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Proof Pronghorn Levitate

Proof Pronghorn Levitate
Proof Pronghorn Levitate

Proof Pronghorn Levitate

Proof Pronghorn Levitate

This young female Pronghorn caught in the act clearly levitating above the county road. No wonder they are the fastest land animal in North America. They have been “clocked” at 61 miles per hour I’ve heard. I’ve seen them run next to me around 50 mph over uneven ground. Running smoother over than that my rig on the maintained county gravel road. Here I managed to catch her actually crossing that road in front of my rig.

Anticipating well known animal behavior is not rocket science. Pronghorn have often been seen having the option to run away from your truck back into the “fields” but run in front of your vehicle instead. Here I “banked” on that activity (clearly today “banked” doesn’t have the value it used to but I digress). Sure enough, I stop to aim the camera, spin the dials while the trucks suspension dampens down….4,3,2,1 click.

Photographic Musings: Photography is all about balancing the amount of light coming into your camera.

Close to the camera, High Speed Animals Running laterally to you are necessary to follow/ track. So you must be free handed typically. That is a learned skill. Keeping the critter in your eyepiece with a 2 foot long lens is like looking through a 2 foot long pipe. I can’t teach you that, but I can tell you that if you don’t have a lot of shutter speed, your going to get a blur as a 50mph thing blows past. I would hope you have 1/2000ths of a second or shorter exposures to freeze it in space and time.. That’s one of three settings in manual mode to get this kind of image.

Second setting is F-stop, It’s always better to have lots of light with high speed work. Lower F-stop # =more light but it thins your “depth of focus field” (google that) You note the only thing in focus in the Pronghorn. A low F-stop number gives me more light to account/balance the light I lost

ISO, camera sensitivity… Final adjustment that you use to balance to actually get the right amount of light to get the exposure you desire. More ISO means more visual noise and grain on the image. Lower numbers like 100 give you the best grain but take away light from your camera. Higher numbers make it so the camera digitally enhances the light that does make it through the aperture (F-stop) and the short exposure time. A three way teeter totter of light.

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

Title: Proof Pronghorn Levitate

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3 Deer in the Air

3 Deer in the Air
3 Deer in the Air

3 Deer in the Air

Satire:

The Annual Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Synchronized Fence Jumping competition (BDRSFJC) is well under way. Last fall we had the tri-outs for the follow up event in the spring. This spring event is much larger usually and involves more animal diversity than the late fall meet. I give the deer in the foreground a 9.5 for form. 9.2 for jumping together…

This group doesn’t quite have the synchronize part figured out yet and doubtfully will make the final cut. Boy are these guys shedding with tuffs of hair falling off each one. Shaggy to say the least. Perfectly healthy.

BDRSFJC is an all “Ungulate” (google the last term) event. I expect some Whitetail to try out but their team failed to show up YET AGAIN !!!. Some creatures just can’t keep to a schedule. This is the second time this year they Whitetails have bailed from a major try out. Now the Pronghorns don’t even like jumping over fences. I read where they can jump 14 feet high but my memory fails sometimes, that might be wrong. 👅

Back to my normal (ish) programming:

I have around 100 good images of deer jumping over fences. This MIGHT be the only triple deer in the air I have in my portfolio. I don’t recall clicking on another with 3 in the air at the same time. I do have a couple of double captures.

I’m considering putting in a synchronized swim tryout down by the lake. We’ll see if those whitetail show up for that.. 😜📸

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

Title: 3 Deer in the Air

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Taking Life In Stride

Taking Life In Stride
Taking Life In Stride

Taking Life In Stride

As I surprised her as I came up out of a valley. To the table top of this broad ridge I was traveling. This deer wasn’t familiar with my Ford F-150 Raptor . It is suprisingly stealthy for carrying a 470 HP power plant on board. The low and throaty moping sound is now familiar to close deer groups. I pass many everyday that hang out near my homestead. I would be hard pressed to make those deer familiar with me to even look up from grazing upon my proper approach. This girl became definitely intimidated by my presence (through no action of my own I point out lolol). She bolted like I threw something at her, clearing the fence efficiently.

