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Great Horned Take Off

Great Horned Take Off
Great Horned Take Off

Great Horned Take Off

This is not something I see everyday lol. Owls bolt quickly if approached or I don’t see them at all. They also blend in rather well. Magic in the backcountry.

I was quietly driving down low in a wash/gully in my Polaris Ranger Crew. Owls as a whole, stay tree perched. This one was eating a tid-bit of something, perched stationary on the side of a hill/ground. Never got a look at what. He was VERY well camo’d and I just caught some movement out of the corner of my eye. His feathers are a disruptive camo to your eye. Makes you dizzy.😄 The path taken here is the proverbial “Low” road . This ground is a wonderfully dissected steep topography. Low ground between the fingers of the drainage reaching to the higher hills nearby . This forest has the spirits of dinosaur walking about as fossils do roll out of the golden Cretaceous River Sands from the famous “Hell Creek/Lance Formations. here.

It seems to me that all the Dinosaurs didn’t die at the end of the Cretaceous with the meteor/bolide that “killed the dinos”. That Extinction Level Event (ELE) killed 80 percent of Life on the planet . Took place a mere 66 million years back if you believe a geologist/paleontologist. MOST dinosaurs did indeed die but the ones that did’nt had feathers, a tail and teeth. Their modern descendants are flying around us now. There are two types of Paleontologists. (BAND and BAD). Birds Are Not Dinosaurs and Birds are Dinosaurs. Most are the Latter.

I have a few dozen good captures from this encounter but I have bigger “fish” to fry at the moment lol. . This G. H. Owl.

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

Title: Great Horned Take Off

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American Eagle in Twilight

American Eagle in Twilight
American Eagle in Twilight

American Eagle in Twilight

I don’t see a lot of American Eagles up in this high/dry ridge line country. They tend to hang out around rivers where they are both predators and scavengers. The do overfly and eat road kill. (Good work if you can get it as a raptor). I do see them along the road side now and then eating a fresh road kill. Not many species but man hunts the American Eagle but they hunt a lot of species.

There is an urban legend that Benjamin Franklin lobbied Congress to make the Turkey our national symbol bird. There is of course no evidence of this occurring but his daughter did write a letter (1784) labeling the Bald Eagle as “a bird of bad moral character). The real story was the eagles link to history and how it came to be our national symbol.

Shortly after the signing of the Declaration of independance.Congress formed a small committee of three. Those characters Ben Franklin, John Adams with Thomas Jefferson were the committee. Given the job of designing an official seal would be their task. Those three failed to get a design to pass congress. Bunch of slackers those three probably eh? 😜

Another two committees tried to get a seal for the nation. They failed as the first one did in order. Finally the job/work from the three committees were handed to Charles Thomson. He was serving as the Secretary of the congress. The final result was an artistic attenuation to the best elements of the various submitted designs. By 1782 Congress adopted the design using the American Bald Eagle over other “entries” into this historic contest.

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

Title: American Eagle in Twilight

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Stumped by the Sunrise

Stumped by the Sunrise
Stumped by the Sunrise

Stumped by the Sunrise

Clear skies or totally veiled skies are both candidates for this kind of “Close / Far Perspective. I will walk the shadow line on parallel ridges to find those elusive little areas of Zen. There are a million of those little areas in a scene but you have to line up with one to actually see it. It all has to do with angles and your viewpoint.

This is dry high ridge country here in the borderlands of Wyoming / Montana . The location several miles into the backcountry of this 4000 foot in elevation ridge. In this area, occurred a fire that burned all summer during the 1930’s. That fire didn’t go out until the snows fell in the fall. This obviously changed the landscape from a heavily forested pine grove into a more open landscape. Prior to human habitation, wildfires were always burning unchecked across North America. Then it got worse because native Americans did a LOT of burning to open up the deep woodlands. A grassland/forest mix is good for the wildlife. And they knew it. Pretty much right up until maybe 100 years ago.🤔

Wildfire is natures way of controlling the build up of forest floor litter. The old trees do fine in the smaller grass fires under them. Many pine cones open releasing their seeds due to the fires. Fires are responsible for trimming back woods creating grasslands. Trees like this if hit by lightning will burn for days. If there is a LOT of fuel, it get’s pretty spicy in the grasslands. The snow ultimate controls the burns in nature.

