

Golden Road

Good news….Click Me for the link to my latest photographs accepted by Getty, from this series of 2022 Fillmore Glen. You may acquire reasonably priced rights to use these photographs in your work.

My Sony Alpha was in use during our October 16 drive to Fillmore Glen. As we traversed landscapes, autumn glory of Tompkins and Cayuga Counties was captured. Thank You, Pam, for driving.

Heading today’s post is a windshield shot, I’m loving the effect of a golden road.

During our walk, I used the Sony Alpha for a parallel series of shots to compliment the tripod mounted Canon. Here are some of those results.

Step up and over

Enjoy this collection of Fillmore Glen pathways

Fillmore Glen, New York State Park, Cayuga County, Moravia, New York

Copyright 2022 All Right Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Waterfall Gallery

” I ventured up the gorge from bottom to this point where, blocked by an enormous shining emerald-colored ice wedge accumulated from the water pouring over the path in warmer months, I turned around”

Good news….Click Me for the link to my latest photographs accepted by Getty, from this series of 2022 Fillmore Glen. You may acquire reasonably priced rights to use these photographs in your work.

Between the metal walkway (see previous post) and the last numbered bridge, eight (8), the gorge narrows with sedimentary rock cliffs on either side, remnants of the forces that formed this rock in the form of water pouring from the porous stone flowing over the trail.

One February morning, equipped with climbing boots, crampons, gaiters, I ventured up the gorge from bottom to this point where, blocked by an enormous shining emerald-colored ice wedge accumulated from the water pouring over the path in warmer months, I turned around.

I call it a Waterfall Gallery for these walls bracing this wonderful collection of cascades in these photographs.

Waterfall gallery between bridges seven (7) and eight (8). Fillmore Glen, New York State Park, Moravia, Cayuga County, New York

A warm and cool versions of this spot.

Warm

Cool

Watch Your Step!!

Fillmore Glen, New York State Park, Cayuga County, Moravia, New York

Copyright 2022 All Right Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Climb to Glory

New and Ancient

Good news….Click Me for the link to my latest photographs accepted by Getty, from this series of 2022 Fillmore Glen. You may acquire reasonably priced rights to use these photographs in your work.

Crossing bridge seven (7), “Lovers’ Bridge, we encounter this passage, from the earliest work of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930’s. Stairs carved into the Cambrian cliff. These images are a combination of handheld Sony Alpha dslr and tripod mounted Canon captures. Can you tell the difference (please comment on your insights).

View from the new walkway

Looking back to the walkway installed this year. This span does not cross Dry Creek, is not included in the bridge count.

Overhead, the glorious autumn canopy

Fillmore Glen, New York State Park, Cayuga County, Moravia, New York

Copyright 2022 All Right Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Lover’s Bridge

Lucky Seven

The remoteness of Gorge Trail bridge number seven (7) is a temptation to lovers.

View from Lovers’ Bridge

Fillmore Glen, New York State Park, Cayuga County, Moravia, New York

Copyright 2022 All Right Reserved Michael Stephen Wills