Deer can jump 8 feet high but I find 6 feet more realistic . I have an 8 foot electric fence surrounding my Homesteads Compound surrounding about 10 acres. All of the ranches human, dog, duck, chicken and cats live inside that area. The rest of the critters get the remaining 3490 acres to wander. Before I put up our deer “resistant” fence, many thousands of dollars of attempted landscape projects were devoured with passion. The only deer that have penetrated our defenses in the last several years have been shown the gate they came in on. They are quickly detected by the dogs which don’t leave the compound lol. Now the young deer don’t know the green grass paradise right over the wire. Thusly there isn’t as much pressure to penetrate the barrier now.

I strongly suggest electric fence to keep deer out of your homestead . Particularly when surrounded by herds of deer that water on your stock tanks lolol.

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

Title: Taking Life In Stride

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Deer Jumping Across Wire

Deer Jumping Across Wire
Deer Jumping Across Wire

Deer Jumping Across Wire

Here we are at the 20th annual fence jumping try outs here at the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch. It has become an annual affair since I moved here. We have a good attendance at the event. Jumpers high and last minute crawlers rule the field. Being a tight new fence, most chose over as their path.

They weren’t panic’d, Taking their time, waiting patiently one, then the next. All walked away when all had cleared the obstacle. These same deer have seen my rigs all year and could care less if I was there as long as I stay in the vehicle lolol. A few minutes later the sun would have been setting behind where they were but alas the timing was not to be.

They don’t like the human form much..🤔 I’m trying to decide who “Won” the height title over the timeline of all of them jumping, I think the deer in this image wins…. The smaller deer left of the jumper likely to got a rash from the last jump. She was very hesitant to go and balked several times lolol.

Big Male Mule Deer go to 330 pounds and the females go to 200 pounds. The are actually indigenous to North America and are known by those distinctive “Mule” shaped ears. The hear extremely well with those big ears. I suspect they use their sense of smell way more though to detect danger. These guys are herbivores so they are survivors of what ever killed all the MegaFauna during the Pleistocene 11000 years ago.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch about 50 feet from the Montana/Wyoming border

Title: Deer Jumping Across Wire

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Immature Bald Eagle FlyOver

Immature Bald Eagle FlyOver
Immature Bald Eagle FlyOver

Immature Bald Eagle FlyOver

I had just left my drive way to photographically “chase” the light for this Golden Hour at sundown here on the ranch. Before I leave, I set my longest lens camera for the lighting at the time with the anticipation of catching some animal running/jumping/flying or otherwise trying to blur my otherwise in focus landscape image. Nice puffy clouds for Spring in Wyotana..

I work everything manual including focus on my cameras. So I physically have to twist the lens to get a bird flying at least 50 mph like this in focus.. So I have to stop my truck, bring the camera to bear, it only takes a few seconds….. Moving bird…..close to me, the landscape blurred as I was tracking this Raptor with a 28 inch long 1200 mm lens.

I really don’t see a lot of Bald Eagles up here on the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch. They certainly are not rare in the area but tend not to hang out up here. I see them on carcasses/road kill all the time. They also hang out on the river valleys where they fish as opportunists. But to find one coming across my high ridge land ground is sort of an unusual thing. We have some wetland areas on our place where “most” of my other eagle sightings occur. They tend to hang near water which of course is where most animals levitate to. Ranchers are no exceptions. 😜

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

Title: Immature Bald Eagle FlyOver

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Three Running Pronghorn Fawns

Three Running Pronghorn Fawns
Three Running Pronghorn Fawns

Three Running Pronghorn Fawns

These 2 month old Pronghorn fawns were “up the hill” from my position. There were 5 adults and 8 fawns in a “nursery”. Adults often care for others fawns cooperatively. This the third capture finished from that encounter last spring. They were quite close when I caught these three moving out. A full frame high resolution capture taken from out the window of my Jeep Grand Cherokee (At that time). . I had been watching the group on a hill top 300 yards away for a while. They all ran toward me in an opportunity of a lifetime. I have a dozen images from this close encounter.