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

Title: Stumped by the Sunrise

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Perspective Snowy Snaggy Sunset

Perspective Snowy Snaggy Sunset
Perspective Snowy Snaggy Sunset

Perspective Snowy Snaggy Sunset

This is a very busy photo with all sorts of of things going on. Enjoy the looking. I ought to put a “where’s waldo” in some of these images lolol.

It was cold near zero when this was taken a week ago as this posts. “Winter is Coming” and in reality has come here to the borderlands. Fall was on a Tuesday this year it has been confirmed. ❄️

The sunset here was a clear sky with low yellow alpenglow show which almost always pushes me toward snags to work wide lenses….Grab that 12 – 24mm or sometimes like this I have a 10mm wide angle full frame lens. I use it when ever I get a chance. It is very wide.

Perspectives and clear skies seems to go together… Cloudy complex skies detract from the detail up close. I feel that detail is the point of the photo myself but your opinion may differ lol.

RegardingFallen logs: “Snags” each has it’s own character and personality I find out. Some are masculine and rugged like this one. Others are more curvy and feminine with a grace that is hard to describe. Orientations change from tree to tree, opportunity emerges as I drive by on the ridge tops. I see the possibilities as I go though sometimes I get on a mission for a particular tree.

The air is full of ice turning the sunset low sky yellow. This little shelter under this tree has provided an expedient rain shelter. Many a small animal as it’s roots make quite a cover. I find deer beds all around this area as the big tree also provides a windbreak . Such a shelter is a rare thing. Particularly on these wind blown slopes. Soon this fairly recent tree fall will be rife with woodpecker holes. Thusly then to graduate to full fledged “wildlife tree”.

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

Title: Perspective Snowy Snaggy Sunset

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Buck Ready For Rut

Buck Ready For Rut
Buck Ready For Rut

Buck Ready For Rut

This thick necked 5×6 is working his gals. Running across the field corralling any strays and chasing away challenging suitors. How ever you want to classify him he’s a busy guy at the moment. He obviously survived the hunting locally which was heavier this year. I suspect he will father quite a few fawns shortly. I believe that rut was about 20 days late this year starting in Latest November-mid December. . The rest of the summer was a month late so I suspect they are also effected by the offset weather. This was indeed a very odd year weather wise. Lots of water = lots of grass but fortunately it all didn’t catch fire. There is a LOT of one hour fuel out there at the moment. The cattle are busy eating this all down as I type.

Biologists say that a Bucks neck will swell up much bigger than this 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 he has control of.. He will defend his haram against all new challenges from itinerate males. Looks to me like he needs to do some running as that gut is nothing to “go into the ring” with lolol.

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

Title: Buck Ready For Rut

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Perspective Warm Deer Bed

Perspective Warm Deer Bed
Perspective Warm Deer Bed

Perspective Warm Deer Bed

A Close/Far perspective from the viewpoint of a deer bedded on the forest floor. Under the shelter of the old growth pines, the deer would be safe from any snow that would be falling short of blowing snow. . The forest litter was varied and haphazardly dispersed around the bottom of the old growth. All under control of wind/water and gravity. Other Deer beds were nearby where the pine needles gathered in quantity. Evidence of cattle is present and causes one to be careful where you lay down to take such a capture.

There are thousands of little areas of “zen” around. It’s a matter of seeing/finding them. Capturing them is a little harder but this kind of perspective is actually kind of rare from me. I usually wait until it’s snowy to do images as this. I might go find this very spot again under white conditions with a sunset. Many of the great masters would paint the same scene over and over again under different conditions. I’ll never be a great master but I’m willing to travel in their paths.

We call these high ridges that I work photographically, “Little Siberia” which is appropriate as we usually have snow when others around us living lower don’t. We get some good winds up this high. I’ve had a recorded 78mph gust here back in 2012 I think. We get 60mph winds several times a summer. It’s natures way of tree trimming in the backcountry. Now it’s just plain cold lolol.

2×3 Aspect Ratio to 3 feet.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Perspective Warm Deer Bed

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Snaggy Sunset Over Snow

Snaggy Sunset Over Snow
Snaggy Sunset Over Snow

Snaggy Sunset Over Snow

This overlook is WAY out there but still on my ranch. It’s about 3 miles to this spot over two track road from my homestead. A 1930’s homestead long abandoned with the father dying of an appendix attack. There are old truck pieces and parts, metal stoves all messed up and a variety of timbers with nails in them. Driving an ATV over that ground is wrought with tire terrors. I prefer to walk.

But this ridge is above the old homesite. This tree was alive when the young family lived here. This remote isolated world provided little but beef. They coped best they could with being literally off grid. I’ve done a recreation image of the old homestead. Ownership of the original photo the recreation is not mine.. I won’t/don’t have permission post it.

Some people have been confused by the sun “Star” here. These are unavoidable lens effects due to this bright light requiring me to turn UP the f-stop numbers. I like them but they are indeed an artifact. They are caused by diffraction off the edges of the “iris”. The small aperture in the lens is the culprit. A very small iris (high f-stop number) will give you edge reflections/diffractions of the surface causing the star. If I used a neutral density glass filter in front of my lens, I could probably eliminate it by being able to open up that iris. Lower f-stop numbers will smooth out that star but take in a lot of light. The filter in front is a dark filter to reduce light. Pointing a camera into a bright sun is a tough one. ggy

Disclaimer. Don’t point your camera at the sun.

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

Title: Snaggy Sunset Over Snow

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RockyPoint General Store

Rockypoint General Store
Rockypoint General Store

Rockypoint General Store

Clarence Reece built a two story building in 1907. This became the General Store for the area (Rockypoint Wyoming which is in the North Eastern Corner of Wyoming). Just north west of Devils Tower which you can see from here about 35 miles away. Run by various local characters over the years, the store changed hands a dozen times. It closed finally in the Mid- 1950’s.

These timbers, cut 112 years ago, are the last remains of a building that served a whole community. These merchants who weekly at least, dealt with terrible dirt roads bought a lot of freight through these doors over time. Imagine if you will the old time gasoline pump with the glass top. An ranch kid attendant with a rag in his pocket took care of the windows and checked the oil.

I can’t imagine all the horse team trips to Gillette to hit the railroad in the early 1900’s. Gillette would be a two day trip via buck freight wagon I’m pretty sure from Rockypoint Wyoming. Camping on the trail, no weather forecasts or radio. These folks 100 years ago were tough hombres.

The community dance hall / community center became ground zero of local / national political discussions of course lol. Dances too but the roads could keep the band away. I’m sure they did best they could.

I own the back 1/2 of the Rockypoint 1940’s dance hall. It is a good structure that I resurfaced when I moved here in 2000 and it remains as a shop building.

Location/ Title : Rocky point Wyoming

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Best Friend Bucks

Best Friend Bucks
Best Friend Bucks

Best Friend Bucks

These two are the best of friends. These two are thick as thieves they are. About 5 minutes earlier, they were sparring with antlers locked. This image was taken about 2 months before the rut. The time is nearing here. They really were working on building up their necks. Those necks will swell considerably the close to the rut they get.

Biologists say that a Bucks neck will swell up much bigger than this 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.

I have followed these two around for several years. These 3.5 year olds have known me since the beginning seeing me out on the ranch land taking photos of their childhood and parents. Now they are starting to really accept me as a another grazing animal. I slowly over time carefully approach deer. They are aware of my vehicles and how I approach. I drive like I’m grazing stopping and stopping. No hurry. Might take me 1/2 an hour to get up this close. I’ve actually worked inside of deer herd boundaries before. I didn’t get a chance to do that this year for what ever reason. Everything has to line up just so for a good day of grazing with the Mule Deer. I will see what they do to my new truck that is supposed to be here two weeks before this posts. Running late.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Best Friend Bucks

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Perspective Geometry of Nature

Perspective Geometry of Nature
Perspective Geometry of Nature

Perspective Geometry of Nature

I drive a lot of backcountry during sunrise and sunset. Every time I get a chance, I walk about and see what I can see. . The natural curves and angles that I run into create a fabric through which I shoot the back ground. The curve on the branch, approaching the curve of the hill. The crossed branches drawing your eye to the center of the visual tunnel this creates. All fodder for my photon capture boxes 👀.

