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Rain Drop Perspective on Black

Rain Drop Perspective on Black
Rain Drop Perspective on Black

Rain Drop Perspective on Black

This seems such a simple photograph at the inception but there are so many things to write about.

Science: Surface Tension on a freshly waxed surface with pure Wyotana rain water (rare these days). The water droplets without the tendency for hydrogen bonds and dipolar interactions would be all connected in a thin sheet. Instead they take random dome shapes due to the nature of the atomic alignments of water molecules. It’s all about physics and chemistry at the basic level.

Photography: Boy is this a classic example of “Depth of field” of focus. Note the droplets in the middle of the photo are in perfect focus. The droplets in the foreground along with the ones in the background, are OUT of focus. This of course adds to the sense of perspective of Close to Far. A photographer can control how deep/thick that “zone” is by going to the dreaded manual mode. F-stop mostly controls the depth of focus which varies highly within different lenses. Using any telephoto for macros like this gives you this blurry effect at this range (about 3 inches from the center). The focus zone is maybe 3 inches thick in this particular macro.

Art: I don’t do a lot of photography for ARTS sake but I consider this as artsy as I’m going to get this week. I saw the texture and was instantly enthused. The perspective ability of this Sony/Zeiss 90mm macro lens blows me away routinely lolol. I would strongly recommend the platform (Sony Alpha).

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

Title: Rain Drop Perspective on Black

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Nature Obeys Traffic Sign

Nature Obeys Traffic Sign
Nature Obeys Traffic Sign

Nature Obeys Traffic Sign

I have to admit that I need to pay more attention to that sign. All that bird poop on the top of the post is relevant to a photographer. It tells me I need to park nearby with a big long lens for an hour. I bet meadowlarks hang out here.

This is a member of my “Right Turn Clyde” series. These all have a right turn sign involved and nature cooperating with it. The name of course is a reference to the 1978-80 Clint Eastwood movie’s. Those are “Any Which Way you Can” and Any Which Way but Loose”. The Orangutang “Clyde” when told “Right turn Clyde” signals with is huge arm. This usually busting someone in the chin that needs a good punch. Set in Jackson Wyoming at times, a great film but I digress.

So the rainbow was a vibrant one for sure lol. If I ever talk about ridge 2 that is the place I’m referring to. It takes me a few miles of backcountry travel on two track roads to get up there. There must be that pot o’ gold around somewhere…. 😜

The path to the top of that ridge is tortuously bumpy. IT’s not a good path just after it rained either as this rainbow implies. There is too much bentonitic mud (“gumbo”). I try not to destroy two track paths if muddy. I just don’t go out off county roads or well graveled private roads after a rain. Nothing like driving on a knife edge ridge in a pickup after a rain lololol.

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

Title: Nature Obeys Traffic Sign

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Crepuscular Rays from Above

Crepuscular Rays from Above
Crepuscular Rays from Above

Crepuscular Rays from Above

An irregularly shaped cloud cooperated here in this unusual lighting display put on for me here in late June 2020. It had been sprinkling all day with dark evil looking but harmless clouds. Lots of moisture in the air…. My biggest fear is lightning at the moment as this country is dry for the year. Missed the water that day. Fortunately, by means of compensation, the weather provided me this spot lit stage . The 10 miles to the first dark ridge in deep shadow was the hard part to capture with it being quite dark versus the ultra bright clouds. A cameras ability to bring out the dynamic range of a photo is something you want to buy into if your looking for a camera.

This display is an inverted downward “crown sky” (as I call them on my gallery). They are fairly rare while the more typical upward pointed rays at sunset more often are seen. I MIGHT see one a year this well developed. All the water vapor/moisture in the air along with actual precipitation acted to reflect the light to my lens. Of course I have many versions of this and will finish 3 maybe 4 of them. I’ve seen a few of this kind of show over the years. I suspect I could count the number of Crepuscular displays so complete I’ve captured to around a dozen.

Jagged Clouds are responsible for passing light. It’s the wide perspective of that light streaming through the gaps in the clouds that lends it’s fan shaped view to the observer. The phenomena makes it appear as if the sun is a mile or two above the cloud deck. Just follow the angles lolol. I assure you, the sun is a “few” miles up above the clouds. 😜

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

Title: Crepuscular Rays from Above

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Spurge Hawk Moth and Finger

Spurge Hawk Moth and Finger
Spurge Hawk Moth and Finger

Spurge Hawk Moth and Finger

These big moths are active in the day sucking nectar and trying to find Leafy Spurge. They lay their eggs on the noxious weed with the larva destroying the plant as they grow. Devouring it as they develop as it were. I find these guys pretty calm when they just came out from a party night in my refrigerator. (next to a bottle of wine)….. You may discover what works for yourself if your photographing bugs. Many people pin them or Ether them which makes them pretty cooperative but dead. If you refrigerate them just above freezing, they go into suspended animation and really slow down. I usually over night them and work them in the morning light. I always let them go afterward. This typically will give me 5 minutes in the sun with almost any bug with out it flying away.

These guys were released into Canada to control the Leafy Spurge up there. Ignoring the international border, they have done reasonably well spreading around. . This meaning there is plenty of their favorite food. They are not all over the country but mostly in the pacific northwest through the upper great plains.

These are truly elegant moths in the patterning and coloration. A very patient subject too at least until the sun warmed him up. Another one of the species was flying around sipping on garden flowers coterminously with this photoshoot. Kids!

