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Heron Flying Away 2:1 Aspect

Heron Flying Away 2:1 Aspect
Heron Flying Away 2:1 Aspect

Heron Flying Away 2:1 Aspect

Taking a Great Blue Herons profile from the same elevation is a pretty low probability encounter. I use my Jeep as a portable blind. Adjacent to the 50 foot tall Cottonwood Trees, exists a steep grassy hill that reaches over 50 feet above the trees. The higher you go, the further you are away from the Heron Rookery. This required a long lens to reach out and touch this guy.

Sort of the “drone” point of view but I don’t fly the things lol. I’ve never captured an image before where you could see the top AND the bottom of a heron’s wings at flight. (I take a lot of Blue Hero). I find photographers shoot what’s in front of them…..Kinda like some hunters… I would really have liked to have this shot from the other side. The longer I work this site, the more likely this will happen again. Good photography is a function of being there and paying your dues. There are of course, some technical considerations for a long range shot. 📷 I used an 800mm telephoto lens for this image.

Photographed in the late spring. (spring was on a Friday in 2019) Swing seasons between white and brown are usually one day long in this high ridge line prairie country. Spring weather would be welcome with a storm due as I type this narrative.

The ranch wetlands these birds nest on are wonderful places for biologic productivity. The Cottonwood trees they roost in grow on a many decade old dam across a spring fed pond. That pond is also runoff catchment for several square miles but the runoff is all grassy, broad and not gully like. It’s wonderful hay country there. The pond is a nice several acre puddle. There are a series of water sources in the area so the birds to fly away to hunt as well.

Great Blue Herons are big up to 5 pound birds. That is a 5 foot wingspan across this 40×20 inch image.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Heron Flying Away 2:1 Aspect

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Heron Catching Some Wind

Heron Catching Some Wind
Heron Catching Some Wind
A Great

A Great Blue Heron Catching Some Wind was this bird way of starting to take off. Spreading it’s wings you could see the branch lift as the weight is lessened on it. These birds are masters of their domain. This is 50 feet up at the top branches of a Cottonwood Tree.

For a shoreline wading bird, these guys handle the high tree life roost without a miss. They make their living eating frogs, small mammals, fish and anything else they can catch around their realm. These guys are widespread in our Hemisphere from the Galapagos to most of North America. They breed up here though. They like places where there isn’t much human activity. Where they set up their rookery is quite a ways off an already remote county road. Isolated they are from humans up here.

Not many people ever notice the rust colored feathers on their wings leading edges. Also of note are their chest feathers. The birds actively shread them to make a powder that soaks up all the fish and oils from the wetlands.

I’ve spent many hours sitting and watching these birds. After the nest is built, mostly they hunt/sit on eggs. The male will bring the female the sticks and the female does the engineering. Both parents feed the young and share the 4 weeks of egg sitting. I’ve had a pretty good window on several of the nests all breeding season in 2019. I have quite a few images to finish from these encounters still. Job security I suppose😀

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Heron Catching Some Wind

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Perspective: Pine Noodles Bough

Perspective: Pine Noodles Bough
Perspective: Pine Noodles Bough

Perspective: Pine Noodles Bough is a capture initiated by the -2 degree morning, the icy air and the lighting. The later of which was JUST coming over the ridge but about 15 minutes after sunrise.

Photographic Musings:

Topographically, I’m working just over the lip of that higher ridge. Opportunities like this after photographing that sun coming up over a ridge 20 miles out are important parts of the timeline. I move quickly to transition to working a closer ridge several hundred yards out as the sun climbs. A sunrise is a period of moving from place to place to take advantage of the terrain. It is very important to know WHERE to and WHEN to move to the next shot. Extending your time working the “Golden Hour” is the result. You only have so much time to “Work the Light”.

Shadow line:

I work “Parallel” ridges because I’m very mobile to look for interesting leading lines and angles. Here I saw this long pine bough covered in ice from freezing fog the night before. (the night I’m typing this the same weather is occurring and I’ll be up on the ridges for sure ). There was an 1/8th inch of ice on everything that was exposed to the wind. So a vibrant landscape with an interesting weather event… (a hero as every photo needs a hero). But working that shadow line is the game.

