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Sunset Open Gate

Sunset Open Gate
Sunset Open Gate

Sunset Open Gate

The well known ranch rule is.: If the gate is open, leave it open. If the gate is closed, close it after you pass through.

I will leave gates open to allow easy passing of game through the fences. They don’t have to crawl under the wire or jump over it. This particular area is a busy summer area for game, not so much in the as winter water is more than a mile away. It has to be moving water of course to not be frozen in this environment. Dryland areas like this evacuate of all ungulates during the colder months of the year.

I usually put game trail cameras on open gates but I had just removed several from this spot due to the oncoming winter. Not only will it be difficult to tend to those cameras, they would capture almost nothing that time of year. I tend to keep them around those water sources that are kept open. We trickle a jet of high pressure water into 4, sometimes 5 stock tanks all winter. It keeps them open nicely and should provide some nice ice sculpture images this year. Wildlife hangs near the water for good reason. Trapped near an island water source surrounded by dry land with LOTS of food. It’s not a bad way to spend your winter if your an ungulate. The one thing we usually have enough of is deer fodder/food.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Sunset Open Gate

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Out the Back Gate

Out the Back Gate
Out the Back Gate

Out the Back Gate

This 1/2 miles of Campbell County road is the last of Wyoming going north as directly over the crest of the first hill, is the Montana border. The Valley in the Distance is the Ranch Creek Drainage which is the first watershed going into Montana. My closest neighbors live up there. We literally live in the last house north in Wyoming. There might be a few closer to the border but not many. We have land in both states, pay taxes in both, my son went to school in Montana but we live in Wyoming. By at least 3/4 of a mile.

In many ways we get the best of both worlds. There isn’t much difference in the landscape north or south from this vantage point. I am actually standing at our back yard fence for this telephoto capture. The hill on the left is several miles down the road with the far hills being about 10 miles distant. The Alpenglow sky from the sun that just set far to the left side of the frame is still lighting things up. The low light causes photographers to use tripods and long exposures to saturate their captures. I’m no exception here. A window clamp on my Jeeps drivers side did the trick nicely. These are very very handy things to buy on amazon. Don’t buy a cheap one as you get what you pay for.

I use “RC-2” mounts on everything. You have to buy tripod heads All my tripods and all my cameras all mate up properly (or that is the plan). I JUST got two of my Sony Alpha 7RII cameras back from repair (takes a month usually). At any one time I usually have one camera out being repaired. I’m pretty hard on the cameras, spinning dials all the time in a hostile dusty environment. Cameras will last longer if you use them on automatic and don’t spin dials (moving parts) that wear out and stop working after 50 or so thousand adjustments. However running a camera on automatic is like owning a supercar and having the computer drive you down a traffic free winding mountain road.

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

Title: Out the Back Gate

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Perspective: Brace for the Morning

Perspective: Brace for the Morning
Perspective: Brace for the Morning

Perspective: Brace for the Morning

Perspectives such as this, require a very close/far focus. That is not an easy task in fairly dark environments such as this. This very small sun slit along with a virtually veiled sunrise took place. Just before the horizon dropped exposing the sun. It’s civil Twilight still, the sun has not risen yet.. (Astronomic, Nautical and Civil are the three twilights) I consider this a tough photographic environment certainly.

I do like working perspectives in low light. It’s working several problems at once in the cameras Manual mode. Such activities are an exercise in balance of the three major camera settings you have ANY control of. (white balance excluded).

Twilight is by far the best time of the day. Not many are up seeing what is going on most mornings. I’ve seen some aurora, I’ve seen so many sky shows . Just about every possible situation short of some ultra rare phenomena. I will testify that twilight is the most varied color, capable of the full rainbow of possibilities. Only the bright greens of aurora have I not seen from twilight. Oxygen excited by the sun at 60 -120 miles high is that green. None in basic twilight that I have ever seen. The variety of scenes, the play of low angle light, leads one to take the work if you can get it lolol.

This was not a cooperative sky as that sun slit closed up thusly closing down the sky show that morning. Sometimes I drive for backcountry miles only to get a few minutes of good light. Such are the dues you pay if you play the game of photon collecting.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Perspective: Brace for the Morning

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BigHorn Mountains Landscape Ladder

BigHorn Mountains Landscape Ladder
BigHorn Mountains Landscape Ladder

This view of a BigHorn Mountains Landscape Ladder was taken a week ago as this posts. Th grassy remote ridgetop I was on, gives way to the Little Powder RIver Valley. The next ridge is the Red Hills backed by the 13000 foot high peaks of the core of the BigHorn Mountain Uplift. The Powder RIver Basin between the Mountains any my ranch pretty much ends at my ranch. I’m living right on the edge between the Wyoming Black Hills and the Powder River basin. Just west of my ranch, dinosaur fossil Bearing rock that is older than the Big Horn Uplift dive under the sediments worn off the BigHorn Mountains.

Our Ranch is as high topograpically above the Little Powder River Valley Floor as the dark 40 mile distant ridge. It allows me to see the peaks at this 130 mile distance. Weather windows to the BigHorns have been plentiful this year unlike previous ones. The sun is currently setting well south of these peaks from my vantage point at the moment. I won’t see it set over the big V notch until next spring again. The sun will continue to set a little more south each day until December 21’st. Then t starts to rise and set a little further north each day until the Summer Solstice.

