During the smoky days of the summer of 2019 we only had a few weeks of forest fires giving us red/umber sunsets up here in the
high backcountry of the Montana/Wyoming borderlands north of Gillette Wyoming. The Rim of the Powder River Basin immediately to our west and western Edge of the Wyoming Black Hills at my doorstep easterly. We have 180 mile horizon to horizon views here.
I live and work in this environment if you don’t know me or follow me yet.
The Bliss Dinosuar Ranch sits on a series of high ridges high above the surrounding drainage here on the Montana/Wyoming border literally. We are 70 miles from the nearest 3 color stoplight here but there is a 4 way red 50 miles away🤣
I prefer to drive in the backcountry on two track roads which I do about 10 miles of day of. I encounter many strange beasties and beautiful scenery along the way.
I usually have 6 or 7 camera/lens options with me and hopefully I’m able to capture just a tad of the little zen like things I see everywhere up here.
I run a network 26 Game Trail Camera (s) and I caught this burglar the other night. You would be amazed at the quality I can tweek out of some of the cameras. This is a 30 megapixel B+W version at midnight during a new moon (no light). Amazing stuff from the technology. Pitch black. Good capture. I have about 15 of this kind of camera up and running. I won’t endorse any of them though as they all do something different. Different tools all.
I took out the “White eye” effect from the Infra-red light used here in the digital darkroom. I hope that doesn’t offend you. I remove stuff like that because they are artifacts of the technology, not the way the scene would have looked to me . (I probably could see the back of my hand in that light lolol).
Yup, those are stars in the sky. It’s as dark up in this remote part of the borderlands of Wy/Mt as the north Atlantic Ocean according to NOAA published maps. Seeing stars on game trail cameras? He had to be absolutely frozen still when this shot went off or he would have blurred. This is a fairly long exposure. No question he was a statue frozen by the sound of the camera setting up lolol.
Location: way out in the backcountry, Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands
I came upon these two bucks swinging to the sound of my Jeep thumping I think. A backcountry square dance so to speak…
They were all about who was boss at that moment and I was lucky enough to catch it. This is the only time I’ve ever seen this behavior in White Tail deer and I’m with them all the time. I got a pretty good sequence of photos of this but this is the second where I had two deer on two feet between them.
They did this for about 30 seconds by my time warped memory and photographic timeline. I just happened to have a 1200mm lens handy all set up for wildlife out the window of my Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The Lone Tree watching with less than “One minute to Sunrise” has seen thousands of such sights. I struggle to catch but a few in my photon capture boxes. It’s all where you spend most of your time. It’s got me beat up on that ridge🤔
This is still a night sky being in twilight before sunrise.
Yesterday morning in the Wetlands watching Sunrise directly on the Montana with Wyoming border north of Gillette Wyoming. It is 70 miles to the nearest 4 way 3 color stop light from this spot and several miles from the nearest county road. It’s a nice place to spend the dawn this time of year. With the mosquito population knocked down and a lot of the grass has been knocked down by the heavy wet snow blanket that fell Oct 1. It’s relatively easy to get around with low water in October in this wetland area.
This spot is literally 1/2 way between the Equator and the North Pole at precisely 45 degrees north latitude (the Montana/Wyoming border too).🤔 We are also about 120 miles from the geographic center of the North American continent. You couldn’t get much further from an Ocean than this spot….literally lol. No local “Red Lobster” . It’s a good thing I have all this Cretaceous Hell Creek/Lance Formation Dinosaur Bearing Sandstones all over the place covering the ranch to keep me feeling like I’m at the beach..digging a hole in 100 degree sand when I look for fossils in the summer sun… 🤣.
We pay taxes in both states. My son went to HS in Montana, our main residence is Wyoming technically by 1/2 mile. We actually have about 1/2 the ranch’s land in either state.
Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming and Montana on both sides of that border.
These 3 Great Blue Heron Fledges are 50 feet up a Cottonwood Tree. These are not common birds here on the high plains but they do come to roost and breed each spring. Our ranches wetlands have our share of Heron Breeding Pairs. These three are about 40 days old fledglings not yet flying but getting most of their adult feathers in. I don’t see them much on up in the drylands. Only near the ponds.
I did have at least one come onto my deck without my knowledge ….where I have had a 500 gallon tank (built into the deck 20 years ago) full of Japanese Koi that were about a foot long. It was almost entirely hidden from above by a choke cherry bush of some prestigious proportions. The heron obviously saw right through my ponds came and ate all dozen of the big ornamental gold fish I had kept in that tank for 14 years. This was a few years back and my replacements are about 8 inches long plus the choke cherry bush is more covering…… (I’m assuming it was a heron since I saw one in the yard the next day which is a rare sighting indeed here). I have photos of him flying off somewhere in my files lol.
I’ve not seen them about the nesting area since late July. This image from June of 2019. These guys were also a football field away from the vantage I had on an adjacent ridge to get this level look at the tree tops. Add a very long lens and you get “up close and personal” if you will.
Early on I can see most of the nesting in this 1/8 long mile extended cottonwood tree line. Habitants included a great horned owl and chick this year in addition to the Heron Rookery… I love this place’s diversity of subject matter.
