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Windmill Landing Pad

Windmill Landing Pad
Windmill Landing Pad

Windmill Landing Pad

(Tad bit of Satire mixed in…)

I am always watching the moon making sure it keeps on it’s appointed rounds. Here I caught it resting on top of the local cheese cutter “Sneaky Pete” the Windmill. The moon is like a big bird standing on an alligator’s back if you follow my metaphor. All that cheese sliced in one fell swoop… 🙂

Close / Far Perspectives in the world of Smokey Skies is a hit or miss proposition. The moon was up high enough to be above most of the smoke hugging the bottom few thousand feet of this air column. The sunlight however coming in over my right shoulder was markedly red as the sun was a bit lower than the moon to the horizon. The sunrise was before the moonset giving me about 15 minutes to work. Both in the daylight at the same time is a rare monthly window. My job was to catch the moon goofing off on the job. I only got to work 1 out of 3 good mornings for this kind of capture.

Evidence: Here you can clearly see the Lunar Disk sitting, resting on the arm of the wind vein belonging to this local windmill. I’m not sure how he makes up the time he wastes sitting on his tail around here. I catch him reclining on trees all the time but It’s a big planet and getting around it has got to a bear. The moons orbit is 1.5 million miles long. I’m always seeing him sitting down on the job. He’s aware of it as when ever he notices me, he starts moving again. Sorry about the windmill not spinning, I have no control over his actions most of the time …..

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

Title: Windmill Landing Pad

Windmill Landing Pad

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Mooning For Crater Detail

Mooning For Crater Detail
Mooning For Crater Detail

Mooning For Crater Detail

I pleased this came out of a hand held one shot camera. Taken before the last full moon, soon forest fires west of us will cover our skies with a Pall of smoke. This prevented me from working the full moon a few days. There were smoke issues weeks ago which explains the following.

Through as little smoke as possible by taking this when it was almost straight overhead. My neck doesn’t bend that way very well these days lol. Still imparted is a brownish tint to the image. This by the soot particles floating above. Quite obvious in the eyepiece of my camera. The trick is to get the right exposure to show it. I do this by comparing the image in front of me to the image on the screen. I usually have enough time to consider such time consuming activities with celestial objects. They are not flitting off like backcountry wild critters. Anything over a minute to compose or consider an image is a luxury in this game. This is why I think of myself a landscape photographer. Geologically Slow movements are a good thing to me. The moon is a relative fast mover for me lolol.

Photographic Musings:

Taken with the same lens I use for some of my terrestrial close ups. Lots of animal images through this glass. It’s pretty good equipment for looking across the prairie. Not as good for Astronomic Glass Lenses used in Telescopes. (this is just a regular camera lens). Telescopic glass typically is coated differently. There is no aperture to add diffraction effects to your bright lights. Ever see rays from bright point sources of light like the sun? Those are edge diffraction effects particularly for close/ far perspective with the moon. For you techies out there, astronomic glass usually doesn’t do as well dealing with Chromatic Aberration (Sony G-Series 200-600 with a 2x in the optic path. ). I have MUCH bigger/faster optics that don’t do as well across the board for this kind of capture.

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

Title: Mooning For Crater Detail

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Full Smokey Moon Rising

Full Smokey Moon Rising
Full Smokey Moon Rising

Full Smokey Moon Rising

Wednesday Moon Day:

Close Far Perspectives are something I haven’t worked recently. The smoke plumes from western fires clogging up my horizons to anything but the sun. I get only a few terminator crossings a month any to photograph the rising lunar disk coterminous with the sun still being up (even a little like this). The dark blue you see here is seconds away from turning black in the camera. The is the edge of the envelope for what this technology can do. The silhouette would soon be fading into the black sky in minutes.

Wonderful smokey color that night though we weren’t particularly under Pall at that moment. Particulates in the higher air is likely to blame for this hue. Almost salmon but with just a tinge of red. Hard to find such things in archives of my travels.

Heads Up!… The Moon while on schedule for once a month, but October 2020 will have two. The first on October 1st, and the second on October 31st. That rarity is what coined the phrase “once in a blue moon” back in 1821, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. The “standardized” explanation of the blue moon wasn’t defined “officially” August 1937 or so the story goes… I will work both moons in October assuming the weather window to their light opens for me to capture in my photon capture boxes. Rule number 112 of photography is: no window, no images… That one is fixed in the rules of the universe I’m afraid lolol.

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

Title: Full Smokey Moon Rising

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Moon Over the Mountains

Moon Over the Mountains
Moon Over the Mountains

Moon Over the Mountains

Starting with the first ridge about 10 miles down range. That would be the furthest west of the ridges in the Prairie Dog Hills. Between the first ridge and the last ridge here is 25 miles. The moon is a little further away at 1.3 light seconds for light to travel from there to here. That exact number depends on whether the moon is closer or further away in it’s elliptical orbit around the earth. The terms apogee and perigee come to mind to describe the furthest away and closest the moon is to the earth. A difference of about 25,000 miles (significant if your walking).

This particular morning was one of the few I got to work on that months moon’s timeline. I like to have both the moon AND the sun up behind me to get landscapes like this. There are only about 3-4 terminator crossings a month that I can work this kind of scene. Rarely do I see everything cooperating as this to get a wonderful color pallet on a morning landscape. They are usually TOO red for my taste. This is just about right to the lighting several minutes after sunrise. At most I get 15 – 20 minutes of the actual full moon above the horizon coterminously with the sun. A photographer has to work fast. It’s a bad time for batteries to go down lolol.

