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OverCast Fully Involved Drama

OverCast Fully Involved Drama
OverCast Fully Involved Drama

OverCast Fully Involved Drama

Corriente’ Cattle have been on the ranch since 2012. We have Black Angus too but these guys are much more photogenic. Something about the horns that gives them a western look.

Fully covered skies where I catch any animal that I can silhouette are automatically better by their inclusion. I would indicate that everybody was looking at this sunset that evening. I’m sure that even the glutton on the right took a few seconds between chews to enjoy this vision. It was hard not to notice this sky show. It stands out in all that I have seen as pretty impressive….

This can only happen during a totally overcast evening with thin / spotty enough clouds to allow the light to get under the canopy. A cool night, this particular evening was very moist with alpenglow rife to provide this colorcast to the show.

Bear in mind that this is a long range telephoto shot so the area of the sky wasn’t as big as this perspective would have you believe lol. Telephotos crush perspective and you never know how big an area of sky you are seeing. This frame covers an area of sky about the size of a postage stamp at arms length at the horizon. It’s a mind bender I think. This was a good night for images as this held on for 10 minutes anyway. That gave me plenty of time to get around… Click …

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

Title: OverCast Fully Involved Drama

OverCast Fully Involved Drama

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Perspective Corral Fence Twilight

Perspective Corral Fence Twilight
Perspective Corral Fence Twilight

Perspective Corral Fence Twilight

Cattle Country:

The cowboys have been awake for 50 minutes . Takes time to get geared up/. Grab some breakfast from the hen house… Then there is tack on the horses to apply. A few big Black Angus Bulls strayed from the local herd managed to successfully negotiate the fencing separating 2 herds. The separate owners would prefer not to mix cattle if possible lolol. The cow hands will go separate the bulls. Horses work best moving Bulls. Trust me on this… I’ve done it both with horses and with ATV’s. Not even close the two experiences are lol. One is comfortable, the other is stupid lol.

Even the best of fences, while keeping good neighbors, is but an inconvenience to a Big Angus Bull with love on his mind. Operations generally try to keep Bulls Pinned and landlocked with another pasture between them and the next herd. Even 5 wire barbed wire can be easily over come by nearly a ton of BIG willed fellow. Thick skinned they are. Not many made into couches due to that tendency to scar themselves up a tad in the spring.

Bull Fences must be well built. Any structure that you intend to work any significant number of “head” over the years has to be a long term engineering project. Well built and heavy. Iron is best of course. There are MANY sucker rod and drill stem pipe fences built/welded together up here in Oil field country. They are permanent additions to any cattle operation.

Less longevity built in, this particular Wood Plank Fence is quite old, still willing to hold back the cattle pressure from the other side. We are just an inch of precipitation yearly from being called a desert… as such wood lasts a LONG time. Many decades of life.

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

Title: Perspective Corral Fence Twilight

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Distant Thunder Mesocyclone

Distant Thunder Mesocyclone
Distant Thunder Mesocyclone

Distant Thunder Mesocyclone

When I see these big Monsters on the horizon, heading up to the ridge tops is my destination. I have fairly long views from there. From my house, I might see about 1/2 of this from behind the ridge I stand hon. This prairie Mesocyclone was slowly rotating about 30 miles to our north and east. A Mesocyclone is a Mature BIG thunderstorm. They are HUGE.

I’m in Wyoming for this looking into Montana. This storm was worrying folks along the South Dakota / Wyoming / Montana triple state line. If effected all three states as it moved to the south east during it’s lifetime. I see about 15 of these big storms a summer. I will work all of them with a box-o-cameras given the opportunities lol. They are wonderful ever changing photographic subject that move very slowly. (unless your under them lol).

I’ve always considered Mammatus clouds as evidence that the storm is being deprived. Without daylight heating, the storms cease growing. Thusly it is slowly collapsing. Not clearly defined is the exact causation of mammatus clouds. “When Moist air drops into dry air below.”… Essentially they are upside down clouds similar to a cloud top billowing. Similar to the growing tower of a thunderstorm before the “Anvil” forms from the top of the storm traveling faster than the bottom. The bottom has friction with the ground where as the top not so much.

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

Title: Distant Thunder Mesocyclone

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Full Smokey Moon Rising

Full Smokey Moon Rising
Full Smokey Moon Rising

Full Smokey Moon Rising

Wednesday Moon Day:

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

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

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

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

Title: Full Smokey Moon Rising

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Deer Hide and Seek

Deer Hide and Seek
Deer Hide and Seek

Deer Hide and Seek

Satire:

Random things happen all the time. Who would have thought I’d come upon two yearlings (1.5 year old buck anyway) playing hide and seek in the woods. They both carefully backed in behind the old pine to hide from me… Not seeing each other figured they were safe… What happened after this I leave to your imagination but I suspect someone or both got a startle when they bumped. I know but I’m not telling 🙂 I unfortunately did not get much more on camera as they weren’t cooperating with my mental wishes.

