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Polarized Light Feather Filter

Polarized Light Feather Filter
Polarized Light Feather Filter

Polarized Light Feather Filter

The science of this is a little complex but here it goes. The light source is the late day setting sun but bouncing off my back Ford Raptors hood…you know…glare..😎 That bounce is important though in getting the photo as it effects the light…

The reason you guys buy polarized sun glasses is due to that reflection. When sunlight hits the hood, the light bounces off with a majority of it being horizontally polarized. Mostly all those reflected light waves are in the same plane, not a bunch of randomly oriented waves. The sunglasses you buy are plastic lenses with all vertical lines which only allow in light that is vertically polarized. This blocks all the glare horizontally oriented.

SO that is called “Crossed Polarizers”. A double filter as it were. Take two pairs of polarized sunglasses and cross them at 90 degrees and try to look through them…. They go totally black.

NOW put something between the source of the polarized light (either the hood or the first pair of sunglasses). I used here a delicate transparent feather that will pass light…. It bends/ refracts light a little bit out of that horizontal plane so some of it makes it through the second filter this side of the feather. So you see the colors as a direct result of a single polarizing filter on my lens (hand held and rotated), the camera on a tripod and pre focused. F22, ISO 300 and 1/100th to get your camera close .. It was very bright but the filter cut out 80 percent of the light but you can change that by rotating the back filter…. . 90mm macro.

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

Title: Polarized Light Feather Filter

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Two Bucks Through Branches

Two Bucks Through Branches
Two Bucks Through Branches

Two Bucks Through Branches

Lining Deer UP from hundreds of yards away against the setting sun is an exercise in understanding topography. By working parallel ridges I get to stay hundreds of yards away from the casual deer. not alert the deer and am still able to get far enough away to catch a foreground object in focus for three layers of image here.

I only get to have the planets align like this a few times a year. I only had one opportunity this year to have deer pose for me in front of such a show. Images like this are infrequent in their occurrence for me to work. In reality this is going on all the time, there just isn’t anyone there to take the photo. Getting into the right position for this is a lucky event.

I have known these two bucks for a few years and because aware of their tendency to walk this ridge an hour before sunset. They were on their way from their grass pasture to the water hole on the other side. Almost every day these two walked this ridge like clockwork. Following the same trail daily These two are still around. I’m not sure exactly where yet as it’s early in the year and their antlers help me ID them sometimes…. The Backcountry is challenging to get back into at the moment. MUD!! I see them both on game trail cameras near the water holes we keep open. The closest running water which is some distance from this high ground.

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

Title: Two Bucks Through Branches

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Landscape Ladder Sun Showers

Landscape Ladder Sun Showers
Landscape Ladder Sun Showers

Landscape Ladder Sun Showers

There is a huge amount of detail down in that dark with the misty transition to the backlit rain shafts, I had to publish this. It is very simple but the layering of the landscape was such a attraction. I really don’t post a lot of colorcast orange / yellow images but there is enough umber backlight to suit me here lolol.

This is a look west with the sun setting behind the rain bands. The closest ground to the camera is 10 miles out in the distance and the far ridge is 40 miles out. The weather this time of year is confused typically. I never know what I’m going to see when I drive the two track roads up to the high ridges. I’m as high up for this shot as the largest far hill. Your looking across a wide river valley occupied by the “Little Powder River” that is about 20 feet wide this time of year normally.

Oh, that little river is responsible for removing all the material between where I’m standing and that high peak. Geologists see things as happening one sand grain at a time. Each being moved down a little river over time. Given enough grains moved, mountains are formed by just being left behind.

The many layers of this landscape ladder with such subtle differences of tonations just stopped dead my scrolling through the dreaded “Photos to finish” folder… Taken a few weeks ago as it posts. April 2020.

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

Title: Landscape Ladder Sun Showers

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SunSet 41 Mile Ridge

SunSet 41 Mile Ridge
SunSet 41 Mile Ridge

SunSet 41 Mile Ridge

That Ridge is indeed 41 miles distant from my camera. That high ridge called the “Red Hills” that the sun is “setting” behind. The “Red Hills are the highest point between my ranch and the Big Horn Mountains. THe Crenulated edge of the sun shows the atmospheric lenses effect on a smooth circle. Contrast that with the sharp focus on the ridge.

Don’t forget now… This is not a sunset but a ridge rise .. Actually the ridge is rising in front of the suns face. We are the ones that are moving not the sun in this relative geometry any how. 🤔. You know, the earth is spinning like a top….

The swirl of clouds and mists were heavily blocking the sun. It broke through at the last second saving it’s best for the last light of the day. Once your on stage, you want it again😜. Sun must like it because it seemly has kept coming back over and over for more …. 👀. I’ve been up on that ridge a time or two. It’s about 500 feet higher the surrounding ground to the west. BIG views of the BigHorn Mountains just over its shoulder. Big Views!