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

Title: Moon Over the Mountains

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Setting Sliver Smokey Moon

Setting Sliver Smokey Moon
Setting Sliver Smokey Moon

Setting Sliver Smokey Moon

At first I had an imaginary shark hunting the water in the distant. The waves covering all but the dorsal fin. No wait… perhaps it’s a sail boat at a good breeze in high seas. The crest of the wave hiding the hull of the sailing ship. The illusion of waves swelling in the open ocean is unmistakable. I’m often taken by flights of fancy. The freedom to search for what could be is sometimes more compelling that for what is. On that segue…

I watched this moon descend into the cloud bank on the right 15 minutes earlier. Wrote it off for the session. I figured it would be obscured. From that point on, it was just until I looked back to the horizon. Looking the other way… Preoccupied I was working the sunrise on the dawn side of the sky. I was aware (back of my mind) when the moon was setting. Having done this a few times I finally did glance around at the other horizon JUST in case. I was surprised when I looked up to see this vision. The clouds had moved to the right leaving a window to the really low moon.

Now this was taken with a huge long lens. These totally screws with your perspective. Zooming up on the relatively small mountains, makes the moon looks big. That ridge is 40 miles distant. The place I set up for this backshow of the sunrise that morning was high enough to give me views both ways. Around 4000 feet which is high ridge country in this corner of Wyoming.

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

Title: Setting Sliver Smokey Moon

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Storm over Volcanic Necks

Storm over Volcanic Necks
Storm over Volcanic Necks

Storm over Volcanic Necks

This is a dark image. Only because it was taken in a very subdued light environment lol. Only Devils Tower on the Horizon is illuminated. That through a window in the clouds. The Storms behind me were blocking the sun effectively. This storm towering above the Ancient Volcanos in the distance have dominated the environment for hours. Finally the Moon was looking over the shoulder of the storm back at me of course. It occasionally shows up for a cameo appearance in my photographic timeline. I’m happy to oblige it as it keeps it’s schedule and I admire clock work. Responsible Celestial Objects are worth having around your neighborhood.

The ground was light grey from a coating of marble sized hail. That was creating a foggy layer near the ground. Typically when you see the grey like that off in the distance, it is an artifact from the digital darkroom. This is real hail fog plus some of the white hail showing through in the distance.

Remember the Devils Tower is 1000 feet high above the surrounding plain. The perspective makes this Cloud look VERY large but I’m thinking it’s only about 1/2 way there. Lens perspective is a property I’m constantly using and studying. Close / Far are my stock and trade for perspectives. Having said that. I’m always interested when nature works it out for me lol.

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

Title: Storm over Volcanic Necks

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Moon Above Mesocyclone

Moon Above Mesocyclone
Moon Above Mesocyclone

Moon Above Mesocyclone

The First Quarter Moon has risen 1/2 an hour too early to be in the optimal position for me here. It’s still mostly a rule of thirds composition lol. This was taken in mid Civil Twilight. Roughly 15 minutes after scheduled sunset. There were additionally a host of storms behind me to my west. I was in a dark environment looking at a 30K foot high+ projector screen. That reflecting the “Belt of Venus” color gradient back to my photon capture boxes.

The Mammatus usually means a collapsing storm but they can be affiliated with serious weather. Being under this monster would have been less than desirable unless you get lucky to get just rain. It does happen. I might be hyper-sensitive to hail after watching chickens egg sized hard ice fall with all other sizes below for 1/2 an hour this July. These guys ruin insurance agents profit/loss ratios in the summer. They can certainly cause massive damage in their wake. That storm has as much energy as a small atomic weapon wound up in it’s rotation. There is a LOT of mass there too remember. I wonder how many gallons of water is suspended up there … humm.

A generic thunderstorm cloud contains enough water drops to fill up a 275 million gallon container. That’s around 2.3 billion pounds of water. Alternately = 1.1 million tons of water. Assuming a thunderstorm produced one inch of rain over one square mile. This would be 17.4 million gallons of water . Weighing 143 million pounds. Amounting to around 72,000 tons). Heavier than air all of it. Lots of energy to keep it all suspended up there eh?

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

Title: Moon Above Mesocyclone

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Moon Considering Crossing Fence

Moon Considering Crossing Fence
Moon Considering Crossing Fence

Moon Considering Crossing Fence

(Satire)

As I follow the full moon traveling along the ridge lines, I saw this situation develop. As I travel parallel ridge lines, I descend as the moon ascends which keeps the moon “rolling” along the crest. Ridges here travel for miles and have deep gullies adjacent. My options are many to watch the lunar progress. So I’m moving along and stop. Suddenly the moon stops moving too. Seemingly confused by the wire obstacle in it’s path. Hard to get that much cheese from here to there over that so to speak… That fence line would have been a cheese slicer for sure.

So to avoid being cut into cracker snacks, I figure it will take some computational power at least similar to the computers in Apollo spacecraft to make this maneuver. While I’ve seen the moon do many things. I’ve never seen it hike a fence. I see the same look on his face as I see on a Mule Deer. You know, that look just before they jump a fence. Sort of a mix of determination and blank stare if you break it down….. 👀

So this time delay sure could have thrown off all those critical tidal charts. That let alone the full moon effecting human behavior for longer. Full Moon and all that. To that point I’m sure this indecision slowed him down on his rounds. Must have made it up later though….But an apparent feat of athleticism as I continued my trip. I turned around, moved a few feet and JUST when I looked away and moved, it had jumped. Must have since when I looked back, it was on the other side of the fence…

Back to my “normal” programming…..