The vehicle obviously blended into the background as a non-threatening thing to them. When I accidentally drive into what I consider a group of pronghorn’s “uncomfortable zone”, I stop and start driving like a grazing animal would move. Stop, stay there a while. Start and move 10 feet stop for a while, rinse and repeat that process until I get into reasonable camera range. Say 15 minutes.. and it always doesn’t work…

I had an uphill shot to the group. Suddenly ALL the fawns took off running at the same time while the 3 doe babysitters didn’t flinch. Something startled them but not the adults. This group ran by my Jeep within 20 yards. Now could get inside groups of deer several times a day using this technique but not too often Pronghorns.

If you ask anybody which end of the Pronghorn you usually get the picture of, it’s not usually the front end. I’m thinking I have 2 other encounters were the animals were running at me. One time I was almost run over by a Pronghorn by accident. I was JUST over a ridges lip standing in a cattle trail by a fence (a natural funnel). He didn’t see me running up the other side until he crested the ridge maybe 10 feet behind me. I had a wide camera and did get that encounter too lolol. Spun and caught them running by my rig. Their (2 animals) hoofs threw dirt at me with their turn to avoid me. Almost a head on collision in the middle of nowhere. I’ve never wanted to collide with a Pronghorn at speed lolol. I’ll dig out that photo soon.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Three Running Pronghorn Fawns

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Pronghorn Fawns Incoming Fast

Pronghorn Fawns Incoming Fast
Pronghorn Fawns Incoming Fast

Pronghorn Fawns Incoming Fast

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 last 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. This is the second of two finished images from that encounter. This was mid-summer this year 2019.

2×3 feet at full resolution.

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

Title: Pronghorn Fawns Incoming Fast

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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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Pronking Pronghorn Levitating

Pronking Pronghorn Levitating
Pronking Pronghorn Levitating

Pronking Pronghorn Levitating

Catching a Pronghorn during Levitation is a demonstration of Stotting or Pronking. Relatively stiff legged they more or less pogo stick across the ground. Apparently it’s an energy efficient way of moving but not their fastest method lol.

Pronghorns are the fastest land animal in North America and pretty much hit 50 everyday around here at one time or the other lol. This apparently is an efficient way of covering ground quickly as they are moving when they do this. Maybe 30 ish…. This is harder to capture than you might think….. This is not really an everyday thing for them. Hard to capture as only once in a while do I see this. You have to be there to start with and then they have to do the behavior you want lolol. Technical camera settings are straightforward but opportunity wins every time. 📸

This of course is a summer photo as the lack of mid-winter snow AND the total absence of the Pronghorns this time of year. There are no Pronghorns on ranch that I am aware of that are overwintering here. We do keep water open but it looks like all of them have migrated south about 30 miles to the Thunderbasin National GrassLands. They gather there by the thousands for running water and lots of grass. I’ve seen individual herds of 250-300 before and they were just a random herd. I know there are bigger groups down there.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Pronking Pronghorn Levitating

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B1B Fly Over Composite

B1B Fly Over Composite
B1B Fly Over Composite

B1B Fly Over Composite

So I’m driving up a steep hill to the east in my Polaris Ranger Crew UTV . That hill obscured my view of the horizon so I didn’t see this coming. I did have a box -o-cameras next to me that I had set up for the conditions. I usually keep one on fast shutter/ lower fstop and at infinite focus. The camera was idling but not full on as they power down after about a minute. They keep their settings and take between 1 and 2 seconds to become useful upon tapping the shutter button (wake up camera).