So Taking a photo of a Blurred Windmill during the day with amazingly divergent Rainbow Twins behind, and a totally random lightning strike hits just as you hit the shutter… Priceless lolol. I swear this is not a composite and is an unmolested image. Filed under totally random things that happen if you press the shutter button enough. Technically the lightning photobombed “Sneaky Pete” the windmill who is the champion photobombing windmill of all times. I have no control over his actions 😂 . I certainly didn’t have a lightning trigger on this camera (I own and use 2 of them WHEN I work lightning). I was taking a double rainbow lolol. Flash boom.
This incoming Great Blue Heron has a photobomber in his approach. The landing pad is 50 feet up a mature cottonwood tree down in one of the ranches wetland areas. Herons are not a common bird up here but they do breed here year after year since I’ve lived here. (20 years). I’m sure I photographed these birds as fledglings years back.
10 miles out are the “Prairie Dog Hills” and looking across the Wyoming/Montana border are the Red Hills off in the distance. The border is where the line of trees in the center past the haybales. The grassy /hay baled area is part of our place. Past it is as I say, another state. I own land in Montana but not that direction. More over my right shoulder lol.
Most of my photos have both state landscape or sky in them somewhere.
These 5 pronghorn were having a Ladies club meeting up on yonder ridge line. From my vantage point and just reading lips, they certainly were covering diverse and world important subjects. It’s my interpretation of “Pronghorneese” lip reading that I’m not entirely trusting just yet.🤔 There is actually a lot of communicating going on right here between a mom and her yearling who was lagging behind.🤣
This is beautiful country up here in the borderlands of Montana/Wyoming anyway but accentuated by the sun being low and the shadows long. The rolling hills and parallel ridges cascading lower each mile carved by the Little Powder River hundreds of feed and miles across the landscape. 180 mile horizon to horizon skies are seen from the ridge just above my place. 👁👁
I often find groups of Pronghorn “running” ridges as their highway to where ever they are going. (Like the grass is better there than here. lolol). Native Americans tended to walk ridge lines along the “military crest” of a hill (google look up) so they weren’t back lit at the normal crest by the sky. It’s easy to see movement so “ridge lining” anything photographically is difficult. Animals instinctively stay off of ridge tops and won’t linger long there. Usually they are traveling between water and pasture they prefer. .
This Sunset over a remote Backcountry Spring Fed Pond was a beautiful locatoin/ I was trying to line this up such that the sun would set in the center of the peaks. About 4 minutes later is was setting centered in the saddle. Those are the “Red Hills” 40 miles distant from my camera.
There is a lot of wildlife around this pond. SItting up on the edge for hours at a time with a long lens is a luxury….. Unlike my water hydrant fed tanks, this nearby lake freezes over solid in the winter. The animals normally watering there in the summer tend to migrate toward water and I get to photograph them all winter. We work hard keeping water hydrants trickling all winter for wildlife which is a win win for me and the critters. Done it for 20 years (4 watering holes).
This Doe is bathed in bright Golden Light while it was moving through high grass in front of one of my better game trail cameras. The sun was seriously in the frame and gave me a monster lens flare. Very stylish these days I hear. I see a lot of them in movies now as a (nice touch) in the film). This was a tough light environment for this camera and it did pretty well lol. Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.
I was collecting Game Trail Camera “Chips when I pulled out my big lens and caught this nice enough Pronghorn Buck walking Ridge Lined (on the top of the ridge) backlighting himself. I’ve watched this guy all summer. He’s filled out nicely. It’s been a good year and he’s living in a very nice pasture with live water so he’s having a good year. He’ll be a monster next year if he comes back after the migration before the winter. They aren’t going to be up here much longer. The males are currently rutting and a little snotty to me at times. You’d think THEY owned the place lolol.
Perspective #5 Snowy Snag with a Twist is the result of a habit I have of walking around the ridge tops. I’ll drive up to the ridge but there is nothing like getting out in good near zero weather with a breeze and finding a good snag pointing at the sunset for a perspective shot with a 10 mm really wide angle close focus lens.
This series is one of my favorite to do and there are literally dozens more along this line to finish to current standards and upload to my gallery at blissphotographics.com
I’ll post again at 6 am and every three hours after that. I am scheduled 6 days ahead at the moment which is a good thing. I could literally take 6 days off if I had to and still have posting to 20 places going on with minimal monitoring for a few buggy things with the software we use. I do have to monitor it. I answer questions and respond in real time if I’m around.
Everyone have a safe and wonderful remainder of the evening.
Reflections Off a Backcountry Pond (Daylight Blues) is a rare image from me. I don’t work blue skies very often mid day.
But the wind was dead calm and I thought that a trip a few miles into the backcountry to get to this place would worth the trip.
Backcountry…. I use the term all the time. OK, Here’s how it goes…
This pond is 2 miles of bumpy two track road from the county road. The county road is gravel, it is 14 miles then to the closest paved road. It is 70 miles to the nearest 4 way 3 color traffic light but there is a 4 way red light 50 miles away lolol. Back far away from population…. = Backcountry or at least that is my definition. My nearest neighbor is about 4 miles away.