I try to be very in tune to such things as my daily photographic activities take into account moon rise, sunsets with the time of year. Angles of sunrise and sunset are critical to where I go these days. Weather has the greatest impact of course.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: BigHorn Mountains Landscape Ladder

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Crimson BigHorn Mountain Ridge

Crimson BigHorn Mountain Ridge
Crimson BigHorn Mountain Ridge

Crimson BigHorn Mountain Ridge

The Crimson Twilight show this sunset was spectacular. A full sized screen is a nice thing to bring this too. The Section of the BigHorn Mountain from this location is 140 miles distant and is near Buffalo Wyoming. I’m standing across the border in Montana. It was pretty muddy up on the pass road to Alzeda Montana from Ranch Creek. I wouldn’t suggest that route to anyone at the moment. Once it freezes it’s going to be deeply rutted certainly. That is always a tough road to choose or not. 

But…. I got this shot anyway. It took me a 1/2 hour to wash off my Jeep. The mud was 4 inches deep many times…. I had to take a front wheel off to get the rock that was stuck between a brake rotor and a brake shield from…..well mud and rocks lolol. I was noisily scraping around for a few days hoping it would just fall out but nooooooo. Not a chance that would happen. I can’t see this portion of the Big Horns from anywhere on my ranch. This pass is higher but 10 miles further back from the peaks. 

This particular sky was a magnificent during the after sunset show. The large eye shaped cloud would be a good image to mirror. It would look like a masked bandit. I’m always looking for images to mirror as they can make very good Halloween Images if done properly. 

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands. 

Title: Crimson BigHorn Mountain Ridge

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This Post Was Posted

This Post Was Posted
This Post Was Posted

“This Post Was Posted” is a 2:1 Aspect up to 40 x20 inches.

This fence is on the Montana border. Montana is (left) of the fence. . Wyoming is (right) of the fence. It’s 10,000 kilometers from the North Pole to the Equator. This fenceline is pretty durn close to exactly 1/2 way between the two important geographic features on the globe. This coincides with the 45 degrees north latitude. (the north pole is 90 degrees and the equator is 0 degrees. This is looking east and is just after sunset in early civil twilight.

Some of these posts are really really really old. Wood takes a long time to rot up here. We don’t get a lot of moisture at 14 inches average a year so it stays mostly dry and stable. This is a massive old cedar post used to anchor a good section of fairly tight fence. Our ranch is located on both sides of the border of course. We pay taxes in both states. It’s pretty close to 50/50 in each state. 2 courses of the Wyoming Tactical Rifle Championship are in Montana and 2 courses are in Wyoming as well.

Geologic Musings:

RIght here at the border, under this fence, the Cretaceous Dinosaur Bearing Rock Formations magically change name from Hell Creek Formation (in South Dakota and Montana) versus Lance formation (Wyoming). Based on all sorts of reasons known only to the people doing stratigraphy, they arbitrarily named the same rock formations caused by the same environment at the same time, two different names. Hell Creek left, Lance right. Sort of silly I think but hey, I only have a Masters in Geology. I don’t have it Piled Higher and Deeper (PhD). I don’t worry too much about what I can’t change 🤔 Filed under trivia…

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: This Post Was Posted

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BigHorn Longhorns

BigHorn Longhorns
BigHorn Longhorns

BigHorn Longhorns is a capture from earlier this summer. The peach colored alpenglow and purple mountain hues really accent the rich green of the pasture. This was a very good year for grass. It was hugging the hill here. It was as high as the cattle down in the fertile washes.

Alpenglow is the result of atmospheric ice refracting light. The purples hues also come due to ice. All with lots of help from the the red light that make it through that hundreds of miles thick filter. I find peach colored alpenglow is not that common. I very carefully exposed that sky to match what I saw. Bear in mind that the cattle are 300-400 yards out. The first blue ridge is 40 miles out. The Big Horn Mountains are 130 miles distant from my lens. I had to find just the right spot in the 3D topography out here to line this up.

Both those were Bulls (at that time lololol). Now they are steers……… Nothing is certain up here but Winter and brown season lol. This picture hopefully will take you back to that early summer day.

This is a very long 800mm lens. With an 800 from here, I can just fit the main peaks of the BigHorns in the frame from this distance. You need to use a pretty high f-stop to get this deep a focus. Distance from the closest object is your friend in this kind of image. Deep focal fields come at the expense of loosing light. Your already in a low light environment in twilight. Tripods help a LOT.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: BigHorn Longhorns

BigHorn Longhorns is a capture from earlier this summer. The peach colored alpenglow and purple mountain hues really accent the rich green of the pasture. This was a very good year for grass. It was hugging the hill here. It was as high as the cattle down in the fertile washes.

A result of atmospheric ice suspended in the atmosphere, Alpenglow colors the scene. The purples hues come with help from the the red light that make it through that hundreds of miles thick filter. I find peach is not that common. I very carefully exposed that sky to match what I saw. Bear in mind that the cattle are 300-400 yards out. The first blue ridge is 40 miles out. The Big Horn Mountains are 130 miles distant from my lens. I had to find just the right spot in the 3D topography out here to line this up.

Both those were Bulls (at that time lololol). Now they are steers……… Nothing is certain up here but Winter and brown season lol. This picture hopefully will take you back to that early summer day. Tired of the cold I already am.

Our Corriente’ herd has intermingled with the angus this winter. They will mooch when they can . Bossy to a cow, they know how to use their horns. IF they want through a fence, they pretty much walk through it. Fortunately, the old cows in the herd pretty much keep everyone close by. THey mingle with the angus but they know they are “better” in their mind. 😜

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: BigHorn Longhorns

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Twilight Over Turtle Butte

Twilight Over Turtle Butte
Twilight Over Turtle Butte

Twilight Over Turtle Butte is a capture from the Montana/Wyoming border. That line is 45 degrees north Latitude exactly, which runs right through that hill.

Its called turtle butte for two reasons. First, the cap rock from the correct angle looks very much as a turtle silhouette. Second, I have found fossil turtle fragments there. Some of them the size of your palm. These fossils are significant only by their presence. They are not valuable in and of themselves. The whole fossil assemblage taken as a whole is the significant scientific information. I have found some fairly nice turtle fossils in this “general area” but not much on that hill. There have been scattered dinosaur chunky chunks but alas, no amazing finds there. This is VERY big country to walk around in and cover any significant ground.

Up here in the borderlands I find a variety of things just walking or driving around. We actively hunt deer antlers as running over them will potentially flatten your ATV’s tire. Native American stone and metal artifacts have been found on our ranch. We note the presence of several teepee rings near natural seeps and springs on the ranch. There were no big “villages” up this high up on the ridges.

There were hunting parties though during the summer. The winter restricts access to these high ridges. Where there was water, there was game. Humans have been walking around this country for 11000 years. There is a documented Clovis man site within a 20 mile circle of my place. (LOL, that narrows it down). I still walk places up here that no human has been on before. Certainly try to walk off trail when ever safely possible. You will cover better ground that way. Everyone walks the trail…

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Twilight over Turtle Butte

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Moonset in the Backcountry

Moonset in the Backcountry
Moonset in the Backcountry

Moonset in the Backcountry

Layers of ridges sprawl below the Crescent Moon perceptively nearing the rising horizon. This 2 second time exposure of a 3 percent crescent setting over the Red Hill.s That last ridge is 40 miles distant from my lens. Resolving the different darkness of distant ridges in early civil twilight was a secondary goal in this image. Of course, getting that shadow and full outline of that sliver of a crescent was my main goal. I love alpenglow.

Actually capturing a detectable outline of the whole moon seems to be “restricted” to moon captures fairly close to the horizon. I’m not sure of the physics involved in this observation anecdotal as it is. However, what I do know for certain: seeing the whole outline is a tough capture. I can actually see things like this in the camera’s live video at the time.

The joy of “Mirrorless” removable lens cameras is that you get what you see in the eyepiece (or backLCD) BEFORE you click the shutter. Working in manual mode on a Mirrorless, you instantly know what your settings are doing, you watch it live on the screen. This is NOT a DSLR camera routine where you approximate the settings, take a photo, check the image on the LCD. Then you reset your setting better….. Rinse and Repeat until you get the shot.

I wouldn’t even consider buying the best possible DSLR versus a 1500 dollar mirrorless removable lens camera. Not even close. Mirrorless allows you instant feed back to your actions. If you are Christmas shopping, I strongly suggest you find out about mirrorless camera bodies that take removable lenses. As with anything else, you get what you pay for. I use Sony Alpha 7R series extensively though I have a couple of consumer level Canon M series cameras. I use the smaller chip cameras (not full frame like the Sony) for astro/big telescope work).

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Moonset in the Backcountry

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Twilight Over the BigHorns

Twilight Over the BigHorns
Twilight Over the BigHorns

Full Screen is a good choice for this. . Twilight over the BigHorns was so obviously gorgeous. I had to resort to a time exposure to catch it. The timing on this sunset is very late in Civil Twilight. I was returning home from a Photographic Road trip. My driveway offered this view as I returned to base.

Civil Twilight after sunset ends about 28 minutes after the sun goes down 8 degrees under the horizon. It’s usually the best time to get those crimson and yellow skies. The yellow is Alpenglow. Atmospheric Ice causes this phenomena caused by refracted light passing through. Only the red wavelengths which have survived through hundreds of miles of atmosphere light the cloud deck.

The Big Horns of course are 130 miles from my camera at this location. The long lenses I use crush the perspective. The black ridge at the bottom is 40 miles out. The clouds behind the range are around 200 miles out I would suspect. The distance is hard to put into proper frame. Those 13000 feet high mountains appear smaller than the thumb on my outstretched arm from here.

Photographic Musings focusing on :

Shutter speed:

When I don’t get detail in the landscape, you can assume that the lighting was pretty dim. I use very sensitive gear and this late, handheld camera work is silly to attempt. This is a 2 second time exposure. A rested camera at 1/15 th of a second is pretty tough to keep from blurring. 2 seconds you HAVE to have either a timer to initiate the shutter and a tripod/sandbag or your going to blur. I say if it’s 55mm and smaller that 1/50th is fine and stable unless your taking photos of moving things. The longer the lens, the more ANY movement will tend to blur. WIth a 800mm lens, if I’m working handheld at less than 1/200th of a second is rare and a rested camera.

My rules of Thumb for Handheld cameras shutter speed. (manual mode) all times are in fractions of a secondl You MIGHT get away with less and slower speeds blurring things intentionally is a valid photo technic. I’ve done that slow setting for a blur numerous times intentionally with bees and other fliers. Freeze the body but blur the wings composition sort of image…

Sitting still subject: 1/50th or faster..

Walking human 1/200th.

Running anything 1/800th

Flying things/moving vehicles: 1/2000th

Bumble Bee Wings 1/4000th.

These are just a rule of thumb and you can sure get away a bit on either side of those numbers. Of course the faster your exposure and the less light will enter the camera over the shorter period of time. You will have to adjust for fast shutters by either turning up ISO or turning down the F-stop numbers (bigger aperture). There are only three things to adjust in manual mode after all. You just learned one of them. 😀

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Twilight over the BigHorns

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Twilight Over the BigHorn Mountains

Twilight Over the BigHorn Mountains
Twilight Over the BigHorn Mountains

Twilight Over the BigHorn Mountains is of course a night sky in late civil twilight. The 13000 foot high peaks at 130 miles out from my lens. This is a 2 second time exposure and it was very dark out. Once the sun goes down, there is still an hour and a half sky show through the three twilights. You just need a good tripod and time exposures to see the show sometimes. I have photographed many of these from start to finish. This week has been incredible.

Civil Twilight begins about 28 minutes before sunrise or ends 28 minutes after sunset. It is that period from when the sun is about 6 degrees below the horizon. On clear days you can do normal outside activities that require light. That solar elevation angle below the horizon defines each twilight phase. CIvil Twilight is by far the brightest of the three twilights.

Nautical Twilight starts when the sun is 12 degrees below the horizon technically. Both the Horizon AND brighter stars/planets are visible in this twilight. It is the “middle” of the three twilights. At the beginning of Nautical twilight, it’s about one hour to sunrise. Rule of thumb which varies with your position on the globe, is 28 minutes each twilight.

In Astronomical Twilight, If you live in the city, you have probably never noticed astronomic twilight. The are NO shimmers of daylight at the beginning of Astronomic Twilight a full hour and a half before sunrise. . Away from the lights of population centers, we see Astronomic Twilight regularly where there is just a slight greying of the black totally dark sky mid night. It gets as dark here on our ranch in remote northeastern Wyoming as the North Atlantic Ocean according to NASA.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Twilight Over the BigHorn Mountains

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Complex Sunrise Big Sky

Complex Sunrise Big Sky
Complex Sunrise Big Sky

This Complex Sunrise Big Sky image is on the Wyoming/Montana border looking east. Both states in the image. This is a “fully involved” sky

While Montana Claims the “Big Sky” moniker, Wyoming certainly shares it. Our ranch is in both states and MOST of my images have both states well represented in the capture. I’m one of the few photographers that can legitimately post an image in both states Facebook forums lolol.

This is called a “Sunrise” but in fact it is still in Civil Twilight a full 15 minutes before the sun actually rose. This is still a night sky. Day starts when the horizon drops away from covering the sun. Twilight is my favorite time of the day. I photographically work almost every morning but clear sky cloudless mornings. There are SOOOO many cloudless gradient twilight images in my portfolio lolol. Certainly I don’t need many more.

Going out in the twilight before sunrise into the backcountry is alway interesting. I often run into still bedded deer, most of which don’t care that I’m driving by, stop, take a photo and move on… I get some of my best wildlife photography done coming back from working morning twilights. I’ve done this many hundreds of times. Over time, you get lucky and random encounters start to add up if you have the right gear and ability to work in morning golden hour light. Twilight low light is a whole different group of settings lolol. The transition from twilight to sunlight is rapid.

I have a lot of this same sky looking west taken the evening of this same day overlooking the Big Horn Mountains. You will see these as they get finished/posted.

Location: Standing directly On the “Wyoming with Montana” border, Bliss DInosaur Ranch,

Title: Complex Sunrise Big Sky

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Crescent Moon Rising in Alpenglow

Crescent Moon Rising in Alpenglow
Crescent Moon Rising in Alpenglow

Crescent Moon Rising in Alpenglow is a very delicate capture taken in Nautical Twilight over 40 minutes before Sunrise. The 3 percent crescent was barely discernible to the naked eye. This 3 second time exposure brought it right out though (sly smile). 😊

The single star showing through is about the last star I could see even straight up. It wasn’t a planet as it was twinkling away and planets don’t twinkle normally. You can see stars in Nautical Twilight but by the time Civil twilight rolls around (28 minutes before sunrise), the stars are long gone.

This is a classic rainbow Alpenglow gradient red orange yellow green blue indigo (ROYGBIV). I see these fairly regularly in the winter. It is not often I see them with clouds about. Typically they form in a clear sky gradient. Either way there has to be a LOT of atmospheric Ice for this gradient to form . A photographer has to be on his game not to wash this delicate color balance one way or the other.

Getting the entire outline of the moon even as a crescent is more common low in the mists I find out. I’m not sure of the physics of this but I think the reduced light from the moon minimized the dynamic range difference and allows the camera to see into the shadow a bit. Our modern cameras have amazing abilities but our eyes see differences in light dynamic range WAY better than the cameras do.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Crescent Moon Rising in Alpenglow

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Crescent Moon Setting Sail

Crescent Moon Setting Sail
Crescent Moon Setting Sail

Crescent Moon Setting Sail is BEST seen full screen.

Setting the mood:

The layers of ridges, the dark civil twilight slowly encroaching into nautical twilight. Then the stars will start to come out. Setting very quickly, less than a minute left before the horizon rises to cover the “Sail” of the ship so far away. The first ridge (black) is 40 miles away from my lens. The second Ridge is the Big Horn Mountain chain 130 miles out from my camera. Look carefully to see the outline of the whole moon. This is all very Subtle and it was quite dark for this capture.

I seldom see such a clear sky on a night that had very heavy alpenglow. (Starts out red, goes to orange and then this umber color. This is certainly the best moon sail I’ve ever captured this late in twilight. (just minutes before Nautical Twilight) Not having grain in an image like this is a gift. Only the moon edges blurred by several hundred miles of atmosphere is coarse.

Photographic notes.

Being a student of such things I think it worth noting that being able to differentiate the two ridges in this image or see the un lit side of the moon is almost magic (high technology we don’t understand) This is a brand new Sony Alpha 7R4 camera back and the dynamic range on this camera is PHENOMENAL. It also gives me 100 meg raw files to begin with 🙂 (60 meg .jpg out of the box). Put it on good fast glass and it’s a Monster for low light.

Dynamic Range??? What is that?? Low light??

. The Human Eye has 20 f-stops of Dynamic Range.(DR) This newest Sony has 15 f-stops of DR compared to less in MOST other cameras. The ability to see black cats in a coal bin and make out the individual hairs on the cat is good DR. . DR is all about seeing MORE levels of black or whiter on duller whites between. Seeing a white weasel on snow and picking out white hairs is all about DR. Or in this case, resolving a difference in what I thought at the moment was a dark silhouetted single ridge landscape but the data was there.

The inability of a camera to take the photo of stars behind a properly exposed full moon is due to that (at least) 5 f-stop difference between the human eye and some of the best technology we use. (as a normal consumer anyway). IF you ever see a properly exposed detailed Full Moon AND there are stars in the background of the image…..It’s a composite image combining a star field in photoshop which is very easy to do. If the artist is presenting it as a photo, he/she is a fibbing a tad.

Stars behind the moon.

I use pretty good (very good) gear and I CAN NOT take a close up (long lens) photo of a Full Moon where you can see the properly exposed details AND have stars in the photo. I see fakes ALL the time. Literally I have worn down a few batteries out trying to do so lolol…It is however, really easy to do it in photoshop all day lol. A veiled moon is easy to get SOME starts through the cracks in the clouds but not an unfettered full bright moon. A single Bright Planet like Jupiter MAYBE. Not a star field….. “ain’t gonna happen”. It goes against the Laws of Physics involved.

Gear, Sony Alpha 7R4, Canon 600mm with a 2x on a good tripod. 1 second time exposure, ISO 250, f-11

Location: From my front yard: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Crescent Moon Setting Sail

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Winds Over the BigHorns

Winds Over the BigHorns
Winds Over the BigHorns

Winds Over the Big Horns Kicking up a Ground Blizzard:

I don’t see this very often either. Actively viewing the 130 intervening miles of landscape is difficult. These massive peaks are typically shrouded by mists and cloud covering . This is actually a night shot. The sun having set several minutes prior to this click. The sun’s influence though is still brightly illuminating the Blowing Snow. That is being kicked up by the hurricane winds. Hard to see blowing snow Up high on the Big Horns up on those 13,000 feet high peaks and backlighting all that isn’t easy lol.

That is a tough environment up there lol. Winds over the Bighorns are definitely making some snow drifts up high in this capture. I’m limited seeing these distant peaks by weather and clouds usually…Not so much this night lol. It’s totally cloudless but for the ground blizzard on the peaks.

Catching the sun setting behind the Big Horns has been a bucket list item of mine for 20 years. By coincidence I have never been able to get this angle and weather to cooperate.. I had to drive 10 miles south to get it this time… As the sun sets each day a little bit left, as I travel right, it keeps the sun still on the range as I move positions northward. Finding a spot to actually see over that high intervening ridge (Red Hills) , is not as easy.

Hopefully I’ll get lucky again this year and get a second chance at this alignment. A majority of the time, I can’t see the range at this distance due to the aforementioned weather window.

This was taken on the pass to RockyPoint Wyoming on Trail Creek Road.

This is far northern Campbell Country Wyoming about 5 miles from Montana. It is 40 miles to the first dark ridge in the image. 800mm telephotos help a lot :). This is a VERY small area of the sky I’m photographing here. Hold a small postage stamp at the end of your reach and that is the size of this photo against the entire sky. 😜

Location; Bliss DInosaur Ranch Wyoming/Montana

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Crescent Moon in Twilight

Crescent Moon in Twilight
Crescent Moon in Twilight

Alpenglow with the Crescent Moon in

Very clear Skies, Alpenglow below with a Crescent Moon in Twilight. This Crescent a few days ago was a 5 percent illuminated disc. It will be a new moon tonight if we see it. Winter weather is occurring as I type this and next week look cold…. (Your reading this about 6 days after I typed it). This image was actually taken in my driveway which ended up just about the last image I took that day. I locked the front gate behind me as I go into our homesteads electric fence deer resistant perimeter for the night. I have to close the gate though as they will go across the cattle gates without a gate in the way. Title: Crescent Moon in Twilight

That night there was so much ice in the air , it produced one of the finest Alpenglow displays I’ve seen in quite a while. This was way to the left of the main show to the west. The camera her was almost straight south by south west. The real show was in the west but the moon wasn’t so..🌙lick…

This was later in Civil Twilight just before the boundary time 28 minutes (ish) after sunset to Nautical Twilight. 28 (ish) minutes later than that Astronomic Twilight starts (so do you know the difference?) It’s a good google if you don’t. Night starts the second the sun goes down and ends with the tip of the sunrise in the morning. Remember it’s not the sun that moves, it’s the horizon that is rising or falling across the face of the sun that your watching. Things are as they actually are, not the way you think they are or the way you have told they are 🤔🙏

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

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Fawns Morning Drink

A Fawns Morning Drink at the water hole on a foggy morning
A Fawns Morning Drink: Trip to the Stock Tank

After a long trek, it finally made it to the Stock Tank to take a fawns morning drink after a walk across a divide from an adjacent pasture at least a mile away. These stock tanks (4 of which I keep open over about 3 miles of water pipeline from my main well all winter flowing water for who ever drops by) is critical for the local deer population. Most of the Pronghorn Migrate south about 20-40 miles but the deer stay around and probably couldn’t if I didn’t keep this resource available. Been keeping water sources open for 20 years in the backcountry.

Framing a Game Trail Camera image is like adjusting your underwear. You think you know know how you want to do it. Butt you definitely know it when it’s right and then only after you take a few steps (photosI mean 😄. Most of the cameras preview/show you a photo of what the camera is seeing but it is when the camera is “Open”. Not much help… So you set it up pointing it basically blind just generally pointing it in the right direction. Then there is the assistance I get by animals nudging the cameras,. They help by licking them, trying to chew on the nylon straps that hold them to trees etc. The animals are always trying to help me by cleaning the cameras with their tongue…. ewwwwww. I see some goooey things stuck to lenses now and then lolol.


This was early foggy twilight plus the Infrared Flash from the Camera. I left the white eye in for a change. Perhaps it should be all black ?. This was obviously from the early summer as the Fawns have all lost their spots a few months ago. I have a folder of over 1000 photos from this summer yet to be looked at let alone finished lolol. Job security 😀

18×18 inch square aspect

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Fawns Morning Drink

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Corriente’ Longhorn Twilight

Corriente' Longhorn Twilight
Corriente' Longhorn Twilight

A couple of the ranches Long horn Mom’s were hanging out near the back gate for this Corriente’ Longhorn Twilight the other evening. I had already returned from a few hours of photography out in the backcountry and was “winding down” ready to quit for the day. Then this happened.
I find that Light worthy of trapping occurs when it does and you have to be there. I was, it was and I did 📸📸

Exotic Cattle: Corriente’

The Corriente’ Long Horn are a Spanish breed originally bred for the harsh conditions in the northern Spanish Pyrenees Mountains. They are smaller than our modern hybrids and pure breeds. They are also hardier, easier care for (as they pretty much take care of themselves). Add some basic yearly care (shots etc), some salt blocks and some magnesium lick in the spring when the rocket fuel (green grass) starts growing. Other than that, they paw the snow like Tonka to find grass and can easily handle a normal winter up here without additional feeding. Our herd mooches off the Angus herds feeding of course given the opportunity but they have gone some winters on their own. All did just fine and had wonderful calves in the spring those years. Tough cattle! 😲

Why Longhorns?

We raise them of course to sell to local ranches that like to lasso the calves as that is an active sport here in cowboy country because you make more money than raising them for beef lolol. (Actually it’s just a better arrangement. A lot of places raise their own. Bulls are problematic from them though as they tend to just walk through fences and try to breed with your angus herd…. Not good lol.

Like most Cowboy sports… Roping is a sport that has a real life application as cowboys often have to rope cattle from horseback locally. I’m sure pretty much daily within a 20 mile circle from this ranch. This is still old west cattle country in many ways.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Corriente’ Longhorn Twilight

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“Ents” Catch and Release Policy

Headline: Moon Catch and Release Policy by the "Ents"
Headline: Moon Catch and Release Policy by the "Ents"

Satire: In Tolkien’s masterwork, the Living Trees are known as “Ents”. They walk and talk and generally care for the trees in the forest as their shepherds. Here the “Ents” Catch and Release Policy is demonstrated by a young cousin of “Treebeard” . (Classical Reference)

Halloween:

Halloween brings out Ents, many of which roam the Wyoming/Montana borderlands). While he was reaching up practicing the newly negotiated “Catch and Release” program. The Moon indeed did get away from the touchy feely young “Ent”. “Sneaky Pete” the windmill was responsible for the negotiations I understand but that is just local gossip and I wouldn’t be one to spread a rumor 🎃 .

Just think, if that “Ent” didn’t let the moon go, how many things would become haywire….. The oceans would become sloshy and off it’s time base for tides. It would be a BIG disruption of lunar charts etc….. “Sneaky Pete” the windmill apparently prevented all that. We own him much but we will see how long the Ents “hold” to this policy😂

Photographic Musings:

There was just enough light left over from the setting sun to drag some detail out of the rocks grass and trees in the foreground. This actually takes some light to do. Because the moon is so bright, cameras have trouble looking into the darkenss around them. Silhouettes are easy. Getting details in this kind of light is an entirely difficult thing to do unless the sun is actually up. It wasnt here and this is using twilight light to capture the shadow details. Under the category of photographic challenges. Also I’d love to see a cellphone image of something like this. I’m thinking they shouldn’t operate in this kind of environment but I love being proven wrong. They make some amazing cameras on the little lenses these days. .

Happy Halloween, share freely.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

“Ents” Catch and Release Policy

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Halloween Sky: Who Do you See?

Halloween Sky: Who Do you See?
Halloween Sky: Who Do you See?