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

Title: Moon Considering Crossing Fence

Moon Considering Crossing Fence

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Windmill Silhouette Full Moon

Windmill Silhouette Full Moon
Windmill Silhouette Full Moon

Windmill Silhouette Full Moon

Augusts full moon is commonly known as the “Sturgeon Moon” because the giant sturgeon of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were most readily caught during this part of summer. Moons seem to be named after significant feeding events in human history. Not quite how that happens.

More folk names of this moon include: The “Wheat Cut Moon”, “Moon When All Things Ripen, the “Full Green Corn Moon”, and the “BlueBerry Moon”. Publicity seeking of course, this Aermotor Windmill jumped in front of the bigger personality photobombing the scene. Hehas been around for 80-100 years anyway. In the 1930’s there was a homestead nearby and supposedly a log mill. I have yet to find ANY trace of a log mill on my ground. Prairie Paparazzis as myself am always keen on finding out who is hanging with what. 😜

As I type this narrative, we are under a “New Moon”. Half way through the 28 day moon cycle. Coming up in October of 2020, there will be a rare blue moon. The last blue moon was March 31’st 2018. They don’t come around too often thus the term “Once in a Blue Moon”. I pay a lot of attention to lunar cycles in chasing this photogenic fellow. There are only a few days a month I can do this kind of work. Then usually several of those windows get closed due to weather. The time for Orange Harvest Moons is afoot. All the forest fires are going to supplement the color shows this fall. That is until the snow come. I’m betting on a hard winter up here.

Title: Windmill Silhouette Full Moon

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Subdued Moon Setting Perspective

Subdued Moon Setting Perspective
Subdued Moon Setting Perspective

Subdued Moon Setting Perspective

The August Full Moon Setting over two ridges and a cloud band. I’m low down in the drainage looking upward over parallel ridges. The first a mile out. The second ridge is about 7 miles out with the cloud bank further down range. The moon is a bit further out there past that. So thus a 4 layers landscape. That cloud bank was rising rapidly to cover the moons face.

The very early daylight or late twilight depending on which second this was taken. Very close to sunrise. This was the last image from this timeline. As soon as the clouds rose to cover the moons face, I was done. IT was a very subdued color with an obvious bias toward a red colorcast. All of the color on the clouds also hitting the light parts of the landscapes in the foreground. To the best of my ability, this is exactly as I saw it. Such subtle tones are rare at sunrise or sunset where intensity is usually the result. Only during twilight or smokey days do I see such lighting.

This one was a tough one to get right. As an avowed photorealist, I try REALLY hard to reproduce here the scene I saw there. The scene was somewhat dark as the sun was Just being exposed by the falling horizon. A slight ridge to the east blocks out the earliest light, I was in shadow taking the photos being a LOT lower than that far butte.

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

Title: Subdued Moon Setting Perspective

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Moon Hanging with Mars

Moon Hanging with Mars
Moon Hanging with Mars

Moon Hanging with Mars

Here’s a Close / Far Perspective for you. Moon Close, Mars Far…(ish). If you can full screen this, the moon is pretty sharp here….Good seeing that night.

There was an internet/Facebook meme that the Moon and Mars would be in the sky together with a GIANT Mars. Well here they are…. Mars was supposed to be the size of the moon. Darn it….. So disappointed…😜

Captured is the reality, only a “little” different than the meme circulating around with two big globes in the sky. From the human eye perspective this is a giant mars. (that little red dot far right frame). The moon getting close in the sky to mars was obvious looking up that evening. I don’t work night skies very much photographically as it’s off schedule to me. I get jet lag easily lol.

At any rate, I don’t see opportunity to take a planet and our moon in the same frame too often. Well I could zoom WAY back to be able to actually fit them in the frame lol. Only when a planet is close can you do this. The dynamic range difference between the bright moon and the little dim mars is tough to pull out of the dark.

Mars closes approach to earth will be on October 6th 2020 at only 38.6 million miles away. The moon is currently 224,800 miles out which is relatively close I suppose. It does indeed appear larger than it normally would further away lol. Not QUITE the same apparent size as our orbiting partner.. So if you read it on an internet meme, you might want to initially question the information.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Well somewhat over it anyway)

Title: Moon Hanging with Mars

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Hide and Seek Moon Style

Hide and Seek Moon Style
Hide and Seek Moon Style

Hide and Seek Moon Style

At night in the deep backcountry of the Montana / Wyoming borderlands. Surrounded by miles of uninhabited ground. One feels somewhat together with the surroundings. The smells of the evening permeate the light breezes of this evening. The cool air moving in the gullies. A marked chill versus the heat of the day.

The moon was rising on a parallel ridge and I wanted a detailed image of it’s face along with something terrestrial for it to hide behind. I know the moon prefers to hide behind things until it climbs high enough in the sky. It seems harder and harder for it to hide behind terrestrial objects the higher it gets. The “Hide and Seek” game soon ends as the topography ceases to allow such fun. All of us are subject to the rules of the universe. We may or may not understand that depending on our age I have noted. The moon is no exception of course 🤔 😜 .

