Sunsets up here are an unfettered bright environment photographically. Using a lake as a reflective media just about doubles the light intensity. So walking down range of such things is a rough road to a good image. TOO much light…..
Photographic Musings: 3 things to adjust in Manual Mode (because your cell phone isn’t going to take this shot) Easy as 1,2,3….📸😀
Turn that top big dial with the M on top of your camera. Turn it to M. (Manual Mode)
1: F-Stop: For this bright environment, you really have to turn UP the F-stop to about as high as it will go for your particular lens. This gives you a very deep field of focus where the grass up front is sharp as well as the cattle and sky. High fstop also cuts out light. (High F-stop = Little pin Hole as an aperture. . Low F-stop = Big aperture (pupil) in the lens.
2: Shutter Speed: You also have to turn up your shutter speed to a very fast shutter which cuts off some of that light. Say 1/2000th….. (variable), A faster shutter will let in less light. A longer/slower shutter lets in proportionally more light. 1/100th of a second lets in twice as much light as 1/200th. A little speed change can make a big difference. Your using shutter speed to adjust exposure usually last but here I’d use ISO as the last variable and keep it a fast shutter.
3: Camera Sensitivity (ISO). A low ISO number is used for Bright daytime. So ISO 100 or lower if your camera will go there is usable. Really low ISO introduce noise into the image though just as High ISO. Native best choice for daytime is ISO 100. ISO 800 for dark rooms. ISO 3000 or higher depending on your camera will introduce grain and noise.
Your priorities are deep focus, and proper exposure. Set your first priority first which is F-stop for the focus and cutting light. Just two left.
This location is about a mile below a good sized oil field pumping 140 degree water out, treating it, holding it in ponds until it eventually freezes. With it having been below zero several times already, having an open body of water in the backcountry is an oasis. Particularly this time of year. (Imaged last week) A lot of wild birds stop by and over night here. Liquid water is always interesting to animals of all kinds in deep northern Wyoming / southern Montana winters. Numerous Geothermal ponds exist from deep oil wells in the areas surrounding my ranch but none directly on my place unfortunately.
I love geothermal pond areas for photographic trips in sub-zero weather as the steam generates huge hoar frost needles on virtually everything. The mists in the mornings can be amazing to watch the sunrise through. This is the kind of things I see driving backroads in the borderlands of Wyoming/Montana.
As I noticed this, it stopped me from 45 mph and I backed up a ways to set up for it. The speed limit up here is 45 on the county back roads. It only took a few seconds to get back to the proper position for this frame. . I rarely pass another vehicle when I drive around the backcountry. Maybe one car every three or four days of work. Mostly that would be a local rancher either going to town or tending cattle.
I find that you are where you are when the sun goes down. I tend to levitate to reflective scenes but this I live on a “dryland” ranch. We don’t have any running water except during a big rain. Then we have flash floods lolol. Limited to the gullies fortunately. We did have a 4 inch rain in about an hour during which shin high water was running around the back of my house. So we do get some water dumps now and then.
This lake however is a spring fed pond with artesian water rising from about 600 feet down. There is a fault or flaw in the seal over the widely spread Fox Hill Aquifer which enables water to trickle up from that source through all the intervening rocks . Hell Creek Formation sits on top of Fox Hill and has layers of Bentonitic Clay which would stop water from rising without some structural insufficiency breaking those shaley/clay seals. In other words, the artisian water source under this has a crack it’s following up to the surface. Geology is self explanatory if you can read the book.
The Cretaceous Fox Hill Formation was the Beach for the Dinosaurs… The space between the sandy terrestrial river deposits and the epicontinental ocean just east of here in the Creatceous. I envision Dinosaurs laying on beach chairs with little umbrellas in their drinks. I’ve never found a fossil umbrella though. Actually the Fox Hill is exposed at the surface about 14 miles to the east of my ranch. It is mostly unfossiliferous as one would expect from a higher beach energy washed sand (a little argillaceous). I’ve never found a fossil in it. It’s a regional Aquifer stretching from Canada to Colorado and has a LOT of water connate in the formation. It’s good to know that the water we drink has been down underground for a “while” 😀
This big old sun dog happened one cool sub-zero morning. Ice crystals refracting light were falling out of the air in front of my camera everywhere. All the white speckles are ice crystals close to the camera. I was just driving along a high ridge as is my typical backcountry drive. It suddenly appeared as I was driving along. The ice fall moved over me.