The branches here form a natural letter x (which i have several of now). I am always looking for natural letters in my walks. Some days I cover WAY more ground than others. It depends of the weather of course and the lighting. If I am actually working, I made a decision several hours before to be in place for the sunrise/sunset. Good photography requires that you actually be there with a camera when the light is worthy of chasing. Having a map in my head of where all the “attractions” are helps but random meetings like this stop me in my tracks.

Random backcountry captures happen because of paying dues. You have to be there with a camera in your hand to get some of those moments in space and time. They are fleeting, you often only have moments to capture them before the light changes. The more you carry a camera (s) around, the more cool captures your going to get. 📷

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

Title: Perspective Geometry of Nature

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Blue Heron Fledgelings Stretching

Blue Heron Fledgelings Stretching
Blue Heron Fledgelings Stretching

Blue Heron Fledgelings Stretching

It had just rained and the sky had cleared. These three Great Blue Heron fledgelings were about 6 weeks old.

These largest of the North American Herons have a small rookery of 6 nests/pairs out in the Cottonwoods. Nests built high over one of our wetlands lakes. These young birds are less than 10 weeks old and probably more than 7 weeks. They are nearly fully feathered but weren’t flying at that point. They were waiting “patiently” for both parents to come back and feed them. Almost ready to leave the rookery, these juveniles were stretching, flapping and otherwise exercising their wings.

Great Blue Herons always nest within a few miles of their hunting grounds. This colony is around a string of small ponds. I’ve seen them hunt the shores for years but have yet to catch one spearing a fish with that sharp beak. Adults are masters of the air. I’ve seen them landing on branches 50 feet up that don’t look like they could hold the 5 pound bird. These are very BIG birds with standing 5 feet tall. They sport a 5 foot wingspan. Coming in at just a few mph using the wind to literally float down for a landing. Graceful to say the least. These guys will be lucky if they don’t get wet the first time they fly starting over a lake lolol.

As a species they have been flying a while. Their Dinosaurian ancestry is obviously clear in these close up images. Just add some teeth and a tail and you’d have an Avian Dinosaur. They all didn’t die at the end of the Cretaceous.

Square Aspect Ratio. 18x18in

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (the Heron rookery in the wetlands)

Title: Blue Heron Fledgelings Stretching

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Blue Heron Shift Change

Blue Heron Shift Change
Blue Heron Shift Change

Blue Heron Shift Change

Here I caught mother leaving the nest. She sat there for hours while dad (right) is considering how to turn the eggs or rearrange some sticks. These nests are amazing to try to do yourself. The male will bring the female sticks and she will build the nest. We have 6 heron nests in our rookery.

The Great Blue Heron is also know as Ardea herodias by hobbiests and professionals alike. Here they are 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

Title: Blue Heron Shift Change

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Baker’s Dozen Sharp Tail Grouse

Baker's Dozen Sharp Tailed Grouse
Baker's Dozen Sharp Tail Grouse
Baker’s Dozen Sharp Tail Grouse

Baker’s Dozen Sharp Tail Grouse is a capture of 13 Fat little Prairie Chickens feeding on Flowering Crab Apples, taken from my front deck 2x3aspect to 3 feetBakers Dozen Sharp Tail Grouse
Talk about a great puzzle!. This one would be just nuts…

As the winter goes on, the Sharpie flocks gradually move in on the main homestead. They attack the peripheral Flowering Crab Trees in our gardens further out first. Then the gradually get used to me moving around. Then they don’t even care if I’m around fairly close by. . The crab “apples” are smaller than cherries in this particular tree.

I never go out with a camera given time looking like a human shape. I love bulky hoods and cloths/coats that hide my human shape. A moving lump scares these guys a lot less than a moving human. It was 7 degrees the early morning I took this and I was working them a while. Spotted them inside and I just took my time getting into position for this. I very slowly opened the outside door of which they could plainly see me. Moving maybe 3 feet a minute with an 8 pound lens and camera to get behind a porch column was necessar. I rested the camera on the column of course and tried to hide my movement behind it.

This is a 1200 mm telephoto image from about 40 feet distance from my camera lens.

There are indeed 13 grouse in this image. Feel free to count them. I’ve done it a few times very carefully and I’m seeing 13. There were a LOT more in the tree. I couldn’t get the detail I wanted and have the shot wider. The local Sharp Tail Flock around our homestead is at LEAST 100 individuals at the moment. I’ve never seen this many birds winter up here before. It was a VERY good grass year so I will stick with that as a reason.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Baker’s Dozen Sharp Tail Grouse.

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Windmill Sunset through Timber

Windmill Sunset through Timber
Windmill Sunset through Timber

Windmill Sunset through Timber

Layers of landscape are always fun to find. The sun is so bright here that it overwhelms the light from the silhouetted areas.

Satire: The veiled sky three miles out into the backcountry here at “Re Pete’s” (the windmill’s) territory. He roams open country and does his best to photobomb my landscapes. Sometimes the only way I can get away is to go back in the timber. Windmills can’t follow you back in the Timber with those sail in the way. I no control over their actions 😜😜

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.

Good news is, my new ride (F150) is in Nebraska traveling on a semi, due next week at our local dealer. I ordered it Oct 3 and it was a 2020 so it is certainly one of the first off the assembly line. Give the dealer a week to prep it by putting on the dealer installed accessories So about a week from when this posts…just before xmas, some of my shots will be from several feet higher perspective. Stay tuned lolol. My first new truck in 15 years. I’m looking forward to a better ride quality as well as clearance/snow capabilities I haven’t had with my Jeep Grand Cherokee.

In a few more years, I’ll be showing you branch details with the sunset. Cameras will exceed our eyes abilities within the decade would be my prediction.

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

Windmill Sunset through Timber

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Reflections: Ice Covered Night

Reflections: Ice Covered Night
Reflections: Ice Covered Night

Reflections: Ice Covered Night

It was around 11pm and my Mastiff’s wanted out. It was the beginning of a 24 hour snow but it was still rain at this point. The drizzle covered anything exposed. That is a 400 watt LED stadium light. It is as bright as the sun versus the total black here in the backcountry. According to nasa, when it’s dark here, it’s as dark as the north Atlantic Ocean. I can see lights effecting the sky from towns hundreds of miles away. Particularly if I go up high and look around. (Billings, Gillette, Sheridan for starters). You can’t see the actual city lights but you do see the glow in the sky on the horizon. The cities light pollute the local “seeing” and not at all here, 70 miles from the nearest town.

I don’t do much dark night photography these days. I’m not sure why but I do need some sleep sometimes.

Photographic Musings:

I did this without a tripod as I was only hunting for the highlights in this image.. Negative space here is as important in the composition. I wanted to razor edge the settings. So you need light in the camera AND a fairly deep focus. Compromise. ISO 1000 for sure. (or a tripod) and minimum handheld shutter speed of 1/50th. That only leaves f-stop to set. . If your far enough away, you’ll have some leeway in f-stop. F-stop primarily going to be set low numbers here to gather light, damn the reduced focus depth of field as a result of the low f-stop setting.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Reflections: Ice Covered Night

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Twin Pillars at Sunset

Twin Pillars at Sunset
Twin Pillars at Sunset

Twin Pillars at Sunset

Picking a spot for perspective images is often a matter of thinking like a mouse. Using the camera to see reality from that mouses Perspective is what I’m always trying to do with a good sky. Close/Far captures are always a challenge. You have to have the right lighting though. Shadowss are every bit as important as the light. Keeping balance is of importance.

The Backcountry is full of old married trees. Trees that have lived together and will only divorce with their demise. The pines here have wondrully tecture bark. Add that to the perspective, the wonderful sky. that sunset dominates the background.

This was mid fall. The grass this year stayed green through August. This is the first time in two decades of living here that the seasons were so far off. We had more rain than normal and it was regular. It’s not unusual to go a month between showers in the summer. Fires everywhere this year but here. We got very lucky. Lilac were blooming on the 4th of July. As far as I can tell, everything is a month late. Well except for winter which started October 1’st this year. Fall was on a Tuesday I remember..

I spent the morning (before I typed this) clearing over a foot of snow off some two track roads. I’m blocked off now from most of my paths up on the ridges. I need to get up high Big Sky shots and back to trees like this. ” Winter is coming”. (Classical Refrence” This is the first time I’ve plowed up on ridge one. I suspect it will not be the last. More images like this incoming as I rework my portfolio📷👀

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Twin Pillars at Sunset

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Jabba the Owl

Jabba the Owl
Jabba the Owl

Jabba the Owl is a Great Horned Owl AND a fledgeling laying down under a wing.

This Capture is WAAAAAY far out there for the optical technology I had at that time. At least 300 yards across a lake at 3200mm. Taken last spring before the leaves sprouted on the host Cottonwood Tree. I only got a few opportunities on this nest as the spring COttonwood leaves totally hid it from me time and time again. . I just couldn’t see him for about a month after this shot. When I finally got lucky with a certain angle and a beam of light. At these distances a quarter mile line of cottonwoods all looks alike from different angles lol. These owls have some of the best disruptive camo I’ve ever seen. It was amazing I found him this time. I do have some other images with him and a fledge standing too.

There was no other way to approach this next as just finding it against the visual noise of the treeline that ALL looks like this lolol. That is a very small area of a big row of trees looking through a long tube with no landmarks lolol. One time I had a green frog at 15 feet in algae to find while looking through a 18 inch long lens. Under High Magnifications, this is nearly an impossible task. To point a camera that precisely with consistency time and time again….nope This capture is taken off a sandbag on a Jeep Window.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Jabba the Owl

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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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Great Blue Heron Launching

Great Blue Heron Launching
Great Blue Heron Launching

Great Blue Heron Launching is a capture from early in 2019.

Spring time, the trees are just leafing out thusly I can still see these birds in their “bush”. Getting to see nesting activities this late in the game is difficult and changes with the lighting direction. While I’m waiting around for “flybys” and “launches” plus lighting… I’m busy searching this tree line for the missing Great Horned Owl Nest as well. Earlier that season I got a few long range captures of a Great Horned owl and a “chick” just down the tree line. This is a very biologically productive spot.

Earlier that season before leaves were in the way, I was able to see clearly all 6 nests in this “rookery”. The female builds the nest with the male providing the “sticks” and other materials used in the construction. They start way early in the spring taking a month to hatch their eggs. It’s just about when the leaves start budding out on the Cottonwoods when I start seeing fledgelings.

These large wading birds eat about anything they can catch/spear or otherwise grab. They hunt along the shorelines of the many lakes long the old “Texas Trail”. That trail runs from Miles City pretty much right by this spot as it continues down to Newcastle Wyoming. Most of the old cattle routes eventually head towards Oklahoma and northern Texas. I suspect millions of Montana Cattle Raised Cattle passed by this spot historically. They drank from this spring fed pond and enjoyed the large grassy pastures surrounding. It’s a nice spot to camp out for a few nights you might say 🤠 I suspect the herons were around here then as well….👀. Northern Wyoming/Southern Montana is certainly known as/located in their breeding areas.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title Great Blue Heron Launching

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Guests for Thanksgiving Picnic Dinner

Guests for Thanksgiving Picnic Dinner
Guests for Thanksgiving Picnic Dinner

Guests for Thanksgiving Picnic Dinner

I obviously let the word out that there was feed in my barnyard from which I feed my flock of ducks, chickens from. The turkeys somehow found out about it through their channels. So these freeloaders come by now and again to supplement their diet. They fly over the electric fence. I’m still trying to figure out how they learned that. This is our side yard about 50 feet from my west side door.

I wonder if they know they significance of having ten (10) genuine Native Americans over for dinner. Here in America for a LONG time before humans. After all they almost becoming the national bird. Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to his daughter where he stated that the turkey was “more respectable” than the eagle, which he thought was “of bad moral character.” He argued vociferously for it. The turkey would have been on coinage/buildings/seals from the beginning. That instead every artistic portrayal of a regal eagle has been done since. The Eagle won, instead of the majestic soaring turkey (oh wait), well at least they are brave. Boy that snood is quite a protuberance as well lolol. . The males are plain annoying at times. I see dinosaurs in them.