The vision evolved into a truly orange moon by the time I took this image that night. As it was first rising on the furthest east horizon that night. It was VERY pink that evening. I’ve seen very few pink moons over the years. Surprised by the color I was. Astonished really. Lots of trees in the way of that rising. Not much I could do about it at the time so I moved quickly to a nearby lake and got some good images too. Great timeline in the history of timelines.

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

Title: Hide and Seek Moon Style

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Red Barn Sturgeon Moon

Red Barn Sturgeon Moon
Red Barn Sturgeon Moon

Red Barn Sturgeon Moon

Still early before sunrise. The pink clouds in the distance distract from the briefness of the moons remaining time aloft this morning. Going down….. My intent was to photograph this wonderful scene with the moon much lower. I decided to take this image as that misty ground haze would totally obscure the lunar disk before it touches down. (it did). The horizon rising to meet it’s apparent descent. As the earth rotates inexorably in harmony with the cosmic clockwork of the universe.

This old working ranch barn is well maintained and fairly original to it’s early design (in this country). Ranches here were settled around 1900. There were cattle drives though this country earlier than that. This area opened up when various land grant programs from the government. Dozens of families moved up into sod houses in the area. They made the paths, figured out how to get water, did some fencing with posts they cut. This area was opened up by horses pulling wagons for decades. It’s a long way to town from here. (Gillette). Probably a 4 or 5 day round trip for supplies at first. Camping on the trail was the rule of the day.

This structure is on the historic Parks Ranch to which we are a neighbor. The Parks were a class act around 1900 (and later). Taken around 5:30 AM that morning. Getting light but still twilight “Belt of Venus pink back lighting.

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

Title: Red Barn Sturgeon Moon

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Moon Lone Tree Silhouette

Moon Lone Tree Silhouette
Moon Lone Tree Silhouette

Moon Lone Tree Silhouette

A few days a month I get a chance to get SOME light from the sun at the same time the full moon is rising. This is a little late in the timeline where there is still enough light to catch the outline of the ridge. The Full Sturgeon Moon slowly emerging from hiding behind this lone tree. IT turns out the moon is shy until it has no choice and has to be exposed. I mean it turns all sorts of shades of pink, orange and red so it MUST be shy. He might have been ducking behind that tree to relieve himself before he starts the night shift. I mean the man in the moon is obviously a gentleman trying to be proper after all.

Photographic Musings:

Getting Details on Close objects and far objects in the same single photo…. A matter of high #f-stop setting which give you deep focus. It also steals light preventing it from getting in the camera. So a long shutter open time is a good thing. Not too long as it will over expose the moon, not too long as this hand held shot would be blurred. I find 1/30th freehand minimum for blur. A monopod will go 1/15th. Tripod you have to keep moving, not handy, a few seconds exposure on a moving moon. That’s not good. Basically, your walking over uneven ground, moving in opposition to the moons movements. It rises, I walk closer to the hill. It goes to the right, I move to the left. Set your ISO to get a visible image on your screen. Rule of photography 127 is “Get the photo” Damn the ISO…

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

Title: Moon Lone Tree Silhouette

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Backcountry Windmill Cutting Cheese

Backcountry Windmill Cutting Cheese
Backcountry Windmill Cutting Cheese

Backcountry Windmill Cutting Cheese

Ol’ “Sneaky Pete” the windmill is up to his old tricks again. I find he is more than willing to try to interfere with the clock work universe. Here he is trying to slice and dice up the moon again. I’ve caught him several times attempting what must surely be a crime anywhere but Wyotana.

Windmill Weekend (Windmill Junkies Unite) 🤘

“Sneaky’s” full time job is to pump air into a small pond that has barnyard ducks on it. This de-stratifies the pond and makes it more able to deal with the extra poop load from the ducks. It also keeps a pretty good hole open in the ice during most of the winter. Well, with the help of the aforementioned water fowl helping. He has been very good at pumping air over his career. I can’t even imagine how many times it has turned around over a couple of decades.

Photographic Musings: (Long but instructive)

More angles in this thing…didn’t have a clue what to use as a level horizon lololol.

Fellow students, what to do you have to do to get this kind of shot?

OK, Full Moon up during the day (maybe 2 chances a month IF the weather cooperates). Then the moon about 2 times a year lines up just so with the topography. (Topography is my master). It has to be somewhat windy.

Where to set this up, you have to be at least 300 yards away from the close object (windmill) with a 400mm lens. That puts the windmill in the same focal depth of field as the moon at infinity. I work up to 1200 mm this way for some distance perspectives. The further back you go with a larger lens will give you a relatively bigger moon in the image.

THEN with all that conveniently arranged, you have to Set your camera to the dreaded M – mode. I know, it’s scary in there. Set your priority that you need most. Blurred windmill…… OK, 1/15th of a second exposure to allow the blur. That’s pretty much set in stone so adjust the camera shutter to 1/15th. Balancing the exposure now is easy now.

That leaves only two other things to adjust, ISO (camera sensitivity) and F-stop (aperture/iris size in your lens.) F-stop controls your depth of field which you want very deep. So a high enough F-stop number to focus both is required. I used f-22 for this. Lower f stop settings will thin your depth of field. You would have to move back too far to fill the frame.