“Halloween Sky: Who Do You See” …… was done off a pretty impressive sky to start with (still have the original still in the raw timeline somewhere. But I instantly saw the possibilities in the image. Lore from our Pagan (pre-christian) past works it’s way into the present with this holiday mixing with christian practice in the middle ages through out Europe. Much of Halloween Lore is handed down over countless generations from parents to their children along with the handed down/cut out witches on brooms and cardboard pumpkins from many childhoods ago 😀🎃🎃

So in the pursuit of this image result…. all attempts at being photorealistic went out the window and this turned very quickly into an ART/Photo Hybrid project lolol… . Did I mention this is ART for Halloween?? (Pssst, Don’t tell the kids”. ) I will always tell you when I totally mess with an image lol.

Personally I imagine the Cartoon Character “Tigger™” in this capture (its about 95 percent real and 5 percent art, just a tweek here and there really ….a little mirroring selectively. Certainly not the whole image). I would bet some dragons and devils come out of this “Rorschach Test”.

Geeky Musings:
So what is the tendency to see faces in clouds (random data) called? Pareidolia is a type of apophenia, which is a more generalized term for seeing patterns in random data. I am horribly Apophenic and anthropomorphize virtually every scene I see more or less automatically.

This tendency to “see things in clouds” was once considered a symptom of psychosis…. (Let that sink in for a second and go figure lololol) but now is considered absolutely normal. (probably not by some 😜). Humans have even taught computers how to see faces from random data. (Facial recognition and all that). There are also those poor folks that have no ability or interest in such folly but I consider it a sign of artistic talent perhaps hidden away in the rooms of your mind just looking for the door. :).

At any rate: HAPPY HALLOWEEN !
Share freely to a few special ones that just don’t look but actually see. 🙂

Location, overhead plus in my workstation, Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

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Buck Mule Deer Drinking at Twilight

Buck Mule Deer Drinking at Twilight
Buck Mule Deer Drinking at Twilight

Catching a Mule Deer Buck Drinking from a Stock Tank at Twilight is a tough one to do in person. This is why I run a network of high quality game trail cameras (26 currently) to catch some of the inhabitants of my ranch in a more candid way.

Photograhers notes:

Hints on using game trail cameras:

Each image is problematic from a professional photo finishing standpoint. Let’s just say these images from the GTC take a while in the digital darkroom to get them to my current fairly high standards lol. This particular image has been finished to print to 2x3feet at high resolution so you can get really good images from these cameras.

The problem with the actual Game cameras is that they are on automatic all the time. Therefore I have no real creative control over the lighting adjustment. Low med and high lolol. Some algorythm decides….. This camera is set at a low flash setting but no IR flash occurred for this twilight color shot. This was late enough in the twilight where the camera could/should have taken a night camera shot in Black and White via Infra-Red Light. Apparently it just got this in above that low light threshold and was still in color. Low light color shots are rare for a game camera. I use 20 and 30 megapixel cameras. I don’t endorse any particular kind though. Each has it’s own uses like a particular screwdriver once you get to know how they perform.

Watering holes and fence openings are obviously good attractions and “funnels” where game will trail. I look for paths up to fences that continue on the other side and often place cameras at oblique angles to the crossing to catch Pronghorn or deer going under and occasionally over fences. Look for fence crossings near water sources too since those will be frequented at least once a day by what ever is around. Leave gates open for a long time if you can and still control your own stock. The wild game will start using those gates more often.

I find that putting cattle into a pasture will pretty much destroy, mame, chew, lick and otherwise waste game trail cameras. Don’t do it for long or you will have a messy sloppy game trail camera with 5K images of a cows blurry side to go through for that one deer that was overexposed by walking too close to the camera…….🤣

It’s illegal to feed game animals in many states. Putting down “chum” to attract the animals is touchy so know your local rules. You can put down corn to feed your livestock, you can plant fields with the right plants they like but don’t put down food for the wildlife is generally the rule for Game and Fish about the country. There are exceptions I’m sure.

The only parameters you can control with most game trail cameras is exposure and IR sensitivity for detection of animal movement. Placement of the camera…. I find this is by far the most important thing. Composition of the shot and having a funnel or attraction to have the animals go to where the camera is actually pointing is the baby. Set up those funnels.

Have a great evening this Wednesday night.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Twilight Moment in the Backcountry

Twilight Moment in the Backcountry
A Twilight Moment in the Wyoming/Montana Borderlands

Getting to a favorite overlook for catching a Twilight Moment in the Backcountry in the Wyoming/Montana Borderlands is an exercise in driving remote two track roads in the dark dark lol. I might take 10 or 20 minutes to get into position for a shot like this pre-sunrise usually in late Nautical Twilight where stars are visible early on. (Do you know your twilights??)

Eastern Skies almost always have better twilight shows than western skies as there is usually more ice in the atmosphere by my observations. Others may disagree.🤣This is in mid Civil Twilight which starts 28 (ish) minutes before actual sunrise. Nautical Twilight just ended and Astronomic Twilight (when the stars just disappear) has been over for a 1/2 hour. IT takes about an hour for the sun to rise during which time, the horizon is falling away from covering the sun for the night. Remember it’s not the sun that’s moving, I remind you that it is the earth that is rotating and the horizon is literally falling when you look to the east about 4 inches during the time it takes a rifle bullet to reach 1000 yards out.

This Backcountry show starts in pitch black as deep as the North Atlantic Ocean (according to NOAA) with little dribs of color smattering through the needles. The “volume” is turned up on the color wheel as the timeline progresses. Such Sky Shows are a pleasure to watch from beginning to end and I have done many many hundreds in totality. I’m pretty sure time isn’t taken off your lifeline for time spent watching sunrises and sunsets.