Back to my normal programming.

Well the twilight was spectacular anyway as par for the course of late. Magnificent skies are the rule rather than the exception when wispy clouds are overhead and there is a lot of smoke in the air. Long traveled sunshine colored the clouds with only the finest of displays that night.

Finding two deer on a ridge in front of the show was cool. Having them pose for me, priceless. The two caught in my cameras stare were frozen in time. Click. Who can argue with photographic evidence of hide and seek play lolol.

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

Title: Deer Hide and Seek

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Mesocyclone Mammatus Twilight Show

Mesocyclone Mammatus Twilight Show
Mesocyclone Mammatus Twilight Show

Mesocyclone Mammatus Twilight Show

This storm hailed on me an hour prior to this click. I tend to follow behind these guys around sunset. Some of the scenery I see doing this is otherworldly. It was very dark on the ground as the silhouette shows. There was no way to properly expose the clouds still keeping the ground visible. Usually I can pull out the ground detail in the digital dark room. Not so much here. So I consider it a good use of negative space here lol.

This storm was quite a sporty little spitter on it’s way through the area. It was big and had a lot of various rain / hail shafts for me to run from lol. There were rumors on the weather there was golf ball hail on going somewhere under that. I was hit by marble sized hail. It seemed to follow me that night on the way in lol. I went 10 miles away from the homestead trying to get the photographic angle. The proper location is everything.

The Pink light is the “Belt of Venus” effect that is so common with a bunch of moisture in the atmosphere frozen or fluid. The pink light survived the longer trip through the low atmosphere. This light reflects back off the clouds to my photon capture boxes. There the photons are converted to electrons and stored for me to work on later. Have to love technology.

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

Title: Mesocyclone Mammatus Twilight Show

Mesocyclone Mammatus Twilight Show

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Path Through the Rocks

Path Through the Rocks
Path Through the Rocks

Path Through the Rocks

I see the light. Light has a tendency to travel in a straight line unless acted upon. Usually this is by passing through a change in media such as air to water. This refracts the light. As I was carefully wandering in the twilight dusk along a high ridge. I was scanning for imaginary faces in the silhouette. (This image having many for you Pareidoliacs out there).

Having huge deep boulders on the skyline usually makes anthropomorphic imaginings easy. This scene froze me in my tracks. The spot of orange light in the black on the low right is actually showing THROUGH the boulder field. Talk about a gauntlet/light filter lol. I’m not used to seeing straight lines through rocks. My geologic background caused OCD kicks in lolol.

I was walking around with the wrong camera upon first happenstance to see this. “Clever Girl” was up the hill about 4 stories. Climbed up and traded cameras, climbed back down. (Got to stay in shape to do this stuff). I figured I was never going to find the exact same place in 3-D space again. I went back to roughly the same spot with this lens, found the “zone” and clicked. It was visible in a little window about 2 feet by 2 feet. Move outside that box and I couldn’t see it.

It’s an obvious metaphor. Simply put: “Seeing the light is looking at JUST the right angle at the right time. “

Title: Path Through the Rocks

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Moon Above Mesocyclone

Moon Above Mesocyclone
Moon Above Mesocyclone

Moon Above Mesocyclone

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

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

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

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

Title: Moon Above Mesocyclone

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Sunrise Backcountry Cloud Complex

Sunrise Backcountry Cloud Complex
Sunrise Backcountry Cloud Complex

Sunrise Backcountry Cloud Complex

Good Morning… Right at the crack of dawn, all the colors of this land are popping. From the grey of the Bentonitic soil under a thin coating of grass in front. To the unique blue of the sage brush 50 yards out. Sage being one of the most important keys I use to match camera color values versus reality. I pay very close attention to the hues of the grass in a particular light. Getting colors as rich as this is a matter of timing. As the horizon falls away enough to expose the sun (we’re the ones that are spinning remember), the light was perfect. A reasonably balance of the rainbow was just starting to appear. I find in Twilight captures, there is perfect time for this. A few minutes on either side and the light is gone or not there yet.

Knowing when to leave a scene is a developed skill. I could click away at this sky but it’s going to wash out in seconds from the fully engaged glare of our sun. This is the time when I turn around to check out the back show in the skies over my shoulder here. This was a complex weather system involving some sporty weather the evening before. It’s usually a good bet the next morning after storms move though.