One setting left. Turn your camera sensitivity to what is required to give you the proper image in “live view” or in your mirrorless camera. In a mirrorless camera, what you see in the eyepiece is what you get. You get to watch your settings change live real time in the eyepiece. What ever it takes. Rule number one of photography is to get the picture. Damn the high ISO if it is needed. Fortunately this is still some daylight in the frame. 📷

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

Title: Backcountry Windmill Cutting Cheese

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Sturgeon August Moon Rising

Sturgeon August Moon Rising
Sturgeon August Moon Rising

Sturgeon August Moon Rising

I actually saw this scene live real time resolving it easily with my eyes. To my knowledge, there is no way to photograph it using only one photograph. The difference of illumination between the reflection in the water and the brightness of the moon was too large for my gear to resolve. So I took an exposure of the moon properly followed by an image of the water properly exposed.. Merge the best parts of both photos and here you have a composite art work reconstructing the scene as I experienced it. The technology commonly in use today is inadequate to capture such a scene with this extreme dynamic range in a single frame.

In other words, I can take a good photo of the moon and see nothing in the water. I can take a photo of the ripples in the water but the moon is bright white. The only way to see the scene the way my eyes did, is to merge those digital images. Human eyes see a wider dynamic range than do cameras thus far in their development. I could see this very well except it was pretty far away. Technology is chasing the 21 F-stops the human eye can discern where as the best cameras I can afford will give you 15 F-stops dynamic range.

I figure in 5 or 6 years and as many generations of chips I will be able to do this in camera. It was very cool to have this all line up though. Getting topography and Celestial objects to cooperate is a once a year thing at best when weather cooperates. I was back about 400 yards for this from the wind driven choppy water. Because it’s a composite, technically this is ART imitating an actual scene. 600mm F-4 lens. At f-11.

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

Title: Sturgeon August Moon Rising

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Parks Ranch Barn Moonset

Parks Ranch Barn Moonset
Parks Ranch Barn Moonset

Parks Ranch Barn Moonset

The moon set was still 10 minutes away. As the celestial clock’s gears spin, the earths horizon rises to hide the moon earlier by the clouds. The low atmospheric moisture made the moon to go dimmer till it vanishes into the mist within a few more frames after this one. IT became so hard to see, I gave up working this amazing scene. I am really into that stack of hay bales a mile out on that first far ridge.👁

The Parks Ranch is a historic ranch here in Wyotana which is managed by an association of cattlemen/ranchers in this region. These old buildings are still used structures . But just a small part of a much larger locally owned group of ranchs. Cattle are routinely and actively worked in these corrals. Mostly vaccinations and medical needs as well. You have to run “everybody” through the corral system to give them wormer, a fly dip and some meds. No antibiotics of course. Just required by the gov’t various anti-disease shots. A family lives and works on the ranch as it is an active good sized cattle operation. Genuine cowboys / cowgirls are working down there. Good hands all.

I’ve fought fires on this ground before but a bit further up the ridge. Kept a small ridge of trees from being destroyed with my truck parked pushing a hose all by my little self. I’m not doing that much these days. Younger men get to pull hoses. I drive lolol. It is beautiful country with artesian springs around the original Parks Ranch. Those lakes named after the Parks Girls I understand.

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

Title: Parks Ranch Barn Moonset

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Moon Rising Rocky Cliff

Moon Rising Rocky Cliff
Moon Rising Rocky Cliff

Moon Rising Rocky Cliff

The convoluted bedding of the Hell Creek Formation Sandstone bedding in the foreground is a long way from the moon. The same moon was peering down over it’s deposition here on the Cretaceous piedmont existing 66 million years ago. Similar to a tropical North Carolina with Mountains to our west Paleo-geographically BEFORE the Bighorn Uplift. Those mountains were eroded away prior to the Larimide Orogeny Mountain Building episode. Those mountains all turned to sand grains I stand on. That moon back then was a little closer and bigger however. Dinosaurs looked up and watched it loom bigger over head (for another post). Our ranch is covered by this Formation at the surface. A known dinosaur bone deposit is about 1/2 mile distant from this spot.

Paleontological Musings: A series of MAJOR Rivers flowed around here in the Late Cretaceous. Some certainly as big as the Missouri River swept back and forth across the landscape. Leaving behind sand but snaking back and forth meandering on a surface it can’t cut down into. Shuffling and reshuffling the sands. Several times a fossil dinosaur tooth were excavated. Only to be redeposited dozens of times. Over the 3 million years this particular sand conveyor belt sedimentary system survived. Leaving about 700 feet of sands. This is literally sandstone country. We have more sand that most public beaches lol.

Upon the Ancient river dropping it’s load. When something else heavy covered it. Sediments flow like plastic. Pushed around underground like silly putty under your boot and a hard place. We get all sorts of various sandstone creations by mother nature occur in this country. Hydraulically reworked soft sediment deformation is a common occurrence. Boulders are left behind. The softer sands around them are blown or washed away. Those boulders were hardened. Cementing minerals in ground water responsible. That passing through the sands. The boulders cemented obviously better/harder than the sand that blew away exposing them. These sands moving down river to the “sink” filled up the Cretaceous Interior Seaway over time. Then the asteroid slammed into Mexico……..