So this 200,000 pound strategic bomber crests the hill RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME bigger than life, I was driving… I saw it, reached over instinctively and grabbed a 24-135 lens on a sony alpha 7RII out of the box. I manually clicked as it wasn’t set to machine gun. Didn’t have any time. I just pointed and clicked, never looked through the lens or at the alignment. Pure muscle memory I’m thinking. No active thought involved. Luckily I managed to get these 7 captures of a 450 knot aircraft that I had no warning of it’s approach until it was on me. UTV’s are loud moving across the prairie but this guy 1000 feet over head was eye opening. Something about roughly 1000 horsepower that is recognizable at a distance but my passenger and I had no warning . The swept wing jet was moving right along as he peeled right and disappeared into the cloud deck.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: B1B Fly Over Composite

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Icicle and a Warm Day

Icicle and a Warm Day
Icicle and a Warm Day

Icicle and a Warm Day

Some warm(er) winter days present the sun directly on a snow covered roof and melting starts. If the air is still below freezing, icicles will of course start to form in the run off stream Of course it depends on how warm the roof is, how well insulated from below.

I took this to sepia intentionally as I have enough blue icicles in my pile of image to do lol. So perhaps this is considered art with the color not being photorealistic to the scene as I experienced it. I go nuts if I don’t vary my routine every once in a while lolol. One has to have a bit of variety now and then .

Photographic Musings:

Most of you have the ability to do this shot with any good DSLR or Mirrorless Camera on Manual mode.

Here is my thought process on pretty much every image I ever take.:……. You have to decide what your first priority is. ….. Freezing the water droplets so…. Shutter Speed is your FIRST priority. To freeze motion of a falling water drop start at 1/1000th of a second and you might have to wander to 1/1500th or there about shutter speed.

OK, Second priority… Adding light. Since the fast shutter speed cuts the amount of light entering the camera, you must add some. Opening up the lens by turning down the f-stop (aperture or pupil size of the lens). Lower fstop number will open up the lens and let a lot of light in. This has the double edged sword effect of thinning the focal depth of the camera. Take a photo of someones nose and his ears are out of focus thin focal field sort of thing. Well this is a flat surface so I don’t need focal depth, F4 or about as low an f number as your lens will go to. This will also BLUR the backcountry to a uniform “Bokeh”. (Good google word).

Only three things to adjust in Manual mode, so your first two priorities were satisfied above. Last is ISO or camera sensitivity. With a mirrorless camera, I would just adjust it to “get the image to the exposure you want” live real time on the video screen. You can see your adjustments before you click. Lower ISO is better IF YOU CAN. High ISO gives you grain AND artifacts in the photo but you have to resort to it in some dark environments.

With a DSLR, you guess, take the photo, look at what you got, adjust again (guess) and repeat until you get the desired result.

You now know everything I know about taking this photo for yourself.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Icicle and a Warm Day

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Etherial Light in the Cathedral

Etherial Light in the Cathedral
Etherial Light in the Cathedral

Etherial Light in the Cathedral

Photographic Musings:

The light rays reaching toward the heavens. Scientists call them Crepuscular Rays. Those photons bounce off ice in the atmosphere. The travel to my camera lens. Within the camera’s sensor, they are dutifully recoded but only as a series of 1’s and 0’s. All by the computer in the camera. There a variety of software programs (filters if you will) effect the digital signal in various ways determined by a programmer overseas. If you select automatic, those are the guys doing the camera adjustments. Try manual mode sometimes…… Only three main things to learn….. Just saying.

When ever I try to capture a fairly bright sun, I actually use no lens filter in front of this or any other of my sun shots for several years now. I use mirrorless camera gear that shows me the image on a video screen. This prevents me from being blinded doing this twice a day when I’m working photography a week at a time. DSLR cameras in contrast to Mirrorless Cameras have a direct path for light to your eye. Yup, you can blind yourself doing this once.

With the right gear rated to do this, turn down your ISO to 100 or lower if your camera will go lower), turn your fstop to the highest number of the lens your using has. (this closes the “pupil of the lens to a pin point). A LOW F-stop will open up the lens and you’ll have overexposure PLUS the tree will be out of focus). High f-stop numbers give you a long depth of focus. As well high f-stop reduces light. (sort of important looking into the furnace).