Sometimes it takes me a while to get to some of these backcountry locations I shoot mornings from. I can’t see the eastern horizon from my homestead so travel is always involved. Sunsets are way easier lol. I can work from my porch sometimes, driveway others lol. This was about a mile east but 400 feet higher than my driveway. The ridges here are all more or less parallel to one another in this upper drainage. Having said that we are at 4000 feet roughly which is LOW in Wyotana. The LOWEST spot in Wyoming is 3099 feet not far from here. The LOWEST topography in Montana is 1820 feet. 🤔

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

Title: Sunrise Backcountry Cloud Complex

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Wyotana Dawn Civil Twilight

Wyotana Dawn Civil Twilight
Wyotana Dawn Civil Twilight

Wyotana Dawn Civil Twilight

Some of the coolest pink lighting the next morning after the same color pink moon 7. The same conditions filtering the light occurred in the same air mass as the night before for. I noted the unusual pink color in a recent post with that colored moon rising. Next morning, there it was again. This is not the first time I’ve seen the same atmospheric conditions cause similar photographs from evening to the next morning. This pink that is literally touching the horizon closely matches the color of moon in that timeline the previous night. I will never forget that color. Surprised me it did lol.

To facilitate a long dark drive up on the ridges to get a good view of the east horizon, I have to prepare and travel early. I generally do not work perfectly clear sky sunrises but I can see colors like this very early. The recent hail storm messed up my sunrise camera beyond repair. It totally destroyed it’s protective housing. Then it got flooded. . A replacement for it and a few others is yet to be ordered. I now have some insurance money to replace that tool in my tool chest. It enables me to see over “Ridge One” before sunrise and get a better idea on whether to go our or now. It’s a fairly high priority item for me to work on after all the damage as I used to use it literally every morning.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana) (The left side of the photo is Montana, the right side is Wyoming).

Title: Wyotana Dawn Civil Twilight

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Twilight Distant Angry Storm

Twilight Distant Angry Storm
Twilight Distant Angry Storm

Twilight Distant Angry Storm

Late in the timeline of that day, into civil twilight at Dusk. The Landscape was barely visible to me so the exposure times elongated further than that storms anvil. The rising column of air going up over 30K feet at least. Only the red rays survive the atmospheric gauntlet to reflect back at my lenses. The storm is 80 miles to the north east and is classified as a Mesocyclone. A big lumbering spinning top of a weather system, they are massively powerful. The higher, the more powerful. Anybody under these things are certainly aware of it. You’d have to be several stories under ground to ignore the presence of this kind of hail storm.

How badly your effected by the passing of these as they move across the prairie, depends on your location. If it randomly moves over where you are, there is usually heavy rain, hail up to softball (we had such sized hail hit us back in 2008) sized, lightning with possible tornadic activity. Strong down drafts also can cause massive damage as those hit in Iowa in early August 2020. These are were we get most of our precipitation during the summer months.

Heaven forbid they stall directly over you below a down draft. We got 4 inches or hard rain over 45 minutes about a decade ago. Sheet wash ankle deep was running down the hill and around my house during that event. They are not a daily event but we do see these every other week during the late green and early brown season. Life on the high plains has it’s exciting moments.. 😜

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands

Title: Twilight Distant Angry Storm

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Morning Singer with Audience

Morning Singer with Audience
Morning Singer with Audience

Morning Singer with Audience

For a Black and White Game Trail Camera Night Shot, this came out pretty well lolol. 📷 Grainy as would be expected of an Infra-red camera.

Each game trail camera shot has issues. I spent some time working on in the digital darkroom this to fix them. The result was good enough to get published second today on my timeline. I love photos that tell stories. This has a wonderful obvious one.

A Mule Deer Buck Listening to a Meadowlark Sing it’s melody in the Twilight.

The bird on the post in silhouette is a Meadowlark. I know them very well, trust me it’s a Meadowlark. It’s singing it’s heart out to the Spring Velvet buck (you can only see one growing horn at this angle) . He was in antler growth mode in early June when this was taken. I have no question that buck is listening and watching that Meadowlark. Being the State Bird of 6 Western States, the Meadowlark’s are sort of hard to ignore even at 4:55 AM. What a way to start your morning 📸 . Actual sunrise that morning was around 20 minutes later. You have to look but there is a grazing buddy of the buck over on right frame.

Game trail cameras lag months behind as I only pick them up when I pass them. That might be 1/2 a year depending on the season.

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

Title: Morning Singer with Audience

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Fawns Watching the Sunset

Fawns Watching the Sunset
Fawns Watching the Sunset

Fawns Watching the Sunset

After watching these guys for 20 minutes, these twin fawns decided to walk up to the ridge line. They has a sunset show of a totally clear sky full of golden alpenglow. I know that deer watch beautiful sunsets. I’ve seen them stop eating to watch it for minutes at a time.