I only get to play with a low full moon with the sun still up one or two times a month assuming the weather cooperates. Here the sun had just been obscured by a low cloud bank as it was setting. Low light makes this close/far perspective much more difficult to obtain. Of course the really hard part here is getting something like this close chunk of ancient river bed in focus. In focus at “infinity” along with the moon in the background that looks very large rising over this ridgeline. I’m shooting at least 400 yards away ( almost 1/4 mile) from that pile of rocks. Distance is your friend when attempting this type of composition. 📸

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

Title: Moon Rising Rocky Cliff

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Cliff Kissing the Moon

Cliff Kissing the Moon
Cliff Kissing the Moon

Cliff Kissing the Moon

I think there is some affection there. I think the moon was trying to Dock there….You know, take on supplies and the like…. 😜 📷

Finding the Cliff was easy. Getting far enough away from the rocks to place the cliff in the same focal plane as the moon (infinite) was the hard part. Topography has to cooperate along with celestial agreement. The Moon is mostly a moving target remember. Getting planets and Cliffs to line up has some complexity to the capture to get both in focus. Position your head/camera in the X,Y,Z and time 4th dimension (time in this case). Getting a kiss on a moving face is pretty hard. I had the idea at first of making them contact by moving my head about 1/2 inch to the left. It’s truly amazing how little one has to move to have an object 600 yards plus away (cliff) to cover a moon a couple of hundred thousand miles away. Nailed the focus on the cliff, the moon is a little soft. I will perfect this with time.

This is the Sturgeon Moon, August Moon 2020. Filed under things you can do with a 1200 mm lens…. So far I have many captures of this months moon in various situations that will work their way into my work flow shortly. Remember the full moon was 9 days ago as this posts. That is how long it takes to go from Click to Publish with me doing this essentially full time. I figure I invest on average 1.5 hours work per image/narrative page on average and I publish 4 a day every day.

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

Title: Cliff Kissing the Moon

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Pink Rising Sturgeon Moon

Pink Rising Sturgeon Moon
Pink Rising Sturgeon Moon

Pink Rising Sturgeon Moon

I have not seen too many pink full moons but this one was REALLLLLLY pink at it’s first rising. It slowly turned to a very orange orange as it rose. I have one or two images where there is a pink to orange gradient barely visible on the lunar disk. I photographed the whole timeline from just cracking the horizon to clearing the trees in many different ‘zooms”. It was truly a startling color to me at the time.

That color is frozen in my memory until I die as I’ve not seen the phenomena before this way saturated naturally. I made sure to finish the image photo-realistically accurate as I can here. The hard work for me on this capture were the details on the landscape and in the trees. The moon was “easy”.

Technically the sun was “up” above the horizon behind me for this. It was however cloistered and obscured behind a significant cloud bank. When the moon rose, the sun had about 13 minutes before it set. I continued to move around the ranch and shoot close far perspectives for the next hour or so. This month will be only this night’s work as tonight a storm moved through and obscured night 2 of the Sturgeon August 2020 moon rise from my vantage point.

I had actually worked myself into a precarious position on this cliff to get these captures. I ran out of topography to get where the composition needed to be. This is a close as I could get lol. It doesn’t look like much but I only had bare minimum equipment to get this view. I had to climb to get the angle on where the moon was to rise.

I had some bright idea of getting those old growth trees on the horizon. Since the closest trees are about 1/2 a mile out, the close far perspective doesn’t do the location justice. I had crawled up on the steep side of the tall butte I call “Lookout Butte” which you pretty much have to scramble climb up. It was pretty windy at the time which is always helpful trying to get a long lens camera still. I was pretty much resting cameras on rocks about 1/2 of the time lol.

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

Title: Pink Rising Sturgeon Moon

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Haze Around the Moon

Haze Around the Moon
Haze Around the Moon

Haze Around the Moon

One of the hardest moon images to capture with any consistency is the haze you can see around the moon in some cases. A thin veil of clouds, more of mist obscures the face. Secondarily, it leaves a smooth gradient of haze from it’s fuzzy proximal colors to the periphery. I can think of only a few dozen times I’ve gotten an image this good from any camera. This is the Sturgeon Moon. Sept 2020.

Photographic Musings:

The difficulty comes from the high dynamic range. It’s like getting a star field in the same image as a properly exposed moon. It’s rare rare rare to be able to do it inside the camera in one shot. Usually they are composites. No one can cheat the way light physics works. Optical sensor chips used in the high end Sony Alphas are pretty adept at covering high dynamic range requirements. I think it really has as much to do with the particular lighting conditions the photographer encounters.

If your interested, this was done with pretty good terrestrial glass. Should have used astronomic glass. Look very carefully at the right lower edge of the moon. See a faint red line? No matching line on the left side. (bear in mind I’m VERY OCD about color). That artifact is caused by “Chromatic Aberration” in an otherwise excellent lens. It’s a good thing for you fellow students to learn about. Google “Chromatic Aberration Lenses”. Think a 2000 dollar lens should do this…? humm..

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands

Title: Haze Around the Moon

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Pronghorn Family at Night

Pronghorn Family at Night
Pronghorn Family at Night

Pronghorn Family at Night

Taken at 2 AM by one of my game trail cameras. Of course as an Infra-red Flash automatic camera I have no choices here except for 3 levels of flash, 3 levels of sensitivity to make it flash and where to put it. The later being more important. Now the moon was full and illuminating the scene nicely thank you. Touching noses with one of her fawn ID’ing each other in the dark conditions. The other fawn is probably with the other Doe as well.

