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Devils Tower Landscape Ladder

Devils Tower Landscape Ladder
Devils Tower Landscape Ladder

Devils Tower Landscape Ladder (7 months ago for Wayback Wednesday)

There are some contradictions in this image of the landscape leading up the the Devil’s Tower. Viewed from the northwest, this image has green fields with cut hay bales on top. This last fall of 2019 capture resulted from a very well rained on summer. Wet late in the high borderlands of MT/WY.. Captured in August, it ALL should be brown. The grass was a green as the spring in the sub-irrigated fields overlying the Fox Hill Sandstone aquifer . Usually the sub-surface geology controls the vegetation on the surface.

That 5112 foot tall Devil’s Tower National Monument is standing 1267 feet high above the surrounding ground. The high ground looks pretty close but those mounds of phenolytic porphyry are pretty distant/ big. The Tower buried by thousands of feet of sediments, stands unsupported. Those rocks surrounding them and supporting the hard rock volcanic neck up thousands of feet higher than it is now.. The soft sediments were removed all by the action of the Little Missouri River plus the Belle Fourche River Drainage. Those two drainages providing the bulk of that work locally. The soft rock is removed while the harder material makes mountains. That’s pretty much the way it works all over the planet.

The Devils tower about 40 from my vantage point on the Pass to Rocky Point Wyoming on Trail Creek Road. I’m standing Campbell County Wyoming.
This is the view that tourists never see as they are all on the other side of those hills. You can see South Dakota from this site on a very clear day…completely across Crook County Wyoming. That is a BIG county 80 miles wide anyway.

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

Title: Devils Tower Landscape Ladder

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Sunset Up Close and Personal

Sunset Up Close and Personal
Sunrise Up Close and Personal

Sunset Up Close and Personal

When the trees on the ridge 40 miles distant from my lens are in focus (more or less for the distance), the sun is scalloped and crushed The hundreds of miles of atmosphere the sun is filtering through, is distorting the suns edge. I get to watch those scallops move in real time when I set up shots like this. Big long lenses are necessary to do this kind of work.

When present, heat shimmer will create optical distortion that will diminish the quality of medium and long distance photos. trees at 40 miles is pretty hard to focus with moving air caused by heat islands in between my camera lens and the ridge. There is some distortion of those trees by the intervening atmosphere as well. Imaging anything over 20 miles I find you start running into distortions of various kinds. It’s not the lens, it’s the atmosphere.

What can you do about this distortion problem? Heat waves in the landscape are an image quality factor that you generally can’t spend money to put behind you. For example, a sharper lens and a better camera are not going to remediate the problem. . Selecting a different location, a different time of day and/or a different day completely or even a different season is often the best solution. A cloudy day with low temperature fluctuation may work for your image. Low angle moon and sun images are going to have differential heating between you and the moon/sun. Fact of physics and the environment.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Sunset Up Close and Personal

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Mule Deer Buck Near Rut

Mule Deer Buck Near Rut
Mule Deer Buck Near Rut

Biologists say that a Bucks neck will swell up as showin the Mule Deer Buck Near Rut capture. They will swell up to 50 percent larger of a circumference adding more muscle mass. This is all related of course to the Rut which is the annual fight to breed. They live in a world of scents and hormones floating in the air from the does in the group.

Scientific data indicates that this growth is caused by a big surge in testosterone to the deer. That dose of steroids makes the neck muscles get big and also causes the deer to become more aggressive.

I had a buck try to run me down in my backyard one night in November 2012. It’s a long story but both of us walked away relatively unhurt. I definitely came out of it better than the deer did but he survived too lolol. This event was the causation of me getting serious about building a deer resistant fence around our entire compound. I haven’t had a deer eat my flowers for several years. Young trees survive, it’s a miracle cure for deer pressure.

This male had a nice herd of females numbering 15 or so but I suspect there will be others trying to take them away. A lot of itinerant bucks walk through and they have a pretty big range which they can cover quickly. I like his unibrow and he might be the father of ‘Mr. Unibrow” a young fawn with a split ear I’m watching. His unibrow is equally developed as well. Is that a “W” I see for a Wyoming Muley?

