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Glover Moth on Columbine

Glover Moth on Columbine
Glover Moth on Columbine

Glover Moth on Columbine

When I had this Glover moth over for a stay in my refrigerator for a night (I caught him by a porch light, zip locked eventually cooled him down to 34 degrees). The next day was sunny, bright/blue, warm with scents of various blooms in the air. I definitely put him on these flowers in one of the homesteads many naturalized gardens. . He was happy to hang on though. Being torpid/cool and slow from that stay in my fridge, he was enjoying the heck out of the warming sun. Giving me precious time….

This Glover Silk Moth has a 5 inch wingspan. It’s as big as your hand. Found all along the east/west slopes of the Rocky Mountains from Mexico to Canada. Coincidentally that is also where our ranch is located roughly lol. Liking my backyard apparently. Like most silk moths they eat various plants during the larval stage. The adults do not eat. They are interested in reproduction not ingestion lol.

This one was hanging out on this flower one summer morning. Being chilled from the refrigerator, the Glover Moth had no interest in flying away at first. (He did in about 15 minutes. Forever in my world for a photographic subject actually sits for me. Better, lets me move them from place to place to find the right frame. Here is a thick bundle of columbine in our gardens against a blue sky of my choosing.

That Moth’s antenna system is a magnificent development that I as a ham radio operator am jealous of. 🤔😜 I see several of these guys each spring. Running into them around the ranch headquarters compound I find them near the lights in the cool nights here. They get cold over night and are pretty slow until the sun warms the day. I am usually out pretty early on sunny spring mornings looking for critters JUST LIKE THIS. My “Catch and Release” approach with an over night in a fridge simply slows them down for the night and lets me have a much longer “encounter” with any buy you can catch. Just don’t take them below freezing overnight.🤔📸 Way nicer than Ether and a pin. Lots of photography done that way 😔

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Glover Moth on Columbine

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Perspective Wildflowers at Sunset

Perspective Wildflowers at Sunset
Perspective Wildflowers at Sunset

Perspective Wildflowers at Sunset

From the viewpoint of the mouse enjoying the late golden hour sunset. The end of the day upon the resident of the grasslands. Looking up to see if a hawk or owl is going to end it’s life. I hope they are oblivious to their own short mortality… None the less, taking the time to enjoy the color pallet unfolding before it’s eyes. The same effect is not lost on this photographer.

Working JUST below the shadow line of the setting sun, the blinding disk is obscured by the vegetation / hillside allows for the camera to see both the highlights and the dark detail. Ultimately my goal is high dynamic range of color with shadow detail. The highlights from the shafts of light filtered through the trees were my canvas here.

The Summer Alpenglow is the result of Moisture in the air frozen at altitude into ice. Those ice plates reflect and refract the available colors remaining after the light has traveled a high angle path through the atmosphere. Helping along with dust… block the shorter wavelengths of light. Absorbed are most of the blues and greens from the pallet of available colors. Purple is a mix of red and blue. Getting the camera just below the shadow line is important. Without the direct suns glare, you have the opportunity to get some of that shadow color even with a bright sky with filtered light.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Perspective Wildflowers at Sunset

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To Be or Not 2 Bee

To Be or Not 2 Bee
To Be or Not 2 Bee

To Be or Not 2 Bee

Our Lilacs are Blooming earlier this year than last. We had blooming Lilac bushes the 4th of JULY last year. This year is way drier and warmer. Lilacs beat by at least 2 weeks their late blooming past. Catching a bee on Lilac is nifty. Catching “Maverick and Goose” doing a flyby in their “hornet” is priceless lolol.

Photographic Musings: This image ended up with a particularly deep focus for this kind of work. Much of the image is fairly sharp which is noticable to me at least as I’ve done a few of these lately lolol📸

This particular ultra macro lens has a ring of LED’s around it’s periphery which helps tremendously in cranking up the f stop numbers to give yourself a deep focus. For something less than an inch long….from about 2 inches away…pretty deep field of focus….. So High F-stop = deep field of focus (thick) but you loose light gathering ability the higher the fstop number. Light has to come from somewhere, so make longer exposure speed and or turn up ISO (camera sensitivity) higher. Higher ISO numbers give you grain soo…double edge sword. Anybody got a cell phone photo like this? I’d be interested to see if they could do it…

With ALL Macro shots, more light is your friend. Putting your camera on manual and adjusting to f22 (for deep focus) makes a pin hole in the lens reducing light tremendously. So the more light you have to begin with, the better your image is going to look. Adjusting higher ISO (camera sensitivity) is your only way to get more out of the light you get from a pin hole. You can’t do a time exposure of a moving bee so 1/250th is your floor and I often take images at 1/3000 to freeze wings. Bright sun is always best.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: To Be or Not 2 Bee

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Aquaponic Walipini Grown Orchids

Aquaponic Walipini Grown Orchids
Aquaponic Walipini Grown Orchids

Aquaponic Walipini Grown Orchids

Orchids are growing like wildfire but I have to manually water them as they like to dry out between waterings. Soggy orchids may or may not like what your doing submerging roots. I will confirm they REALLY like the water quality that I give them from my 2000 gallon aquaponic grow system they sit upon. Manually watered living in Hydroton Pellets that drain inside of leaky cups. Several hundred pounds of fish are constantly fertilizing the water. Bacteria convert the waste ammonia to plant fertilizer. This water is very suitable for plants. The 150 square feet of grow area will support a MONSTER amount of vegetation. I have limits growing down in this underground greenhouse. How much time I spend on it restricts how much / efficiently I use the space.

(I’m sorry we don’t do public tours but I do Face Book posts on my personal page regarding this topic occasionally).

