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Windmill Tower Blue Sky

Windmill Tower Blue Sky
Windmill Tower Blue Sky

Windmill Tower Blue Sky

Perspective starts with “seeing” things from all angles. While climbing under this 100 year old Windmill requires agility lol. No choice but scrambling over panels meant to protect the structure from Cattle pressure. The sky was Robin’s Egg Blue pretty much horizon to horizon. I’m a victim of only being able to photograph what is in front of me….. Maybe in this case… what was over me lol.

Windmill Weekend (Windmill Junkies Unite). 🤛🤘 But don’t let your mother know you look at stuff like this.

I don’t take as many windmill photos in the winter now that snow is covering many of my paths. We had several inches of blowy snow yesterday up on the ridges.

From the point of view of this 100 year old windmill. (Re Pete), the sky is not constant. This old fellow is on our ranch about 3 miles into the backcountry via two track roads. I usually work my way out to this guy’s hangout where he gleefully “photobombs” my landscapes…. (It’s a years old narrative if you don’t understand lolol).

Aermotor windmills account for the bulk of windmills out there. The company started way back in the 1888 with 24 sold the first year. By 1892, 20000 had been sold lolol. The company still exists. They also sold a LOT of steel fire “look out towers” for fire watch and being a lightning target lololol.

Windmill Weekend (Windmill Junkies Unite). 🤛🤘 But don’t let your mother know you look at stuff like this.

Windmill Tower Blue Sky

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Moo Moo Sunset

Moo Moo Sunset
Moo Moo Moon

Moo Moo Sunset

As I drive around our ranch. I check water tanks and fix fences that don’t need to be down. It’s good to keep cattle out of the hay bales for instance. I also keep a good pile of cameras with me. Each is a specialty tool with a lens on it that does a particular task. Short lenses, long lenses and many in between. Usually when an alignment of planets occurs, a long lens at a good distance is a nice application.

Photographic Musings: Buying a camera??

This cow filter worked very well to reduce the over all light reaching my camera. Not quite 1/2 of the suns disk was blocked and thus this image was possible. I really don’t like glass filters in front of my lens when pointing at the sun. (I use mirrorless cameras only please so I don’t blind myself). Calling this scene bright would be an understatement. You certainly couldn’t look at it bare eyed. The mirrorless removable lens camera displays the image on a video screen in the eyepiece or the LCD on the back of the camera. All live real time. Your settings change the image live. You know what your going to get (more or less) what you see in the eyepiece. Working a good camera on Manual takes on a whole different style.

Disclaimer: Don’t try this with your DSLR camera as the direct path of light to your eye will probably blind you. Also, some mirrorless cameras are not rated for this kind of telephoto sun shot. Don’t assume a smaller sensor camera (I use full frame Sony Alpha 7’s) will take this without burning a hole in the sensor.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Moo Moo Sunset

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Cow’s Bad Hair Day

Cow's Bad Hair Day
Cow's Bad Hair Day

Cow’s Bad Hair Day is one of those captures that just makes me roll my eyes lol. I’m pretty sure she was miserable about this 😔

TheSticky Seeds, widely known as “Burdock” (Arctium) seed clusters.

Claim to Fame:

The inventor claims Velcro was conceived from observing the seeds “hook” like design combined with it’s “adhesive” qualities. The hook’s at the perimeter of the seed cluster attaches to hair, clothing and even feathers. Some birds getting into Burdocks, totally covered in burrs.

It “Symbolizes” Abundance I understand.

Burdock has world wide distribution (not surprising). It’s a great dispersal strategy which lends seeds to travel lol. It is however, a VERY good plant to know about. It is a common food in the orient utilizing the tap root of young plants as a vegetable. Soak the shreaded roots for 10 minutes. This will cause it to loose a slight muddy taste. Known at ‘gobo” in Japan, I have eaten it before in several different pork dishes and soups. The tap roots resemble a carrot in shape. It has lots of fiber also a good source of calcium, potassium and various amino acids.

Burdock beer was common back in the middle ages. Known as hedgerow mead it is still a flavor. In the United Kingdom, “Dandilion and Burdock” is a popular soft drink even today.. Historically used as a “bittering agent in beer prior to the introduction of hops in beer for this purpose.

Medicinal Uses. Pregnant women might want to avoid Burdock. Believed to increase lactation, so…. Careful too as it can cause contact dermititus in some and in more sensitive individuals, allergic reactions .