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Mule Deer Buck Near Rut

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Great Heron Needs a Tums

Great Heron Needs a Tums
Great Heron Needs a Tums

This Great Blue Heron Needs a Tums…

I caught tinder loving parent at a moment where he was “gaking” and within a minute was regurgitating some obviously troubling juices. (of course I have that picture but there is enough green in the photo from the Cottonwood. Birds generally feed their fledgelings that way of course.

Researchers say birds have maybe 20 taste buds over the same area that we have 10,000 so I’m not sure if it bothers him much. There are birds that don’t taste very well…( wait for it)…..but there are others that taste very well..😜🐣🦆🐓

Dinosaur Ranch right….. always considering..

These living dinosaurs (without a tail and teeth) pretty much do dinosaur behavior. Which means they hunt about anything they can catch. My view point as a paleontologist….. Frogs, fish, rodents (mammals) just like smaller dinosaurs hunted. The little mammals certainly were on the dinner plate for the distant relatives back in the Cretaceous here on ranch.

I find small mammal fossils on ranch mixed in with the dinosaur fossils. (rare and mostly isolated very small tooth fossils) Teeth of course are selectively preserved because they are hard and survived the fossilization process better than small softer mammal bones. A disproportionate number made it through fossilization, termed “survival-ship bias” (Phrase for the day)

But that tongue…….. Each bird species have tongues that are specialized to their lifestyle and environment/diet. Because the opportunistic Great Blue Herons also eats a pile of fish…. but its diet also includes frogs and other amphibians, reptiles, insects, and even small mammals if they are in striking distance. While it’s pointy dagger like beak has developed for catching prey, an unusual tongue also helps.

No teeth in that mouth though their avian dinosaurian ancestors certainly had teeth lining that mouth cavity. The hunting behavior was handed down generation after generation though and these guys are exemplar walking metaphors to dinosaurs. Some did survive the extinction at the end of the Cretaceous after all… The avian dinosaurs 🤔

Their Whole anatomy is all about fishing though. They even have specially adapted neck vertebra/muscles that enable them strike like a rattler at prey but they don’t usually catch and release lolol. I note that catch and release is a human invention not seen in nature unless you consider cat’s playing games with their prey……

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: “Great Blue Heron Needs a Tums”

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Sun Pillar Over the BigHorns

Sun Pillar over the BigHorns
Sun Pillar over the BigHorns

This V-shaped Sun Pillar over the Bighorns northern ridges was magnificent from 130 miles distant.

The Ground Blizzard on the peaks must have been intense at the peaks for it to blow so obviously. Remember the area of the sky in this photo is smaller than a postage stamp at arms length. I look into really bright little areas of the sky with my gear. 130 mils is so far that the air between here and there becomes a serious deciding factor if I can see the range or not. It’s the ice in front high between the ranch and myself that is lit up by the sunlight pushing over the saddle between the peaks. The sun is actually down for this so this is a night shot 😎

LONG telephoto shots like this are deceiving. Hold a postage stamp out at arms length and look at the horizon. This image would fit into that stamp. A 1200mm looks at very small things on the horizon. The mountains in this image are ONLY 9,000 – 10,000 feet high at this northern section of the Big Horn Mountain Range. The Big Peaks are to the left of this frame. .

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana

Title: Sun Pillar Over the BigHorns

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Devil’s Tower/Missouri Buttes 3:1 Aspect

Devil's Tower/Missouri Buttes 3:1 Aspect
DevilsTower/MissouriButtes 3:1 Aspect

This Capture of Devil’s Tower/Missouri Buttes 3:1 Aspect is very high resolution composite:

It is composited from three high resolution 1200 mm telephoto images combined back into one image in the digital darkroom. Left image + center image+ right image = this photo… This is not taking a cell phone and swinging a phone lol… I’m considering this one of the best daytime shots I have of Devils Tower from the Pass at Rocky Point and that’s saying something 📸 This is a distance of 35 miles. The sun was setting golden hour, the air was full of ice but hadn’t gone pink just yet. Maybe 1/2 hour to sundown.

This image was taken from the snow line on the pass I was on but you can see the valleys were not covered at this capture about 10 days ago as it publishes. The snow we got last night and today took care of the snow cover in the valley. We’ve had a very early winter up here so far. The long term forecast looks to be cold and snowy. We always need the moisture but it’s a trudge sometimes to deal with all the snowfall each year.

In all fairness to the rough weather we have here in the NE part of the state. Hat’s off to the folks in Jackson Hole and the high country along the western part of the state. It’s relatively mild living here compared to the decade I lived in Jackson Hole Wyoming. We used to get 6 feet flat in the back yard every year. Closer to the range folks would get 10. Cleaning snow off roofs is an industry there :).

We just enjoy MUCH more wind than Jackson Hole does. I’m not sure anyone living there appreciates the difference but I may be wrong. Migration of Wyoming folks are moving outwards not toward that area. 🙁

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Devil’s Tower/Missouri Buttes 3:1 Aspect

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Sunrise Over Coyote Ridge

Sunrise Over Coyote Ridge
Sunrise Over Coyote Ridge

Sunrise over Coyote Ridge is a really long lens capture overlooking a long ridge about 10 miles away.

The Crack of dawn is literal here as the cloud bank above was very obscuring of much light . The rest of that morning was toast due to cloud cover sadly. I often go out and get only 1/2 or a 1/4 of a sunrise sky show. Clouds move in an mess it up….

Up here in the Wyotana borderlands, the “Sun Slits” where the cloud deck blocked the horizon can be beautiful for sure. The RIdge got it’s name as I’ve seen Coyotes up there numerous times…. It’s a big overlook over there. When your up on the “ridges” you have a 180 mile across east west horizon I can see.

I actively photographically work 5 different parallel Ridges. Miles long, they are a quarter to half a mile apart. Each with it’s unimpeded views of the horizon. I move along the shadow line (terminator) of the opposite hill and the sun/moon looking for opportunities and frames.

This is a lot of negative space in an image but I personally like sun close ups and silhouettes of ridges lol.. The low angle light traveling through atmospheric turbulance is clearly distorting the suns edge. The ridge line up close is sharp as a tack and focused. It’s the several hundred miles of air between that ridge and the sun that is causing that effective blur on the background.

The blur effect is effectively a mirage. Since the sun is (literally) actually just below the horizon line of sight at that time…. The atmospheric lens is bending the sun’s image around the horizon before it is physically in the line of sight. . This is not line of site 🤔

I also remind you this is not the sun moving, it’s the earth rotating and the horizon dropping away from covering the sun. Things are as they are not as they seem 😲

These scenes are BLINDINGLY bright so don’t point your average DSLR Camera into them and expect to not be blind if you look through the viewfinder. I use only mirrorless cameras and if you don’t know what those are, don’t try this at home 😎. Protect your eyes. I watch this on video to set up my camera.

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

Title: Sunrise over Coyote Ridge

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The Horizon Rising Across the Suns Face

The Horizon Rising Across the Suns Face
The Horizon Rising Across the Suns Face

Here I caught an image of the Horizon Rising Across the Sun’s Face. You see the sun isn’t moving…we’re rotating and the western Horizon is literally moving in front of the sun’s disk.

The sun actually never sets, the horizon always rises though lololol.

My father always would say, “things are as they are, not as they seem”. I’ve always considered this when I’m confused by events I see unfold through my lenses.

This is a 1200mm telephoto image 2×3 aspect to 3 feet wide.

Have a great morning and be careful in what your doing 🙏

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Moon Light for my Photon Capture Box

Moon Light for my Photon Capture Box
Moon Light for my Photon Capture Box

“Moonlight for my Photon Capture Box” is a classic 18 inch square image.

I’m happy with it as it’s a handheld (non-tracking) exposure, so this is a good outcome lol. . I should have run back to my ranch and set up my big gun tracking 12 inch telescope and shot this moon. The seeing was VERY good that night. THrough the “moon roof” of my Jeep Grand Cherokee . (well it was a 1200 mm telephoto albeit terrestrial glass not astronomic glass. NO sharpening was applied to this image. Native.

Location: a bit over the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.