I only have about 20 Orchid plants I’ve propagated over the years. They are an afterthought of raising vegi’s down in the Walipini as such taking up valuable room. But there have to be some diversions in chores…. (This is the only Wyoming Walipini we know about. I’d love to know if anyone else is growing 10 feet below grade using earth for insulation and thermal mass for heat retention. )

I have quite a bit of Vanilla bean growing now. That will accumulate over the next decade and I should have a significant crop of vanilla bean before too long. I haven’t seen them bloom yet, they are all in a growing mode currently. Since they grow up the back wall… It’s a matter of time in this WONDERFUL grow environment. This system has been running for 5.5 years at this time constantly/continually.

A Walipini defined : an earth sheltered cold frame green house. If you haven’t encountered the term before. I don’t use any dirt with plants down there. Just water as my media to grow about anything I can get to sprout in that environment (so far).

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Aquaponic Walipini Grown Orchids

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Reflections Bee on a Flower

Reflections Bee on a Flower
Reflections Bee on a Flower

Reflections Bee on a Flower

A tad out of season is this Bee on a Summer Day. I’m still finishing random photos from pretty much the last 3 years so don’t bee surprised to see a few more bee photos incoming lol. I’ve actually seen a few bees about but it’s 37 degrees as I type this and it snowed today.

Its nice to keep the spring season in perspective. Looking ahead 1 month is healthy if you have the images. The limitations of the technology I use are such that deep focus in these macro images is not easy to achieve. There is a fine balance between getting closer and getting focus. It depends on what your wanting to do technically. Bumblers are still sort of rare these days. We’ve been in winter conditions pretty much since Oct 1. That was the last time I was able to photograph bumbler since then. I’ll do my best to give you macro fans a slow but steady flow of the little guys as they start appearing again. 🤠

The Bumblebee family has over 250 species in the genus Bombus. A few related genera to Bombus are found in the fossil record. Bombus is the last genus in the tribe Bombini which also had those fossil species in the classification scheme of things. There are fossil bees found but I point out that the 13 dollar BEE in “Amber” on Ebay might be a fake. Just saying😜 Fossil bees are rare as hens teeth (which, by the way actually exist ).

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Reflections Bee on a Flower

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Like Flowers Against the Storm

Like Flowers Against the Storm
Like Flowers Against the Storm

Like Flowers Against the Storm

Standing strong against the elements here on the Mt / Wy border the Tulips expect there to be hard times. They store reserves in their bulbs and are tolerant of the stress to a “degree” or so lol. It will be close to the last day of frost here in zone 3A on May 15th a few days after this posts. We have planted vegetable starts a month ago in the ranches underground Walipini Greenhouse. I have hundreds of starts to plant. But they are NOT outside just yet. I have preying mantis eggs in the refrigerator to keep them from hatching just yet. In about a month I’ll buy about 20K lady bugs for the developing gardens….

The weather this spring has been variously warm and dry. There is not enough water so far based on my observations for the last 2 decades. I’d even take a few inches of snow at the moment though leaves on the trees and bushes are seriously starting to bust out of their buds. Hopefully, this trend will change at least back to the normal of 14 inches of rain a year or more.

Our latest gardening project has been 10 new 8’x4′ raised bed gardens and a roof rain water collection system with a 1000 gallon water tower. I’ll have images of this as it is finished about a week from when this posts. Unlike some places, there is not regulation of water collected on the roof in Wyoming or Montana. I’m still scratching my bald head over that reasoning. Now you know why I’m mostly bald with all the things I’ve seen in my travels…. 🤔👀

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Like Flowers Against the Storm

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Purple Columbine Spring Bloom

Purple Columbine Spring Bloom
Purple Columbine Spring Bloom

Purple Columbine Spring Bloom

Everyone needs some purple in their life at LEAST once a week…

Rocky Mountain Columbine comes in many cultivars with various shades and hues from blues to reds with all the spectrum in between. A bicolor nature trends in the species. They are very distinctive if your not familiar with their bell shaped flowers. They have a huge elongated nectar spur . If you are unfamiliar with the flower, you should google it. You’ll see them hanging out in light shade. Stick your nose into one if you can as they are very fragrant.

These are wonderful flowers build/engineered to attract humming birds and phoenix moths. The same flower design prevents bees from penetrating to the nectar bearing parts. Long tongued nectar feeder get a break from these guys. Hummingbirds indeed are the most effective pollinator of the Columbine Flower. We have dozens of Columbine patches of naturalized cultivars mixed with groups that were here when I arrived 20 years ago.. The Homestead here at the ranch has seen many different gardeners over the 100 years of habitation on this site.

I’m pretty sure I’ve done more than all the previous gardeners combined lol. This is not to under cut their contributions. Built into this homestead were wonderful patches of flowers of all kinds. They were present when we moved here. We divided many overgrown clumps and get the fruit of that every spring now. Columbine are all about. Someone liked them a lot decades ago. You find the dandelion seed?

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana).