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

Title:Spurge Hawk Moth and Finger

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Dewey Barbed Wire

Dewey Barbed Wire
Dewey Barbed Wire

Dewey Barbed Wire

Oddball images from my work flow across my desktop occasionally. I consider this as rather artsy object oriented photography. I don’t do a lot of these but light is where it is. To coin a classic opening to quite a few classics…. “It was a foggy morning”. Really foggy and the sun was just breaking through from above. Clear(er) blue sky surrounded by golden hour light projecting on the fog… So every spider web, thread and spun silk object had trapped a droplet or two during the night. Pointing the camera right at the sun with only the fog and the Barbed wire to filter out the excessive light, this was the result.

It’s certainly abstract in it’s form but it’s function remains intact if not softened by the gentleness of the water droplet. The microscopic world we usually fail to notice is there regardless of our attention to the detail. Humans are such generalists as a whole. Some look a little closer at times when schedule permits.

Photographic Musings:

Macro lenses just focus REALLY close to things. Most don’t actually magnify. Most are 1X, though you can buy up to a 5X. You need a LOT of light to do any of this well. I was about 3 inches from the droplets. This wire is inches from an adjacent hot electric fence wire….. Hazardous duty certainly. I’ve been shocked many times by electric fences but never through a camera. That would have to be good for the electronics therein. 😜

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

Title: Dewey Barbed Wire

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Wyotana Pistol Training Session

Wyotana Pistol Training Session
Wyotana Pistol Training Session

Wyotana Pistol Training Session

Highest gun sales ever these days…..

Having been certified by the NRA since 1987 as a Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun/HomeDefense instructor. I’ve taught hundreds how to shoot safely personally and in organized class room settings. I’m a currently certified Range officer and past range master/match director of national shooting events. Along the way, I was a Marshal for a few years in a small town where I did more EMT work than cop work. I’m also a decade long commercial FFL/dealer/manufacture of many things firearm related. (I have nothing to sell to civilians sorry so don’t ask please plus I am currently in no position to do classes up here lol. ). The guns and ammo I build are sold by third parties in Gillette so I don’t actually deal with the public.

My point is, as a firearms professional past and present, my advice is to practice/ practice/ practice. Buy what you can manage (control) and don’t underestimate just the presence of a firearm at a bad moment. The problem with showing up to a fight with a gun, is that there is a gun at the fight. Still you need to practice, make things happen automatically…. Learn how to clear jams. How to easily and quickly load magazines. BTW, never ever ever catch a magazine with your free hand. Instead be picking up a fresh one instead for instance. Let the other fall to the floor. Many a person has been found shot with an empty mag in their weak hand. Just saying….

If you don’t have much ammo, draw and dry fire your pistol till your arms ache. Anything you do 3000 times becomes muscle memory. That’s 100 magazines with an AR-15 just to learn the trigger with live ammo. Time to get busy if your not in your top form. Learn how grandpa’s old 45 in the corner loads and works. Now is a good time to learn such things if you don’t already know. Lots of good YouTube videos out there …..

There are many reasons to learn to use a firearm. The most important one is safety. Yours and others your responsible for. A tool in the hands of someone that knows how to use it is a definition of safety. Otherwise not so much. In the three decades I’ve actively carried a live firearm or two, I’ve only had to point them toward a threat as a police officer. I never had to pull the trigger in response to a perceived threat. Things do go into slow motion…..Stress is a big deal, you need to experience it firing a loaded weapon before you do it for real.. Stress kills rational thinking and you make bad decisions. Better to make automatic decisions.

If I were to fear for my life or others and being forced to defend…. I’m pretty sure I have an rather large advantage over someone who hasn’t put millions of rounds down range. Tactical Instruction at the highest levels at some time or another is a lofty goal because… Having an instinctive advantage due to training is a huge deal in a gun fight. Trust me on this. Otherwise your trying to find out where the safety is on a Glock pistol🤔 while someone is giving you reason to need to use it.

As host of the Wyoming Tactical Rifle Championship held here on ranch, I am surrounded by over 300 long metal targets on 4 world class courses out to ranges of 1000+ yards. All because we host the 501C3 non-profit Wyoming Tactical Rifle Championship here (cancelled for this summer). But we have raised in excess of 100K for Wounded Vets and families of same. Firearms are a daily way of life in this country. I have some of the best shooters on the planet come up here to train and learn. I learn and work everyday with/about firearms to one degree or another.

Then again… Most of the locals have been shooting moving coyotes at 300 yards from the back of a moving pickup truck since they were 6 or 7 years old. EVERYBODY has a rifle in their truck here. Many of the surrounding ranchers have been Range Officers at our “shoot” over the last 18 years. They know pretty much what the are doing after a weekend here.

Wyoming Laws enable permit-less open carry and concealed carry in most places. Other surrounding states have concealed carry everywhere by permit but open carry is limited to out of cities. Folks that don’t live in the west don’t understand the pervasiveness of the culture. Your state laws will vary, let’s hope for national concealed weapons permits for truckers traveling across many state lines particularly those that have to go into touchy areas.

If your curious what that pistol is, that’s an STI 2011 in 9mm taken during the WTRC competition in 2019 in live competition. Note how fast it got back on target…. Flat with line of sight and the case is close…. “Flat” shooting….

Everybody wear Glasses and Hearing Protection. Know and follow the rules of safe gun handling please. Clean that firearm and have it ready for use.

Facebook, I am a Type 7-2 FFL/Special Occupational Tax Stamp holder (SOT) Manufacture/Dealer.

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

Title: Wyotana Pistol Training Session

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Pronghorn Fawns 3 Bedded

Pronghorn Fawns 3 Bedded
Pronghorn Fawns 3 Bedded

Pronghorn Fawns 3 Bedded

OK, let’s see how observant you are. Can you see them? Here are three fawns (Triplets) well hidden in about 100 acres of grass and Sweet Clover. The Sweet Clover is getting tall these days. Pronghorn babies effective disappear from view if they lay down. I was literally circling the VERY pregnant Mother and her three foals in my Black Ford Raptor. I stay well back, have been seen maybe 100 times by the mother, and she wasn’t worried. The fawns seeing me for the first time, were skiddish at first. The lack of concern of the mother to my presence soon calmed the three and they were playing to their hearts content. Generally they stayed close to each other but would wander from their mother a bit. Getting the three of them photographed with their mother proved to be challenging.