The last of the three things you adjust in manual mode is Shutter speed. This last setting is your variable with the first two setting taking priority in getting this image. It may take everything your camera has for a fast shutter say 1/3000ths of a second. My Sony Alphas will hit 1/8000th of a second for a LOT less light.

Many consumer entry level cameras don’t have enough dynamic range built in. The ability to shut down light enough is part of that.. Then you use a screw on glass filter in front of the lens. Called Neutral Density filters, available at any camera shop for your lens. Coming in different degrees of darkness, they cut down light. In my experience, they give you ghosts to deal with in the image. This is why I don’t use them..

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

Title: Etherial Light in the Cathedral

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Hawks Photobombing My Landcapes

Hawks Photobombing My Landcapes
Hawks Photobombing My Landcapes

Hawks Photobombing My Landcapes is literally a photobomb in real life.

I was of course amazed at the lighting coming from that mornings veiled Sky. Shooting the veiled sun strong enough for silhouettes to form fools the observer to thinking this wasn’t a very bright sky. I’m shutting down the camera to light (high fstop, low ISO, and fast shutter). By Looking at the furnace in the sky, we need a fast shutter. Convenient if a couple of really fast hawks come flying by. 🤔

So I’ve got that camera/long lens set up pointed from about 300 yards back from the Windmill. The trees are Full sized old grown Pines at 30 to 40 feet high but they are 500 yards distant up a slight ridge. Telephoto lenses crush perspective distance. This is a long focal depth of field because of the higher f-stop setting I chose. High fstop takes away excess light AND gives you deep focal fields. (from the windmill to infinity here).

Looking through the eyepiece at the time with fingers on the setting options (3 only in manual mode to learn about). . I had it all focused and as the birds moved through the focus field they lit up on the video screen. The camera highlights things that have high contrast with their backgrounds. This shows focus areas. An advantage of quality mirrorless cameras is that they can tell you things. What you see is what you get with them.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Hawks Photobombing My Landcapes

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Ferruginous Hawk Launching

Ferruginous Hawk Launching
Ferruginous Hawk Launching

Ferruginous Hawk Launching was a lucky capture. Driving country gravel backroads and being a photographer is an interesting driving issue. Be safe at all times is my rule.

Having said that: It is possible at any time that I just might pull over, stop quickly or otherwise change speed. Photographers tend to be a little un-predictable on roads lolol. I saw this guy sitting on this sign and managed to stop several hundred feet away with my car turned about 70 degrees to the road (and not in the ditch). Perfect to rest a long lens out the window. I do keep track of what is around me pretty well and any traffic within a mile lolol. . I was out for over an hour that AM driving backroads and never saw another vehicle. This is typical not unusual. I’ve been out hours covering many miles before and not seen another rig pass or be passed. Only ranchers and oil trucks up here (to pick up oil from the fields).

Please correct me if this isn’t a Ferruginous. I don’t pretend to know my hawks but I’m familiar with raptor anatomy quite well. My collecting raptorian dinosaur material out of the Cretaceous sands that cover my ranch is a good school.. There are even some fossil bird teeth in the ranch collections from the Cretaceous. Teeth of his old great great great great great … grand-daddies lolol. Fossil names/ID’s I’ve down but not so much the extant raptors. I actually didn’t have much time for this capture. I tried to track him but I only got a few clicks and I’m thinking they were too out of focus to use. 😉

To have these random encounter guys stick around long enough to get your camera into play is a gift. I’m tickled to have had this raptor sit for my lens if only for a second.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Ferruginous Hawk Launching

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Robin Head On Close

Robin Head On Close
Robin Head On Close

Robin Head On Close is just that. Territorial Robins are in the spring.