Title: Purple Columbine Spring Bloom

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Lone Tulip Battling Spring

Lone Tulip Battling Spring
Lone Tulip Battling Spring

Lone Tulip Battling Spring

Living in a remote secluded ranch for 20 years, I’m sort of used to isolation. Many of you are battling this “stuck at home base” period of our lives feeling alone. If you feel you are battling the elements here, you know, swimming upstream, up the creek without a paddle or are just plain isolated, I understand trust me. There are not enough hours in the day as it is up here, just add more on top lolol……

To keep my equilibrium, I try to put my world into perspective daily then isolate each problem I come upon placing it into it’s own little box. Take those boxes off the pile one at a time to deal with it. Funny how some boxes disappear on their own… This lovely flower, at the prime of it’s labors, covered by an overnight chill and snow trying to kill it. Just one little box in it’s life. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. 👀

The ability to shrug off these burdens that we usually put on our own back is a learned skill. It’s easier to sit back and analyze arm chair quarterback others but we sometimes drift to our own foibles under this assault around us. That is a mistake and causes depression. I find it’s the second guessing that causes the most stress in life. Regret, buyers remorse…etc. So I try like heck not to do it. Worrying about something that has past is a waste of energy. The Flower took the insult shrugging it off knowing that it would be warmer later. The earth relenting to the innate ability of the species to know when to hibernate and when to grow. Like most things that seem terrible as they are happening. The tulip somehow understood the melting snow and the warmth would be coming that morning.☯

“May you live in interesting times. ” variously attributed to: Chinese Curse? Austen Chamberlain? Frederic R. Coudert? Joseph Chamberlain? Diplomatic Staff? Albert Camus? Arthur C. Clarke? Robert F. Kennedy? Hillary Rodham Clinton?

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands.

Title: Lone Tulip Battling Spring

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Golden Locust Purple Flax

Golden Locust Purple Flax
Golden Locust Purple Flax

Golden Locust Purple Flax. ( From last spring about 45 days from when this posts. )

Boy I am really tired of Mud and Brown Season. Typically we will have had several spring snows after the mid-winter cold subsides. The wet spring storms usually move through. I’m not seeing those just yet. I’d like to see 4 inches each from weekly 31 degree storms from not until early May. A foot or more of snow would really help the apparent snow drought we are currently in. All the snow has melted.

The grass is still brown and matted from the snow cover. As I’m looking through images to finish, I run across this lovely image of some Lavender Flaw poppiing up through a low branch of Golden Locust tree. The locust is naturalized into the back yard gardens. It lives protected in the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch Homestead’s Compound. This area is fenced in with electric wire. That tends to keep the deer out. It’s not a deer “Proof” zone but it is deer resistant.

Such deer “proofing” work enables scenes like this otherwise, they destroy ornamentals mostly. We have in the past lost thousands of dollars or plantings to deer that were persistent to penetrate the 6 foot fence and 16 foot wide cattle gates we have. I had to go to 8 feet high and keep gates closed at night to keep them out lolol. Everybody needs some Purple in their life once a week ……

Location: The Homestead: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, (In the Windbreak) Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Golden Locust Purple Flax

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Starburst Silhouette Sunset

Starburst Silhouette Sunset
Starburst Silhouette Sunset

Starburst Silhouette Sunset

I’m generally soured on using glass filters in front of my cameras while shooting into the sun. I WAY prefer to use “cellulose” filters to reduce the glare from the furnace above. Here I’m letting this dried flower moderate the amounts of light coming into the camera. Any photo is a balancing act inside the camera of just three settings. A good New Years Resolution for many would be to learn to use that camera on Manual Mode finally. I

I find that pointing cameras into the sun gives me several different color casts from burnt Umber to Crimson (Orange here). What I was hunting for here was the dew Reflections from this dried stalk . The Windmill like look was interesting to me in this very intense camera environment. Working outside the envelope is always my goal unless there is something really cool within the envelope. .😜

Disclaimer. I only use Mirrorless cameras where I look at what I point my camera at through VIDEO. A standard DSLR camera I will never use or buy again. There is a BIG difference between the two technologies. A very good present for any photo bug out there is a new mirrorless body to fit their old lenses. They are easier to learn no question. You buy camera backs as disposables but lenses last for generations. Looking at the sun directly through a standard DSLR camera can and likely will blind you. If it doesn’t do that, it could burn a hole in your cameras digital chip. If your camera isn’t rated for this, don’t do it. Be safe out there. Pointing at the sun with a telephoto is OUTSIDE the safe envelope for most cameras.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Starburst Silhouette Sunset

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Sego Lily Sunset

Sego Lily Sunset
Sego Lily Sunset

Sego Lily Sunset

Sego Lily’s are not uncommon in the backcountry. I think this is a correct ID with this flower but I’m a terrible Flower Identifier. This one was closed up for the end of the day as the setting sun through a slit in the sky. I find one can only photograph what is in front of him. I would take photos of plunging high water falls or some exotic Asian scene if I were younger and able to travel far. I’m fairly tied down here on ranch because I’m the repair man here.

When in the middle of nowhere, you have to find beauty in what is at hand using the resources available. We have a log of high ground with a lot of living things that cover that landscape. On this particular trip out into the backcountry I was hoping for a magnificent crown sky to fully involve the sky show in front of me but no. All I got was a thin slit in the clouds late. Mere minutes before the sun would slide below my line of sight to the horizon. My day working cameras into the light was about done. What to do, what to do???. My mind screams “Close / Far” perspective!!!.

What is available miles from the nearest building surrounded by prairie grass. I was moving but this last summer was wet. Most things that could bloom, did bloom. This was early in the summer around early May. Our last frost is mid may and it was cool that night. The LED lightbar on the front of my Polaris ATV provided the illumination for the Crocus. Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands. (Wyotana)

Title: Sego Lily Sunset

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Butterfly Taking Echinacea

Butterfly Taking Echinacea
Butterfly Taking Echinacea

Butterfly Taking Echinacea

This 2-1/2 inch wing span butterfly heard that all the store shelves lacked cold remedies/immunity builders. They were all bought out. So he went right to the source here with this Echinacea. 😜👀🤔

Callippe fritillary butterfly doing butterfly things. All upon an Echinacea augustiflolia (cone flower) is a common event up here. There are millions of both during the correct time of year about this ground. While the adults get around, The caterpillars eat pretty much eat violet leaves. There are a lot of wild violets around. Endangered are a rare subspecies of this butterfly. I don’t know if this one is in that column. We have a few of these I see around. Literally the ranch has millions of Echinacea plants. They are native/common/widespread “in these parts”.

