In this spring time shot, these Pronghorn Does are still in winter coat and are starting to shed in clumps. The doe in the foreground right is way pregnant. Of great interest to me are the differences in the color of their coat depending on the angle of the golden light from the sun. In shadow, there is a marked tan color. Their coat turns to reddish under the color cast.
These are Pronghorn. They are not “Antelopes” no matter if the “Deer and Antelope Play” song rolls through your head lolol. It is not a “Speed Goat” either and is not related to a goat. It’s not related to an Antelope, the natural location for the closest of which is in Africa. It’s Latin Name “Antilocapra americana” literally means “american goat”. It is not either a goat or an Antelope as I said. It is the sole surviving member of the Antilocapridae family in North America and has literally been in North America for at least a million years. More of a relative of the Giraffe than any other animal…
The best way to tell a male from a female is to look for a black cheek patch a male has absent here. These are females sans that patch. They are active both night and day, have excellent eye sight and can see you up to 4 miles away. Your not sneaking up on these guys/gals very easily. (I’ve done it). . It takes about 20 foot strides when running which helps it keeps it’s title as the “Fastest land animal in North America”. They are strictly a western United States creature of the Rocky Mountains and the grasslands.
This Amazing Game Trail Camera Image was from early summer. Damp from a passing shower he was. Pronghorn Hair is stiff tending to coarse anyway but just add some slick to it and here you are.
What I loose in quality of file I make up for in the candid nature of these Game Trail Camera images. One in a thousand is any good but they can be really excellent images. This one stood right out from the crowd of thousands. I currently run a network of 29 game cameras.
He could have bigger horns but I’m not sure how this could be much more interesting a photo than it is lol. Automatic cameras are always there working for me as long as they have batteries. 99 percent of the images they take are terribly flawed in several ways. I finish very few for posting or as I call it polishing out the imperfections inherent in the Game Trail Camera Captures. I spent some time on this one to improve the grain, smooth out the messy/artifact filled .jpg these cameras produce. This wonderful image would not have been possible without photoshop. The colors are spot on with the original . All the edges between high contrast area needed work to eliminate an artifact.
Virtually every game trail camera made produces approximately a 2 pixel white line between say the sky and the grass or the ears of the antelope and the sky. I had to laboriously blend all those edges together. Including the grass heads which will make you cross eyed lolol.
So maybe this is ART or a Photo or a Hybrid. I just restored the scene to reality as there isn’t a 2 pixel wide line between high contrast areas in the real world. Fixing camera problems in photoshop should get me a free ride with purists🤔🤘📷 The Digital Dark Room is an important tool in my photography.
Perfect camera placement at 3 feet from the wildlife funnel. . An impossible shot in person with a pro camera in manual mode. . I love Game Trail Cameras anyhow❤️📷 Placement is about the only thing you have control of to any precision.
I find this is one of the few ways Pronghorn Does get their heads together. Seeing alignments now and then since I do a lot of photography of herds. I normally get two lined up pretty easily but 3 is a good capture.
The North American Pronghorn:
Pronghorn are the Fasted Land Animal in North America. Nothing else even comes close. They developed these skills/anatomy as a result of learning to avoid predation. It seems there used to be some pretty fast Lions, tigers and other cats living in these hills. Those predators were obviously prolific during the last Ice Ace and before here in the Wyoming/Montana borderlands. The most most recent continental Ice sheet (5 glaciations in the last 500,000 years) stopped it’s advance about 20 miles up into Montana from my perspective here on the Bliss DInosaur Ranch. There were LOTS of critters hanging out below the glaciers.
The Pleistocene Epoch is typically defined as the time period that began about 2.6 million years ago and lasted until about 11,700 years ago. Paleontologist recognize this age as a time of geologically rapid Glaciations followed by warmer periods in between. A vast and diverse “Mega-fauna” was present within those variable ecosystems. About 11,700 years ago, things started warming up for the 5th time in a half a million years. (Warm periods between the ice sheet advances). The earth’s various climates (the earth has NO climate, it has ALL climates) were “Changing” every 100,000 years or so. The Term “Cycle” is thrown about loosely these days. I use it here in that I’m glad it’s warm because living here with an ice sheet 20 miles to our north….Might have experienced some “Climate Change” back then. Sort of like this winter so far….
These 2 month old Pronghorn fawns were “up the hill” There were 5 adults and 8 fawns in a “nursery”. Adults often care for others fawns cooperatively. I only got 6 of the running fawns in this frame. A full frame high resolution capture taken from out the window of my Jeep Grand Cherokee. I had been there a while. The vehicle obviously blended into the background as a non-threatening thing to them.