So have you found all three yet? The ONLY reason I could find these guys is I was following them in the lens and they literally disappeared one by one. No where to be seen. Only with very careful searching with a 1200 mm lens finally found them. Indeed located in the general area they vanished in. I was very luck to find them. I had no interest in getting close to them as I have found that if I push animals, they don’t let me get close next time. Finally I drove away from this group. They remained bedded upon my leaving. Their mother grazing near by. They never panic’d during my visit as Pronghorn are prone to do. It’s all a matter of familiarity and trust earned. Wild Pronghorn are not the most patient of beasts in my experience lolol.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands Wyotana

Title: Pronghorn Fawns 3 Bedded

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Emergency Stimulus Check

Emergency Stimulus Check
Emergency Stimulus Check

Emergency Stimulus Check

Let me start out by saying every number on this check but the date and amount has been changed for this image. . I didn’t take a great amount of time doing it perfectly either lol. That would have taken some time. None of the routing or account numbers are even close to the original. This is “Basically” how the original looked but is as much as I would mess with such things. Illusion… Strictly VOID

Just reporting that the Economic Impact Check to compensate us for ….. what ever….. arrived. It just was deposited into a cloud funds that generally run the ranch. We are building a second greenhouse for about the same money as this check. So maybe that project was funded by this. Growing food with this funding is leveraging the funds. Those gardens will produce value for many years.

As a photographer, this would BARELY buy a good professional camera back for instance let alone a purchase lens with it. Parents, you want to get your kids into either photography OR firearms. Both shoot things, are a similar hand eye coordination skill sets. Even better, they cost a lot of money to play. They will never have money for drugs if you start them young on either “hobby”. Just saying.

So at any rate, I’m building a small above ground (for a change) greenhouse. I’m starting to engage a local hardware store buying posts/panels/wood chips/mulch/PVC and I suspect I will spend “Stimulus Check” much before the project is done. It’s growing vegi’s now. We all need to start producing stuff guys….. Collectively we can win this. Food I grow is food I don’t have to buy from the system freeing up food for others.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands

Title: Emergency Stimulus Check

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Meadowlark on Ranch Gate Silhouette

Meadowlark on Ranch Gate Silhouette
Meadowlark on Ranch Gate Silhouette

Meadowlark on Ranch Gate Silhouette

A neighbors ranch gate to their main entry nicely ornate with a plasma cut piece of soft steel. Rusted to a nice tan patina during the day. The gateway having stood for around 20 years to my recollection. Ranches take great pride in their entrances.

The Meadowlark on this 2:1 image aspect capture was VERY cooperative. I kept thinking he would fly away as I did adjust my position a few times. Movement after you stop is not well tolerated by Meadowlarks. They take flight (usually) as you try to adjust your position for a proper composition. This time it was not so flighty. I figure it was watching the sunset with the rest of us. I’m thinking he was unaware of the stampede occurring right under his nose.

This image meant as a diptych work of course. The timing for sunset at this particular point in space and time was a matter of just being there with a camera capable of working in this high light environment. It’s hard to understand but this light envelope was a bright sun behind a thick cloud veil. All taking place at sunset. It was an amazing occurrence to have a meadowlark sit for me to light up a composition like this lol. I’m sure it’s something “Sneaky Pete” arranges but I may never know….😜🤘

Location: Entrance to the ranch “next door” of the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands. (Wyotana)

Title: Meadowlark on Ranch Gate Silhouette

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Forest Fire Smoke Plume

Forest Fire Smoke Plume
Forest Fire Smoke Plume

Forest Fire Smoke Plume

It has been a very dry year starting about January and we are well below normal at our location. I was sorry to see this as I climbed up to a local high point looking from Wyoming to Montana across the border. This old seeder has been a star of many a close / far perspective in my portfolio. You have to admire it’s view (in all directions). That far ridge of mountains is about 50 miles distant from the antique planter as is the forest / range fire burning on the back side of the Red Hills.

So I wonder in the scheme of things how this seeder has avoided being burned on the range during it’s tenure on site. There have been significant grass fires. Some burned free until the first snows in the country. More so at the beginning of the last century than later through the 1940’s. Locals have fought grass and timber fires for generations. I have fought my share and spent days driving the ranches M813 Military 5 ton truck outfitted with 1000 gallon of water with a couple of 1.5 inch hoses off the fire pump. I primarily do the driving these days. Mostly grass fires under my belt. My fire rig fits poorly between trees lolol. I’ll do tanker duty though for the smaller rancher rigs on pickup truck. Done that a few times.

I didn’t have to use my fire truck last year. The year before was a few times. One summer was horrible in my past here for local fires. We were up the hills after thunderstorms to look for plumes and knock down the fire fast. This summer is tender dry with not much falling as I type this. Some weather is coming through the region so we will see how the dice roll.

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

Title: Forest Fire Smoke Plume

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Electric Meadowlark Singing a Song

Electric Meadowlark Singing a Song
Electric Meadowlark Singing a Song

Electric Meadowlark Singing a Song

Power poles are rare in this country but Meadowlarks not so much. This is the last leg of the last line in the state. I’m thinking the next closest power line is 3 miles away from here. That one is for an oil well. Meadowlarks feel a little more “cocky” up 35 feet in the air. They must have quite a view from up there. I’m thinking he chose it for a perch to sing his song to the world. It is effectively what he did anyway lol.