This prolific prairie plant is one of the most used and popular herbs worldwide. It has many medicinal benefits. Roots/ upper parts use in extracts, teas, tinctures or tablets make it to the store shelves. There is a veritable arsenal of active compounds in the plant. Studies have attached the use of echinacea to a reduction in inflammation, lower and an improved systemic immunity overall. Be careful what you take Echinacea with as is good advice for all medicinal plants. DO your research.

All available Over The Counter of course. A good source of “Anti-oxidants”. There are a few studies showing Echinacea use with a reduction in the likely hood of catching colds. Noted are claims of effects on other VIRUSES. Claims are that it will shorten the duration of a cold 1.5 days. (Colds are Corona Viruses just saying) Other researchers say this link is unclear. “Test tube studies” indicate it has properties lending itself to lowering blood sugar level. This might be of interest to type II diabetics. Whispered in the corridors of Walgreens™ nationwide are claims of reducing anxiety.. The anti-Inflammatory properties might be of interest to you osteo-arthritus practitioners out there. You know who you are 😔👀

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana).

Title: Butterfly Taking Echinacea

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Columbine Purple White BiColor

Columbine Purple White BiColor
Columbine Purple White BiColor

Columbine Purple White BiColor

Everyone needs some purple in their life at least once a week. Spring is but a few months away. Hang in there cabin fever sufferers.. Take your vitamin D , have more “whoopee” time as all exercise counts. Vitamin B12…. Get some natural sunlight colored bulbs around where you hang out. It will help as will taking up an indoor hobby like finishing images from the summer time I’ve put off till now. 👀

Columbine comes in many cultivars with various shades and hues from blues to reds with all the spectrum in between. A bicolor nature trends in the species. They are very distinctive if your not familiar with their bell shaped flowers. They have a huge elongated nectar spur . If you are unfamiliar with the flower, you should google it. You’ll see them hanging out in light shade. Stick your nose into one if you can as they are very fragrant. These are wonderful flowers build/engineered to attract humming birds and hawk moths. The same flower design prevents bees from penetrating to the nectar bearing parts. Long tongued nectar feeder get a break from these guys. Hummingbirds indeed are the most effective pollinator of the Columbine Flower. We have dozens of Columbine in patches of naturalized cultivars mixed with groups that were here when I arrived 20 years ago.

The Homestead here at the ranch has seen many different gardeners over the 100 years of habitation on this site. I’m pretty sure I’ve done more than all the previous gardeners combined lol. This is not to under cut their contributions. Built into this homestead were wonderful patches of flowers of all kinds. They were present when we moved here. We divided many overgrown clumps and get the fruit of that every spring now. Columbine are all about. Someone liked them a lot decades ago. There is so much history lost to the flow of the currents in time and space.

Object oriented, Landscape 3×2 aspect to 3 feet.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana).

Title: Columbine Purple White BiColor

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Medusa Dancing in a Thistle

Medusa Dancing in a Thistle
Medusa Dancing in a Thistle

Medusa Dancing in a Thistle

I often find myself out in the middle of nowhere in the grass during sunset. Humm I wonder what’s around for filter material? 🤔🤔 Also discovered is the tendency toward you actually being where you are. A limiting factor certainly lolol. Photography is both planned AND accidental when it occurs. Rule one of getting a photograph:

RULE 1: Have a camera with you as much as possible. I don’t even like to go outside without one when I’m going to do ranch chores in the mud in the rain.☑️

I have a very limited amount of time to shoot sunsets. Depending on the sky, I choose what camera/lens combination I’m going to grab to “work” the scene unfolding in front of my eyes. A Clear Sky Sunset is an indication ahead of time to set up a “Close / Far perspective image. The Thistle globe of seeds was my sun filter to reduce / minimize the glare from the sun.

Photographic Musings:

You need a HIGH f-stop number for the deep focus plus it’s reduction of light. ISO 100 (low ISO for bright light camera sensitivity), and use shutter speed to adjust for what ever lighting scenario/exposure levels you wish.

I use filters all the time. In this case, I used a “Cellulose” filter (the thistle seed globe about 5 inches across) Biggest one ever lol.
That old bright sun even here at sunset needs some moderation before those photons hit that digital chip in my Sony Alpha Cameras.
Just for the record, I haven’t put an actual glass filter on ANY of the 7 cameras I used daily for well over a year🙏

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Medusa Dancing in a Thistle

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Flame and the Flower

Flame and the Flower
Flame and the Flower

Flame and the Flower

The Prairie Crocus (Anemone patens) is not uncommon in the backcountry. I think this is a correct ID with this flower but I’m a terrible Flower Identifier. This one was closed up for the end of the day. Sol setting through a slit in the sky.

I find one can only photograph what is in front of him. I would take photos of plunging high water falls or some exotic Asian scene if it were in front of me. Being fairly tied down here on ranch is a problem since I’m the repair man here. When in the middle of nowhere, you have to find beauty in what is at hand using the resources available. The one photographic attraction I do have. A LOT of high ground with a host of living things that cover that landscape. Simple is better…

On this particular trip out into the backcountry I was hoping for a magnificent crown sky to fully involve the sky show in front of me but no. Alas all I got was a thin slit in the clouds. Just mere minutes before the sun would slide below my line of sight to the horizon. My day working cameras into the light was about done. What to do, what to do???.