Two ways these form:. 1: light passing through suspended atmospheric plate-shaped hexagonal ice crystals in high and cold cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. Alternately, refraction from drifting in freezing moist air at low levels as diamond dust as here. Those “mock suns’ are from the aforementioned “Diamond Dust”. The colors usually go from red closest to the sun outward with the standard rainbow sequence. This was VERY bright.
This half circle halo is 22 degrees from the sun. These 22 degree refractions are present with and without mock suns in my experience. This particular Sundog even has a sun pillar above AND below the sun itself. Pillars develop as a result of ice crystals slowly falling through the air, reflecting the sun’s rays off of their hexagonal flat surfaces.
I’ve only seen one better sundog off the face of the Jackson Hole Ski area at the Village mid winter back in the 90’s. This was a few miles back in the backcountry pretty much across the border with sky in both Montana and Wyoming. .
Sunrise Through the Knothole. IT was a crisp cold morning, I was out collecting chips from Game Trail Cameras. I was also working the sunrise as opportunities presented themselves. i went for a walk along the shore or this small lake. The sun was just emerging as the horizon dropped away exposing the nuclear furnace. (Remember, the sun doesn’t move, the earth’s horizon drops away exposing the sun.).
Driftwood can be knot holed and this piece was big enough to stick my camera accompanied with a a wide lens attached. I’m honestly not sure which side of the border this is on as it’s pretty much on the border lol. I didn’t have my GPS with me. I usually reserve that device for fossil hunts where landownership and exact location is a bit.
Thinking like a mouse looking through a window, I take images of natural portholes/windows as I see them. It’s the close/far focus thing that is hard to do photographically. On manual mode, if deep focus is your Priority with your image, think immediately of turning UP your F-stop number. High f-stop numbers set your aperture (the pupil size of your camera) very pinpoint. As small a hole in the lens as possible. This give you the deepest focus (thickness of the zone of focus). Low f-stop numbers give you shallow focus. Maybe a nose is in focus but not your ears. It lets in LOTS of light going big pupil (low f-stop) but you have fuzzy backgrounds. If full image (close/far) focus is what your after, then high f-stop numbers are your playground.
Once you learn F-stop is a double edge sword either taking or giving light, it also effects focal depth. The other two settings are adjusted after f-stop to compensate and balance your light equation. If you learn nothing else from this, learn f-stop means focus depth.
This male looks nothings like the female (sexually dimorphic). The female looks like a long billed sparrow. This male was down on the waters edge hoping along this piece of driftwood. Eye for insects and small critters. They are Polygynous with the male floating among several females and the females have been known to “roam” as well. The Males are aggressive toward any intruders to their nest. Every male I’ve ever seen was the dictionary definition of brash.
They are WIDELY distributed with around 20 subspecies. Their primary diet is bugs and berries. In my barnyard pond, they seem to be mostly waiting for pickings left over by the ducks and chickens. Known to go right through normal chainlink. This to get access to the inside of my chicken coup. Another section of finer chicken wire took control of that invasion route. Nuking them from orbit might be the only option. They seem to really want to get into the grain in the chicken roost for some reason.
These guys are in the same family (Icteridae) which includes the Baltimore Oriole and the Eastern Meadowlark. Our birds have no doubt migrated to southern climates. October 1st was the first day of winter (early) . I did not notice large flocks this year but I saw some last years. Random distribution I suspect.
)rotected under the Mgratratory Bird Treaty Act, Red Wings are in trouble . Populations of Red Wings are currently in decline. Standard stuff..habitat distruction, miccro plastics normal climate variations or what ever is causeing the decline.
Just so long as we all know the bird needs to be helped not destroyed.