I place this camera at the gate between this field of grass and the field behind the camera where the water tank is. We keep 4 different water tanks open 364/24/7 for anybody that needs it. It’s funny how they don’t hang around water most of the time . Preferring to eat a mile or so away from where they water most of the time. I suspect that is an adaptation to Pleistocene hunting pressure near water . Back when the Large Cat population of crazy types like Saber Tooth, American Lion etc were about…. These guys are adapted to escape from those cats no longer an issue. Nothing else alive on the plains today but humans in our machinations can keep up with them. They don’t have a lot to worry about these days. As a chunk of the Pleistocene Megafauna slowly disappeared, these ungulates survived the causes of that extinction. What ever they did, it worked and here they are lolol.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands

Title: Pronghorn Family at Night

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Lone Tree Moonlight Filter

Lone Tree Moonlight Filter
Lone Tree Moonlight Filter

Lone Tree Moonlight Filter

During those 2 days a month that I get to have both the full Moon with the Sun coterminously in the sky, I “work” them photographically fairly hard. My operational tempo on nights like this is intense really. I have a rough map in my head where I want to go sometimes but making to where I need to be and when are two different things lol.

Here I was about 5 minutes late. I spent too much time at the last location. Knowing WHEN to leave a site and move on is paramount to productive backcountry photography. Conditions are fleeting, the sun was setting, the moon was climbing in the sky. I love this lone tree on this remote ridge. It has wonderful views (about 180 miles horizon to horizon from it’s ridge). Such dendritic shapes lend themselves to light filtering work. I suppose I’ll get a bill with model rates charged plus the overtime for the wait. Never keep your model waiting for you. 😜

When I get a Full moon rising at the horizon, I’m all about getting it behind and in focus with terrestrial objects. This is a sub-hobby with my larger professions of photography. Toward that end…. It’s always a good thing when this particular tree lines up with astronomic objects (sun moon). This particular old soldier up high on a ridge has faced the worst wind/weather this high country can throw at it. It is a true old soldier. The Lone Tree on a Ridge is about 1/4 miles out from the parallel ridge is was working in the dark for this capture. The moon is a “little” further behind the ridge.👀

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

Title: Lone Tree Moonlight Filter

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Four Percent Crescent Morning

Four Percent Crescent Morning
Four Percent Crescent Morning

Four Percent Crescent Morning

At 239,000 miles away, this Four Percent Crescent Moon is a pretty cool image. Being a fingernail shaped crescent with edges distorted very slightly by the atmosphere. Taken 5:10AM, 7 days prior to it’s being published here. I did manage to finish it the same day, write the narrative your reading and publish it to post today. I’ve built over 1800 of these narratives as of this posting.

Using a terrestrial optic to do astronomic work no mounted to concrete can be wrought with problems. It was windy at the time and my tripod (my truck) was a rocken. (you could knock if you must) This was taken while the 28 inch long camera/lens was resting on my Raptors Drivers Window. No tripod. No sharpening, just as it came out of the camera minus a little crop. This is a full resolution 2×3 feet aspect image. Seeing into the shadow happens occasionally but not on this one. Usually you see it with just a little atmospheric ice acting like a projection screen to the light that is in that shadow. Pretty inky black sometimes.

The best shows are during the lunar eclipses where that dark shadow area is visible in the “earthshine”. Seeing Details on/in Craters still is better right on the “terminator” (where the shadow meets the light). You can see the long shadows better which helps resolve the topography. Contrast is higher at the terminator.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Four Percent Crescent Morning

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Friday Flashback Full Moon

Friday Flashback Full Moon
Friday Flashback Full Moon

Friday Flashback Full Moon

I like to look back 6 months or so every once in a while. It reminds me how much I enjoy the season we are currently in lol.

A January Full Moon Setting (Super Blood Wolf Moon for 2020). Native Americans called the January Moon, the “Wolf Moon” because this full moon occurs in the dead of winter. It’s cold, the ground is frozen, and the prey pickings are slim. Wolves were hungry during this time thus plaintively howled at the moon, their calls frighteningly echoing in villages. A few definitions that apply to this moon….

A Supermoon is one when the moon is at perigee (closest to the earth on it’s elliptical orbit). The moon looks particularly large because it is lol. Blood Moon, Blood moons historically have actually had blood shed under them unfortunately. This has indeed influenced the course of history.

The Blood red that month described from the Lunar Eclipse coincident this Super moon. I did not have a photographic window to the eclipse.😔 Syzyge (SiZ-i jee) … what a wonderful scrabble word. It’s a nifty occurrence though. Conjunctions of 3 celestial objects (sun, earth moon) is an alignment in a straight line). A solar or lunar eclipse when all three are aligned is Syzyge Perigee syzgy… the moon is at perigee AND there is syzygy happening, aligning with the Earth and Sun, It’s termed perigee syzygy, AKA Supermoon.

Now you know as much as I do about the Wolf Moon last January. Most of my images are posted about a week after they are finished so this posts the 24th of July, taken the morning of the 10th of January. IT takes a while for me to dig back into my “Images to finish folder” sometimes. I write these narratives right at a week ahead of their posting. (currently). Keeping up producing 4 finished fine art images a day is a bit of a chore lolol. 📷📷🤘

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

Title: Friday Flashback Full Moon

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Setting Buck Moon Perspective

Setting Buck Moon Perspective
Setting Buck Moon Perspective

Setting Buck Moon Perspective

You can always tell the setting versus the rising moon. Look at the three small bottom craters on the moon lower right. They are pointing to 3 or 4 o’clock. That is a setting moon. The rising moon will have those three craters pointing at 12 o’clock. Another way of knowing is that the “Man in the Moon” is going to sleep laying his head down to the right if so, it is the end of the night. If the “Man in the moon”s face is upright, then it’s a rising moon.