My mind screams “Close / Far” perspective!!!. What is available miles from the nearest building surrounded by prairie grass. This last summer was wet with most things that could bloom, blooming. This was late in the “spring” around early May. Our last frost is mid may and it was cool that night. The LED light bar on the front of my Polaris ATV provided the illumination for the Crocus.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Flame and the Flower

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Phlox Flower Filter

Phlox Flower Filter
Phlox Flower Filter

Phlox Flower Filter

Flowery Friday LIttle Pixie Antennas….caught them feeding I did lol……

I always use natural objects to filter out the excessive light from the sun into my camera. This particular plant sat for me so I managed to get under it and line it up. It’s getting harder and harder to get that low anymore lol. I find the only way to capture this actually in focus is to look through the eyepiece to fine tune as this close a subject (about a foot) is tricky.

Boy do butterflies like this flower around mid-summer. These plants topped by large clusters of flowers spot through out our gardens.. As a genus, they have a vibrant range of colors. I’ve seen red, lavender, white, pink purple and I hear about orange phlox. Trivia word of the day: Phlox means Flame in Greek.

All but a few of the 65 species of Phlox are native to North America. It’s presence in our gardens here in Wyoming is suspect.Human intervention may have been involved. We didn’t plant Phlox in the gardens at our homestead. I suppose a seed from a bird dropped from it’s transport. Something about 100 years of gardening around this old homestead comes to mind as the cause though lol. .

You need a HIGH f-stop number for the deep focus plus it’s reduction of light. ISO 100 (low ISO for bright light camera sensitivity), and use shutter speed to adjust for what ever lighting scenario/exposure levels you wish. Establish/ always set your main priority in this case F-stop first and adjust the other two setting (ISO and Shutter speed) as secondary considerations.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands.

Title: Phlox Flower Filter

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Bearded Iris and a Bleeding Heart

Bearded Iris and a Bleeding Heart
Bearded Iris and a Bleeding Heart

Bearded Iris and a Bleeding Heart

Way Back Wednesday: Back in early June of 2019 (or fast forward 3 months) this scene appeared in front of me. I often walk around our ranches “compound” . We have an electric fence around it precluding deer from entering. So we actually have landscape plants and flowers that survive. You can’t believe the amount of work that fence took lolol. It was absolutely necessary however with the average lifespan of a freshly planted tree being measured in days before the fence. Deer cost me many thousands of dollars before I spent more on the fence to prevent the former. 😔. It was a good project to complete…

Setting the stage:

It had just rained, everything was green, a smell of ozone was in the air, almost a chlorine smell it was so clean. After the long “Slog” through mud season, the ground started to firm, the plants start to grow. The average last day of frost here is mid- may. A lot of the perennials here come up earlier than that last frost. It was very late last year with Lilac blooming into July 4th (noted specificially).

Here in early March 2020, a blizzard just came through. When this posts, we have just had a warm week with all the snow melting and starting that mud season. The cycle repeats….🤔😀

The Iris is Native to Croatia. The Bleeding Heart is a form of Poppy native to Asia. Both hanging out on the Montana/Wyoming border. What are the chances…..😜

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands.

Title: Bearded Iris and a Bleeding Heart

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Prickly Pear Bloom Twilight

Prickly Pear Bloom Twilight
Prickly Pear Bloom Twilight

Prickly Pear Bloom Twilight

Snug as a Bug Surrounded by Cactus Needles eh? 👀😜

I was driving along a two track trail with the bright lights of my Polaris Ranger Crew UTV. Big Bright LED lightbars are a fixture on all the vehicles I routinely take into the backcountry for photography. Not only do they help you see what you don’t want to run into, they show you what you do want to find lol.

So, after a long sunset photographic work session, I spied this Prickly Pear Cactus Boom down on the prairie as I was passing. There was still some residual color in the western sky and I was determined to get it. This flower just happened to have a green beetle within enjoying the relative safety of this environment. Can’t blame him really. Scented room with a view until I came along with my smelly noisy UTV I suppose. At any rate, I’m sure it all calmed down there as I pulled away.

Prickly pears belong to the Genus Opuntia which contains over 150 species across the globe. The deer in this country grow fat on cactus “figs” grown on the low paddle shaped cactus. These cactus have been used in Mexican cooking for hundreds of years. Take off the spines, and they cook like vegetables. I’ve eaten fresh prickly pear and I compare it to a cross between water melon and bubble gum.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands.

Title: Prickly Pear Bloom Twilight

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Wildflowers Get Bugged Too

Wildflowers Get Bugged Too
Wildflowers Get Bugged Too

Wildflowers Get Bugged Too

It’s only 3 months till I can go to this spot again. Covered in wild Lupine, these remote hillsides are well worth my drive and time to visit every late spring. There is of course a mix of other wildflowers. Such places tend to be remote and further aways than closer as a rule. Early June is when this action “Springs” to life in it’s showy display to attract pollinators. It is mid-May in this country before the “last frost” threatens our plantings. We had lilacs blooming on the 4th of July last year.

The differences in relative scale of the tiny inhabitants of this image is just amazing to me. On the furthest right flower stalk, near the bottom, are two intrepid climbers. Relative to the plant they are scaling, have their work cut out for them. I’ve seen 6 foot tall humans climbing the Devil’ Tower National Monument 50 miles southeast of here. The relative size difference is essentially the same. We humans tend to live in a 1 level horizontal world. (split level houses aside) Gravity matters to us.