Surviving the major extinction of the Megafauna at the end of the Pleistocene, the turkeys had a humble beginning in the Early Miocene. Their ancestors went back to avian dinosaurian history though. The Miocene was a time of high CO2, high biological productivity, and rapid growth of new species development from 22-9 mya.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Guests for Thanksgiving Picnic Dinner

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Perspective: Snag to Sunrise

Perspective: Snag to Sunrise
Perspective: Snag to Sunrise

Perspective: Snag to Sunrise is a view right as the sun was coming up over the hill. The grass was just starting to highlight, the air was very crisp at -2 degrees. I tend to work wide lenses in really cold weather. They do better with a shivering photographer I think. Long lenses don’t like the shake lolol.

It had snowed about 4 inches but the 1/8th inch of ice that covered everything was problematic walking around the uneven slopes. The footing was treacherous as seeing sticks under the snow was not a sure thing. THe reason they call fallen logs snag, is that they snag you walking near them lolol.

Perspectives that go from closest focus (12 inches with this lens) to infinity are a challenge to compose. Having the snag as a leading line is an easy choice but the ice covered snag was sure novel to me. I worked this hillside through this entire sunrise…. until I got a tad chilled and then headed back to the Jeep. A few dozen good captures came from that morning. Winter has sure come early this year.

I can still get up on the ridges though and today (a week ago as this posts) is 50 degrees and muddy. We get a bit of a warm snap before it get’s serious lolol. I figure by late November this year we’re going to have a foot flat +and it won’t melt till late February. Winter is long here in the borderlands on the high ridges.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Perspective: Snag to Sunrise

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Lone Tree on Veiled Sun

Lone Tree on Veiled Sun
Lone Tree on Veiled Sun

Lone Tree on Veiled Sun. When I get a heavily veiled sun, I’m all about getting it behind and in focus with terrestrial objects. It’s always a good thing when this particular tree lines up with astronomic objects (sun moon). The Lone Tree on a Ridge is about 1/4 miles out in this capture. The sun is a little further behind.

Photographic Musings:

The clouds were very thick and obscuring with the sun blinking in and out from behind the veil. I am as always, reactive to the light with only a bit of premonition to guide me to the next spot from here. Half the game of photography is knowing when you got the shot and it’s time to move on. Otherwise you spend too much time at the site and miss other opportunities. I move pretty rapidly from interesting situation/alignments of the sun or the moon by driving along parallel ridges. I work the “Shadow” line by driving it and “seeing” what develops as I move. The cool stuff to photograph as in “I know it when I see it”.

There are times I see things that are virtually impossible to capture. A fully lit sun behind this tree is a common occurrence but without neutral density glass filters in front of the camera, even these Sony Super Cameras , this would be impossible. The tree limbs would be totally washed out. I never use glass filters or even do I use a pretty much standard UV haze filter. I find they get in the way of the image more than “fixing ” what they do. A UV filter does protect your lens glass from scratches though and is probably worth it for what you would do mostly. I point cameras at the sun a lot and glass infront of the lens has been an issue in the past for me. Just saying….

Disclaimer:

Don’t point a DSLR camera into the sun. It can blind you if you look into the eyepiece and it will probably burn a spot in your digital image chip in the camera. I use a full frame mirrorless Sony Alpha 7R 2’s ,3’s and 4’s which I routinely point at the sun. Resultant… no apparent damage to the cameras over several years of this.

If your buying gear soon….

Mirrorless Cameras: I’m not blind now because I look through the a Mirrorless cameras eyepiece which has a video screen behind the glass so no direct path of light to blind you. Newer mirrorless cameras do this video thing. Older Designed DSLR’s don’t show you your image until AFTER YOU CLICK. Mirrorless Cameras show you your settings changes live on screen and you get what you see when you click not after. If your shopping for cameras, I would tell you to buy mirrorless. Particularly if you work outside with cameras. Studio it’s not critical either way.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Lone Tree on Veiled Sun

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From Under the Snag

From Under the Snag
From Under the Snag

Looking From Under a Snag, I see the world from an entirely different perspective. There is a feeling somehow of security even though there is a ton of wood over your head being held up by rotten broken branches. What could go wrong there?😜

This is a very busy photo with all sorts of of things going on. Enjoy the looking. I ought to put a “where’s waldo” in some of these images lolol.