Pronghorn Families Morning Drink was a routine for this family unit this summer. I’d see them right around the same time every morning on the game trail cameras surrounding that stock tank. Game trail cameras can take very good photos If the conditions are right with proper placement. Placement is about the only thing you can really control. I will never move this camera as it has taken dozens of WONDERFUL images of the grassland wildlings drinking. I’m waiting for an eagle to alight here. It will happen sooner or later.
This was from about a month ago now. There are no Pronghornon my ranch at the moment to my knowledge. They have all moved south to the Thunderbasin National Grasslands 30 miles down the road. Pronghorn gather there from all around making up herds of hundreds that wander the huge expanse of pretty much open grasslands. Just a few oil wells and stock tanks dot the landscape. There is no vehicular traffic off the main roads allowed there. It is one of America’s Serengeti plains. You drive through there and encounter Pronghorn roadblocks of many hundreds of these animals crossing the county gravel road.
Pretty much the only large creatures to winter over up here on the remote borderland ridges, are cattle and mule deer. The WhiteTail move down to more reliable water even though we supply it. They tend to be in the valleys for the season not up here.
I think they are evaluating their mascara too but I’m not an astute observer of such things. Girls will be girls after all 😍 Nothing like a little salad in your tasty first morning drink.. There are lots of aquatic plants growing in that tank. It’s been running for years and it has a constant input of nitrates mostly from bird poop I would think. I should find a native fish that can live in there….. Tasty, aquarium water yummm 😀
Early Morning Reflections:
This Game Trail Camera capture showing two Does partaking of a gift from the Ranch’s pipeline system to get their tasty first morning drink. In the middle of the grasslands miles from the nearest other water source. We placed this old mine equipment tire tank. We obviously try to have water in each of the large pastures cattle rotate to and from. I keep a good strong jet of water running into each tank which usually keeps them open all winter by disrupting the surface and keeping the water above freezing. The heavy rubber is a pretty good insulator too.
These tanks are literally old mining tires repurposed. They cost about 1000 dollars roughly to get, transport and install if you do it all yourself. Of course having a 2 inch water pipeline miles from the main ranch well is a handy thing…. Being close to a coal mining area has it’s spiffs. Most tire tanks are 10 feet in diameter. (wide load lol). Wear a tire out and cut off one side wall, seal the bottom on concrete and put some hard packed old asphalt debris around the perimeter and you have a stock water tank for about 100 years. It’s pretty hard to hurt these tanks with anything short of explosive.
Here we are with Halloween night about over…The witches are heading home…….Christmas is next.
Is that a christmas tree??? Maybe an angel?? Actually that’s lens flare which is an artifact phenomena inside the lens from really bright light bouncing about.
Another artist has convinced me that they are being used in movies now as “cool” work and there are even filters to add them to your images.
This is a natural lens flare (as it were) that I could work at positioning on the screen overlaying the background of the “Red Hills” in the distance (40 miles).
I’m trying to work these things lolo. I’m not sure what the big thing is but hey, here is a big one. Like it???😲 Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands
Here’s where I spent the other evening at sunset. The Borderlands are such that when I take a photo east and or west, I’m usually having parts of both Montana (distance) and Wyoming (close) in the image.
There were small storms in the area spitting either snow or rain depending on your elevation at the time. I waited to go out until the sun was just above the “sun slit” under the cloud deck. Watching what is going on has saved me a lot of time here and there lol.
This is a nice little isolated lake not far from a road but you really can’t see it from the road. Most travelers up here drive 100 yards from this and never see it. Spring fed of course
I’m sure it was seep 100 years ago. So the ranches damed it up along with many other ponds decades ago.
“Here’s Looking at you Kid” is a Game Trail Camera Capture. I use pretty good cameras (30 meg images) but I have to put a lot of work into each and every image I finish from them. They have their issues but are always candid in their acquisitions.
I’m currently running a network of 26 game trail cameras which takes several trips to swap out cards around the ranch. I usually mix business with pleasure and gather camera SD cards (modern film) when I’m in an area. Some of my cameras may spend the whole winter without me visiting as I can’t always get to them in the snow. They will be there in the spring just the same
This gal is taking advantage of one of the 4 stock tanks I keep open all year. Just enough water ground water flowing to keep it open and not suck our water pressure down to nothing because an open faucet 3 miles of pipline and downhill from the well will pretty much ruin a good shower lolol.
18inch square aspect image.
“Off Golden Pond” This is one of the few shots I have published where I left in the lens flare(s). To me they are internal reflections in the camera, are artifacts I usually remove….that are apparently becoming quite the style with lens flares being incorporated into major movies I’ve noticed of late….
I find Lens Flares are difficult to incorporate artistically into an image in my experience. Mostly they are difficult to avoid pointing a camera toward the sun or other really bright lights because they actually can destroy the image covering it with glare. Often they are more difficult to remove in the digital darkroom if you are “cleaning” up your image there Try taking something like a huge light area off an otherwise ultra-smooth color gradient….(laughing maniacially). Have fun with that .
This one has at least 4 flares in a line to 6 o’clock. I’m not sure what the big deal is with them in modern films, but I’ll work the problem on my end when I can lolol.
To me, this image is all about the line of grass framing the bottom of the capture. Portrait aspect. I captured these photons Off this Golden Pond thus the name (sly smile). Reflections……
Just before the Snow moved in, I took this Clear Sky Sunrise from the Borderlands and one of our lakes up there. This spot is about 100 yards from Montana and some of the sky is Wyoming…some Montana since the sun was essentially rising straight east at the time.
This is a good place to be at sunrise. Lots happening out here. Birds all waking up, getting airborn for the day to head south.
“Twilight Reflections Off an Old Friend” is my way of saying good bye to my 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee which has earned a badge as a backcountry Wyoming Road Warrior .
I’m trading it “in” for a “Smoother” riding backcountry rig as the Jeep and the ATV has been rough on me as the wear and tear is problematic..
I drove 3500 miles on my bumpy UTV and Jeep last year in the Backcountry driving on equally bumpy two track roads. I feel like I’ve been working in the mines for 20 years sometimes lol. It’s time for an upgrade. I’m still driving my Jeep until the new truck arrives properly configured for what I do….2020 model…first new car in a long time….
My old friend the jeep could travel anywhere my Polaris Ranger Crew could navigate. I literally never had to put it in low range with that Hemi 5.7 V8 under the hood. It is quick and agile…and is a bumpy jeep lololol….. I’m pretty sure this longer and wider Ford Pickup can’t go down some of my well beaten paths due to the width……But 99 percent of where I go to do photography it can reach without doing any damage to the ground or me …..(more importantly at this point). I can walk the rest. I don’t like driving heavy vehicles off the two track roads anyway. I’m keeping on clicking !! Just changing my ride after 14 years. It’s my daily driver and is already sold sorry, the dealer is letting me drive it till the new truck arrives. (Smart dealer).
Oh, the twilight was amazing that morning and this is a VERY wide 10mm lens of at least 120 degrees wide. This was a huge sky! It was a few weeks ago by the time this image posts…. (I use autoposting software but answer replies in Facebook in real time. )
“Reflections Grassy Knob Lake” is a study I did of this interesting shape (use of negative space) within the overall environment of rippled/reflected Nautical Twilight Sky off a lake on the Montana/Wyoming borderline. There was enough wind to ripple and the sky was starting to blaze. Click
As I move about in the backcountry here in the borderlans…I often see little areas of Zen like this almost everywhere but the hard part is capturing the scene in my photon capture boxes..🤔
The rarest twilight color… “Cranberry”….Reflections on this backcountry pond of a Yellow to Lavender Alpenglow Gradient over Water. It was windy so no mirror (which I could easily fake) in the lake. I’m a photorealist that will always tell you when I do ART. (usually in the Title lolol). This is genuine color resultant from a Russian volcano spewing gasses all fall. Purple skies have been the rule this fall during twilights. I had MANY good captures from that mornings photo expedition into the remote backcountry of the Montana/Wyoming borderlands.
(about a week ago now).
This lake is 70 miles from the nearest 4 way 3 color traffic light. Maybe 300 yards from the Wyotana border. You can see both states in this image looking almost straight east for sunrise.
We’re going to be getting some more snow this week. Wettest year ever since I’ve been up here and early wet winter looks like. …..