Traditional Herbalists, who consider the dried roots and seeds useful. (Chinese traditional medicine) both of which are used as treatments for many Ailments. Often used as a diurietic (makes you pee/loose water), and a diaphoretic (makes you sweat). I’m pretty sure there are volumes written about this plant on line. Googling this might be a good thing. 😃

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

Title: Cow’s Bad Hair Day

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Pronghorn Evolution ART Cape

Pronghorn Evolution ART Cape
Antelope Evolution (ART)

Pronghorn Evolution ART Cape

Adding years of Evolution, this image (ART) is a computer generated “future” possibility for Pronghorn . Instead of being the meek and skiddish prey, they evolve into a predator hunting the great plains for meat. Similar to the saber-tooth cats and other lions of the last Ice Age, this predator is not only fast as heck but lethal. I took it through a few million years of evolution digitally in about an hour.

Hey, it’s the future, Who’s to say it won’t happen and it really might lololol.

Did I mention this is ART? This really did start out as a Pronghorn Doe. I have to get away from photorealism now and then just to keep from going nut’s with all these ideas I have for images lol. This one is a little complicated but I hope you enjoy it here on a late Thursday night in November.

Musings of the Morning:

As I type this, sunrise calls but it’s WAYYY to muddy to go up on the ridges. I don’t like tearing up ground and at 41 degrees with all the snow melt, it’s going to be sticky and soft. We have “Gumbo” here and there which will stick a bulldozer if you drive over it wet. I spent about 1/2 an hour cleaning off my Jeep last night of hundreds of pounds of mud from driving a Montana backcountry pass working sunset last night. . I was sideways in a well proven Jeep Grand Cherokee on a county road numerous times. I’ve been in way worse but this is a “County” road that hopefully some tourists GPS doesn’t take them down lololol. We call it “Death by GPS”. I don’t ever use one unless I’m looking at land ownership data.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Pronghorn Evolution ART Cape

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Big Sunset Over the BigHorns

Big Sunset Over the BigHorns

This is a pull back as your eyes would see this scene at around what a 50mm lens sees of a Big Sunset Over the BigHorns Mountains. If you were on my ranch watching from 130 miles distant.

I’m almost always using telephotos to bring in just the BigHorn Mountains filing the whole frame. It takes about a 800 mm long focal length to fill the camera frame side to side with the tallest part of the range. I have many captures from this night worthy of finishing. I’m standing a few hundred yards north of the Montana/Wyoming border to take this so it’s across the state line.

This kind of sky show changes by the minute. Looking tightly into the setting sun is dramatically bright but the shadows add up and it’s actually pretty dark where I stand. The Camera shows me the scene on a video screen so I’m not going blind from this.

Exposure time is so important in getting the colors right. I see the actual image my camera is going to save BEFORE I click the shutter. So I can actually check the color of the sky in front of me and the camera Once you realize a high f-stop and low ISO are necessary to take this kind of image, shutter speed becomes your variable to match the colors in your viewfinder to the actual scene. (applies to mirrorless camera users not you DSLR guys).

The mountain chain in Silhouette to the right is part of the Red Hills at 40 miles out from the camera. That range is an erosional remnant of the sediment apron the BigHorn Mountains spread out this direction. There are no sediments from the Big Horn mountains “Fanglomerate” (google word of the day) that reach my ranch. It’s likely that those that did have been removed from above by erosion. Those distant mountains used to be a lot higher. Plus Powder River Basin between here and there was a lot deeper.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Big Sunset Over the BigHorns

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Lighting Up the Landscape

Lighting Up the Landscape
LIghting Up the Landscape

A large Crimson Backed Amphi-theatre was illuminated centrally. Struck by this serious bolt. Lighting Up the Landscape around the strike was obvious.

I know this is out of season but I’m redoing my portfolio to current standards and this is one of 4500 left to do. Various topics, images and seasons will work their way into my posting workflow all winter. Hope you don’t mind.

The Science of this:

These bolts are a large-scale natural spark discharge. These occur within the atmosphere itself or between the atmosphere and the ground. Created during the moment of discharge, a highly electrically conductive “plasma” channel is created. When electrons flow within this channel, rapid heating of the air up to about 45,000 degrees F.

This Plasma Channel formation was captured by a lightning Trigger. Taken this images was with a Sony Alpha 7RII camera. A Priority is to not overexposing the back ground light in the sky. There isa necessity of not being TOO dark is tricky and this lesson beyond the scope of this narrative. Teeter totter/knife edge riding occurs by tweeking the camera’s settings. (3 way teeter totter). This is a common theme (teeter totter) when I’m trying to explain the light balance and the three settings in a camera set to manual mode. Remember this metaphor if your trying to learn photography.

One seat on the teeter totter is ISO or camera sensitivity. Turn it up, get more light in the camera but at a cost of grainy pictures and visual noise.

Seat 2 is F-stop or aperture (pupil size of the lens). Too big and your depth of focus goes to heck like trying to read in the dark. Too small a hole and you get a really deep focal field (depth) but you loose a LOT of light with a pin hole in your lens.

Seat 3 is shutter speed. Too fast and not enough light will get in. Too slow and you get a blur, (or a time exposure if your on a tripod with the other two seats on this teeter totter set right.

All seats working together properly is the forumula for any particular light situation.

Flash…. 1, 2, 3, 4 boom. Slightly less than a mile away hitting lower than the ridge I was on but in my Jeep Grand Cherokee enjoying the show

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Lighting Up the Landscape

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Distorted Sunrise Early Winter Ridgeline

Distorted Sunrise Early Winter Ridgeline
Distorted Sunrise Early Winter Ridgeline

This was taken on the morning of 11/06 (Wednesday) Exactly at sunrise. I don’t fully understand hoe this sun formed but I’ll give you my theory.. “Distorted Sunrise Early Winter Ridgeline” This was a new one to me.

FIrst of all the sky was lit up pretty well through about 15 minutes of late civil twilight. So I’m watching the clock having picked my spot based on compass direction and brightness. I would point out this is EXACTLY what I was seeing through the eyepiece. At the right place at the right time this blob rose that I could have easily looked at with my naked eye. This is not a particulary bright scene which is why there is so much definition in trees.

No glare at sunrise with a “sun” must be rare. I have this on two cameras at different magnifications and framing. I have only finished this one as of yet. This was a dark scene with little light for right at sunrise. Just color and not brightness if that makes sense.

Theory

The Distorted Sun is of course sending light through hundreds of miles of atmosphere, storms, clouds etc. We actually only see a line of sight sun when it’s up somewhere ABOVE the horizon, any sun touching the horizon is actually below the line of sight. The atmospheric lens bends the suns image around thee horizon to your eye well below the line of sight.

This sun is distorted the absolute heck out of it by that “air lens”. I have not in thousands of observed/photographed sunrises/sunsets seen anything like this before. This is by far a very odd blob for a sunrise. The “sun” disappeared into the cloud banks and more or less shut down this show. I had maybe 20 seconds to get two cameras involved.

I’ve seen very formal distortions in the suns image. Stretched with a vertical elongation or sawtoothed edges I’ve seen. MIrage of the suns edge from bending around the earths surface real time I’ve watched. But I’ve never seen a blob with such color and shape? Never in my career. 😲 (Shaking head).

Filed under weird things I see working “Wyotana Skies”.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Distorted Sunrise Early Winter Ridgeline

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Low Sky Crescent Moon

Low Sky Crescent Moon
Low Sky Crescent Moon

At 239,000 miles away, this Low Sky Crescent Moon is a pretty cool image. It’s only a 5 percent or so crescent with edges distorted very sharply by the atmosphere. Taken this last week. I just got to finishing it but it did get pushed to the front of the line lol.

Using a terrestrial optic to do astronomic work is usually wrought with problems. This was taken while the camera was resting on my Jeeps Window. No tripod. No sharpening just as it came out of the camera minus a little crop. This is a full resolution 2×3 feet aspect image. I left a little extra black on the top because the moon would continue up and is actually centered vertically.

Seeing into the shadow happens occasionally but not on this one. Usually you see it with just a little atmospheric ice acting like a projection screen to the light that is in that shadow. Pretty inky black sometimes. The best shows are during the lunar eclipses where that dark shadow area is visible in the “earthshine”.

Seeing Details on/in Craters still is better right on the “terminator” (where the shadow meets the light). You can see the long shadows better which helps resolve the topography. Contrast is higher at the terminator.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Low Sky Crescent Moon

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Seed Filter for the Sun

Seed Filter for the Sun
Seed Filter for the Sun

A seed filter for the sun …

I’m always looking for free cellulose filters to reduce the very very bright light from the sun. I never use filters in front of my lenses ever but natural ones. Extra glass get’s in my way but a Seed Filter for the Sun is always a good idea. I’m not sure of the plant species. There was a cluster of them by the road side so they are probably a noxious weed that just went to seed. I only know a two patches of this up here that I’ve noticed anyway. They seem to be very localized. It’s pretty stuff though with the sun playing through it. .

Photo musings:

This was taken just a few weeks ago before the snow crushed all of this to the ground. Using a really Wide angle lens helps with this kind of capture but you want a lens that focus’s very closely. When I was shopping for a good wide angle, one of the things I paid a lot of attention to was how close the lens focuses. My 10 mm lens (here) will focus down to 9 inches away. Your setting FIrst priority is a high F stop….F-22 (deeper focal fields the higher the f-stop number) You need a deep focus for this… Shutter speed just has to be fast enough to stop any wind or hand motion of the seed headsSay 1/100th second. Then you just have ISO or camera sensitivity to balance the light equation to get the image where you want it. .

Your of course working manual settings on your camera. I don’t even know how to work my Sony Alpha cameras on Automatic. Never used it before on them. This image would have been capturable by a cell phone but this was a high end camera and lens.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Seed Filter for the Sun

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Snow Dumping on Pronghorn Buck

Snow Dumping on Pronghorn Buck
Snow Dumping on Pronghorn Buck

Snow Dumping on a Pronghorn Buck (or “Winter is coming” )

Winter has been here for a months already and we’re seeing snow on the ground full time now for a week anyway. This Pronghorn Buck is crossing in front of a Game trail Camera while Snow is just Dumping on him lol. Based on the timeline of images, he was following a doe through the gate walking right along the trail. I set my camera up to be focused right on the trail. This particular camera is in a very good spot ! 📸

Pronghorn Migration South

The Pronghorn are migrating now and I’m seeing groups I have never seen on ranch. Moving through here toward the south from up in Montana. They are following ancient migration routes that the cowboys used to move cattle in the late 1800’s from Miles City Montana down to Newcastle Wyoming. The local version of the “Texas Trail” runs right through the western side of our ranch. Fences are little obstacle to these animals which play the “limbo game” effortlessly. They usually do go under but I do have a few photos of Pronghorn going over fences.

I figure most of those animals that lived on ranch all summer are mostly 10 -20 miles south. They are working their way to the ThunderBasin National Grasslands where they have moving water (not frozen) and good feed. There are only a few roads through a pretty big piece of remote real estate between the Powder River Basin and the Wyoming Black Hills. Many Hundreds of square miles for herds to congregate in. Many ranchers maintain water stock tanks during the winter. This helps more on the margins but water is a rare thing up here when it’s been 30 below for a week.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Snow Dumping on Pronghorn Buck (or “Winter is coming” )

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Sunrise With a Banded Sky

Sunrise With a Banded Sky
Sunsrise With a Banded Sky

Most Sunrise with a Banded Sky aren’t usually this dramatic but some ultra high light environments I visit bring a certain amount of intensity to the image. With good equipment you don’t blind yourself looking through an old DSLR (I only use mirrorless cameras and don’t suggest using a DSLR with a direct optic path to your eye to try this. It might be the last thing you do. The new mirrorless cameras handle this and your looking at a video of the scene, not blinding bright light through the viewfinder.

Photomusings:

High shutter speed, High fstop and low ISO for this kind of thing. Manual mode of course. You should go with a high fstop not for the focus it brings but for the light it cuts out. Blinding stuff here. Camera sensitivity (ISO) low and a high shutter speed combined with a high fstop is basically shutting the camera down for light. Picking up dark things like a landscape isn’t going to happen but you could see a sunspot if it were there. Using a standard DSLR camera could blind you for this since there is a direct path of light to your eye. I use only the aforementioned “Mirrorless” cameras (Removable Lens Mirrorless) in my photographic habits of pointing a big light gathering lens directly at the sun. Note that ALL mirrorless cameras are not rated to look directly into the sun without a filter so do your research. They can get spots burnt onto the smaller sensors by the focused light. The Sony Alpha 7 (large sensor) cameras I use have been doing this for well over a year now thousands of time…no spots burnt in anywhere ever…. Please don’t go blind trying to do this if you don’t have a mirrorless camera where your looking at the scene via video. (disclaimer).

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Sunrise With a Banded Sky

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“Son: Some Day All This Will Be Yours”

"Son: Some Day All This Will Be Yours"
"Son: Some Day All This Will Be Yours"

Father/Son Talk..”Son, someday all this will be yours”. In the mean time ever vigilant mom watches their back while they have some quality family time right on the crest of a blind hill way on a remote county road. I stopped way back knowing I didn’t want to interrupt that family conference so I waited patiently…. figured I might as well take a photo….😂

This photo is of course an imaginary Pronghorn Family as the affiliation of the doe with the Buck is very transitory lol. The fawn will stay with the doe through the winter and weaned before the birth of her current bun in her oven. There were other does about too so he’s definitely not monogamous…..

The Pronghorn rut is over at this time so most of that business is taken care of by now. It’s time for them to migrate about 20 miles to the south. The Thunderbasin Natural Grasslands is a miniature version of the Serengeti Plain here in north eastern Wyoming. (Fewer Big Cats) Not so much in the summer but in the winter there are LARGE herds of Pronghorn that move there from a pretty big surrounding area to winter over the brutal conditions that we enjoy about this region.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.