Pointing really long telephotos at really bright sunsets is an exercise in very high f-stop. Somewhrein the f-70 (ish) range depending on your rig. You want a pin hole aperture as a wide open lens would cook your camera’s sensor chip. (Seriously) Shutting the camera down to light has the benefit of silhouetting everything but the bright stuff (highlights). There are usually diffraction artifacts around the scene too somewhere..

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

Title: SunSet 41 Mile Ridge

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Frosty Sunrise on the Border

Frosty Sunrise on the Border
Frosty Sunrise on the Border

Frosty Sunrise on the Border

This is a backcountry very wide angle image taken about ten days ago as this posts. All of this frost has melted since the image was taken but this morning we are hoar frosting again. Foggy and in the clouds as I type this.

A few days of spring return but with mud… There was an 1/8th inch of ice covering most of the south side of trees from this storm. , the sun rising to the south east was just starting to light up the ice that was coating the grass and the trees. The Pine Noodles (Needles covered with ice) were a subject all by themselves this morning of worthy light.

This is a very nice little ridge line being the uppermost reaches of the drainage (Divide) . This particular ridge separates Trail Creek (Wyoming) and Ranch Creek (Montana). I am standing in Wyoming and shooting over the Border to Montana in the distance. I usually work ridges in the early spring . I’m trying to get off the county road talking photos but Mud / snow will keep me out of the Backcountry. Snow depth will deny access to the ridges short of me laboriously plowing snow over two track paths in the backcountry. Slowly but surely, I will have better access away from the main gravel arteries . Deep snow is problematic from my viewpoint. Spring storms often shut the door to me. Tis the wet season with more snow falling in the spring than during the winter here.

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

Title: Frosty Sunrise on the Border

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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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Backlit Bumble Bee Buzzing

Backlit Bumble Bee Buzzing
Backlit Bumble Bee Buzzing

Backlit Bumble Bee Buzzing

A tad out of season is this Bee on a Summer Day. As I type this a cold weather front is incoming tomorrow so a little summer bluster here for you today.

I’m still finishing random photos from pretty much the last 3 years so don’t bee surprised to see a few more trickle in this winter lol. Its nice to keep the season in perspective. Looking ahead 3 months ago is healthy if you have the images. This wing detail is pretty good and the overall focus dang good considering how close I am and how fast this is happening. . The limitations of the technology 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 sort of rare these days mid winter We’ve been in winter conditions pretty much since Oct 1. That was the last time I’ve seen a flying bumbler this year. I’ll do my best to give you macro fans a slow but steady flow of the little guys 🤠

I like the winter, but……starting in October is a LOT early. I’m used to mid-November kick offs and hard freezes. I’ve took a road trip through Yellowstone in mid October one year. Not this year lolol. Wyoming weather is such you can have snow in any month of the year. Here in March, anything is possible weather wise. Our biggest snows are in March and April.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Backlit Bumble Bee Buzzing

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Down Yonder by the Fence

Down Yonder by the Fence
Down Yonder by the Fence

Down Yonder by the Fence

The morning was sub-zero. That which was exposed to the wind, had been covered by Hoar Frost. Freezing fog grew monster ice feathers off every surface that disrupted smooth air flow. I have many images yet to finish from that morning.

Here on the Montana/Wyoming border, the snow is as deep as the backcountry is big . Just a few plowed paths provide access to the high ground. The wind here moves a lot of snow from ridges to the surrounding slopes so if your on the ridge, DON’T get off the ridge. You loose the traction of “position” off the top.

Given the opportunity, I will set up for a Close/Far perspective capture when ever a fence “of interest” is around. This was a very early morning session that started in early twilight and worked for several hours. It’s not every day I see this kind of hoar frost. It does happen but not necessarily every year up here. The highest ridges are 4000 feet above sea level in elevation. Valley fog pushed over higher elevations. Thus creating a fantastic environment for hoar frost growth to prodigious proportions.

Woven Wire Fence: When you absolutely don’t want smaller livestock going from pasture to pasture. It makes a wonderful nucleation spot for ice crystals to grow from. The low angle light was still very spotty. I had to find a “Slit” through the trees to catch this. Working backcountry has it’s little areas of zen. Millions of them actually. We just have to slow down and see them. Capture their photons. The ironically, hurry on to the next little spot of zen lololol. Such is the life of “working” a scene with cameras…. 📸🤔

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

Title: Down Yonder by the Fence

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Sunset South of the BigHorns

Sunset South of the BigHorns
Sunset South of the BigHorns

Sunset South of the BigHorns

Late January is when this image was taken. The sun is slowly moving north each place and time it sets. Each night it will get closer and closer from my vantage point to the Range. Still north of the sun’s setting current locations are the Big Horns Mountains. They will for the next month come closer and closer to the sun setting in that big notch. Only once or twice in the last 20 years has the weather window cooperated with that occurring. Naturally this is all from my vantage point. I live/work across the 130 mile wide Powder River Basin. It lays between me and the 13,000 feet high Big Horn Range (the last ridge).

The ice in the crisp air was thick at sunset. Including the sun into the image would have been too much for the scene that presented itself to me. The landscape ladder that was resultant from the powerful gradients thus created by mother nature. It’s all very difficult to catch with our current technology. The cameras don’t yet have the dynamic range necessary to capture this scene without the negative space lower right. Don’t get me wrong. I actually like that dark space. Someday cameras will be up to the task without bracketing exposures and having to composite HDR.

If you are new to my narratives, I live up on and around the Montana / Wyoming border. Most of my work it north of Gillette Wyoming to Broadus Montana. We have a 50 mile view to the east from the first of 5 ridges I have easy backcountry access to that I hunt light on. I actively work both sides of the border virtually daily. As a landscape artist I primarily work light but if some of the wildlife locals jump into my frames I will allow it. Some of my narratives are years old and have taken on a life of their own. Please excuse my occasional forays into wild imaginings and fantasies both mine and more classical.

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

Title: Sunset South of the BigHorns

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Antique Lamp Shade Spotlit

Antique Lamp Shade Spotlit
Antique Lamp Shade Spotlit

Antique Lamp Shade Spotlit

Handed down over at least 3 generations this early antique electric lamp was enjoying a sun beam spotlighting it one late afternoon. It’s position in the world is way deep in our living room. A sun beam fought through the gauntlet of trees, walls, house windows, and “Stuff” to hit a ring of 100+ year old cut glass tear drops. I walked into the room to witness them just glowing. I’m sure the inventor of this style had visions similar to the scene I experienced. The bulbs originally used were not quite in the same league lolol. . So this is Late afternoon low angle golden light reaching as far into the relatively dark recess of our living room. Little areas of zen are everywhere…..

Spotlighting against dark surfaces are just “focusing” on the highlights. High f stop numbers will let you get the foreground objects in focus as well as the background. Here I set the exposure to ignore the shadow detail though I could have brought out details of the plants, the door. Interested in just the highlights, I ignored the darker details and in fact was dropping them out. . Dropping out shadow detail is all about exposure. Usually all you have to do is JUST expose the highlights properly using shutter speed. Everything else should fall into place. It’s nice of the light to cooperate so. So often I have to move something but here, it volunteered to sit for me. 😜 I wonder what the union rate is for lamp models ?

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

Title: Antique Lamp Shade Spotlit

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Great Horned Take Off

Great Horned Take Off
Great Horned Take Off

Great Horned Take Off

This is not something I see everyday lol. Owls bolt quickly if approached or I don’t see them at all. They also blend in rather well. Magic in the backcountry.

I was quietly driving down low in a wash/gully in my Polaris Ranger Crew. Owls as a whole, stay tree perched. This one was eating a tid-bit of something, perched stationary on the side of a hill/ground. Never got a look at what. He was VERY well camo’d and I just caught some movement out of the corner of my eye. His feathers are a disruptive camo to your eye. Makes you dizzy.😄 The path taken here is the proverbial “Low” road . This ground is a wonderfully dissected steep topography. Low ground between the fingers of the drainage reaching to the higher hills nearby . This forest has the spirits of dinosaur walking about as fossils do roll out of the golden Cretaceous River Sands from the famous “Hell Creek/Lance Formations. here.

It seems to me that all the Dinosaurs didn’t die at the end of the Cretaceous with the meteor/bolide that “killed the dinos”. That Extinction Level Event (ELE) killed 80 percent of Life on the planet . Took place a mere 66 million years back if you believe a geologist/paleontologist. MOST dinosaurs did indeed die but the ones that did’nt had feathers, a tail and teeth. Their modern descendants are flying around us now. There are two types of Paleontologists. (BAND and BAD). Birds Are Not Dinosaurs and Birds are Dinosaurs. Most are the Latter.

I have a few dozen good captures from this encounter but I have bigger “fish” to fry at the moment lol. . This G. H. Owl.

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

Title: Great Horned Take Off

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Sunset Through Frosty Pines

Sunset Through Frosty Pines
Sunset Through Frosty Pines

Sunset Through Frosty Pines

This is a capture initiated by the -2 degree evening, the icy air and the lighting. The later of which was JUST settling down over the ridge with less than a minute left in the day.

Photographic Musings:

Topographically, I’m working just over the lip of that higher ridge. Opportunities like this after photographing that sun coming up over a ridge 1 mile out are important parts of the timeline. I move quickly to transition to working a closer ridge several hundred yards out as the sun climbs. A sunset for me is a period of moving from place to place to take advantage of the terrain. It is very important to know WHERE to and WHEN to move to the next shot. Extending your time working the “Golden Hour” is the result. You only have so much time to “Work the Light”.