It was an Alpenglow Morning right at sunrise down yonder in the Wetlands. (About a week ago). Several image from this particular morning made it through the “sieve” I use to determine which photo to work on.
Alpenglow is the ice in the air lighting up with the bright first pink starting about 40 minutes before sunrise… and then gradients to other nearly pure primary colors to Lavender at times up high this fall because of a Volcano in Russia spewing gasses.
The main show is usually yellow but the backshow over my shoulder is Pink. (I’m posting a lot of alpenglow photos today elsewhere) (Alpenglow Monday lolol). The pink back show is called the “Belt of Venus” which is often in it.
In the meantime this lake looks like this virtually every morning this week. I’m going out there to set up trail cameras for the winter today. Fresh batteries, set up on well beaten animal trails. I won’t be able to get back here for most of the winter so they will be on their own for a long time.📸
Location, Pretty much standing directly ON the Montana/Wyoming border, Bliss DInosaur Ranch
When you Take a Nap and the Water is Freezing Around You…Now I “believe” this is a “Snipe”. An actual Snipe mind you. I may have the ID wrong as I’m NOT a birder, I’m a photographer who like photographing birds lolol. So… napping he is, it’s right at 32 degrees, it’s snowing, the water is slowly setting like concrete around him. He was there about 5 minutes for his version of a cat nap (might be an inappropriate term for a bird napping). He got out lol.
So if you like to go out “Snipe Hunting”, here you go. It’s probably some curlew or some other related bird though lol.
Long telephoto shot, not a crop. 18×18 inches at 300 dpi 🤔
This exceptional Alpenglow/Reflection display in the “Reeds at Dawn” was early morning Oct 4th. It was purple earlier but as the sun got closer to the horizon it lit up more ice with yellow light , that changed to early volcanic gas induced lavender we’ve been experiencing to a yellow to orange gradient late in Civil Twilight. . What a wonderful color gradient morning that was.
Location: Down in the wetlands at the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.
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.
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).
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.
The “Reflections of a Purple Twilight Sky” is an unenhanced image from this last week I just got to. It takes me about a week now for a freshly captured image to make its way to FB via the autoposting que it’s waiting in. The skies have been VERY purple this fall. VERY. Location: Pretty much on the Montana/Wyoming border north of Gillette. Bliss Dinosaur Ranch
Good Early Tuesday Morning.. Mirror Mirror @2 Blues came into being when I look at an image of 1/2 a sunset, I mirror it in my mind to see the results. This one looked promising. Indeed!!
The “Totem Pole” (as I call it) up the center of the image will have ALL SORTS of faces and figures. The Bear above the horizon stands out “BIGGLY” to me lolol. 3 ducks below lol.
This Art is built off the left 1/4 of the image being mirrored to the right, melted together then both were mirrored up and down to complete the effect. The colors are true to the event. Nothing messes with them.
I’m seeing a lot more purple in late nights this summer than previous I think….
Down in the Wetlands is an image that I took a few years back now. I was waiting around for the sun to come out from this location. Sure enough, it did emerge as the clouds parted for about 30 seconds, and that was all.
I find that light is where and when it occurs. If no one is there to catch those photons, they are lost
Reflection of a Farm Pond at sunrise.. this farm pond is several miles in the deep backcountry. About 3 miles out (long walk lol). Fortunately, I ride out there on two track roads bouncing along lol. Takes about 15 minutes to drive that 3 miles…
Golden Alpenglow behind the Windmill… It was 20 below zero at th3e time…. I took this last winter down in a very remote part of northern Campbell County. This windmill has views of the Devils Tower and Missouri Buttes but those are to the right of this angle. That is ice not flowing water.
A Hollywood sky is one where spotlights (crepuscular rays) are heavily invested in shedding photons for my traps to capture. A reflecting pond was on my list of a place to get to for this capture lol. It was an amazing night. I actually drove my ATV into the pond up to the floor boards for this angle.
I really don’t like working over water with cameras….. Humm…. Hazardous duty pay I’m thinking lolol.
Be safe in all you do out there and have a great day:).