These singers of the prairie are state birds for 6 different western US states. Their melody fills the slow window open drives I take on the high ridges. All my bird encounters are random with me coming up on them typically. Rarely I’ll be watching some other scene or animal with them flying in to photobomb my images. Never trying to miss an opportunity, I capture them when I see them with my photon traps. Close up Meadowlark encounters are not really very common. They are fairly flighty.

Photographic Musings:

I’m always amazed at the details the long lenses pick up so far away. I was focusing on the bird. The bolts are this side of the thin depth of focal field are JUST out of focus. That is just seriuosly splitting hairs with the focus lol. Working low F-stop has it’s benefits and costs but it lets you gain light on the 3 way lighting teeter totter that a manual camera is. Late very Red Golden Hour lighting. Minutes from sunset.

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

Title: Electric Meadowlark Singing a Song

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Pileus Cloud over Cumulonimbus

Pileus Cloud over Cumulonimbus
Pileus Cloud over Cumulonimbus

Pileus Cloud over Cumulonimbus

This was a very Late afternoon “Golden hour”. Clouds all illuminated of the west side of a huge growing Mesocyclone. The Sun had already set where I was standing even on a high hill top. . The lower part of this cloud is in the shadow of the horizon as well. I was miles out on that high ridge from the homestead watching a huge storm in the distance when I noticed the “hat” on the top. The amount of energy tied up in these massive spinning monsters is amazing. The 60 mile across storm was growing stronger as it traveled away from me. It was visibly growing taller as well. 

The Science of this: 

Pileus Clouds are also called “cap” clouds or “Scarf” clouds. They typically are short lived. Usually the climbing cumulonimbus absorbs them. Only occasionally seen only over strong updrafts. THe change caused a dew point tripping phase change. Flashing vapor to condensation droplets. The appropriate changes in either Temp/pressure/humidity can cause the condensation. 

Personally I’ve only seen them once before. I didn’t have a camera with the legs to reach out and capture their essence. Rule number one of Photography is (Have a camera). Rule number one subsection 2 (1.2) is have the right lens on the camera to get close to what you want in the frame. This was a 1200mm on a full frame mirrorless Sony Alpha 7R4. This is about 10 miles distant. 

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands. 

Title: Pileus Cloud over Cumulonimbus

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Meadowlark Right Turn Clyde

Meadowlark Right Turn Clyde
Meadowlark Right Turn Clyde

Meadowlark Right Turn Clyde

If you remember the Clint Eastwood films like “Any Which Way You can”, the upon the command “Right Turn Clyde”, the Orangutan would “signal” a right turn. Usually punching someone in the face (who deserves it of course). Well this capture is one of a continuing series of my snaps involving right turn signs. This was just too fun not to publish.

I actually pay attention if there is or isn’t little piles of bird poop on top of signs. I make mental notes which posts and sign poles are well used. As I drive around, I watch well ahead at the next high point perch. Just looking around to see who is (or is not) there. Sometimes I can drive right up on birds enjoying the high king of the local “hill” vantage point. In a grassy field of a square mile area, a single sign post can be quite an attractant to the local avian cadre.

I saw this Meadowlark WELL ahead. Carefully approached to stop as close as I dare (in my Ford F150 Raptor). I have to turn about 45 degrees minimum in the roadway for a photo. All to be able to point a long lens at something. More times than not I just pull into the ditch off the road. Almost every image I take from the road has a “Right Turn Clyde” component involved. Usually it’s necessary for me to line up the shot.

There will be more Right Turn Clyde images in the series. They happen more than you might think lolol.

Title: Meadowlark Right Turn Clyde

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Turtle Butte Volcanic Eruption

Turtle Butte Volcanic Eruption
Turtle Butte Volcanic Eruption

Turtle Butte Volcanic Eruption

A volcano blows up on the border of Wyoming / Montana. Here we are 40 miles from the closest historic Volcanic Field and those haven’t gone off for a LONG time. I wake up to shaking the other morning and much to my surprise, was a local pyramidal hillock that was blowing it’s top. The steam was rising, the cauldron boiling. I anticipate pyroclastic flows, lahars, glowing red hot clouds and other volcanic manifestations similar to what buried Pompeii. Ash should start falling any moment. Maybe “Sneaky Pete” the windmill will save the day and blow the ash away… Back to my normal programming: OK, this is NOT a volcano.

A simple sedimentary sandy remnant, Turtle butte has great aspirations. But Alas I suspect turning into a cinder cone volcano is not going to come about in the scheme of things. If this were really a volcano, I’d set up an outdoor hot dog and marsh mellow stand for the tourists. I mean based on buffalo encounters at other volcanos, they like to get close to things a tad out of their league.  I wonder why it’s called “Turtle Butte”? 😜

The Volcanic Fields regionally are several and spread in various time periods. Some being of serious world wide significance. Yellowstone of course is widely known as a “Super Volcano” the explosion of which would create a rough few centuries afterwards. There are many smaller volcanic complexes of various ages around the region. A pipe here, a sill there. The 16 or so million year history of Yellowstone starting out in Washington / Oregon culminating with a hot spot in Wyoming/Montana/Idaho. The Snake River Plain showing the path of the hotspot and a sequence of volcanic calderas across the continental scale landscape over that interval. That is a whole different scale of event for another time.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Butte

Title: Turtle Butte Volcanic Eruption

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Old Man North Wind

Old Man North Wind
Old Man North Wind

Old Man North Wind

I laughed out loud and then took dozens of images in all sorts of frame compositions. I liked this particular capture the best. There are several very good cloud creatures in this image. The hoot is the face on the upper gray cloud. The north wind as it were … Oscar Wilde’s fairy tale” The Selfish Giant (1888) exemplifies the North Wind as a man who “was wrapped in furs. He roared all day. I’ve always pictured him in my minds eye as a grey old guy… here he is caught on camera.