This is a 2 second time exposure as it is. No wind, dead calm or the pine needles would be a blur. I consider this a night sky…

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Twilight Moment in the Backcountry

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Every Color Sunset over the Big Horn Mountains

Every Color Sunset over the Big Horn Mountains
Every Color Sunset over the Big Horn Mountains

There is literally every color of the rainbow in this image lol. The wedge at the middle of the horizon is the silhouette of the Big Horn Mountains where the sun is setting directly behind. There are only a few weeks a year I can take these but historically the weather window has been closed for most of the time. I consider these hard to get with the sun directly over the peaks 130 miles away. I have to move many miles north now to keep getting this chance as the sun moves rapidly down the range more progressively each sunset in the years timeline.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Satire: Volcano Goes Off On the MT/WY border

Satire: Volcano Goes Off On the MT/WY border
Satire: Volcano Goes Off On the Mt/Wy border

Satire: “Turtle Butte” came to life the other morning with a series of rumbles and tremors resulting in a discharge of smoke and no doubt all sorts of other volcanic debris. This particular butte, only 50 miles from the Devils Tower/Missouri Butte Volcanic Neck complex, sure looked convincing the other morning when I took this🤣 Could be a precursor to Yellowstone’s caldera popping like a teenagers face before a date.

Just a geologists musings😎 with a photographers habits..📸

Happy Halloween .

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands. In fact turtle butte is precisely on the WY/MT border.

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Twilight Behind A Lone Tree on a Ridge

Twilight Behind A Lone Tree on a Ridge
Twilight Behind A Lone Tree on a Ridge

I took this a week ago as this posts with quite a Twilight Behind a Lone Tree on a Remote Ridge. This is a favorite lone tree of mine being on a very high ridge that is approachable from both sides at least on foot from this side AND I can get far enough away to fit it all in to the frame.

Twilight skies are notoriously color boosted. I would suggest to you that if anything, the real show was actually much more vivid in person but I stopped a bit light on saturation on this one as I’d like it to be believable lolol. It was beautiful.

Location: Ridge 1, Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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3 Mule Deer Bucks in Twilight Silhouette

3 Mule Deer Bucks in Twilight Silhouette
3 Mule Deer Bucks in Twilight Silhouette

These 3 Mule Deer Bucks caught in a late twilight Silhouette were up watching the full moon rising the other night with me. They were ridge lined and I was able to maneuver way below them about 200 yards out and Click….
I know this boys club and it’s members pretty well. . There is a 2.5 year old on the right, a 3.5 year old on the left and a 4.5 year old in the center. It’s all about the antlers lol. These boys grew up together in the same group and I’ve watched them all grow up from fawns. They are pretty used to me being around but they are still quite wild. They don’t come down to greet me you might say but I can get pretty close if the conditions are right…..

Next year the bigger of the three will probably be a serious challenge for the other itinerate bucks that wander through. 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.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Proud Buck to be from Wyoming (WY)

Proud Buck to be from Wyoming (WY)
Proud Buck to be from Wyoming (WY)

This 2 year old buck’s antlers were still in velvet last early summer when I took this. By next year he will be better but a 5 year old is best for horns. Having said that….

This Buck is Wyoming (WY) proud for sure. I actually have some other photos of this guy around the ranch that I’d have to find to show you but this is the real deal. (his antlers spell WY if you haven’t seen it yet). 📸

I have a deer image who’s antlers spell WYO somewhere too lolol. I’ll get to it.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.


(I’m now taking applicants for the a photoshoot with the deer wearing the MT antlers….🤣)

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Hunter’s Moon Rising in the Wy:Mt Borderlands

Hunter's Moon Rising in the Wy:Mt Borderlands
Hunter's Moon Rising in the Wy:Mt Borderlands

Satire: I’d like to imagine this Hunter’s Moon here was rising off it’s resting place in the remote backcountry of the Wy:Mt borderlands. It’s a lot of work rising all that cheese to it’s zenith at the top of the sky. I think a good rest before a climb is always in order don’t you?🤣

The moon never stays long resting as I photograph it all the time being lazy on things. If it stayed too long thought, the tide charts would be all messed up. I catch the moon doing all sorts of anthropomorphic things in my images. You just have to think about it😎

Location: Near the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Full Moon Rising “Trapped” by the Trees

Full Moon Rising "Trapped" by the Trees
Full Moon Rising "Trapped" by the Trees

I have a sub-hobby within my larger Photographic activities of taking photos of the Moon carefully positioned around terrestrial objects, all in focus, here trapped by the Trees……. Tonight I will post 3 moon images in various forums lol.

The moon must be a slippery fellow since he obviously got out of this well planned trap by those trees. Surrounded and it got away. Escape and evasion exemplified!🤣

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Perspective #10 “Brace Yourself for Sunrise”

Perspective #10 "Brace Yourself for Sunrise"
Perspective #10 "Brace Yourself for Sunrise"

Perspective #10, “Brace Yourself for Sunrise”. I took this just a few days ago as it posts. The mornings have been much better than the evenings of late and I’m not sure why (random). I’ve gone out 3 times in a row in the AM with good results. Sunsets have been glare filled golden scenes of late. I usually figure the Morning should be similar to the night before on a general principle. Of course weather systems move through and intermittent clouds mess me up all the time.

The “should I work the light or not?” is always the question in the morning. IT’s much easier in the later afternoon to figure out what the sky is going to do. Decisions decisions…

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.