Shadow line:

I work “Parallel” ridges because I’m very mobile to look for interesting leading lines and angles into the light. Here I saw this long line of smaller pines covered in ice from freezing fog the night before. (the night I’m typing this the same weather is occurring and I’ll be up on the ridges for sure ). There was an 1/8th inch of ice on everything that was exposed to the wind. So a vibrant landscape with an interesting weather event… (a hero as every photo needs a hero). But working that shadow line is the game.

The glare from the sun is quite a hard thing to deal with. I am literally looking into the sun with this camera with a white ground reflecting light plus the ice. The trees are my cellulose filter in front of my lens. Regardless, I had to turn my camera to HIGH F-stop, LOW ISO and your shutter speed is used to balance the equation. If you don’t want a sun star, go f-11 mid range. You adjust either with a neutral density filter in front of your lens (I hate them), or higher shutter speeds. Many consumer cameras don’t have 1/8000th shutter like the higher end models do to compensate . So faster shutter speed to reduce light into the camera may not be as much of an option depending on your equipment. Be careful pointing your camera into the sun.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana

Title: Sunset Through Frosty Pines

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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

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Pine Noodle Sun Rise

Pine Noodle Sun Rise
Pine Noodle Sun Rise

Pine Noodle Sun Rise

This Close Far perspective is a favorite way to deal with first light of morning. Fortunately this ridge had a 1/4 inch of Hoar Frost covering all the vegetation. I call these “Pine Noodles” as it just seems to fit.

The earliest light as the sun is just rising has a decidedly pink color cast. Usually this is most obvious on the sky opposite the sunrise. The “Belt of Venus” which is a very pink Alpenglow phenomena reflecting said pink light back. Pine Needles coated in ice make a very good projection/reflection screen. This pink color cast is not that common on local vegetation and is usually only perceptible on the atmospheric ice.

Hoar Frost usually forms on objects disrupting air flow. The air full of moisture under freezing conditions. DIrect condensation of that vapor from supersaturated air is greater then 100%. The formation of hoar frost is similar to the formation of regular dew with the difference that the temperature of the object on which the hoar frost forms is well below 32 degree F., whereas this is not the case with dew. Hoar frost crystals often form initially on the tips of plants and or other objects. I’ve seen vehicles, fences, tires, plants and even other icicles with Hoar Frost on them. The largest I’ve seen had frost feathers/needles almost 2 inches long.

2:1 aspect meant to be a duplex. (2-20×20 frames)

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Pine Noodle Sun Rise

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Deer Translation “Oh Really”

Deer Translation "Oh Really"
Deer Translation "Oh Really"

Deer Translation “Oh Really”

I’ve seen a lot of various looks from Mule Deer before. Few this precious as from this doe. This gal with her ears/neck all back lit/highlighted. It is obvious her look was annoyance. . That automatic camera probably flashed a red light at her. How undignified of the automatic Game Trail Camera to click/whir/or buzz taking a photo. A lot of the manufacturers claim no light and no noise. The animals are aware of the cameras. 📸👀

This particular Browning camera does WONDERFUL daytime stills. It’s nighttime camera looses to several other brands.. I generally endorse no particular brand as performance varies with each shot randomly. As a result bringing one of these images into the world of art on the wall takes some doing. Game Trail Cameras give me very candid images with an insight into the world of deer (and other wildlife) that we would not have with out them.

This is in a wonderfully wide wash from about a square mile of up stream drainagle. This valley get a little sporty about the time those summer rains cause it to flash flood. The cottonwoods do fine with the soaking. I’ve only seen this particular wash a few feet deep. I move game cameras on this valley floor up onto the trees for the summer.

The camera is no tilted as you might suspect. Set up to catch just this pause, right at the toe of the steep slope out of the gully. Everybody seems to stop right here, look into the camera, then run up the bank lolol. I’t a perfect game funnel. Access to this camera becomes difficult with midwinter snow blocking the way.

Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

2×3 Aspect to 3 feet.

Title: Deer Translation “Oh Really”

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Thistle Globe Sun Filter

Thistle Globe Sun Filter
Thistle Globe Sun Filter

Thistle Globe Sun Filter

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.

Anybody notice the Photobomber in this image? You have to look past the obvious to see the little spoiler lolol. Interestingly enough I didn’t see it until I got the image up on the big screen to finish the image. So I suggest zooming in on this capture lolol. 👀📸

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.

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

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Crimson Rocky Point Sunrise

Crimson Rocky Point Sunrise
Crimson Rocky Point Sunrise

Crimson Rocky Point Sunrise

This post on December 21’st during the solstice was taken a week ago. This is just about as far to the south that the sun will set from this location. I’ve never found a location to take the sunset behind the Missouri Buttes (right side of the horizon in the distance. I’ve looked too. The forth bump just to the left of the buttes is the Devil’s Tower (Bear Butte). This angle is from a neighbors driveway up on the highest ridge around.

Maintaining a “Blue Snow Free Zone is something I advocate since it rarely exists in nature. I’ve examined this very discussion quite seriously from my point of view/history in color work as a background. I concede a single exception under certain conditions in early morning twilight or late evening twiligh. From a brightly projected sky like this, you can get a blue/purple tint to the normally grey shadows in the snow. I have only photographed one other twilight that has enough color from the twilight sky to suffuse into the snow cover. That one was two winters ago and was a dark Crimson not orange like this. Needless to say, the “colorcast” here was extreme and I consider this a very rare twilight color combination.

My new Ford F150, all black and shiny, should be my ride by the time this posts. My point of view and angles will change several feet higher. I’m not sure of all the ramifications of this, but I’m pretty sure I’m in for a better ride with this F-150 Raptor. My jeep has about 6 inches of suspension travel, the Raptor has 14 inches. I’m seriously looking forward to getting it under me. As I type this, my Jeep Grand Cherokee is cleaned out of all my stuff and is ready to “go to town”. I won’t use it again except the trip to town for the trade. That Jeep and I have been together for 14 years.

Location: near the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Crimson Rocky Point Sunrise

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Hunting the Wild Pasque Flower

Hunting the Wild Pasque Flower
Hunting the Wild Pasque Flower

Hunting the Wild Pasque Flower

Hunting the wild Pasque Flower. Located on east facing slopes, they are not that common here.. I never really see them growing anywhere without a partial tree cover canopy over them. The south and eastern slopes here tend to collect a bit more water. Snow collects there blown from the north and west slopes. These are wild Crocus effectively. Commonly called “prairie Crocus”. The HAIRY bell shaped blooms are distinctive. Tissue paper delicate, transparent to bright sun with a very photogenic subject for a study of highlights.

Catching these guys usually involves being on your stomach. Please be careful where you lay down. (Besides the occasional Prickly Pair Cactus)….this is cattle country. You definitely need to watch what you roll around in lol. I have put my (then) un padded jeans covered knee on a prickly pear before. I also put my hand down once getting up on a prickly pear. There is definitely some hazardous duty pay situations out here in the backcountry. I now wear Goretex™/waterproof pants with knee padded pants when I work in the back country. I highly suggest good outer wear and layers in this country.

Since these little 6 inch flowers are random and rare in their distribution, you have to actually hunt them down. I have found them in small groups of 4 or 5 plants Harder is finding them on the upper part of that eastern slope where they can be worked photographically. In order to get low angle golden sun on the plant, they have to be on the edge of the forest. This limits your opportunities tremendously if your hunting the wild crocus.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title : Hunting the Wild Pasque Flower

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Rose Bells Pasque Flower

Rose Bells Pasque Flower
Rose Bells Pasque Flower

Rose Bells Pasque Flower during sunset.(Geum triflorum) I believe. Everyone needs some purple in their live once a week.

These late spring/early summer blooms are only found in deep woods on eastern forested slopes. It’s harder to find them along the edge of these groves of trees. There is no other way to wait until the late afternoon and take advantage of the lowest sun to highlight it’s fuzz. These are not very large flowers being about 6 inches total in height. Just above the spring clumps of grass under the thick blanket of pines.

It’s easy to miss them as they are not found in quantity but usually ones and twos. Of course you have to go belly down to get this angle, be on a steep hillside, wait for Alpenglow to start. Then there is the camera settings lolol. Looking into a bright glare with a camera is it’s own little world of adjustments. I am very fond of using cellulose filters as above to handle the excess glare. I’ll use transmitted light to achieve the exposure. This might as well be an x-ray of this bloom as its so bright and the flower so delicate. They remind me of fuzzy tissue paper. They are quite soft.

This flower is not to be confused with Prairie Smoke which has long purple tendrils. Pasque Sun Filter. The plant is indeed darker purple without all that transmitted light flowing through the petals. The net effect is to lighten the actual flower color.
The Blurry area behind my in focus field is called “Bokeh”. You should google this word if you don’t know it already. (Assignment). There should be a test later.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Rose Bells Pasque Flower

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Golden Hour Sunset on Snow

Golden Hour Sunset on Snow
Golden Hour Sunset

Golden Hour Sunset on Snow. When the sun is so low, slowly working left of the BigHorn Mountains here, the light is quite golden.

You would be blinded looking into this scene but the ability to shut the camera down to light changes the game.

This is an overlook across 130 miles of landscape in north central Wyoming. Looking west into the scene that the pioneers saw at the end of a long day of travel. Custer was around here, Native Americans were all over this place for thousands of years. The history here is long, many have crossed that land but daily I walk places where no human has been before.

We are up high on the ridges where there is not much running water. We find TeePee Rings, a few artifacts, stone tools, even a couple of metal ornaments (rare). There actually exists one of the very RARE Documented Clovis Man Habitation site within 10 miles of my ranch. It’s not on my land however. Those same pre-historic folks walked around the post’ glacial landscape burning/slashing/hunting/driving game for a living. I have no doubt they were walking here to some of our artesian spring locations.

When the pioneers got here, they built dams below those artesian wells and formed lakes. The natives didn’t have that option and it can be a long way between water holes when you have deer bladder canteens to carry your water for the day…

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title Golden Hour Sunset on Snow

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Iridescent Clouds in the Backcountry

Iridescent Clouds in the Backcountry
Iridescent Clouds in the Backcountry

Iridescent Clouds in the Backcountry was a scene that we as humans could not have looked into. It was so bright it would blind you in short order. The camera however has the ability to shut off light significantly. By properly adjusting your 3 setting options in Manual Mode you can see images like this much more than I used to think.

Years ago I used to think this was a rare phenomena. Now I know that I just never saw it because I never looked into the brightness. I believe that iridescent clouds as a phenomena is not that uncommon. We just can’t normally see it for all the glare plus our defensive glance away.

This was indeed a very bright scene. Again I emphasize if I don’t have color and detail in the shadows, the camera couldn’t see it. This is because of the cameras inability to see a great dynamic range. I’ll give the camera credit for the ability to look into the furnace like this. This was a perfect sky for this kind of light sculpting. This reminds me of a shower glass door for some reason lol.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Iridescent Clouds in the Backcountry

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Perspective “Brace Yourself”

Perspective "Brace Yourself"
Perspective "Brace Yourself"

Perspective “Brace Yourself” looks cold….It was indeed quite chily when I took this. -2F with a good breeze is chilly in my book.. Taken a few miles into the backcountry off the main gravel road.. Traveling ranch Two track trails to the spot.. There was 1/8th inch of ice on virtually everything, . Ground under the snow, grass, barbed wire and posts all were laden with a coating of the storms warmer beginnings..

This was a good snow because I was actually noticing I was driving through deeper snow up on the ridges. Most snows so far this winter have been relatively minor in their effect on my travels… No blowing snow off the ridges in this snowy iteration. It wasn’t a particular windy storm. Thus there are no drifts to deal with, however, there is deeper snow on the ridge line which CAN build up if there is a crust. This makes it more difficult later (sadly). . It seems 5 inches of flat snow with ice under it starts getting problematic climbing steep backcountry hills.😜. I have slid backwards down many a long hill in the snowy backcountry…. denied access!!! 😫

So as the Winter progresses, the cold brings to mind a late November from 2000 that was -30 for well over a week straight. I mean all day for a week at -30F degrees was a long week here on the ranch. As I recall, I was driving back and forth from Jackson Hole to my Ranch north of Gillette (almost 500 miles) during that week . I definitely respect November weather in Wyoming.

I will plow the main two track up to this ridge this winter. It’s a several mile job with a skidsteer with tire chains. That takes a while if it drifts over and I will eventually be locked off the ridge by drifts working across my previously plowed paths.

I love lots of angles in photos. This one qualifies plus the close focus. 📸

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Perspective “Brace Yourself”

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Pronghorn Fawns Running at Me

Pronghorn Fawns Running at Me
Pronghorn Fawns Running at Me

Pronghorn Fawns Running at Me

I’ve taken a lot of Pronghorn Images. These are all 2 or 3 month old fawns running at and eventually run right by me. They didn’t care at all about my Jeep Grand Cherokee running with stinky noisy me in it. I’m just another grazing animal to the wild things up here. At some point in the summer they have seen my particular rig drive by so many times, they just don’t care about it. It’s obviously not a threat. With the Pronghorn, I have to start fresh each spring as they may or may not be the same animals on my ground. I couldn’t tell without some markings to distinguish them and there are too many to keep track of lol.

Just prior to this image, I was watching/photographing a family group up the hill these guys are screaming down. The adults really didn’t scatter but something spooked these hoodlums. I think they just decided to go for a run as their species is prone to do. To this day, this timeline (which has numerous good photos) are the only images I have of these magnificent animals running at me.

There were a couple more fawns in this group that are out of frame. This was a pretty good sized nursery with 7 fawns it appeared. There were not 5 adults. Someone was off or several had twins. I have more of these that will gradually get finished this winter. This was mid-summer this year 2019.

2×3 feet at full resolution.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Pronghorn Fawns Running at Me

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Yellow Alpenglow Backcountry Morning

Yellow Alpenglow Backcountry Morning
Yellow Alpenglow Backcountry Morning

Yellow Alpenglow Backcountry Morning was taken at a crisp 20 degrees.

From this over look of about 4 miles, you can see one of my favorite areas to work the borderlands This beautiful country has topography conducive to lining up compositions. You can move up as a sun or a moon moves down against a horizon. I have a LONG sunset because I follow the suns shadow across the landscape to get repeat attempts at a sunset with different frames.

I know this ground like the back of my hand. I”ve spent many whole days in the backcountry doing either dinosaur, photos or artifact hunting (I’m an opportunist artifact hunter). I will pick them up if I see them. Remember it is illegal to collect artifacts OR vertebrate remains on Federal, State or Tribal Ground. Check the BLM website for specifics. These activities can only be done on private ground.