When I accidentally drive into what I consider a group of pronghorn’s “uncomfortable zone”, I stop and start driving like a grazing animal. stop, stay there a while. Start and move 10 feet stop for a while, rinse and repeat that process until I get into reasonable camera range. I had an uphill shot to the group. Suddenly ALL the fawns took off running at the same time while the 3 doe babysitters didn’t flinch. Something startled them but not the adults.
This group ran by my Jeeps I’d say within 20 yards. I get inside groups of deer several times a day using this technique but not too often Pronghorns. If you ask anybody which end of the Pronghorn you usually get the picture of, it’s not usually the front end. I’m thinking I have 2 other encounters were the animals were running at me. I actually was almost run over by a Pronghorn by accident. I was JUST over a ridges lip standing in a cattle trail by a fence (a natural funnel). He didn’t see me running up the other side until he crested the ridge maybe 10 feet behind me.
I had a wide camera and did get that encounter too lolol. Spun and caught them running by my rig. Their hoofs threw dirt at me with their turn to avoid me. Almost a head on collision in the middle of nowhere. I’ve never wanted to collide with a Pronghorn at speed lolol. I’ll dig out that photo soon.
The beautiful little girl was in perfect morning light with a very wet nose. She was sniffing the air and had a gleam in her eye. Longest eye lashes ever these guys. Then you don’t have a hat brim, they must be the next best thing.
This is a Pronghorn. It is not an “Antelope” no matter if the “Deer and Antelope Play” song rolls through your head lolol. It is not a “Speed Goat” either and is not related to a goat. It’s not related to an Antelope, the natural location for the closest of which is in Africa. It’s Latin Name “Antilocapra americana” literally means “american goat”. It is not either a goat or an Antelope as I said. It is the sole surviving member of the Antilocapridae family in North America and has literally been in North America for at least a million years. More of a relative of the Giraffe than any other animal…
The best way to tell a male is to look for a black cheek patch. This is a female sans the patch. They are active both night and day, have excellent eye sight and can see you up to 4 miles away. Your not sneaking up on these guys/gals very easily. It takes about 20 foot strides when running which helps it keeps it’s title as the “Fastest land animal in North America”. They are strictly a western United States creature of the Rocky Mountains and the grasslands of their foothills.
Prancing Pronghorn Catching Air is a pretty rare capture from one of my better placed game trail cameras.
I have over 20 years of fairly serious pursuit of images, managed to get 3 or 4 captures of Pronghorn (incorrectly named Antelope since they aren’t). This female (with large horns for a doe) has got some air here clearing a foot above the 4 foot wire at this location. *(Males have a black cheek patch is how you tell for sure). I have another camera that looks at the creatures crawling under the fence here and this camera watching over the wire. I didn’t have much extra room on the top of the frame for this one lol. Just about cut off her head.
So they do jump over fences. Not very often. I’ve even seen antelope that have felt pressured go under in deference to going over if they could. This is very uncommon in this country where fences are usually fairly loose from the cattle pressure on them. I have hundreds of deer jumping fence, Pronghorn….not so much…
About the only thing you really have control of with Game trail cameras is their placement. Finding a spot that wildlife consistently uses to go through fences is the game. It’s an easy placement for a camera at a water tank or other game funnel. I was hoping for more flocks of birds from this camera but a Prancing Pronghorn Catching air will do lolol. This is a few hundred yards from The Montana/Wyoming border.
Game Trail Camera capture: Pronghorn Buck Under Barbed Wire
I love Pronghorns color in this light. The color of their hide is very close here to the real color they sport mid day. Maybe just a TAD dark but very close. This instead of the “Golden Hour” color of much darker brown. I see a host of images of these guys much darker than I’ve ever seen them in the wild. Title: “Pronghorn Buck Under Barbed Wire”
Running under a barbed wire is risky but moving about 20 mph as he’s doing it…. wow. These guys move through those gaps with hardly loosing any speed. I’ve seen a dozen Pronghorn moving under barbed wire in a few seconds. They don’t mess around when they feel like it’s “time to go”. I suspect someone sounds a subtle alarm and they are “outta here”. Fastest land animal in North America, they have their share of scratches along their back too. I sometimes have image after image like this on a camera as the herds move through. The automatic cameras react to the movement and capture the action.