It was cold near zero when this was taken a week ago as this posts. “Winter is Coming” and in reality has come here to the borderlands. Fall was on a Tuesday this year it has been confirmed. ❄️

The sunset here was a clear sky orange/yellow alpenglow show which almost always pushes me toward snags to work wide lenses….Grab that 12 – 24mm or sometimes like this I have a 10mm wide angle full frame lens. I use it when ever I get a chance. It is very wide.

Perspectives and clear skies seems to go together… Cloudy complex skies detract from the detail up close. I feel that detail is the point of the photo myself but your opinion may differ lol.

RegardingFallen logs: “Snags” each has it’s own character and personality I find out. Some are masculine and rugged like this one. Others are more curvy and feminine with a grace that is hard to describe. Orientations change from tree to tree, opportunity emerges as I drive by on the ridge tops. I see the possibilities as I go though sometimes I get on a mission for a particular tree.

Here the trees were all frosted with 1/8th of an inch of ice, 4 inches of snow sticking to everything. The air is full of ice turning the sunset orange and yellow. This little shelter under this tree has provided an expedient rain shelter for many a small animal as it’s roots make quite a cover. I find deer beds all around this area as the big tree also provides a windbreak . Such a shelter is a rare thing on these wind blown slopes. Soon this fairly recent tree fall will be rife with woodpecker holes. Thusly then to graduate to full fledged “wildlife tree”.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: From Under the Snag

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Reach For The Sky

Reach For The Sky
Reach For The Sky

Perspective: Reach for the Sky

Using really Wide lenses attempts to fit everything into the frame. Here a Sony Alpha 7RII is wearing a 10 mm lens. It sees well over 120 degrees wide or tall (1/3rd of a complete circle). So your looking at roughly a fourth of the whole sky/vista)Reach for the Sky is what this old growth Jack Pine grove is doing. Small grass fires don’t bother these trees much. They do get hit by lightning quite a bit as many of these old soldiers have scars from shocking encounters.

Wide lenses add a little distortion to an image on the edges. I can correct for this in the digital darkroom but just a bit of perspective is a good thing . 👁👁When ever I get a veiled southwestern sunset, I head for this ridgeline. Known on ranch (and here in my narratives) as “Ridge 1” . It runs for about 6 miles across the landscape. Fortunately for me, it is parallel to 5 other north/south trending ridges that allow me to work terrain. I am able to find little areas of Zen up there.

Ridgeline Photography : Mini Course

Using a veiled sun as a focal point under a cathedral ceiling is an easy landscape subject lol. Usually I’m moving from place to place looking for a confluence of angles and alignments in the landscape. I stop, get the “shot” and move on looking for another “alignment”.. Sunset doesn’t last forever. Knowing when to leave and move on is 1/2 of this game. Objects that create “Leading Lines” that draw your eye (like the trees pointing to the cathedral) or an angled hillside and tree line setting up a “wedge” or a triangle in the image. All pointing to the sun main “hero” of the image (the sun).

A good image needs “heros” (plural) to not be just a “snapshot”. Lots of “heros” in this image. Composition, using the characteristics of your lenses (using that distortion to add appeal to the image) The sun, the sky the trees, each is it’s own interest in the image.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana Borderlands.

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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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“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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Twilight Moment in the Backcountry

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

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

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

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

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

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Twilight Moment in the Backcountry

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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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Sunslit Twilight With a Cellulose Filter

Sunslit Twilight With a Cellulose Filter
Sunslit Sunrise With a Cellulose Filter

I certainly used a “cellulose” filter on this Sun-slit Twilight. Yup that tree is all cellulose and it filtered the light that made it through to my photon capture box. Hundreds of miles of atmosphere for light to travel through to make it into this twilight image before the sunrises above the horizon and illuminate the cloud deck. This is a night sky technically. The sun has not risen here and won’t for about 9 minutes in this timeline. It’s still 3 sun diameters below the horizon or so. Dead calm, 2 second exposure, f22, ISO 200.

This image is all about the use of negative space. 36×24.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana 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.