I thought as this was taken, it was an exercise in futility for the old guy. It was early June and 80+ degree days are already past us. My sense of normalcy was safe or so I thought. Of course it’s snowing in the mountains as I type this now. Looks like the old fellow got his way after all. I have seen snow in every calendar month of the year in the 30 years I’ve lived in Wyoming. I now have garden crops in and am hoping we will avoid the worst of the old North Winds effects.

Meanwhile on the rest of the image here overlooking both Montana and Wyoming. I’m also imagining a swan diving it’s head under the surface of a frothy ponds below the old guy. Pareidolia takes no captives and gives no quarter. If you have it, and don’t take definitive action to turn away, your likely to see all sorts of anthropomorphic shapes in clouds. If you do have this tendency, welcome to the club of us “suffering” from this malady.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands.

Title: Old Man North Wind

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Lookout Butte Volcano Illusion

Lookout Butte Volcano Illusion
Turtle Butte Volcano Illusion

Lookout Butte Volcano Illusion

Exactly on the Wyoming / Montana border, this Volcano simmers at behest of forces beyond our control. This of course is a satire and illusion of a volcano created naturally by a confluence of events and my position.

I love the long distance perspective of a properly involved deck of clouds colorcast by Alpenglow. These are real colors not unknown in this remote high country. The 180 mile long cloud deck positioned above a clear icy window to the sun. Our “volcano”, called Lookout Butte has a commanding view from the top as it’s name suggests. Being an “Insulberg” (google this), it has few characteristics resembling a Cinder Cone Volcano but for it’s shape. All form and no substance passing for an event of geologic significance in this fleeting moment. The chances of a thick layer of clouds across the sky lining up with the top is not terribly high so I cheat and move. The levers my ability to get just the right angle. The ability to move quickly from place to place is really useful for this kind of opportunistic photography. 👀

I don’t always work sunrise, but when I do, I always like a simulated volcano going off in the photo.😜. Illuminated by a dynamic gradient of long traveled cinema quality light, the actors of the stage show have a huge projection screen to perform under. Sometimes dramatic plays happen overhead taking over an hour from start to finish. I have a tough job watching entire sunsets and sunrises as they mutate from second to second.🕺 This show was the directors cut. 📸

I might take 800 photos of a particular sunrise as this. Maybe 2 or 3 images from the twilight will be finished. All the images from the timeline that morning but with different frames were equally as dramatic. Skies as above are rare but the high ridges I work have their share.

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

Title: Lookout Butte Volcano Illusion

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Perspective Fish Eye Tower

Perspective Fish Eye Tower
Perspective Fish Eye Tower

Perspective Fish Eye Tower

Taken up on the ranch communications tower….. We have to get internet from somewhere now don’t we lolol. Having built this about 12 years ago, I maintain a couple of radio repeaters as our ranch business band radio plus the local 2 meter repeater to the local Ham radio network.

To start with let me say I don’t work with Canon Cameras too much any more but I pulled a 3 year old Canon M50 off the shelf and put a 8mm VERY VERY VERY wide Fisheye lens on it. If you can find one, they are a wonderful camera to learn on. Mirrorless cameras are WAY easier to learn as What You See is What You Get (WYSIWYG) is the game.

The clouds were patchy with a deep blue sky above. The sun had set but the clouds above were still bright enough to register. Your looking at pretty much of the entire sky here. The old Canon M50 is a wonderful camera but has a smaller image sensor. I use all “Full Frame” (larger image sensor) Sony Alpha 7 series currently and can’t even buy a wider lens than 10 mm for the platform. I would if it were there to buy.

Lenses that are so wide tend to compress the image on the edges. The Image is right at 180 degrees wide at the corners. That is VERY wide for a single image.

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

Title: Perspective Fish Eye Tower

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Might Be Pregnant Think?

Might Be Pregnant Think?
Might Be Pregnant Think?

Might Be Pregnant Think?

It is fairly unusual for a Pronghorn of any sex to walk toward the camera directly. This one is a doe. I can count on one hand the number of images I have even similar to this posture. Mostly visiting photographers see their butts heading out. Oddly, she was literally walking directly toward me for some distance. Must be near sighted… Or that Black pickup looked like an angus lol.

I would indicate though that if there isn’t triplets in there, I’d say she is going to have quads. Technically this might be the biggest “Fastest” land animal in North America. She might have been a little not fast enough last fall. I will tell you with certainty that she is not as quick as she was last year before that Buck got involved. I’m really not sure if she is aware of the fact that that “coat makes her butt look big”. I’m not going to tell her. A professional has to maintain appropriate relationships with photographic subjects after all.😇📷

I see so many Pronghorn each year I can’t keep track of individual does but this one seems familiar with me anyway. She looks pretty scraggly but that is only because she is shedding in clumps of fur. She’s perfectly healthy. Most Pronghorn in cattle country have big chunks of hair off their back as going under barbed wire fences at 30 mph has it’s draw “backs”. I’ve seen those scars get infected before but it’s not that common such that it kills them from it. It’s only known in the Presidential “Book of Secrets” why they prefer to go under fencing rather than over like every other ungulate in North America. 😜👀

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

Title: Might Be Pregnant Think?