Just to remind you all, there are thousands of little areas of zen happening at all times all around us. We just have to tune in and “see” what is happening instead of being the generalists we are. Generalists look at a scene to get an overview. I’m trying really hard to train myself to see the world from the viewpoint of the smallest among us.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Wildflowers Get Bugged Too

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Purple Columbine and the Dandelion Seed

Purple Columbine and the Dandelion Seed
Purple Columbine and the Dandelion Seed

Purple Columbine and the Dandelion Seed

Rocky Mountain Columbine comes in many cultivars with various shades and hues from blues to reds with all the spectrum in between. A bicolor nature trends in the species. They are very distinctive if your not familiar with their bell shaped flowers. They have a huge elongated nectar spur . If you are unfamiliar with the flower, you should google it. You’ll see them hanging out in light shade. Stick your nose into one if you can as they are very fragrant.

These are wonderful flowers build/engineered to attract humming birds and hawk moths. The same flower design prevents bees from penetrating to the nectar bearing parts. Long tongued nectar feeder get a break from these guys. Hummingbirds indeed are the most effective pollinator of the Columbine Flower. We have dozens of Columbine patches of naturalized cultivars mixed with groups that were here when I arrived 20 years ago.. The Homestead here at the ranch has seen many different gardeners over the 100 years of habitation on this site.

I’m pretty sure I’ve done more than all the previous gardeners combined lol. This is not to under cut their contributions. Built into this homestead were wonderful patches of flowers of all kinds. They were present when we moved here. We divided many overgrown clumps and get the fruit of that every spring now. Columbine are all about. Someone liked them a lot decades ago. You find the dandelion seed?

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana).

Title: Purple Columbine and the Dandelion Seed

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Wild Flowers and a Raptor Feather

Wild Flowers and a Raptor Feather
Wild Flowers and a Raptor Feather

Wild Flowers and a Raptor Feather (only 4 months till flowers up here in the borderlands) When Simple is elegant…

I call these wildflowers Rock Daisies but they are growing on an eastern exposure of a long sandy ridge. Please correct me if I’m wrong on the ID. The soils on ranch are mostly sandy and well drained with exceptions of some hillocks of bentonitic clay soils (gumbo). A Sunny well drained sandy hillside is a prime environment for these. These daisies spread in clumps around the landscape. I’m driving by this remote spot on a two track I might travel on every couple weeks randomly.

Mid-winter I can still smell the summer scents of nearby sage patches pungent upwind of my position. Pollen circulates from dozens of flowering species including many tree species. This is the time of year my eyes start reacting. Something rare here called humidity was in the air at this capture. Taken on a rare mid-day photo outing.

I don’t know which raptor owned this big feather because it might be a small feather from a very big bird. I don’t have a clue how to key a bird on an individual feather. If you do, pitch in your knowledge below please. As to the identity of this feathers owner, your guess is as good as mine.

I saw the occurrence as a good one and thought it worthy of catching it’s photons in my photon capture boxes.

One must leave the feather where it lay as owning/possessing/selling/putting on the shelf in the living room is illegal under federal law. No raptor parts pieces may be owned without tribal affiliation or federal permit. Some old Raptor parts (feathers/bird mounts, claws etc) are grandfathered as antiquities. I came across a great horned owls body a few miles into the bush over a decade ago. I left it lay. It had wonderful claws all mummified by the dryness and sun out here.. Long since they all have been destroyed by the weather. Some laws are a shame but preventing the trade in these birds is the end game of the regulations and it get’s a pass as such (barely with a frown). Letting things decay seems silly but hey, what do I know. It’s a complex issue I’m sure. . The disreputable among us ruin it for the rest of us.

Reference (50 CRF 21.31 of federal Regulations.) Takes a federal permit to hold, move transport any of these. Don’t pick them up. There are serious penalties. I’ve left hundreds of random feathers up here on the prairie over the decades.😔

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Wild Flowers and a Raptor Feather

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Echinacea Cone Flower Macro

Echinacea Cone Flower Macro
Echinacea Cone Flower Macro

Echinacea Cone Flower Macro

(Need some Reds and Pinks in our lives once a week. Posted Feb 2020 MidWinter).

We might own nearly a million plants of this species.: Echinacea angustifolia, the narrow-leaved Coneflower on our ranch. They certainly provide the local butterflies a feast during their bloom. This prolific prairie plant is one of the most used and popular herbs worldwide. It has many medicinal benefits. Roots/ upper parts use in extracts, teas, tinctures or tablets make it to the store shelves. There is a veritable arsenal of active compounds in the plant. Studies have attached the use of echinacea to a reduction in inflammation, lower and an improved systemic immunity overall. All availble Over The Counter of course. A good source of “Anti-oxidants”.

There are a few studies showing Echinacea use with a reduction in the likely hood of catching colds . Noted are claims of effects on other viruses. Claims are that it will shorten the duration of a cold 1.5 days. Other say this link is unclear. It is claimed by “test tube studies” to have properties, lending itself to lowering blood sugar level. This might be of interest to type II diabetics. A good bet is claims of relieving anxiety are whispered in the corridors of Walgreens™ nationwide. The anti-Inflammatory properties might be of interest to you osteo-arthritus practitioners out there. You know who you are 😔👀

They are quite a hardy plant living freely out in the backcountry. Widely distributed here in the high country. Ubiquitous anywhere out of the boundaries of our monoculture yards . Some of our gardens have clumps of it blooming in the spring. . Emplaced decades ago in this old homestead we inhabit.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana Borderlands

Title: Echinacea Cone Flower Macro

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Backcountry Spring Wildflowers

Backcountry Spring Wildflowers
Backcountry Spring Wildflowers

Backcountry Spring Wildflowers

I’m a terrible botanist from an ID standpoint. I THINK the orange flower is a pea of some kind. The lupine is widespread around the borderlands of Wyoming/Montana.