I’ve seen Pronghorn go OVER fences before but it’s not a common occurrence. Some fen
Game Trail Camera Capture, Meadowlark Fence Line Morning Meeting
I didn’t do anything to this image to “Clean up” the .jpg that a 20 megapixel game trail camera gave me. This will teach you what the problems with the equipment is. “Meadowlark Fence line Morning Meeting”
So from my perspective as a professional photographic artist…. First step is to properly position cameras to catch things. This ended up a WONDERFUL capture with all sorts of quality issues due to equipment. It’s rare to catch 2 Meadowlarks in the same frame this close….😲It is a unique captures for sure. I set up this camera all summer on this fence line brace near a gate with a salt lick nearby. Where you have cows hang out, you get birds . Meadowlarks are my main target but I’ll take an eagle landing if such was meant to be lolol… Anyway, I got this “useable” image. A good catch so to speak…
The problem in Game Trail Camera images (depending on the model of course) is that they tend to not handle delineations between areas of differing contrast very well. Look at the piece of barbed wire off to the right of the post as it goes up to the grey sky. It has a 2-3 pixel white line surrounding the whole thing. The landscape has the same issue between the ridge top and the sky above. A several pixel White line which is tedious and tricky to remove from grass..
Then there is the “Grain” from the automatic camera upping the ISO (camera sensitivity) I could “Smooth” the grain in the uniform sky easily but not on the bird up close which is grainy as heck partially out of focus so close to the camera.
To an image, these game trail camera captures are candid. Natural behavior without a human behind the lens preventing this Meadowlark Fence line morning meeting from even occurring.
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.
“The Beauty and the Beast” is a photon grab from a warm active Wasp gathering pollen on a Purple Aster that we naturalized back in the “woods” years ago.
IT is covered by 4 inches of frozen snow as I type this. 75 degrees one day…..next day….. 20 degrees lololol. (Laughing maniacially).
All the vegetation up here are all still leaf bearing, covered with heavy snow. There will be some images resultant as soon as the light unflattens …..
White snow is going to be the rule not the exception this winter…. Never saw brown season this year. Missed it entirely. Went from this, to white in one day. Welcome to “fall” on the high ridges of the Wyoming/Montana borderlands. Fall was on a Tuesday this year… 😂
Everyone needs some Purple in their Life at least once a week🙏
Here’s a frozen motion shot of A Chase and Evasion During the Pronghorn Rut a week ago (from this post). The rear male actually wasn’t involved in this chase/evasion. The other three were just running past him in the slow lane… The three in the front were traveling about 50 mph (all out in other words) and the MUD WAS FLYING on the corners. This wasn’t running away from me, they didn’t care I was there…this was running away from the middle buck in the photo. Trying to get the attention of the gal between them. Fighting/rutting for the doe…. Flat out hauling white furry A** /cornering too….
Photographers notes: 1/2000th second F13, ISO 1000, 1200mm(fast) lens. About 200 yards out. Not a crop 🙂 Full Morning sun..
Tracking these guys with a 2 foot long, 13 pound camera/lens setup out of your jeep window is a challenge lol.
I run a network 26 Game Trail Camera (s) and I caught this burglar the other night. You would be amazed at the quality I can tweek out of some of the cameras. This is a 30 megapixel B+W version at midnight during a new moon (no light). Amazing stuff from the technology. Pitch black. Good capture. I have about 15 of this kind of camera up and running. I won’t endorse any of them though as they all do something different. Different tools all.
I took out the “White eye” effect from the Infra-red light used here in the digital darkroom. I hope that doesn’t offend you. I remove stuff like that because they are artifacts of the technology, not the way the scene would have looked to me . (I probably could see the back of my hand in that light lolol).
Yup, those are stars in the sky. It’s as dark up in this remote part of the borderlands of Wy/Mt as the north Atlantic Ocean according to NOAA published maps. Seeing stars on game trail cameras? He had to be absolutely frozen still when this shot went off or he would have blurred. This is a fairly long exposure. No question he was a statue frozen by the sound of the camera setting up lolol.
Location: way out in the backcountry, Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands
This Flying Ghost in the night was no doubt aware of my ducks sleeping about 200 yards over my Game Trail Cameras shoulder.
Based on What I know about that foot diameter electric pole (at least) behind him…..He’s a BIG BIRD…. 1:49AM as I left the time stamps on this one. Just a few days back. Light of a 3/4 moon…
I really enjoy having the game cameras to give me this perspective on some nocturnal habits. I think this is a large raptor but I suppose it could be the same great horned owl I’ve photographed under better conditions with a “real” camera…
Last post of the day, it’s actually Sunday night as I type this. It will post at 9 on the 25th …..
For a Trail Camera to pick up this 5×5 buck perfectly in Pitch Black using only a “flash” of Infra-red light, he has to be just the right distance from the camera, the camera needs to be set up for a (capture zone) where the animal is likely to be in focus so moving a big log somewhere to funnel the animals in front of your camera is a good idea if your situation allows. Narrow a gate opening, lower a fence at one spot. Good game trail captures are hard fought for. Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana