Posted on

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

Posted on

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

Posted on

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

Posted on

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

Posted on

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

Posted on

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

Posted on

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

Posted on

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

Posted on

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

Posted on

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

Posted on

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.

Posted on

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.

Posted on

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.

Posted on

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.