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Frosty Lake Scene

Frosty Lake Scene
Frosty Lake Scene

Frosty Lake Scene

Compositional ART but I did nothing to the image other than clean it up a bit. Oh, and I rotated the image 80 degrees. Originally it was randomly oriented. On the window pane to the artificial horizon created by tilting the camera. This was a pre-dawn window scene on a cool/frosty late April morning with a distant yard light providing the illusionary moon behind the trees. This forest scene is full of fractal frost trees with their “reflection” on a 2 dimensional surface (window pane). The 3 Dimensional perspective was apparent in the lens of this very small portion of a window. This image covers no more than an inch wide area. This hopefully will be the last frost image from this year until October. 🤔📷

Photographic Musings… Little things:

There is so much to take images of in the macro world of ultra close focus lenses. Most “Macro” lenses don’t magnify per se. Only considered 1X, their main ability is to focus VERY closely. There are Camera lens macro’s that go up to 5X but you need a LOT of light to make that work. I note that any of the “unusual” Chinese manufactured macro lenses you might want, you might want to get shortly….. Just saying.. 😔

Rarely do I use a tripod in my own house. For this moment, there was very little light for this. To get that light back, several seconds of time exposure eliminates hand held free wheeling with a camera. I use 4 different Macro lenses. Each for different purposes being tools in my kit. This was a Sony/Zeiss 90mm Macro on a Sony Alpha 7RII camera body. Simply shadowed by an LED sidelight for the depth. The bokeh effect on the yard light is prismatic too lol. I noticed the rainbow only in processing the file on the big screen. I usually don’t miss color like that. …. Some diffraction by the ice going on. Seeing the potential of that light then aligning it to the scene was the goal. 😜

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

Title: Frosty Lake Scene

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Perspective Wagon Box Side

Perspective Wagon Box Side
Perspective Wagon Box Side

Perspective Wagon Box Side

Textures are revealed within the grain of the 80+ year old weathered wood. The Old Buck wagon is holding a place of honor (in his mind) a mile out from our homestead in our “boneyard”. It shares residence there with a host of other ranch utilitarian items deemed too important a resource to bury. The custom of the early days of pioneering in this country was typically to toss broken / un-fixable things into a nearby gully and call it good. Cracked cast iron with a mix of glass bottles in the mix. Some of the latter I do find intact from a known 1930’s homestead long since gone.

I’ve found abandoned two track roads leading to collapsed dug out houses in this country. Many have come before us in this high harsh ridge line environment. Life is easier down in the river valleys. Land was relatively free far from the electric grid and telephone in this remote high ground in the backcountry of Wyotana. Wagons as this were a critical technology that provided a lifeline to civilization. Providing ultimately all the products broken and discarded into the aforementioned nearby gully.

These wheels turned until they didn’t. Existing parked here a decade of decades. Now cattle rub against it, eventually breaking each and every piece of this historic relic. Living on a ranch in a semi-arid “steppe” environment preserves wood. Living with cattle on the ranch, destroys wood. The steel fittings last on. Wood to dust, steel to rust is the way of things.

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

Title:Perspective Wagon Box Side

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Rattle Snake Ridge Twilight

Rattle Snake Ridge Twilight
Rattle Snake Ridge Twilight

Rattle Snake Ridge Twilight

With the addition of a single brush stroke thusly a forked tongue. The silhouette comes to life as the original namers of this landform imagines. I See that rattle snake certainly. Now the story is that a rattle snake den was blown up there in the 1970’s by the owner of our ranch that apparently enjoyed the use of dynamite. In the 1970’s if you owned land in Wyoming/Montana you could easily obtain dynamite for moving stumps, breaking rocks or any other legal purpose. I’m pretty sure it’s fairly difficult to obtain. Just the storage requirements would cost 6 grand (educated estimate).

The problem with Pareidolia (seeing shapes from random data) is that it is often multif-acted and complex. The snake head silhouette could also be a sedan doing a “burn out” spinning it’s tires smoke trailing behind. So many perceived shapes in random silhouettes. The shark above the snake’s head in the clouds actually has teeth under it’s snout. I can also imagine several variations of the upper dark clouds too but I’ll leave the rest for you to sort out in your own anthromorphizing moments.

The twilight that night from a veiled cloud was just adding layers of makeup to an already golden/orange alpenglow evening. We get alpenglow every month of the year as frozen ice in the atmosphere is fairly common in this region. There are BIG sunsets/Sunrises in Wyotana sharing both Montana AND Wyoming skies.

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

Title: Rattle Snake Ridge Twilight

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Roots on the Backcountry Ridges

Roots on the Backcountry Ridges
Roots on the Backcountry Ridges

Roots on the Backcountry Ridges

How to fill a frame? How about a look through a very delicate highly weathered antique root system. A long time ago, this tree went down a hill riding a landslide. The ride tipped it over exposing it’s still covered/intact root ball. That ball preserved all the Pine Trees finer parts of it’s root system within it’s embrace. Having grown in soft sand (more or less), the tree’s roots shortly were exposed by rain / freezing / thawing. One grain at a time blowing or falling off that ball slowly exposing the anastomosing forms / connections once under soil.

Being located upon a steep slope with unsure footing surely keeps cattle away from rubbing on these delicate root structures. I don’t know how old the tree is but in this dry climate, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 100 year old piece of “Prairie Driftwood”. That’s 100 years AFTER it died. There is nothing on the surface of the slope to indicate more than a slight amount of excess sandy sediment. There is no other way to explain the delicate nature of this. Vegetation quickly naturalized surfaces when disturbed in sandstone country. This is indeed sandstone country. All the soils here developed from the sandy river deposits left behind while the last of the dinosaur were walking about the land. I’m as likely to find a dinosaur bone as I am a scene like this.

I’d take a photo of either 😜📷

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Roots on the Backcountry Ridges

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Polarized Light Feather Filter

Polarized Light Feather Filter
Polarized Light Feather Filter

Polarized Light Feather Filter

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

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

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

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

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

Title: Polarized Light Feather Filter

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Powder River Training Complex

Powder River Training Complex
Powder River Training Complex

Powder River Training Complex

We live under the Powder River Flight Training Complex. It’s a huge area of South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming used by the U.S. Airforce to work out their rigs. A couple of times a year I see strange contrails during sunrise and sunset. Usually it’s without a long lens camera ready to rock in my hands. 🤔 (Rule one of photography is “Have a camera handy”.

These planes do a variety of maneuvers to train the crews that fly towards the sound of war… Obviously this plane (in clouds?) did a downward spiral at altitude only to recover still well about the hard deck. I’ve had a lot of encounters with the monster pieces of technology while living here. This capture is an unusual one every for living in the shadow of military activity over my place now and again. Ellsworth AFB is located just outside of Box Elder, South Dakota but think Rapid City. Without a doubt military is the largest employer in the region. Statistics show it the second largest employer in the state of South Dakota.

“Providing rapid, decisive and sustainable combat air power and expeditionary combat support, the 28th Bomb wing is assigned to 12th Air Force under Air Combat Command. As home to the B-1B, the 28th Bomb Wing provides operational support in many areas.” Hu Raaaa Tip of the Spear. 🤘

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

Title: Powder River Training Complex

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Sun Slit Islands of Light

Sun Slit Islands of Light
Sun Slit Islands of Light

Sun Slit Islands of Light

A little Science this PM..

This silhouette “halfie” (almost) caught my attention for the extreme stepped gradient around the sun. I call these bow waves and don’t see them live real time very often. They are in reality natural diffraction artifacts from the thin slit in the clouds that the sun light is passing through. Ripples…. When light (or electromagnetic waves) passes through a thin slit shaped window, lightwaves ripple like water. The Physics of this moment should not be discounted. The slit was very thin, precisely what one needs for this natures “experiment”. The mind of the guy that figured this stuff out (Huygen) was right up there with the best. “Huygen diffraction” would be a good google search for you for continuing education on this. Constructive/Distructive interference of waves is the discussion which is lengthly. I’d never get it past my grammer checker (Nazi SS training in that program trying to explain all that) lololol.

So the bow wave here is literally Ripples around the Island of Light that the Sun’s Disk represents in this metaphor. Capturing ripples of light that are natural is hard and fairly rare. Note: I could do this in the digital darkroom very easily but this one is the real thing. Not a digital color shadow radius artifact. The whole discussion lies about the cloud “slit” which is the initiator of the diffraction process that provides this variable gradient around the sun. If you have a gradient like this with a complete sun, it’s the result of an artifact within the digital dark room treatment the artist (at that point) is using on his previously raw photo. (unedited photo=raw photo out of the camera). This capture is entirely unedited or I would have had landscape detail down in that black negative space.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana

Title: Sun Slit Islands of Light

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BIG SCARY LIGHTNING BOLT

BIG SCARY LIGHTNING BOLT
BIG SCARY LIGHTNING BOLT

BIG SCARY LIGHTNING BOLT

I used to do stupid things like go up in the back yard to watch a rain/thunder storm come in at midnight. This was indeed less intelligent than my IQ would indicate my choices might be. Apparently somewhat risk adverse at the time, I was actually driving my Polaris Ranger Crew UTV which while it has a metal roll cage, had a plastic roof. This bolt woke me right up and could have put me right to sleep lol.

Doing a LOT of lightning shots every summer, I ordered “Clever Girl” (my Ford F-150 Raptor) from the factory WITHOUT a sunroof for a reason. IT’s always good to have metal between you and the storm.

Isolated from ground currents probably in the vehicle on rubber…Better than being on foot…. Having said that… I would not like to be under or even closer to that bolt. It felt like an artillery shell being launched. That along with the benefit of being blinded at the same time. Flash bang less than 1 second…

The old “Steel Yard” on the ranch is actually Over that hill. It consists about 1/4 acre of various antique farm implement parts and pieces with a lot of metallic objects. It is roughly 1/4 mile past that ridge line. I suspect the bolt hit a sharp edge there as moist drainage is also over there. I suspect that is where the ground currents went as I noted the sudden lack of Jack Rabbits down there after that too.

That was a very hard core strike from the incoming storm. It was time to go inside which I did post hast having learned my lesson. I’m much more careful now days but working on your porch is about the same thing as the Polaris with the fiberglass window into the metal roof overhead. Inside a vehicle or inside a house with a proper grounding ring around it. Never touch metal in your vehicles during a storm….

Photographic Musings:

This is a 25 second time exposure in pitch black around midnight. Long time exposures at night have unintended consequences. Red and blue colors make pink with both colors being enhanced. The silly long exposure at least with my Sony Alphas give me these hues. I can’t see the real scene of a long exposure on the screen of the Sony to argue with it. This is just a close estimate by the camera of the scene. I just saw a flash… What colors are put out by lightning? All colors…..there was some ambient light from our ranch pole lights too messing the colors up….

Why time exposure? You get multiple bolts with a 25 second or so exposure, ISO 125, f4 to start with… Work from there moving your f stop up a click each shot to adjust to the ambient light conditions as necessary. Review the images for results and pick your poison for the duration of the storm.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch ,Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: BIG SCARY LIGHTNING BOLT

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French Poodle or Gorilla ?

French Poodle or Gorilla ?
French Poodle or Gorilla ?

French Poodle or Gorilla ?

If you look at the left side of this and let your imagination go… a french poodle begging… On the right side, a Gorilla looking fierce. Or if you want to really let your imagination go. I see 11 other faces in that rising cumulous cloud. (soon to be a thunderstorm as there was a LOT of lift in the air that day. Many of these thermals grew into big storms that hit to our east. .