This little stand of zen certainly has not been seen by other humans since the bloom is quite remote. There are wild places like this all over this country. It survived unmolested by any but me capturing it’s reflected photons. That is known as fairly non-invasive contact.🤔🌲 I did have to stop on a long existing game trail that I was following then lay down to take the photo. Cattle and wild Ungulates only have seen this until now. I mention in passing that you want to examine the ground before you lay down in this country. Between the Prickly Pear Cactus and the Cattle, a little look before you lay down is smart…

Previous forested, this ground was burned by a fire in the late 1930’s. A summer thunderstorm started it. No body to fight it but the locals protecting buildings with dozer fire breaks. No country fire suppression was in operation at the time. So it proceeded to burn till the first snow. I’m always finding old snags or low stumps in the backcountry. Running over a 90 year old sharp stump driving in the backcountry chasing cattle in an ATV is usually a bad thing. I’ve literally seen a fire hardened stump stuck through a tire before. You don’t carry a spare on an ATV lol. I travel by myself in the backcountry but I do carry two portable radios just in case. I definitely keep my eye on the grass IF I get my rig off trail to chase a cow about.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Backcountry Spring Wildflowers

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Giant Allium Summer Bloom

Giant Allium Summer Bloom
Giant Allium Summer Bloom

Giant Allium Summer Bloom

Taken just after a gentle spring rainstorm. The air was fresh and drenched with moisture. 99 percent relative humidity has everything wetted as you see here. A drop of water with it’s little moon following dropping from the flower’. A strong scent of wet sage was lofting across our homesteads lawns, the tips of my tennis shoes wet from the grass. Green Green Green, the “Bokeh” (good google word) here was ideal for a gentle background to the Giant ornamental onion from the orient. This one is just starting to bloom and had pulled back a little with the rain falling. The Allium flower isn’t a terribly long lasting bloomer but boy are they great in clumps of 8 or 9 bulbs in a spot you want conspicuous for a few weeks a year.

Allium giganticum means Giant Garlic interestingly. Probably from the similarity in shape of the bulbs and not the taste I’m thinking. Otherwise the classic Crocodile Dundee reference would be “needs Allium”. … (if you get that I’m worried about you😜😜) Even Bumble bees were temporarily grounded due to the rain. I went out just as it let up. Rain and Cameras = Hazardous duty pay + overtime. I’m pretty careful with water. Taking photos next to or over water with a good camera is like taking photos next to a flame with plastic clothes on.

I could take this photo with the background in focus or not in focus. High f-stop numbers will put that in focus. Low f-stop numbers give you a thin field of focus and you only get the flower sharp. It is a good tool in your Manual mode tool kit to actually decide what and how much of your image you want in focus.

Title: Giant Allium Summer Bloom

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Peacock Flower by Frank Bliss

Peacock Flower by Frank Bliss
Peacock Flower by Frank Bliss

Peacock Flower by Frank Bliss (ART) Laser Painting

In the winter blooming flowers are not common up here except in my Aquaponic greenhouse. This Amaryllis flower just started blooming but Could I Leave It Alone?…….. Of course not. All work and no play makes Frank a dull boy 😜.

SO, turn off the lights at night, get a good LED photographic studio light set up (it’s wet down there lol). Front light the flower and everything else black. Then get a violet laser with a circular swirl pattern lens installed on it. (A 1 watt laser spread out or it would have burnt through in a heartbeat. The illusion of a peacock was was I was looking / working for.

I don’t get to do studio work too often. I get a few photos for a lot of work in a studio. Where in the backcountry, I spend the same time for literally hundreds of photos. Setting up little areas of zen while a lot of fun, creating such illusionary scenes. There are so many already out in the world just waiting for us to see them. Humans are generalists, as a result, miss the little things taking in the whole scene instead. Photographers and Artists tend to “Zoom” in to those areas in the scene that have artistic attributes / qualities. I go out into the world and have to ignore the things I see to get other things done lol. Even I catch myself without the right camera in my hand lolol. (rule one of Photography, have a camera with you).

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana).

Title: Peacock Flower by Frank Bliss

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Bee Balm Summer Meadow

Bee Balm Summer Meadow
Bee Balm Summer Meadow

Bee Balm Summer Meadow

A summer image for those of you with cabin fever here in late January. In the remote borderlands area of Wyoming and Montana I live on, we have fairly severe winters. Fortunately I have the perspective of living 10 years in Jackson’s Hole Wyoming. I used to get 6 feet of snow flat in my backyard every winter in Jackson. My drive way was only a few hundred feet to the plowed road. Here we just deal with drifts some of which are significant. Way more wind up here on the high ridges of the western most Wyoming Black Hills. Unfortunately my drive way here is 1/4 mile long. It’s also warmer here. Jackson is 6200 feet above mean sea level, we are 3800 ft elevation at the Bliss DInosaur Ranch homestead.

The summer patch of Bee Balm seems happy in it’s full sun wash location. The soil in the wash is richer. Seeds fall/germinate in the moist gullies and aren’t exposed to the wind as much. “Monarda” AKA Bee Balm is related to the mint family. I’ve seen pink, lavendar and purple variants around the ranch. Other nabes are Bergamot and Oswego Tea. Hummingbirds love this stuff.

It has a plethora of medicinal properties. It’s an antimicrobial , antispasmodic for menstrual cramps and coughs. Soothing to the digestive system (tea), it treats indigestion and bloating as well as nausea. Used to treat anxiety/stress, it’s similar to lemon balm.. The tea is made from individual petals pulled. This creates a bright red tea. Takes about 15 minutes to steep. 1tablespoon of dried flower petals or 2 tablespoons of fresh petals to every cup of water. Bring it just below a boil and no more.