All of this ground is underlain by Hell Creek Formation which is dinosaur fossil bearing sandstone. I have literally found vertebra in the grass up here. But the grass makes it hard to find fossils and I have to work around that by looking in the gullies and being systematic. I’ve found croc teeth up here randomly keeping my eye to the ground. Antlers are also a prize in the backcountry to find. I’m very systematic in covering ground as I search new places. I’ve looked/walked about 1/2 the ranch VERY well over 20 years. I’ve also done a general survey around the area and unlikely areas to find fossils on the ranch. There are still places up here I haven’t looked at for cool stuff but I’m gradually covering carefully most of the ranch. (this is a big place).

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Yellow Alpenglow Backcountry Morning

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Wind and Solar Set

Wind and Solar Set
Wind and Solar Set

A Wind and Solar Set is a pair of usable energy alternative where nothing else is available.

I’m using “Sneaky Pete” the Windmill to pump air to de-stratify a small pond (it helps keep it open some too for barnyard ducks).

Solar Panels:

The ranch has 24 big solar panels generating electricity which mostly does water pumping in remote sites. The are most cost effective where they are no where close to electric lines. I think we have 3 wind generators set up and working small things like battery charging. As such I’m probably one of the greenest guys you know. We still pump lots of water.

The coal generated electricity pumps water to water the livestock. It’s about 30 gallons of water a day per cow in the summer. A herd of 200 cattle ( small herd) will drink 6000 gallons of water a day on a hot one….. Solar does one of our pastures completely. It was expensive to put in.

Windmills:

Windmills earned their keep historically with a plethora of brands dotting the landscape. There were a lot of these in this country which got electricity very late in the mid-50’s. Telephone in the 60’s. SO many of those windmills were the primary source of water for the ranch. Some places had springs up here on the “high ground” but not too many.

Most of the easy water was down in the river valleys. We are a ‘dryland’ ranch with a couple of spring fed lakes but no running water all year. We do have streams and washes that get exciting during heavy rains. Flash floods happen all the time down in the gully system around here. There is water storage on the surface here but Windmills definitely made a difference in the ability to settle the west. This Wyoming/Montana borderlands country was settled late in the early 1900’s by small ranchers.

Anybody see a face to the right of the Windmill Sail? I didn’t do it. Natural faces in clouds…

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

A Wind and Solar Set

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Driving into the Western Sunset

Driving into the Sunset: Backroads of Wyotana
Driving into the Sunset: Backroads of Wyotana

When your on the local “main road and yourDriving into the Western Sunset on the Backroads of Wyomint and Montana was taken on the Equinox when the sun set straight to the west at 270 degrees corrected for magnetic declination. This section of road is by coincidence also straight east and west. The horizon is 50 miles out and the sun is a minute from being covered by the rising horizon. (You know the sun is not setting but the horizon is rising about 4 inches the time it takes a rifle bullet to travel 1000 yards….. It only take around 3 minutes for the sun to be covered by the horizon once it touches the sun. This varies with the season because the tilt of the earth’s polar axis with the solar ecliptic

It’s starting to get icy more often. As I type this we’re in the middle of a snowy period. Winter is coming (contemporary reference)


Location, close to the Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Driving into the Western Sunset

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Black Cat Considering Halloween

Black Cat Considering Halloween
Black Cat Considering Halloween

This particular Black Cat Considering Halloween is a scary thing.

In Old Britian and Europe, a black cat walking across your path was considered good fortune. Always setting up arguments with the pagan past, churches thought the cats were associated with witches. This “familiarity with witches comes from Pre-Christian/Pagan Europe when witches weren’t looked down upon. . It was the church, who apparently thought the witches were contemptuously evil and changed their reputation through sermons to the populace.

Aloof to the fuss, black cats were still seen as good luck, until the witch hunts of the 16 and 1700’s in the US and Europe caused them to be affiliated with bad luck. It probably was not a good time to be a witch I’m thinking…. So starting in the Middle Ages because it was thought that a witch could transform herself into a black cat and back again at will which leads to why black cats are still associated with the harvest festival such as Halloween. In some places still today, black cats are considered good luck. Others…. not so much lolol🤣

Factoids: Black Cats almost all have golden eyes and they tend to be healthier than other color cats. Black fur has a survival benefit in camo and not being seen particularly on an inky night. Black cats are more difficult to “Re-home” according to rescue agencies which know such things. More black cats are male than female but the Black fur turns brown in the sun for extended periods so if you want your cat black, keep it out of the sun. 🤔

The end of October is a time here in the winter(ish) borderlands when the fur starts growing quickly into a thick blanket on the barn cats in order to accommodate the coming polar vortexes that sweep over our humble abode each winter. We have seen30 below for a week one year but 20 below every year is common. Keeping everybody fed everyday is the chore here…. Water also needs to keep running to stay open. No room for mistakes in winter here.