Of course I’m mixing and matching seasons as I post these days. This was this year (2019) however. This guy was dive bombing me sitting back in my side yard sipping on an umbrella drink and a telephoto that goes macro at 15 feet. He always went back to the same perch. Telegraphing his intentions is a weakness in his approach. He would stoop just before he leaped giving me enough reflect time to click the shutter. Of course I use a camera giving me 10 frames a second (then) and I just wait for him to fly into my focal plane.

He really didn’t bother me much, finished my sippy drink plus took a few dozen good frames. I got the best part of the deal. My dog was more shook up by the constant busy nature of the bird. His prey drive was wanting to kick in but I discourage that unless it’s a person as I trust his judgement. Good King Corso, 220 pounds…Robin didn’t care and was all Kamakazi in it’s actions. 20 minutes was enough shooting. Half of photography is knowing when to leave the first shooting location and look for another.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Robin Head On Close

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Bee Landing Pattern Alpha

Bee Landing Pattern Alpha
Bumble Bee Landing Pattern Alpha

Bee Landing pattern alpha was tough to figure out…. I watched very carefully for a while to figure out how “Bombus” (250 species of Bumble Bee under Bombus) was approaching and landing on the bottom flower. There was a rotation involved with this bee (bumbler) moving between these two Hollyhock blooms and a few others.

Catching these guys in a 1/2 inch thick zone of focus while they are flying is “Challenging” to say the least. I have to get around 9 inches away with this particular 90mm Zeiss Macro lens to get this kind of image plus shutter speeds in the 1/4000ths range to freeze the wings. Those wings beat 250 times a second over a 90 degre arc.

Geologic Musings: There are a few fossil bees known from the Geologic Record. But the “Amber Bee Fossil “on Ebay for 12 dollars MIGHT be a fake LOLOLOLOL. Don’t buy “Amber” fossils on Ebay …. In reality, Bee fossils are quite rare and would be worth thousands on the commercial market and priceless to scientists. There was a nice bee fossil found from the Miocene northern Bohemia (recently released paper_ The Miocene was from 22-5 million years ago depending on the sequence. Technical paper but nice images in it. (Prokop,Dehon,Michez and Engel 2017 for citation if you want to look it up).

Factoids: Bumblers are the highest living insects actually preferring higher elevations. Someone found a colony on Mount Everest 18000 feet above mean sea level. Our 4000 feet elevation pales by comparison lolol. The biggest bumbler out there lives in Chili and is 1.6 inches long…. about 3 times the size of an average bumbler her in North America. Bees of course pollenate most of our crops and are a lynchpin in our ecology.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Bee Landing Pattern Alpha

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Great Blue Heron Roosting

Great Blue Heron 50 Feet Up a CottonWood Tree: Breezy
Great Blue Heron 50 Feet Up a CottonWood Tree: Breezy

Great Blue Heron Roosting also know as Ardea herodias by hobbiests and professionals alike. Here it’s hanging out 50 feet up above a lake in a big CottonWood Tree. You know, the tiny branches at the top. These are BIG birds weighing in at 4.5 – 5.5 pounds, stand 5 foot tall with a 5 foot wingspan….. They are AMAZING circus actors. They are total masters of their environment!📸

This bird was sitting about 200 yards from my lenses while I was on an adjacent slope I can actually get at nest level on (50 feet above the lake). I gain distance from the birds though by doing so….further away. . . They are pretty used to my Jeep driving around and it is a wonderful portable blind. Pairs will change egg sitting shifts at irregular times so sitting and watcing for moving birds can take hours with a small 6 mating pair rookery.

This rookery is a wonderful photo location for long lenses and the trick is not to pressure the birds which I try really hard not to do… I get lots of natural behavior shots so that is the best indicator to me. 😊 Using my Jeep for a blind, Ive been able to observe these guys for hours at a time. 800mm and 1200mm lenses are the order of the day. Long things to hang out your car window. I use a v shaped bean bag on my window for general work but I can tripod too if I have to on that same window.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Great Blue Heron Roosting

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Bumble Bee and Lilacs

Bumble Bee and Lilacs
Bumble Bee Gathering from Lilacs in the Spring

Bumble Bee and Lilacs on the 4th of July was occurring until July 4thin 2019. I have many photos of bees on lilacs from that day. Latest Lilacs in the 30 years I’ve lived in Wyoming that I recall lilacs in bloom. that late. There are several species of Bumblers that were working the pollen conveyer belt to the hives. I have yet to find a natural hive on the ranch but they sure are here.