This spot is about 200 yards from the Montana/Wyoming Border and it has a bit of both states in the Image as do most of my photos.
Here I caught one of our ranch cats in a deep Cat Nap. It’s not so easy as they don’t trust cameras very much.
I am planning to take more cat photos in the the future as they are pretty good subjects. Now about those evil looking cameras….I’ll have to convince them somehow…
This Flock was having a Grackle of a good time for sure. I have caught several large flocks of birds with this particular camera in this particular place all summer. I’m not moving either lol.
These birds are Grackles. Nice of one of them to set off the Game Trail Camera right then. lolol.
A Pronghorn Quorum is when ever there is a buck present. He usually makes herd decisions on which way to go, is bossy as heck and generally likes to lag behind letting his girls see what’s “over the hill crest” first lol. This one had these girls all corralled but I was putting a kink in his style I believe.
I drove away and left them alone with out them running from me. My preferred way to end an encounter. The still watch me but don’t necessarily run from me if I stay in a vehicle. If I get out and they see my human shape….they are a blur and you see their butts…. I’m talking out in the backcountry of course where they don’t see many vehicles but mine.
Perspective is indeed Everything. #3 Rock Shelter and similar images are done with a REALLY wide angle close focus lens. It’s a little tricky to do at times but properly framed, these winter images are simple subjects with spectacular perspective. (January 2019)
It is snowing here at the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch this morning. We have at least 1/2 an inch on the ground and it’s still coming down hard here pre-dawn. It’s still early….But deep in the winter when I can’t get around so easily in the backcountry, I literally have to plow a couple of miles of two track road to get up on this ridge.
Stay tuned for more of these being “refinished to my current standards. My posts will be mix and match for the next few months to populate the new gallery we’re building with my portfolio. Only 5K more images to go…. 🤣
Happy Oct 1…. Holy cow where did the summer go… ?. 🙂 Be safe out there. New post every 3 hours.
Announcement: With Perspective being (is) everything #1 being a place to start… I’ve got a hundred perspectives to post over the next month or so. I am mixing and matching seasons at random now and will be for the fore-seeable future.
As I post an image on my personal FB page or one of the other social media sites I post into. , It is automatically available for purchase on my gallery page at www.blissphotographics.com.
The Gallery, no question is the best way to view my work though currently only a small portion of it. (I’m writing this on thursday for posting on monday in the software I use). www.blissphotographics.com is the site.
We just got the search by category function working. I’m still populating some categories but I assure you I’m spinning the hamster wheel as fast as I can to get those holes populated with beautiful photos shortly.
So I’ve got a series of winter photos getting done here lately. Up they go…👁
This might be the biggest backyard drift ever but there are some big drifts in the mountains lol. The building on the left is in front of a 300 foot long metal barn that acts as a wind block to about a 3 square mile field to the north (right). All that loose snow ends up here each year. I know this is a little out of season but I’m posting ALL my best old work again for some business purposes.
This photo is featured “The Living Wyoming (a Photographic Tribute exploring the NE Quadrant of Wyoming on page 98 if you have access to Robert Edgerton’s wonderful photo essay of this area.
I get a chance at this each year. This year the weather didn’t cooperate. Perhaps this winter will top this with all the water we’ve been having. That would be something lolol.
Have a great day all
Location: my backyard, the Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.
This 6 x 5 Buck was standing over the LIttle Powder River Valley with the ridge in the distance being 40 miles out. It was very frosty for this in the early fall last year. I’m redoing all my older images to very high current standards so most will be reposted over time.
He’s actually a 6×6 with a small time that is behind the rear two on the right you can’t see here. He walked that ridge for minutes which is forever in my world (several cameras involved). 📸📸📸📸 I was sitting there upwind just waiting for him with a long lens. He didn’t see me for quite a while.
When Coyotes are Looking Back, it is literally, usually their last look if your a rancher. (I’m a rancher sort of) Fortunately for this guy, I had a Sony Alpha in my hand and not a custom rifle I know very well. THis would have been a chip shot but I let it continue on it’s way……. (I could be lynched locally) shhhhh…
When I came up on this Mother and freshly born baby, he was laying down and reacted to my presence taking his first stand up and wobbly step. Baby season is always a joy and the grasses were low enough you could drive across a field and see them occasionally. lolol.
The Three Amigo’s here 3 Pasque Flowers gone to seed all are acting as a cellulose filter (I use filters all the time, just seldom screw on glass ones ) to reduce the suns glare for me. They only grow under fairly old forest canopies on an east slope. Kinda hard to get with the sun….
This is a late spring shot from this year, I’m going over ALL my old portfolio to get them “out there”
There will be many more out of season things being posted in the foreseeable future lolol. Enjoy.
It was 14 below the Cows were mooing in the mist that morning down by the geothermal water discharge at a local oil field. The 150 degree water from 5000 feet down is treated then released in holding ponds that never freeze, and always mist/fog at subzero air temps…. Hoar frost is the rule not the exception near these warm water ponds.