Location; Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Bee Balm Summer Meadow

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Perspective Thistle Sunset

Perspective Thistle Sunset
Perspective Thistle Sunset

Perspective Thistle Sunset

I often find myself out in the middle of nowhere in the grass during sunset. Humm I wonder what’s around for filter material? 🤔🤔 Also discovered is the tendency toward you actually being where you are. A limiting factor certainly lolol. Photography is both planned AND accidental when it occurs. Rule one of getting a photograph:

RULE 1: Have a camera with you as much as possible. I don’t even like to go outside without one when I’m going to do ranch chores in the mud in the rain.☑️

I have a very limited amount of time to shoot sunsets. Depending on the sky, I choose what camera/lens combination I’m going to grab to “work” the scene unfolding in front of my eyes. A Clear Sky Sunset is an indication ahead of time to set up a “Close / Far perspective image. Here I was using the headlights of my Jeep (very bright) to illuminate this side of the thistle plant. The Thistle globe of seeds was my sun filter to reduce / minimize the difference in lighting between the front with the bright unbridled sunlight behind.

Photographic Musings:

You need a HIGH f-stop number for the deep focus plus it’s reduction of light. ISO 100 (low ISO for bright light camera sensitivity), and use shutter speed to adjust for what ever lighting scenario/exposure levels you wish. Establish/ always set your main priority in this case F-stop first and adjust the other two setting (Iso and Shutter speed) as secondary.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Perspective Thistle Sunset

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Alfalfa Bloom Game Trail

Alfalfa Bloom Game Trail
Alfalfa Bloom Game Trail

Alfalfa Bloom Game Trail (Back to the Summer Farm in the Winter)

I’m easily distracted by a play of colors and shades in monocultural fields surrounded by less disturbed landscapes. The cultivated field in contrast to the sage and grass natural turf. This particular ground has had european man’s stock grazing it for over 120-130 years and probably longer. But before that this was all native prairie. Still some in the background.

Geologic Musings:

This particular alfalfa field is down low in the Little Powder River valley and tends to be flooded every now and then. It’s on a terrace not far from that small meandering river. The river rises (comes down in local vernacular), and the fields flood in the spring. Snow melt and big rains up stream are the biggest causes for floods in this country.

Meanders result from the river moving back and forth across the landscape over geologic time. A meandering river is one that is NOT cutting down into the sediment and the local geology. (River’s Base Level is a good google phrase). It only can expend it’s energy on the sides/banks as it moves across the valley back and forth. It takes a few years to work across a valley lol. There is SOME gradient to this river so the Little Powder seems to be to be slowly down cutting into the valley floor. Don’t expect the Grand Canyon to form in this Climate during our lifetime. One grain of sand bouncing down the bottom down hill at a time wears down mountains over long enough time. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Location: Near the Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Alfalfa Bloom Game Trail

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Sunset over Purple Carpet

Sunset over Purple Carpet
Sunset over Purple Carpet

Sunset over Purple Carpet

I hadn’t thought about this image for a while but it needed to be updated and posted in January 2020. Out of season images are a good thing this time of year lolol. The weather was warm late spring which this year was a month late. Spring actually occurred on a Friday last year (2019). While Fall was on a Tuesday. I remember those days well but either side of those 2 days were brown season and white season. Interestingly this last year, a third season kicked in. A rare green season. Last year was so wet that it was green through August. I haven’t had to fight a fire for 2 years which is a very good thing.

This bloom is purple mustard I believe. It tends to grow around cattle disturbed ground. This bloom is located on an apron surrounding a windmill/water source. Lots of cattle hang out, stomp on, eat grass away and generally over fertilize this area so opportunistic species move in. Waterholes in a 2 square mile pasture with 200 cow calf pairs get some traffic patterns established lol. Game/cattle trails abound here. You have to watch where you drive if you get off the two tracks. (Private Land). There are many “pitfalls”.

Having the ability to get “off road” is a big deal with photography. I see many photos that I “can’t get to” on others private property. Driving backroads of the Wyotana borderlands is always an adventure, but the two tracks ROCK. I currently have access to several hundred square miles of backcountry that I do work and have permission for access. Access this time of year is iffy but I still drive backroads when conditions permit.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title:Sunset over Purple Carpet

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Prairie Smoke Sun Filter

Prairie Smoke Sun Filter
Prairie Smoke Sun Filter

Prairie Smoke Sun Filter (Sunset middle of the summer so a tad out of season)

Geum triflorum is a perennial native to North America. This flower seed head pictured here have a host of nicknames. These include: Long-Plumed Avens, Three Flowered Avens, Old Man’s Whiskers, Purple Avens and Red Avens. This is actually a rare plant across it’s range as naturalized invaders are out-competing it. 😕 I only know of a few spots on my place to find them. They are only 5 or 6 inches tall and not particularly obvious. They aren’t really an evergreen. Their leaves can last through winter turning red and crimson. This is easier for me to find than in the spring. I just make mental notes where I see them.

The Native Americans used an infusion of the roots , crushed seeds or pulverized roots as a kind of eye-wash, a tonic for menstrual Cramps, a gargle solution for sore throat and general stomach complaints. You will need to research further to get the processes involved in those uses. I only see them a few times a year during the late spring and earliest summer. Spring was on a Friday this year as I remember our yearly spring day. 😀

There is a little belly time involved in pursuing this kind of cellulose filter. I way prefer natural cellulose filters rather than glass filters. The Bokeh show us a sunset view . Rolling around on the open pine forest these are thriving in, has it’s host of risks. This is cattle country after all. Then there is Prickley Pair Cactus How else am I supposed to stay in shape? Rolling around in the woods.

Location: Bliss DInosaur ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Prairie Smoke Sun Filter