We have had a large west coast honey company place hives in small truckloads on the ranch. They gather honey from the every other years Sweet Clover bloom we have here. It’s miserable for me with allergies flaring from all the clover pollen and it’s a serious fire danger. iI all that clover dries out but the honey sure is good lolol. We get a big box of honey from production each year as “rental” for the real estate the hives take up and feed from. WAY more than we use in a year.

Of course, Honey lasts way more than a human lifetime…. There is perfectly good honey found with ancient Egyptian artifacts in jars. Just heat and eat lolol. It’s full of antibacterial properties. It has been used for centuries (honey) to treat a host of ailments successfully and may be a good antibiotic I’ve heard. (rumor).

With Winter moving in early this year having had several good snows and hard freezes starting Oct 1, I thought I share an image from last spring as everyone needs some purple in their life at least once a week. I haven’t posted a bee for a while 😀 There will be a few bee shots incoming all winter as I refinish old images to meet my current higher standards.

Location: Backyard, Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Bumble Bee and Lilacs

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One Sharp Tailed Grouse’s Flight Path

One Sharp Tailed Grouse's Flight Path
One Sharp Tailed Grouse's Flight Path

This is the modern version of a multiple exposure showing the escape and evasion flight path of ONE Sharp Tailed Grouse.

The plump prairie bird was watching me, very alert…. As I SLOWLY approached, he eventually had his personal “Line in the Sand” crossed thus began the rapid fire camera snapping him at 10 frames a second, me adjusting focus manually as I find that anything auto on a camera will usually mess me up more than not so I’m done with them…. Have been for years now📸

A tad bit of work was necessary in the digital darkroom to “edit” this series of 7 images into one. The question is, which bird image actually belongs to the grass (hint, it’s not the bird IN the grass lolol. He was there, but in a different image and I put him into that grass….. there are 7 different images of this same bird in his E+E flight.

Location: miles into the backcountry of the Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

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It Bee Approaching the Dinner Table

It Bee Approaching the Dinner Table
It Bee Approaching the Dinner Table

As this Bee Approaching the Dinner Table (Hollyhock), I had to anticipate where it was going to Bee.

Photographers notes: Everything is mostly out of focus but the bee. The focal depth at 9 inches (closest focus for this Sony 90mm Macro) from the bee with this lens is perhaps 1/2 inch deep even with a lot of light and high f numbers. Anything in that 1/2 thick plain is sharp, anything else is blurred. Somethings are ultra sharp and others not so much. That is part of the Macro game is figuring out where that zone is and waiting around at very high shutter speeds 9 inches from the “approach” angle to this flower. I was 90 degrees and focused on the center of the flower ….Hang out and wait (remember when it was warm? ) for a bee to come by at a busy landing strip…. Hold that photo-yoga position number 15 for as long as it takes.😄

This is harder than catching flies between two Chopsticks with all due respect for Mr. Miyagi.

A few more bee photos will straggle onto my posting schedules still left over from summer and some reposts over the winter to remember those warm days.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

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Pronghorn Levitation: Stotting or Pronking

Pronghorn Levitation: Stotting or Pronking
Pronghorn Levitation: Stotting or Pronking

Catching a Pronghorn during Levitation is a demonstration of Stotting or Pronking. They are the fastest land animal in North America and pretty much hit 50 everyday around here at one time or the other lol. This apparently is an efficient way of covering ground quickly as they are moving when they do this. Maybe 30 ish…. This is harder to capture than you might think…..You have to be there to start with and then they have to do the behavior you want lolol. Technical camera settings are straightforward but opportunity wins everytime. 📸

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Frozen in Time and Space

Frozen in Time and Space
Frozen in Time and Space

To freeze a Dragonfly in Time and Space, you need to be patient and persistent. You also need to understand that dreaded M for Manual on the top of your camera. A cell phone isn’t going to do this, a DSLR on anything but manual has no chance either. Sooooo, here’s the trick… (catching a fly in between 2 chops sticks is easier) 😂

Photographers notes: This is an 800mm telephoto in direct bright sun (requirement) with your f stop on that long telephoto being f22 ish for a longer depth of focus field. He had to fly into a little zone about an inch thick at 15 feet away (minimum focal distance for my 800). That lens acts like a macro at 15 feet. IT is on a Sony Alpha 7RII giving me 70meg raw files or 40 meg .jpgs depending on what I tell it to do.

So I’m following a moving dragon fly and trying to catch him in an inch wide zone, and almost fill the frame at the same time. (this is a full sized image not a crop except for the sides of the formerly landscape aspect). I’ve never used autofocus, I don’t think it would work on this anyway. I set up a zone and let the dragon fly…fly into it. Machine gun clicks at 10 frames per second.

I digress, the faster shutter speed (which sucks up light) has to be fast fast fast at least 1/2000th of a second or more to freeze wings.. I was about 1/1500th here… Just a TAD too slow and a compromise to get more light… . Faster shutter = less light and your already loosing light from the f22 adjustment). You give up light for focal depth and fast shutter…. You have to compensate somehow….. (only three things you really can adjust on a camera , ISO, fstop/aperture size and shutter speed)

So that leaves ISO (camera sensitivity) to balance your image and gain that light back…. Less is better when it comes to ISO since too much will make your image grainy. Note how fine the grain is on this image. IT’s the last priority though because it lets you get the shot which is an important thing lolol..

18×18 inch square aspect at full resolution.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Boom Flash Bang (AR-15 Short Barreled Fireball)

Boom Flash Bang (AR-15 Short Barreled Fireball)
Boom Flash Bang (AR-15 Short Barreled Fireball)

Click Flash Bang and a muzzle flash from a Gov’t issue full auto m16 shorty (7.5 inch barrel) with an A2 (standard) muzzle break). (Very Short Barreled Machine gun in 5.56mm.) Known in the business as a “Flame Thrower” lolol. I was just even with the muzzle 20 feet away getting BEAT UP by the blast in the sound reflecting enclosed area. It felt to me like a mortor blowing up 50 yards out but at 600 rpm inside that big metal lined box that is an indoor range. Basically a sound amplifier. (I had hearing protection on but none the less holy cow).

At 12 frames a second for about 3 seconds (50 rounds) of full auto, this is the only blast I captured. I’m not sure if that’s the bullet just to the right of the plume but I’m betting it is… It’s all about timing….

Some specialty stuff I will do now and then lolol.

Location: 307 Indoor Range, Gillette Wyoming.

BlissPhotographics.com

Photographers notes:
1/3000th second F10, 200mm at 20 feet. ISO 300. Pitchblack in the room. Aiming where the gun should be (couldn’t see squat)…. Bright flash… You could use flash setting too I suppose but that would be too easy lolol. You won’t catch freeze moments but the whole event that way.

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Pronghorn Prancing

Pronghorn Prancing
Pronghorn Prancing

The Prancing Pronghorn is actually running pretty much all out and it totally out of breath as 6 of the Bucks in her group know very well she is in heat. The Rut is in full progress…. I point out her horns which make a permanent visual impairment for her.

The Bucks are all pressuring her, she could just keep running and get away from the group but she keeps coming back and then has to run some more lolol.
She was panting hard and I only watched her for about an hour doing this. These distant relatives of the Giraffe are the fasted animal on land in North America by far. I’m thinking she was going around 30mph for this one, she’d turn sharply to avoid males chasing here to evade and elude. Mud was flying.

Taken a week ago.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.