I’m always on the way to set up a landscape somewhere at sunset So along the way….. . I am after all a landscape photographer who likes to specialize in close/far perspectives from the viewpoint of a mouse. But…. Being an opportunist and stingy with my time, I pursue animal photography only as it occurs. This is in contrast to trying to make it happen. Now I have at times known where herds were and with definitely intent drove carefully/slowly into the center of the herds. It takes a little previous experience with that herd getting them used to my rig. These two Whitetail Fawns are definitely getting used to me.

I haven’t seen as many Mule Deer up in this country this summer. The Muley’s must have moved on to lusher pastures with WhiteTail Deer moving into the area filling the vacuum. Certainly we hope this is me not noticing where the Mule Deer hang this year. I way prefer to have Mule Deer about rather than just Whitetail.

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

Title: Fawns Watching the Sunset

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Just a Beautiful Twilight

Just a Beautiful Twilight
Just a Beautiful Twilight

Just a Beautiful Twilight

It takes a drive “up the backcountry ridge” for a view of the western sky. After the sun has set. I see scenes like this every other day up here sans overcast skies. I find myself so used to the lighting I’m exposed to, overlooking a beautiful image that needs to be finished is a real thing. Scrolling through hundreds of captures after working any one particular sunrise or sunset timeline is a tough job. I usually under-expose everything so sometimes seeing it raw out of the camera is difficult. That mountain/ the far ridge is 50 miles distance. There are no yard lights visible over that distance. This is big empty country.

Photographic Musings: No over-exposure allowed. Only expose the highlights correctly. I adjust the image’s dark area back to reality later. Having found that over exposing twilight skies JUST to get some landscape detail is just improper. The best way is to capture a proper twilight sky without blowing out fine/intricate details. Some clouds are smooth, others have amazing patterns. THe detail lost in an overexposure is gone. Same thing happens when a beginning artist turns up the volume on color saturation or intensity. IT blows out the detail. There is a HUGE amount of detail in this properly exposed alpenglow colorcast sky.

Without the digital dark room, you would have a just black silhouette on the bottom. Here you have two ridges clearly visible with some detail present. If your purist and don’t like “changing” what came out of the camera, your ignoring the fact the camera by itself can’t capture the real scene. My eyes could clearly see the ridges in the distance. I had to coax it out of the digital file though. Photorealism. There wasn’t a silhouette there to my eyes. I produce images as I experienced them.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur ranch, Wyoming / Just a Beautiful Twilight

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Under the Spinning Monster

Under the Spinning Monster
Under the Spinning Monster

Under the Spinning Monster

Boy this is a big one. This is as they say, just the tip of this weather iceberg. Just as dangerous here with 90 percent of it out of view hidden behind a veil of it’s own doing. It’s an odd perspective, the horizon only looks tilted as your looking at a climbing ridge from left to right. The storm itself is horizontal. And did I mention BIG. 👀

The serious weather looks to be around 30 miles off. Approximately the storm is 80 miles across. I’d LOVE to have cell service up here to get live radar but that hasn’t happened yet. We are pretty remote.. It’s really handy be be able to look through these walls of clouds to see what they are doing. Not having in truck radar images is why I got caught off guard by that damaging hail storm hitting us hard a few weeks ago. I’m working these storms based on what I see. I came in from the ranch land expecting a hail shaft to be coming in but didn’t know 3 inch hail was incoming in it or that it would last for 1/2 an hour. Stalled storm…

Being Anywhere in front of these rotating masses is not a good place to be. Under the wall cloud all sorts of bad things can happen. To the rear of the storm the hail will get progressively bigger. Down draft straight winds just add to the pleasure of watching 3 inch hail bash most things to smithereens. We had 6 digit damage here on ranch in July from one of these.

With the energy of a small Atom Bomb, powered by solar energy. If you by happenstance to be directly under the business end of a stalled version of this, your going to have a big rain. We had 4 inches in 45 minutes. Sheet wash off the hill behind my house was ankle deep. I changed my landscaping due to that storm to redirect that potential wash hazard.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands.

Title: Under the Spinning Monster

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Perspective Through the Knot Hole

Perspective Through the Knot Hole
Perspective Through the Knot Hole

Perspective Through the Knot Hole

The morning that showed me this view was 14 hours earlier than when I typed this narrative. It’s rare that I take a photo and schedule it to be published the same day. Sort of like being a bouncer choosing who gets to enter a nightclub. If your a “looker”, you go right to the front of the line. There are several thousand images for me to finish at the moment lolol. They are sitting in a folder on my workstations desktop called “Images to finish”. Job security 📸

The texture on this wonderful old snag from 100 years of exposure to the elements. It is harsh here in Wyotana with hot high altitude sunny summer days and terribly dark cold winters. Wood rot here take a LONG time as 14 inches a year average of precip tends to reduce rot. There are a LOT of “Snags” around from the 1930’s fire that “burned until the snow fell” up in this country. This one developed even more character as those orangish spots are bruises from the hail storm that threw up to 3 inch ice balls at it. The Mountain in the knot hole is known to me as “Turtle Butte”. It is precisely on the Montana/Wyoming border about 1/2 and half. 🤔

This is the second of a series with this Snag. I worked it a few years back as well. The lighting was entirely different then and it hadn’t hailed lol. The old masters would go back to the same place again and again to get different light. It was harder to travel then. I just work a very large area of backcountry photographically.