Seeing faces in clouds or other natural scenes is termed: Pareidolia. Historically this tendency diagnosed one with psychotic symptoms/ “abnormal”. Now we are teaching computers to do it for facial recognition purposes. Making familiar patterns out of random data is a common “affliction”. It’s not just clouds of course. Hearing hidden messages in music is a similar effect. Any pattern the human mind creates out of literally random data is symptomatic.

Of course the state of medical/psychological science has improved a tad from those early days. I consider them sprits in the sky. This was caught glancing back behind me to the south won a warm evening is a good habit. Many photographers get tunnel vision working sunsets and forget to glance around. The back shows are often better than the main sunset if your chasing light like I do. I suffer horribly from this mental disease seeing faces and animals in almost every scene I look at. Some days it’s worse than others though lolol. 😜👀📸

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

Title: French Poodle or Gorilla ?

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All Work and No Play

All Work and No Play
All Work and No Play

All Work and No Play

Makes Frank a Dull Boy of course. I was cruising the back woods of the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch and came upon these two titans fighting for dinner. One wanting dinner and the other not wanting to be dinner. Not to be one to intrude on important negotiations, I just too the image.

Since Triceratops is found in the fossil record at over 50 percent of the fossil content and T-rex only at 3 percent, conclusions: There were 15 times the number of Triceratops walking around than there were T-rex. We don’t know for sure if Triceratops herded as a group. A group/row of nose, brow and shield horns were formidable but not a match for the speed and power of the bird like predator.

I say bird like because T-rex was a member of the dinosaurian raptorian group. You may remember Velociraptor from Jurassic Park the movie. T-rex is related to the “Avian Dinosaurs” in many ways. They are often drawn now with feathers in patches by educated paleontologic artists. Bone structure, the way the bones fit together, their respiratory system are all very very very birdlike…

Dinosaurs didn’t die out at the end of the Cretaceous as is widely believed. The avian dinosaur lived on slowly loosing tail and teeth developing into those familiar birds flying about our skies. Occasionally those repressed gene will express itself and say a hen will get teeth. The tail is in the chickens genes too. It’s a matter of proper timing during embryonic development. Any doubt, just watch a Great Blue Heron Hunt….

We actually do have dinosaurs up here but they aren’t moving very fast. The Cretaceous Hell Creek/Lance formation(s) are dinosaur fossil rich. Not JUST dinosaur here of course. There are fossils of snails, clams, amphibians, fish, crocs, alligators, turtles and even a few small mammals represented in these old terrestrial river sands. Currently the ranch collection holds in excess of 10K fossil specimens.

(Note just so you know, Grass during the dinosaur era was JUST developing in India first during the Cretaceous. It spread around the world but not untill later. They didn’t have bamboo forests)…

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

Title: All Work and No Play

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Two Trees Trapping the Sun

Two Trees Trapping the Sun
Two Trees Trapping the Sun

Two Trees Trapping the Sun

When ever I point a really long lens directly into the sun, I’m going to get either Burnt Umber or Crimson colors. The latter was gifted to me here. You have to realize that no one knows what this would look like because you would be blinded to stare into such a scene. Using a 28 inch long lens to crush the perspective of about a mile distance from the tree pair. Shutting the camera down to light leads to all sorts of interesting effects. (mostly diffractions).

Obviously those two trees (Ents) were up to no good. Catching the sun like that trying to keep it all to themselves. Fortunately the sun had the state of mind to sneak out the back and disappear behind the ridge. The two didn’t have a clue how it got away but no matter how many times they try this, it never seems to slow down the sun very much. IT still rises more or less on time every day. Imagine if a whole forest did this at one time… think it might slow it down?

I work in a wondrous world of parallel ridges that when very mobile, allows me to find events like this to point my camera toward. By being able to move up and down topography quickly extends my ability to find such scenes. It is a truism that topography is my master. 10 feet lower, and the sun would be below the horizon, 20 feet higher and it wouldn’t be in the trees but above. Location, Location, Location…

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

Title: Two Trees Trapping the Sun

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Deer Mother Daughter and Sun

Deer Mother Daughter and Sun
Deer Mother Daughter and Sun

Deer Mother Daughter and Sun

The mother deer/fawn were aware of my presence and I of theirs. She took the initiative upon my presentation of a long lens out of my vehicles window. Getting deer to cooperate with me in the backcountry where I come into their domain is difficult at times. Finding myself down slope with a deer family ridge lined between me and the sun is less than a common event. Though I must admit that my travels tend to promote such encounters. I’m thinking they weren’t quite as thrilled as I was lol.

The fawn here with mother leading caught in a during a later golden hour. Earlier they were up higher on the ridge watching the sun go down with me. I was able to maneuver way below them set up about 200 yards out and Click JUST as they started moving lolol. ….

She is pregnant of course with this years new fawn. The yearling trailing will be cut loose as soon as the birth occurs. Then it will be on it’s own…There is a whole little deer melodrama playing out pretty much all year but you really have to watch and pay attention to see it happening. These yearling start small and work their way up the ladder to eventually run a small herd of gals.

Disclaimer: To say this was a very bright scene would be an understatement. The human eye couldn’t have looked at this for more than a fraction of a second. Certainly don’t try this with your DSLR camera. I use mirrorless full frame cameras that won’t blind you as your watching video with no straight to your eye light path. Some mirrorless cameras could get a spot melted on their chips if they aren’t rated for this so know your gear. I use Sony alpha 7 of various models with no problem. Just never even point a mirrorless camera into the sun without maximum f-stop for the lens selected as a starter. Don’t fry your eyes or your gear pointing a camera into the sun please.

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

Title: Deer Mother Daughter and Sun