The Buck Moon here is colored by the effect the atmosphere has on the reflected sunlight. I pursue Full Moon still above the horizon with enough light to capture a close stand of Jack Pines for the close / far perspective aspect of this capture. Mostly you get silhouettes doing this with most gear. This particular image was my second of three chances I worked the July 2020 moon. By capture far this has the best color for the moon to wear out on the town for all to see. It is of course a major influence on human behavior, perhaps it’s operating in condition orange like the rest of us down here on earth ☹️ . Some are in Condition Red…..

The moon has been consistent in it’s behavior throughout all historic human issues here on Planet Earth. There are certainties in the universe. I suspect the moon is watching our silliness now with a tear in it’s eye. Regardless… It will be continue acting as it does long after we are gone. 👀 🤔 📷

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

Title: Setting Buck Moon Perspective

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Moon Catching Air Surfing

Moon Catching Air Surfing
Moon Catching Air Surfing

Moon Catching Air Surfing

I follow the moons shadow line on opposite ridges during times like these. Surfing tree to tree. When the sun AND the full moon are both dancing with the horizon occurs rarely. Usually once a month I get one, two or three opportunities to photographically work a 96 percent plus moon face. While the moon is certainly rising while I work, I actively move across the landscape to a proper position.

Here I caught the moon showing off jumping between two trees midair . It was one of those “here, hold my beer” moments. I see the moon messing around on the horizon all the time. While I might muse of his more amusing traits, I certainly respect his position in the scheme of things over time.

I’m not sure why this story came up but I’ll tell it. As the earth ages, the moon is slowly getting further away from us. Like an ice skater throwing his arms out. THere are all sorts of ramifications:

One of world’s oldest living fossils: the chambered Nautilus has a growth ring that is timed by the sun (i.e. one per day). Plus a new chamber timed by the moon (once per lunar month). Back in the Cambrian Period (about 500 million years ago) these Cephalopod fossils have mostly 18 growth rings per chamber. Modern day nautiloids have 28 growth rings per chamber. It isn’t just two end data points either! All through geologic history, including the entire age of dinosaurs to now. The nautilus gains growth rings per chamber in a fairly smooth progression over the many centuries.

This indicates clearly that in the Cambrian life (nearly the oldest fossils of this living calendar found), that a “month” had only about 18 days. For the moon to complete an orbit of the earth this fast, it had to have been much closer to the earth (shorter orbital path). This has all kinds of implications on geologic history when you consider that “earth tides” are synchronized with the moons revolutions around the earth.

All sorts of other effects such as the diurnal deformation of the earth as well as ocean tides are dramatically influenced thusly. If the moon was much closer to the earth in ancient geological times. Much physics would be magnified in it’s effect. That helps explain the past high energy movement of crustal plates, huge orogenic formation of mountains and other earth-building events such as eustasy our ancient geologic past. A closer moon would make for REALLY big tides…. REALLY…

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

Title: Moon Catching Air Surfing

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Buck Moon Cloud Silhouette

Buck Moon Cloud Silhouette
Buck Moon Cloud Silhouette

Buck Moon Cloud Silhouette

Algonquin tribes of what is now the northeastern United States called this full Moon the Buck Moon. Also called the Thunder Moon because of early summer’s frequent thunderstorms. It lived up to the latter name as several thundershowers moved through the area during it’s time full this month. The Europeans call the July Moon the “Hay Moon” for the activities this time of year in the fields. Also coined the “Mead Moon” for the honey gathered in it’s making.

The Silhouette here is a result of a setting Moon settling behind a thick cloud back at the horizon. (Actually the earth is spinning, the horizon rising with the moon relatively stationary but don’t worry about the way things really are 😜 ). All occurring during early morning twilight with it’s dark western sky. Little light was available for the camera to see the cloud. Only a silhouette offered it presence to be known.

The moon being close to the horizon, the atmospheric lens effectively distorting it’s normally sharp edges. This was the color of the moon during this particular encounter with it. The moons color is all about the color of the light making it through the atmosphere to my lens. This weekend provided me 4 weather windows to the moon rise. A different color of disk appeared for each timeline. I have more files to download from this months limited opportunities to catch the full moon low to the horizon. I worked it every opportunity I was given.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands

Title: Buck Moon Cloud Silhouette

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Moon Tree Surfing

Moon Tree Surfing
Moon Tree Surfing

Moon Tree Surfing

I call this Moon/Tree Surfing. Actually it’s me riding the moons “Shadow line” on the opposite parallel ridge. The higher ridge between me and the moon gives me a 500 yard distant foreground with the moon somewhat further behind that. I will drive along these ridges looking for places where the moon thinks he’s not being seen. Unsuspecting…. So I catch him carefully resting on the local vegetation as here. He’s just lifting off as he saw me. He certainly doesn’t need some high plains paparazzi posting his photo in the “Post” sitting down on the job. I me he has a strict schedule to keep and many things rely on the Moon’s time keeper.

From a strictly technical viewpoint, I get to do this kind of daylight illuminated foreground and the moon behind only once a month on average.. Some months the window is closed entirely by weather. Clouds do a good job obscuring what I know is going on behind them. Fortunately this was a very clear evening of July 3rd. The moon appeared full for two sunsets (3rd and 4th) plus a sunrise between. It was definitely a weekend to photograph the moon if you have the gear and the inclination. The air has been clear lately to boot making the “Seeing” on the moon’s surface good enough maybe to get out my big lenses from storage. Humm… 🤔

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

Title: Moon Tree Surfing