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

Title: Perspective Through the Knot Hole

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Just A Pretty Sunset

Just A Pretty Sunset
Just A Pretty Sunset

Just A Pretty Sunset (for a nice Friday Night).

JUST after the sun disappears behind the rising horizon, I clicked this. The simple image of a sunset is only overcome by the beauty of the event. Watching thousands of sunsets from start to finish has taught me nuances in lighting. Both Causation and Effect become apparent with enough observation. There are an infinite number of angles to look at something. There are more that I can imagine in my mine. (more than infinity). 😜

Sunsets this time of year from my ranch are getting more and more straight to the west. From my position one mile inside of Wyoming, your looking at both states in this frame. Wyoming is to the left and Montana is to the right. Living on the border with access to both states has it’s advantages. I am sandwiched between two counties fire departments and get pretty good service lolol. This late into a drought year has me looking over Amazon and elsewhere online for firefighting tools. To have a smoke free sky like this image might take a while with a pretty good fire 50 miles west of here. You can’t see it here as this was the day’s ending before it started burning.

So enjoy the clear sky sunset while I’ve still got them making their way into my work flow. The last two sunset/sunrise I’ve worked have been heavily influence by the smoke from that fire. There will be other images of that fire’s smoke plume incoming and published here soon.

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

Title: Just A Pretty Sunset

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Under The Spinning Mesocyclone

Under The Spinning Mesocyclone
Under The Spinning Mesocyclone

Under The Spinning Mesocyclone

It’s dark I know. It WAS dark at the time. This was a MASSIVE spinning Mesocyclone over our heads with the curved apron off of the tower in the turning around the corner. I would estimate this was over three states of Montana/ South Dakota and Wyoming. South Dakota is 90 miles to the left of frame. The business end of this was to the left of the frame about 1/2 way to South Dakota. Long Story Short, this was a big one… ⛈

This part of the storm was collapsing and loosing some of the input into the system. These big systems rotate broadly around like a small hurricane. They have some really serious consequences at times if your at the wrong place of the storm. This unique view from under this monster was a matter of luck or unluck depending on where you are. Residents in the high plains roll the dice each time one of these fellows moves overhead. We just had a serious hail storm damaging many outside surfaces on the ranch.

Hail, Dry Lightning, tornados, straightline winds are all dangers from these. We had 4 inches of rain in less than an hour about a decade ago. It was called a 500 year rain. I personally suspect they are more common than that but there are no rain gages over most of this country lol. Hard to measure a storm that sits still for an hour dumping rain over one spot when the spot is only a few miles across. This country is thinly populated with weather stations that report to the Natl’ Weather service. If you google DW-1087… pick the Bliss Ranch reference and you will see weather conditions here on the ranch.

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

Title: Under The Spinning Mesocyclone

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Something Fishy Here

Something Fishy Here
Something Fishy Here

Something Fishy Here

Most of you know I maintain a network of Game Trail Cameras across my ranch. Various trails and natural choke points are favorite places of mine to plant them. I have to decide WHERE to put them. This is based on WHERE the unknown creature destined to walk in front of my automatic cameras will inhabit eventually. I noticed a well used path down near a local lake where small animals obviously had tread prior to my discovery of the local highway. Out comes a game trail camera with a view of the path.

Of course I have no control over environmental lighting. Moving animals at night are hard for Game Trail Cameras to freeze. This one did pretty well but at 5:15AM, just a bit before sunrise that day, there was enough ambient light to freeze this little canid (I think a Fox of some sort). What was REALLY interesting was the breakfast it had in it’s mouth.

I wish I knew the back story of this. I can only by implication assume the fish was dead on the shore. The other alternative is he did some early morning fishing which would be different for sure lolol. The Fox may like his sushi from a gas station refrigerator next to the automotive fluids aisle. You know, a little past prime perhaps?? There was a pretty good grass fire here on ranch lately so maybe he had that fish cooked first. Back to reality, the lake is getting lower and a fish may have been trapped in the shallow. At any rate, caught him with his breakfast. Yumm. 😜

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

Title: Something Fishy Here

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Portrait of a Backcountry Sunrise

Portrait of a Backcountry Sunrise
Portrait of a Backcountry Sunrise

Portrait of a Backcountry Sunrise

A Couple of old soldiers standing on this saddle of this mile distant ridge. The perspective long telephotos give you is crushed between the two ridges here. The far ridge is 8 miles out from my camera. Sort of a “Close/Far” perspective.

These trees are old growth that survived a major fire in the 1930’s that “burned till the snows fell”. There is a mix of grass and forested areas in this region. Our ranch is about 25 percent ‘treed’ pasture. The rest is just grass and sage with a few dinosaur fossils mixed in on the surface. That is prime dinosaur hunting ground amid those small outcrops. I never know what I’m going to find walking areas like this.

Photographic musings:

Twilight Landscapes are much easier before the sky gets too bright. Photography is a light balancing act. Having your camera try to see into the dark needs a tripod or sandbag to stabilize the camera. Extend your exposure so you can get more light. Take that gained light away by turning up your f-stop to a higher number giving you a longer field of focus in return (Double edge sword) Only of course, if you want to have it all in focus instead of just those trees lolol. To sum that up: giving up light you gain with a longer exposure then taking it away by turning up f-stop to give you deeper focus…. Then you have only ISO (Camera sensitivity to adjust to give you a proper exposure.). You can also adjust for a longer shutter too if your brave.

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

Title: Portrait of a Backcountry Sunrise

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Windmill Dusk Twilight Silhouette

Windmill Dusk Twilight Silhouette
Windmill Dusk Twilight Silhouette

Windmill Dusk Twilight Silhouette

“Sneaky Pete” the Windmill has positioned himself dead center of this BIG twilight borderlands twilight sky show. Habitual Photobombers like Sneaky are incouragible. I have no control over their actions. I never know for sure how a twilight show is going to turn out. Overcast skies tend to be the best shows but there has to be a window from the sun to the under deck of the cloud layers. No window due to clouds blocking light equals no color. The reds and oranges you see here are the result of only those long wavelengths making it through the hundreds of miles of atmosphere. Smoke or moisture in the air can increase the effect. I’ve seen these skies so red that the color cast from the sky makes the snow purple. I have several photographic timelines of even more intense skies. This one ranks right up there with the some of the best full coverage skies.

Don’t let your mother know you look at stuff like this…. 👀 WOW, I see a lot of lit up skies. This was a good one…A real color scheme as I experienced the scene. My photographic technique is to properly expose the highlights and worry about the shadow details later. I wasn’t so concerned with the landscape on this capture. The skies gradient from yellow to red in amazing to experience live thusly stealing my total attention. Taken by a 60mm lens, this give the appearance of “SLIGHTLY” zoomed in.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands

Title: Windmill Dusk Twilight Silhouette

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Windmill Rainbow Lightning Sign

Windmill Rainbow Lightning Sign
Windmill Rainbow Lightning Sign

Windmill Rainbow Lightning Sign

Talk about a busy photo. I swear rainbows and lightning in the same image together is not a common thing to happen in front of your lens. You have to hunt this stuff and then set up the possibility. It was very dark but I could see the “Right Turn Clyde” sign to align it with the the blurred windmill. (you remember those two Shows 1978 and 80 right). The Windmill had a great view of the rainbow that had formed with a faint compliment secondary rainbow. This was very late and the only light left for the rainbow was the long traveled pink light. Normally you see this as a pink Belt of Venus on the frozen atmospheric ice.

Here the “Belt of Venus” pink backshow light was all that available to the rain droplets to refract back to my lens. The pink color being as strong that night as I have seen it in a summer evening. I’ve seen it WAY stronger in the winter. Winter of course is the time of year to watch Alpenglow in the Wyotana skies. All the ice makes for amazing shows. The same light reflects in a much darker shade off of water droplets than ice crystals. Light to amazing pink in the winter is standard, this openly cranberry color is an odd one for me to see. Thus it is my gold standard to finish the image. It made a huge impression on me at the time.

Obviously I have several finished images from this timeline. Each a little different in it’s coloration as the sequence of events played out in front of me. There are times I REALLY love doing this.

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

Title: Windmill Rainbow Lightning Sign

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Buck in Black and White

Buck in Black and White
Buck in Black and White

Buck in Black and White

Rare to put a B+W up on a Prime Time like Sunday Morning…. Holy Game Trail Camera capture batman. This nice young male deer who looks to me as my old friend “Goal Post”. He has for the last 4 years been a “buddy” of mine out in the backcountry. He is obvious by his lack of a brow tine on his right antler. (over his “left” eye as you see it). “Goal Post” has had his entire life documented in my portfolio. He is definitely a wild deer but is tolerant of me historically. So here he is sampling some tasty morsel at JUST the right distance from this automatic camera. 

His body heat set off the camera. By standing fairly still he came in very clear. So of the 10K (yes 10,000) game trail images I looked through today, this is in the top 20 of the pile. The lighting, the textures, the windmill, the buck…. be still my heart. Of course the big problem with night (Infra-red flash) images is that they tend to be fairly grainy. This one is no exception. So I limited it to 18 inch square or smaller. This was a 2×3 aspect now a square.  I collected Game Trail Camera Chips this AM waiting for the clouds to dissipate to the north at 4AM. Can’t take a photo of a comet you can’t see lolol. I kept busy. I serviced 15 cameras before dawn. (the easy ones lolol).

I look forward to seeing “Goal Post” during the day as I haven’t yet. I will figure out his current routine eventually before winter changes that again. He is likely to be a pretty nice deer this year. He is 4.5 years old now. Next year is his prime.  Ignore the windmill, “Sneaky Pete” does a lot of photobombing around here. Any attention give him more reason to photobomb more.

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

Title: Buck in Black and White

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Lightning and Rainbows

Lightning and Rainbows
Lightning and Rainbows

Lightning and Rainbows

In another 15 minutes this would have been a red rainbow. Considered Rare as they only happen RIGHT at sunset. I know this as it did in fact turn red later but for at this click was still orange. The sun was setting over my right shoulder. It was partially obscured by various clouds at various sections of the timeline here. This series of storms like a train trailing cars ran just to our east giving me wonderful views of the activity sunlit by the colored light. That light reflecting off the storm back to my optics. The long waves surviving the low angle ridge through the curved atmospheric lens.

The sunset ongoing over my right shoulder was in fact quite a good show. It takes a good main show to give me enough light to see the back show during storms. Only a very complex atmosphere could give me the proper conditions for this unusual capture. That is my communications tower just to the right of the bolt. It has been hit hundreds of times. Ummm… working from up there takes larger stones than I have to be up there in a serious electrical storm. I’ve spent a few episodes up there. Grounded all that gear is. Talk about a target lolol.

It is my understanding that Lightning AND Rainbows in the same photo are also unusual as the conditions that cause each are unusual together. I don’t have a lot of the two of them dancing in my portfolio. This storm train provided me with many examples. Before this timeline I may have had one or two in my lifetime. It’s probably just me, I miss things all the time lolol.

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

Title: Lightning and Rainbows

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Sneaky Pete Perspective Sunset

Sneaky Pete Perspective Sunset
Sneaky Pete Perspective Sunset

Sneaky Pete Perspective Sunset

I just love it when architecture aligns with Astronomy and Physics. It makes my sense of proportion much more in an agreement with my position in 3-D time and space. Close / Far Perspectives are a gift when they appear to me. If I move a few inches in either direction, the effect is not there. The goal is to set up the symmetry just slightly offset. I would work this sky for an hour if it would last that long. Holy Moly!!

Photographic Musings:

Really close focus wide angle lenses are so fun. Seeing how far I can pull the depth of field toward the camera in under such low lighting conditions make for an interesting photo. All of the physics that rules the natural world controls my activities and success/failures in achieving such close focus. These colors are as I remember them with the yellow sunny part of the image being “Slightly” over exposed. I trade off things like details in areas of super bright for details out the dark area of the photo. The ability to see details in BOTH dark AND bright at the same time is called Dynamic Range. The Human Eye has a dynamic range of 21 F-stops. The best camera I use (Sony Alpha 7R4) has 15 F-stops. Now your milage will vary with your camera with many cheaper cameras working well enough with 12 F-Stops.

Dynamic Range is definitely something I look at when I’m evaluating Cameras. How close a lens will focus is something I look at when buying lenses.

The wind was indeed blowing steady for Wyotana at this moment.

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

Title: Sneaky Pete Perspective Sunset

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Yucca Patch Darkening Dusk

Yucca Patch Darkening Dusk
Yucca Patch Darkening Dusk

Yucca Patch Darkening Dusk

Up on the highest ridges here in the borderlands, besides the view, I see a myriad of habitats. Large patches of Yucca (Spanish Dagger, Our Lord’s candle, Joshua tree, and Adam’s needle.) exist here with a large wild rose bush (rose hips) on the eastern slope (less hot) of this ridge. The tall yucca flower stalks provide a majority of the food for the Ungulates up here (Mule Deer, WhiteTail Deer and Pronghorn) Elk eat them too where Elk habitat exists. There is a small herd somewhere near here. We also have itinerate bulls come through now and then.

This eventing was one of smaller storms moving through mostly miss rather than hit. We stayed dry that evening (notice a theme lately with the dry thing?). We got .6 of an inch a few days ago as I type this. It would be nice to have several inches. They yucca will do fine through the drought. It’s tough as nails.

For many centuries, yucca plants of various species have served American Indians for a variety of uses. Not restricted as fiber for rope, sandals and cloth. The roots have been used as a soaping agent. Whe food was short early Californian settlers along with Native Americans used the green pods for food. Native Americans boiled and baked the fruits, eating the blossoms, chewed the raw leaves. Apparently they had a technique of fermenting the fruits to produce a beverage for rituals.. Ummm . I actually think the flowers are fine in a salad. Never eaten roasted seeds before.

Title: Yucca Patch Darkening Dusk

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Lighting Under a Mesocyclone

Lighting Under a Mesocyclone
Lighting Under a Mesocyclone

Lighting Under a Mesocyclone

Up here on this high ridge (called rattlesnake ridge), you can see a 180 mile horizon to horizon. Going up on top of a ridge in a metal object (vehicle) seems somehow logical if you want to take a photo of lightning. I also think that sticking metal lenses out windows might be a good idea 🤔 ⛈. Of course a high ridge is a wonderful place to watch a lighting storm as long as you don’t mind being on the target list.

Sitting in a car covered by metal and not touching metal is a good thing in a lighting storm. I run my cameras on a lightning trigger and don’t have to touch them unless I move them. The one thing I actually flinch for, is the really really really loud crash when a bolt hits nearby. I’ve been VERY close to bolts before. It’s not my favorite part of that particular photographic game. I like automatic cameras in this case lolol. 📸

Photographic Musings:

There are two ways of doing this. If it is very dark, set your camera on a stabile tripod in a dry area. Take 25 second time exposures at ISO 200 and f11 to start with… You will have to tweek some to see what comes out. Or use an external “lightning trigger” to snap the camera as the bolt touches off. Set your camera near or at ISO 200 F11 and 1/4 second. Your setting s may vary but now too far out. The trick here to get a full frame (not a crop) image was to watch the storm and figure out where the bolts were consistently hitting. Then you just point the camera into that area and wait. Turn on some tunes…..

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

Title: Lighting Under a Mesocyclone

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Pink Backshow Morning Blues

Pink Backshow Morning Blues
Pink Backshow Morning Blues

Pink Backshow Morning Blues

I don’t see a lot of really strong “Belt of Venus” Pink even in the winter but it’s out there if ice is in the air. At As the long traveled reddish light hits the projector screen the ice collectively makes, that ice glows the color of the light. Just before sunrise, the blue darker clouds barely above the mountains on those clouds is the shadow of the horizon on them. That shadow “zone” will turn pink as the shadow drops with the sun rising on the opposite horizon. The clouds above shadowed by the cloud deck topping the sun slit also on the opposite horizon. So just a bar of sunlight making it to cinema screen.

This is that moment in space and time when the red light of the ice filtered morning sun, touches the far mountains. As far as backshows go, this is a good example of that variety of Alpenglow. (Belt of Venus). The planet Venus is Often in the pink some mornings. The pink belt surrounds the sky behind a sunset or sunrise if there is a LOT of ice in the air. The best Alpenglow displays are early winter based on my experience. Atmospheric ice requires temps obviously below freezing and at 4000 feet in elevation, that isn’t that hard to do. I’ve seen good Alpenglow like mid-summer before. It’s off season appearance is a fairly common event but it usually isn’t this intense. Interesting year.

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

Title: Pink Backshow Morning Blues

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High Plains Dawn Act 1

High Plains Dawn Act 1
High Plains Dawn Act 1

High Plains Dawn Act 1

There are nice twilights and then there are ones like this one. It’s almost Art if it wasn’t absolutely real as I saw the event. The Golden Alpenglow derived from the ice in the air, was resultant from suspended ice in the air. The longest day of the summer (Solstice) and ice was acting as a projector screen. Filtering some of the light passing through to spotlight the sun’s long traveled red rays on the cloud deck above. This dramatic opening act was just a preview of the sunrise to come. Sometimes these morning shows last well over an hour…. This one was around that. One hour is FOREVER in my world…. 😜

The air at my back was moving with a definite chill. Mid-June is an odd time to have to wear a good jacket but at 5:30 AM with a breeze, dress for the part. I have found this location that I call Sunrise Ridge). Such is “Fairly” easy to get to. It’s about a mile of bumpy two track roads. The journey takes me past several Game Trail Cameras thusly I had ulterior motives. Some mornings as this are so beautiful for so long I end up with 8 or 9 hundred images for the timeline. I’m sure I surpassed 1000 with the various camera/lens combinations I used to study this drama. The longer the show, the more clicking that occurs amazingly. 😃

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

Title: High Plains Dawn Act 1