Before you notice he (neutered) isn’t wearing a tag, none of my “Barn Cats” wear collars as they 1: don’t leave the compound much as it is way too far to the nearest neighbor across wild country and another domestic cat encounter. 2: would instantly get caught in a fence, a hole or otherwise hang themselves on all the wire surrounding a remote Wyoming/Montana ranch. 3: we have all shots and tags current neutered cats. I’ve had the same 6 cats for 8 years roughly now. We’ve only lost one cat mysteriously in 20 years….. The BobCat’s don’t like our electric wire. 😲

Needless to say, these guys are bad a** tough fellows. They survive Wyoming winters outdoor unheated with access of course to a large barn (no wind inside). They have picked some warm places and sleep together a lot. Someone saw 4 of them in an automobile tire one day. Coiled up inside happy and warm… I wan’t there or I’d be posting that photo lolol…

I do feed them freely but their sole purpose here is to hunt mice which without them, would build up to plague populations with the grain that moves through here. Well fed cats mouse better than hungry cats interestingly enough. They are well acclimated to this environment and know where all the hiding places are. Each is friendly to a cat to humans vaccinated and vet checked…. My nephew who is living on ranch, is spoiling them badly as they show up to his porch now at a designated feeding time every day now lolol.

Happy Halloween. Share freely.

Location: At the ranch Homestead, Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Black Cat Considering Halloween

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“Here’s Looking at You Kid” or is He Looking at the Sunrise?

"Here's Looking at You Kid" or is He Looking at the Sunrise?
Buck Silhouette But Which Way is He Looking?

Which Way is he Looking, This Buck Silhouette is confusing to me as to which way he is looking. Is he looking away or toward the camera? Don’t confuse grass highlight for body contours now lol. This one is a real mind bender. I know which way and MIGHT tell 😎

Getting a nice buck between yourself and a good sunrise? Priceless.❤️

The illusion is caused by the telephoto’s ability to destroy perspective. This is a very long shot, the deer looks HUGE…BUT the sun that would be currently rising behind the hill is way bigger than he is in apparent size.

If I had a 10 foot ladder to get up on from where I was standing for this capture….there would be a rising sun behind deer shot….The topography prevented this obviously lol.. My point is, the sun would appear to be wider than the buck is so he is actually being illuminated/highlighted literally on both sides making it essentially impossible to figure out which way he was looking. Very much of a rarified optics environment/opportunity for a odd ball capture as this.. This is an Optical Illusion distantly related to divergent light rays (crepuscular/anticrepuscular rays) and camera optics.. plus apparent/relative sizes. The physics behind a capture like this is just amazing to me.

Ambiguity is hard to catch as an image (I was about to write “on film”🤣) (RLT’s) or Really Long Telescope Lenses absolutely CRUSH perspective.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming Montana borderlands.

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Windmill Photobombing a Mesocyclone

Windmill Photobombing a Mesocyclone
Windmill Photobombing a Mesocyclone

Here a windmill known in my narratives as “Sneaky Pete” is caught photobombing my capture of this massive Mesocyclone about 100 miles out. It’s also probably 100 miles across and covering/pounding part of Montana/SouthDakota AND Wyoming at the same moment. Golf ball sized hail, torrential rains and 60mph winds were the result. I watched/photographed this storm for 2 hours well past sunset till the full moon came out in front of it. I have many photos still to finish from this event months later.

This was taken as the sunst’s backshow right at sunset where the orange/red light from the setting sun going through the atmosphere hits the core but the light hitting the top of the storm is still blue white as it goes through way less atmosphere.. Gradually the whole storm turns orange/pink/reddish depending on the atmospheric lens conditions of the timeline before the shadow of the horizon moved over the storm from the bottom up. 1/10th of a second exposure in this light.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Smokey Sunset in the Backcountry

Smoky Sunset in the Backcountry
Sunset in the Backcountry

During the smoky days of the summer of 2019 we only had a few weeks of forest fires giving us red/umber sunsets up here in the
high backcountry of the Montana/Wyoming borderlands north of Gillette Wyoming. The Rim of the Powder River Basin immediately to our west and western Edge of the Wyoming Black Hills at my doorstep easterly. We have 180 mile horizon to horizon views here.

I live and work in this environment if you don’t know me or follow me yet.

The Bliss Dinosuar Ranch sits on a series of high ridges high above the surrounding drainage here on the Montana/Wyoming border literally. We are 70 miles from the nearest 3 color stoplight here but there is a 4 way red 50 miles away🤣

I prefer to drive in the backcountry on two track roads which I do about 10 miles of day of. I encounter many strange beasties and beautiful scenery along the way.

I usually have 6 or 7 camera/lens options with me and hopefully I’m able to capture just a tad of the little zen like things I see everywhere up here.

So many photos, so little time.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.