The glare from the sun is quite a hard thing to deal with. I am literally looking into the sun with this camera with a white ground reflecting light plus the ice. You’ve GOT to turn your camera to HIGH F-stop, LOW ISO and your shutter speed is used to balance the equation. If you don’t want a sun star, go f-11 mid range. You adjust either with a neutral density filter in front of your lens (I hate them), or higher shutter speeds. Many consumer cameras don’t have 1/8000th shutter like the higher end models do to compensate . So faster shutter speed to reduce light into the camera may not be as much of an option depending on your equipment.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana

Title: Perspective: Pine Noodles Bough

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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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Tasty First Morning Drink

Tasty First Morning Drink
Deer Evaluating their Makeup

Two Deer Doe at a “Tasty First Morning Drink”.

I think they are evaluating their mascara too but I’m not an astute observer of such things. Girls will be girls after all 😍 Nothing like a little salad in your tasty first morning drink.. There are lots of aquatic plants growing in that tank. It’s been running for years and it has a constant input of nitrates mostly from bird poop I would think. I should find a native fish that can live in there….. Tasty, aquarium water yummm 😀

Early Morning Reflections:

This Game Trail Camera capture showing two Does partaking of a gift from the Ranch’s pipeline system to get their tasty first morning drink. In the middle of the grasslands miles from the nearest other water source. We placed this old mine equipment tire tank. We obviously try to have water in each of the large pastures cattle rotate to and from. I keep a good strong jet of water running into each tank which usually keeps them open all winter by disrupting the surface and keeping the water above freezing. The heavy rubber is a pretty good insulator too.

These tanks are literally old mining tires repurposed. They cost about 1000 dollars roughly to get, transport and install if you do it all yourself. Of course having a 2 inch water pipeline miles from the main ranch well is a handy thing…. Being close to a coal mining area has it’s spiffs. Most tire tanks are 10 feet in diameter. (wide load lol). Wear a tire out and cut off one side wall, seal the bottom on concrete and put some hard packed old asphalt debris around the perimeter and you have a stock water tank for about 100 years. It’s pretty hard to hurt these tanks with anything short of explosive.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Tasty First Morning Drink

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Sandhill Cranes Riding Thermals

Sandhill Cranes Riding Thermals
Sandhill Cranes Riding Thermals

At midday when the sun is shining brightly, look for soaring “kettles” of Sandhill Cranes Riding Thermals over grasslands. These groups appear as barely visible wisps from afar with the unaided eye.. I think there is around 300 here…(Rough guess). Circling, right side coming at the camera the left side going away in the spiral.

The birds are using the thermals and keeping their flight muscles toned for the journey that lies ahead. Off to Nebraska First where they gather by the thousands on the Platte River where they put on some fat.

Sandhill Migration:

Several species of Sandhills (at least 6) with 3 being non-migratory and the rest are migratory. Cranes are diurnal or daytime migrants and use thermals to their advantage. They will hitch-hike a ride with the thermal higher and higher up to an altitude of a few thousand feet. They then will glide southward in wavering lines losing altitude as they go until they reach the next thermal, spiraling upwards to repeat the process. Rinse and Repeat is the play of the day. This method of migration is highly energy efficient, more so than the powered heavy on-flapping flight of other species such as the Canada Goose… On a good day with the right thermals, cranes can travel up to 500 miles but 200 to 300 miles is more typical. Finally in the late afternoon, they seek a wetland of some type to noisily roost in for the night. They depart the next morning with weather permitting, until they reach their next destination on the journey.

This Flock was following along the back edge of a snow storm that lasted a day. They were clearly waiting for it to move on so they could get past it and hung out just circling round and round getting higher with each revolution. Eventually they headed south toward the back of the snowstorm visible in the distance only to find another thermal and jump on board.

Location: Somewhat over the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana Borderlands.

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Mountain Blue Bird

Mountain Blue Bird
Mountain Blue Bird On a Stick

Here is a single Mountain Blue Bird on a Yucca Frond (stick lol). . These guys are mostly elusive to me but this one put on a show for me within pretty close telephoto range. It was nice of him and I do appreciate the photo session. It’s the only one of it’s kind I’ve ever experienced. . 🙏

Musings

These 6 inch long one ounce birds don’t make much noise in my experience but a little in the morning. Hard to describe. They are fairly small Thrushes with a round head outline and straight thin bills. Sky blue is how I describe the color but are a bit darker on the wings and tail but with a light patch under the tail and it’s stomach. These guys hoover while foraging for insects. I’ve seen it many times. This guy was jumping around this Yucca Flower frond as seen and zipping about and then back to this place.

He was putting on a considerably good show for me in my portable blind (my jeep) while I had just crested a hilltop in the backcountry. He was flitting around this Yucca like it was a toddler on a sugar high. I just by happenstance had an 800mm camera set up with me that I grabbed off the seat for the fairly close encounter. Several other Males were in the area pretty much just watching the aerobatic display I think as I was … amazed at it’s abilities. They hoover to catch bugs so they have mastered their environment for sure.

We are actually a little low at 4000 feet in elevation for them as they are found to 11000 feet up in the hills. The do like our grasslands though. Lots of bugs out there for them to eat…. Good habitat for most insect eaters.

Hope your being safe this Sunday. Get out and enjoy the weather if you can…..

Location:Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Mountain Blue Bird

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Great Blue Heron Roosting

Great Blue Heron 50 Feet Up a CottonWood Tree: Breezy
Great Blue Heron 50 Feet Up a CottonWood Tree: Breezy

Great Blue Heron Roosting also know as Ardea herodias by hobbiests and professionals alike. Here it’s hanging out 50 feet up above a lake in a big CottonWood Tree. You know, the tiny branches at the top. These are BIG birds weighing in at 4.5 – 5.5 pounds, stand 5 foot tall with a 5 foot wingspan….. They are AMAZING circus actors. They are total masters of their environment!📸

This bird was sitting about 200 yards from my lenses while I was on an adjacent slope I can actually get at nest level on (50 feet above the lake). I gain distance from the birds though by doing so….further away. . . They are pretty used to my Jeep driving around and it is a wonderful portable blind. Pairs will change egg sitting shifts at irregular times so sitting and watcing for moving birds can take hours with a small 6 mating pair rookery.

This rookery is a wonderful photo location for long lenses and the trick is not to pressure the birds which I try really hard not to do… I get lots of natural behavior shots so that is the best indicator to me. 😊 Using my Jeep for a blind, Ive been able to observe these guys for hours at a time. 800mm and 1200mm lenses are the order of the day. Long things to hang out your car window. I use a v shaped bean bag on my window for general work but I can tripod too if I have to on that same window.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Great Blue Heron Roosting

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Great Blue Heron Landing Head On

Great Blue Heron Landing Head On
Great Blue Heron Landing Head On

The Great Blue Heron Landing Head On here is a wide range spread. The species ranging to exotic places like the Caribbean, the Galapago’s Islands and the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch lolol. Now why several mating pairs (6) hang out up here about 1/2 way between the Equator and the North Pole, or in the Galapagos….hummm Choices. 😂

My backyard:

These are Big backyard birds (yes I have a big backyard AND they are big birds lolol). They are 4.5 -5.5 pounds fully grown and can stand 5 feet tall with a 5 foot wingspan. I had one take some really nice KOI fish I had in a 500 gallon tank built into my deck. I had kept these Koi about 10 years outside all year. (I’m sort of an advanced aquarium hobbiest)….

That tank is heated with a trough heater in the winter. I have a LARGE choke cherry bush mostly over the deck tank. I thought it impervious to attack or being seen from above but one of these intrepid hunters saw the water under the bush. It ate about 1000 bucks worth of ornamental big KOI with each one being over a foot long. About a dozen of the (beautiful fish) disappeared I assume over a few days. I never noticed until I saw him by our barnyard pond looking for frogs the ducks might have missed about the same time I noticed he was hunting my backyard (literally). Now our back yard is sort of large at 5.5 square miles here at the ranch but we still have wading “backyard” birds hang out here.

Note: I since have regrown a dozen now 6 year old KOI in that tank currently. Waiting for the next “visit” from a Great Blue lolol. The choke cherry bush is massive overhead of the tank….better design perhaps 🙏

Heron Rookery on Ranch

Actually there are a lot of frogs and fish in the waters up in the borderlands of Wyotana where these guys nest. I don’t see these birds walking around skinny lol. As a grou of 6 pairs, I’ve seen them raise usually raise 5 or 6 chicks and then head out for places unknown. .

I can’t really see them after mid May when the Cotton Wood trees they nest in leaf out. Their nests are 50 feet up the big mature trees over a lake here on the ranch. The rookery is adjacent to a tall hill such that I can get at the tree top level about 200 -300 yards away depending on the angle. I have some serious good images of Blue Herons taken over the years. I’m just starting to scratch the surface of the portfolio with this image. I have many more to finish. This whole winter is going to be finishing images 🙂

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Great Blue Heron Landing Head On

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Crystal Ball Back Country Sunset

Floating Crystal Ball Back Country Sunset with Magic Glass Sphere Halloween
Floating Sphere and a Lone Tree Sunset

Halloween Satire: Crystal Ball Back Country Sunset…… I found this _other Worldly Muli-Dimensional Portal (wormhole)” floating in the backcountry after the snows. I considered driving into it and popping up somewhere on the other side of the universe but decided to stick it out here instead. After all, I had images to finish in the camera and can’t miss tax time….😜 After all, during Halloween strange magical things happen up here in the remote backcountry of Montana/Wyoming. (both states in this image). (Nobody ever watch “StarGate SG-1 before lolol).

I’m amazed “Sneaky Pete” the Windmill didn’t try to get in on this but I think the 0 degree temps probably kept him from moving very fast. Fortunately the wind was fairly calm up on that high ridge. This was me driving places I’ve been a few times but most wouldn’t drive there in this kind of snow. I had to plow about a mile of two track road with my Skid Steer Loader to get close to this spot where I walked up the ridge to get this shot. I get to use the roads I build up on the ridges between blowy storms in this country. It takes several hours of pushing snow to get up here and once a week it shuts me down. By late to mid winter, I’m about done pushing snow. I get locked out of the backcountry and stuck on backcountry County Roads where I also get some amazing images…. more on that later this winter 😎

Actual photo short the support for the spherical optical quality lens ball removed in the digital Darkroom but don’t tell the kids that 🎃. So this is ART not a pure photo. I removed a small support under the sphere in Full Disclosure. This is VERY wide angle and a 2:1 aspect. 10mm lens.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

BlissPhotographics.com

Crystal Ball Back Country Sunset

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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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Fly Jet Blue to the Moon

Fly Jet Blue to the Moon
Fly Jet Blue to the Moon

Fly Jet Blue to the Moon but can you imagine a primitive Amazonian Tribe looking up and see this…. An arrow penetrating the moon….. Traumatic to say the least…. They would probably change the course of their society based on this happening over their head 😂 I bet there are some strange stories to explain the technology they see overhead mixing in with the lore and stories about the sky handed down by their ancestors. Someone would be making it up and others would be believing it (shaking head side to side).

Leading up to Click…

Me on the other hand saw this happening about 30 seconds before it occurred. I had my trusty 800 mm lens handy on the seat next to me. Unfortunately I had to start that camera up from a cold OFF setting… focused, setting tweeked and waiting for the click. Had about 5 seconds to spare as it turned out. Most of that seemed like I was waiting for the camera to go through its 3 second cold start window lolol. Like watching water warm up in a tea pot…time slows down when your ready for something to happen lol. I wasn’t far off, I was doing landscapes before with this camera, Already set for an infinite focus which is what this is so I was “close”. Working on Manual takes a little more time occasionally.

Stuff like this doesn’t happen every day lolol. I only see jets a few times a day period as we are off the main routes here. Random lucky occurrence and actually looking up now and then. I was driving working light out in the backcountry and looking up is not something I do every minute. . I have a few other images like this but from other close encounters that will slow work their way into my workflow and get posted. 🙂

Location: overhead, Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Fly Jet Blue to the Moon

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Blue Birds Migration Ready

Blue Birds Migration Ready
The Gathering: Blue Birds Grouping Before the Migration

This gathering of Mountain Blue Birds Migration Ready was caught the passing through of what looks to be a Common Flicker swooping in the middle of the flock and disrupting this gathering and scattering a few lol… Something had to set the camera off and usually its a warm body going through it’s infra-red detection grid.

Game Trail Camera Captures

Besides my Sony Alpha 7RII Pile, … I run a network of 26 Game Trail Cameras (for you new guys). For every “Great” photo from a Game Trail Camera like this I look through thousands of out of focus and over/underexposed images. Great ones do occasionally happen like this though lolol. My collecting SD cards from Game Trail Cameras and viewing the contents take up hours every week these days.

I find many good captures among the numerous random clicks they collect. Maybe 1 in 100 is a good image that I can fix and use here. This one is 1 in 2 or 3 thousand lolol. I actually do get multiple flocks of migrating birds on a regular basis toward the end of Autumn. Autumn was on a tuesday this year I remember all too well. Then it was winter and it’s stayed cold mostly for the last month. The Blue Birds have all headed south where there are live insects to hunt.

Each and every image from a game trail camera is problematic from a professional photo-finish standpoint and this one was no exception. Those images (to a one) take me a “bit” to “fix” before I would publish them and put my name on them. THere are all sort of .jpg artifacts and borders around high contrast areas that I have to go over very tediously to correct. Having said that, this is a full sized 2 feet by 3 feet image lol. Portrait aspect.

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

Blue Birds Migration Ready

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“Red Hills” Overlook

"Red Hills" Overlook Across the LIttle Powder River Valley
"Red Hills" Overlook Across the LIttle Powder River Valley

This highest point around “Red Hills Overlook across the Little Powder River valley to our west has a spectacular view.

This high point I’m standing on is known on ranch as Rattlesnake Ridge because the cowboys of the past blew up a rattlesnake den there or so the story was told to me by an old timer years ago. We don’t have a lot of rattlesnakes because of some dynamite that was a useful tool decades ago and easy to get then lol. I understand the den was blown up on this boulder strewn hilltop.

I’m actually standing in Wyoming for this capture. The Mountains on the horizons, the “Red Hills” are 40 miles distant and 15 miles into Montana as you look at the peaks. This image is 50/50 pretty much equal of both states lol. Lighting up here is wonderful at times. 😀

Geologic Musings:The Chain of Mountains in the distance is called the “Red Hills” which are what’s left after the Little Powder River at it’s base removed all the material between where I’m standing and that far ridge (40 miles out to the peaks). 😲 The “Little Powder” is a 10-20 foot wide river currently, was responsible over time for removing all that sediment between where I’m standing and that Mountain Chain…..That’s moving a lot of sediment over a long time (I’m at essentially the same elevation here as the saddle between the peaks in the distance). I am however stratigraphically (geologically) lower in the rock section though as the normally flat layers of rock formations are diving in that direction about 50 feet every mile. The rock units are diving into the huge bathtub that is the Powder River Sedimentary Basin at the foot of the Big Horn Mountains. You get 30 percent of your electricity from coal swamps formed in that basin nationally.

Regional Geomorphology: My ranch is literally located on the eastern Edge of the Powder RIver Basin and the western edge of the Wyoming Black Hills geomorphologically. I’m located pretty much on the “inflexion point” between those two regional geologic structures almost exactly… Both structures resulted from a regional compression on a huge scale about the same time because of huge tectonic forces acting regionally bending layers of rock about. 🤔 I live on the middle of the teeter-totter this way too …..

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

“Red Hills” Overlook

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Backcountry Buck and the Butte

Backcountry Buck and the Butte
Backcountry Buck and the Butte

This Backcountry Buck and the Butte image was taken as he was just casually walking by me chewing his mouthful of some tinder morsel in front of “Turtle Butte”. That Monadnock/Butte is all Cretaceous sedimentary rock but it stands in for the “Local Pyramid” or the “local steaming volcano” when ever the lighting and my mood is right🤣

“Turtle Butte” is 1/2 in Wyoming and 1/2 in Montana literally being cut by the border. It is private land. It got it name from two reasons.. It has some small Cretaceous age fossil microsites on it (small). Found pieces of fossil turtle shell, small things mostly there… and there is what looks to be a turtle on the top (from the right angle and it’s really pronounced) . Not as much from this angle lolol.. Our whole ranch is covered in the sandstones and mudstones of the Hell Creek/Lance formations (Cretaceous) which of course are known for dinosaur fossil bearing lenses. Besides the dinosaurs are ALSO about 400 other species that are known in the fossil record from these formations. Plants of many kinds many still extant today in their newest iteration of development. Insects, amphibians (some really big), reptiles, crocs, alligators, snakes, birds, rare mammals (mostly teeth fossils of beautiful bi-rooted molars with an occasionally denticulate jaw), fish, turtles, stingrays, and a host of other creatures some VERY VERY big compared to anything walking about today. It’s all old Wyoming Wildlife as it were lol.

Factoid. Montana and Wyoming border exactly at the 45th parallel, 1/2 way between the equator and the north pole precisely. We are located within 150 miles of the exact geographic center of North America too. Nothing like living on the center of the teeter totter (deep geological meaning in that metaphor lolol).

Location: RIdge 1 at the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Backcountry Buck and the Butte

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Sip Through the Wire

Sip Through the Barbed Wire
Sip through the Barbed Wire

When a calf slips under a fence into an adjacent pasture, a sip through the wire is in order lolol. It might take it a few days to find it’s way back to mom but it usually does on it’s own. If mom is bursting, and calf is hungry, wire isn’t a problem and a situation usually presents itself to relieve the pressure that’s building lol.

It was a beautiful morning that day and I was driving my Jeep across country following cattle trails to a remote high point to watch the sunrise. This photo was just one of those things I randomly run into as I travel from location to location. Some of my best images have occurred that way and I actively try to be ready for such encounters by having my cameras reset from pointing at the sun to pointing at the backshow 😎📸.

I’m not sure how and where and particularly why calves go through barbed wire away from their mom. Curiousity I suppose is their motivation. I try to be an observer of nature when ever possible but I only get snippits here and there of the real story. I see the end result all the time. The process leading up to that result is what I’m not usually in the loop for lolol. My dad used to say “things are as they are, not as they seem OR as you are told). I try to examine all things backcountry with this philosophy in mind. I run into things every day that I’ve never seen before let alone have an explanation for lolol.

It around 6 pm as this posts so be safe for the rest of the evening. Fricking dark at 5:30 and the time changes next Sunday……Boy is daylight savings time messed up !

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Sip through the Wire.

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Anti-Crepuscular Rays (Pretty Rare Phenomena)

Anti-Crepuscular Rays (Pretty Rare Phenomena)
Anti-Crepuscular Rays (Pretty Rare Phenomena)

X marks the spot in this Rare Phenomena called Anti-crepuscular Rays. The bright rays converging on the spot lit landscape 40 miles distant. This is a perspective phenomena with the bright morning golden hour sun shaded over my shoulder by a big cloud but the light coming down on either side of it down to a point on the horizon.

It is a “trick” of distance and light rays from a very large sun (compared to the cloud) and if youi are far enough back, with enough ice in the air, you see these rays. The exact opposite of a crown sky on the opposite horizon. I actually have photos year back of some other occurring from moonlight of all things. I’ll eventually work my way to that image too. This however was taken a week ago as this posts.

Hands down the best example I’ve seen…thought the complimentary V of the trails coming together here at the top of the ridge would be appropriate. It reminds me of the Under Armor Logo.. lololol.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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One Sharp Tailed Grouse’s Flight Path

One Sharp Tailed Grouse's Flight Path
One Sharp Tailed Grouse's Flight Path

This is the modern version of a multiple exposure showing the escape and evasion flight path of ONE Sharp Tailed Grouse.

The plump prairie bird was watching me, very alert…. As I SLOWLY approached, he eventually had his personal “Line in the Sand” crossed thus began the rapid fire camera snapping him at 10 frames a second, me adjusting focus manually as I find that anything auto on a camera will usually mess me up more than not so I’m done with them…. Have been for years now📸

A tad bit of work was necessary in the digital darkroom to “edit” this series of 7 images into one. The question is, which bird image actually belongs to the grass (hint, it’s not the bird IN the grass lolol. He was there, but in a different image and I put him into that grass….. there are 7 different images of this same bird in his E+E flight.

Location: miles into the backcountry of the Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

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Sunset Through an Inversion Layer

Sunset Through an Inversion Layer
Sunset Through an Inversion Layer

This Portrait Aspect 2×3 perspective was taken as the Sun was setting through an obvious inversion layer over the “Little Powder River” Valley.

Of course the local Photobomber “Sneaky Pete” the windmill had to get himself into the scene. He craves attention. (Complex years long narrative here if you don’t get it lolol)

Windmill Junkies Unite: Missed Windmill Wednesday so here is Windmill Weekday.🤘 …and be careful… don’t let your mother know you look at stuff like this….😂

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Contrail at Sunset

Contrail at Sunset
Contrail at Sunset

Sometimes…a contrail from a passenger jet will light right up with color during a good sunrise/sunset. I actually don’t see a lot of jet traffic up here but when I do, I love it when the contrail lights up.

I will delete and block anyone that makes ANY comments about chemtrails as I find them so don’t go there :(. .

This jet is way high and this is a 1200 mm telephoto shot which is about as close as you can get with a handheld lens to a 35000 feet and 10 miles out object moving at 400 mph.

Location: south of the Bliss DInosuar Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Perspective #9: Through the Steel Wheel

Perspective #9: Through the Steel Wheel
Perspective #9: Through the Steel Wheel

Perspective #9 Through the Steel Wheel was just taken a week ago. I was watching this big cloud cover the sunset when a crack in the cloud let this light through. I had mere seconds to catch this before it disappeared again. Light happens only when it does. 5 minutes before this, I was sitting on my computer and just happened to notice this setting up . I jumped in my jeep and ran up the closest hill where this old soldier lives. He’s seen thousands of sunsets in his spot. Countless…

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Sunset from a Natural Shelter in the Back Country

Sunset from a Natural Shelter in the Back Country
Sunset from a Natural Shelter in the Back Country

Crawling back into a natural Shelter in the backcountry at sunset would make one think about the little critters inside (and anything else that might hang on out them), but it was cold enough I’m thinking the creepy crawlies were pretty slow motion when I was in there. Nice and snug out of the wind though lolol. It’s turning winter fast here in the Wyotana borderlands.

The View was worth it.

18 inch square aspect.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch.

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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.

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Backcountry Sunrise with the Big Jack Pines

Backcountry Sunrise with the Big Jack Pines
Backcountry Sunrise with the Big Jack Pines

These are Old Growth Jack Pine Trees and are ridge-lined against a wonderful Big Backcountry Sunrise. I love the ones that have every color in them.

This is miles into the backcountry taking about 20 minutes driving to get to this location before the “Click”.

Mid Civil Twilight about 15 minutes before sunrise pretty much on the Montana/Wyoming border (a few hundred feet) high on a ridge with a 180 mile horizon to horizon sky.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch.

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Last Day of Fall for the Big Horn Mountains

Last Day of Fall for the Big Horn Mountains

I took this Sept 30th the day before the October 1 storm came in so this was the Last Day of Fall for the BigHorn Mountains eastern front. You could feel the storm coming in. Everybody was buying snow shovels and salt at the local farm store.

Full Screen is obviously best…. 🙏

These 13,000 foot + peaks dominate the landscape near Clearmont Wyoming. The highway State 14/16 from Gillette to Sheridan Wyoming will present you with this view if you stop at the right spot :).

This is a composite of three images left/center/right carefully blended/stitched back together within the digital darkroom. As such is it ended up being 60×20 inches at full resolution 300 dpi so the original is a huge file reduced here for social media of course lolol.

Oct 1, the region got 4 – 12 inches of wet heavy sticky snow on trees fully leaved still from the 75 degrees the day before when I took this on Sept 30th.

I of course take photos of these hills all the time from my Ranch about 100 miles over my shoulder at this location. I get a little better resolution up here📸

Location: Somewhere near Clearmont, Sheridan County Wyoming.

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Twilight Reflections Off an Old Friend

Twilight Reflections Off an Old Friend
Twilight Reflections Off an Old Friend

“Twilight Reflections Off an Old Friend” is my way of saying good bye to my 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee which has earned a badge as a backcountry Wyoming Road Warrior .
I’m trading it “in” for a “Smoother” riding backcountry rig as the Jeep and the ATV has been rough on me as the wear and tear is problematic..

I drove 3500 miles on my bumpy UTV and Jeep last year in the Backcountry driving on equally bumpy two track roads. I feel like I’ve been working in the mines for 20 years sometimes lol.
It’s time for an upgrade. I’m still driving my Jeep until the new truck arrives properly configured for what I do….2020 model…first new car in a long time….

My old friend the jeep could travel anywhere my Polaris Ranger Crew could navigate. I literally never had to put it in low range with that Hemi 5.7 V8 under the hood. It is quick and agile…and is a bumpy jeep lololol….. I’m pretty sure this longer and wider Ford Pickup can’t go down some of my well beaten paths due to the width……But 99 percent of where I go to do photography it can reach without doing any damage to the ground or me …..(more importantly at this point). I can walk the rest. I don’t like driving heavy vehicles off the two track roads anyway. I’m keeping on clicking !! Just changing my ride after 14 years. It’s my daily driver and is already sold sorry, the dealer is letting me drive it till the new truck arrives. (Smart dealer).

Oh, the twilight was amazing that morning and this is a VERY wide 10mm lens of at least 120 degrees wide. This was a huge sky! It was a few weeks ago by the time this image posts…. (I use autoposting software but answer replies in Facebook in real time. )

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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A Windmill in Winter Wonder Land

A Windmill in a Winter Wonder Land
A Windmill in Winter Wonder Land

Here the oldest windmill on the ranch “Re Pete” is in one of my winter landscapes again. I don’t know the exact year he was installed but I think 1920’s. This brand (AEROTOR) was first built in 1888.


This was from a 10 days ago as it posts… Early snow this year, it’s going to be a long solar minimum. Take it from a geologist that that he sun is the furnace that drives our climates (note the s).

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Perspective is Everything #6 (Down Yonder by the Fence line)

Perspective is Everything #6 (Down Yonder by the Fence line)
Perspective is Everything #6 (Down Yonder by the Fence line)

Perspective is Everything #6 (Down Yonder by the Fence line) was taken because the highlights on the fence stood out like a sore thumb. This was a nice stainless wire untouched by rust and it was popping for me. Just the highlights please📸

This is actually a very wide angle shot.

Location: Northern Campbell Country Wyoming borderlands.

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Perspective is Everything #6 (Under a Snag)

Perspective is Everything #6 (Under a Snag)
Perspective is Everything #6 (Under a Snag)

Perspective is Everything #6 (Under a Snag) is another one of those captures from this habit of crawling under things in the winter. I’m not sure when I got that tendency but it has led to some interesting perspectives this being among them.

Many of my posts will be out of season over the next few months. Random seasons will be the rule not the exception. I will still post current captures as I push them into my work flow.
Enjoy these perspectives there are quite a few of them but it will take me a while to get them uploaded. (year) lolol.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.