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.
Our here in the high ridges of the borderlands of Montana / Wyoming there are millions of acres of grasslands. This was a wonderful veiled sky with a diffuse sun and a dense cloud deck above. The combination of the two required a foreground for the image to suit me.
To use the head of a shoot of grass to grace a veiled sunset is not a new effort but is always a worthy target. Grass contains such an elegant form. Smooth curves abound. Over the years I have found that “you are where you are during the final minutes of sunset”. My mind wanders to the “filter materials at hand” for this kind of Close / Far perspective. When your in the middle of a square mile of pasture land, you have to act fact with a wonderful sky as behind this shoot and use a seed head.
I am generally soured on using glass filters in front of my cameras while shooting into the sun. I WAY prefer to use “cellulose” filters to reduce the glare from the furnace above. Here I’m letting this stand of grass moderate the amounts of light coming into the camera. Even a few percent help. Any photo is a light balancing act inside the camera. You onlyhave just three settings to play with . I suggest to you that it would be good to learn to use that camera on Manual Mode finally. (If you don’t already know how). I am happy to keep talking about HOW I take my photos for you guys to follow along. Ask if you have a question. 🤔📷
The joy of this time of year is the variety in the seasons. I would miss seasons if I were to move to a more tropical climate. Snow is both a curse and a blessing in several ways each.
We get more of our yearly precipitation (water equivalent) in the form of snow. This year might be an exception as we have a very wet summer. This winter is starting early and wet so far. We got a foot of snow on December 1. Winter Started October 1 this year with a good 4-5 inch first snow.
Back in 1999, I moved topographically down to my ranch at 4000 feet from Jackson Hole up at 6200 feet. In Jackson Hole, your distance from the Teton Range dictated how many feet flat you would have in your backyard in mid-January. We averaged 6 feet flat in our back yard there. I had an ATV with a snow blower on the front for the asphalt drive I had then. In Jackson, when it snowed I cleaned our drive way before I went to work at 7AM. That ATV was agile and fun with the snow blower taken off for summer. I had a smaller yard there.
20 years later:
I have about 2 miles of various trails I clear until I can’t anymore mid winter. My driveway is about 1/4 mile and we have a gravel surface big enough to turn semi-trucks around on. I clean it with a Case Skid Steer™. (“Bobcat” so to speak). It has a heater, chains on solid filled wheels, it’s hard to stop. a 5 foot packed drift will stop it but it won’t bury it. It could back out I’m pretty sure. We get some pretty good drifts up on the lee side of ridges and often clumps of Yucca will trap LARGE snow drifts.
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.
“My What Long Eyelashes You Have”: Pronghorn Doe was about as close as I’ve ever been to a living Pronghorn while it was still bedded down. You can see just a little grass in this image to the right of her head. I have pull backs of course but I thought I’d look into those lovely eyes up close and personal where she needs a breath mint. In her mind I needed the mint being a smelly/noisy human. She was being tolerant of me though and relatively happy to stay where she was bedded. I completely circled her at distance and left her where she was resting. Bear in mind it took me an hour to circle her. I spiraled in as I did it and some of the last shots I took were these eye shots (which I have a long timeline of at all angles). 📸
These Pronghorn do get used to my vehicles not being a threat and are very casual at times with me around. They consider me just another grazing animal. I start and stop. Wait and seldom turn down the music lol. They are aware of me but don’t care much by the end of the summer. I’m just another animal out on the grasslands with them seeing them several times a day. I get pretty close sometimes. I’m trading off my jeep though and I suspect my new truck will take them a while to adjust to 😫
Geologic Musings: Antilocapra americana is a Pronghorns Scientific name and it’s not an Antelope or a Goat. It’s a relative of the giraffe and the only Antelocapra to survive the extinction of the megafauna at the end of the last ice age. It was good at getting away from the tiger/lion/bear population that fed on such animals here in North America just at the end of the last glaciation. 12(ish) thousand years ago. Rough neighborhood and no 7-11 on the corner…. Just saying 🤔
I had turned over this big boulder of Tiger Chert (kinda rare) out by a building leading to this little Black Widow Hunting (me about then) . The boulder of Tiger Chert about 90 pounds (I carried it down a pretty good mountain in a frame pack…. I know lol). So you reach under it to tip it over right?…… Up here you reach under it with gloves on and here is one (just one) of the reason why. Working bare handed turning anything over in Wyoming/Montana is not necessarily the right thing to do lolol.
This Black Widow hunting on Tiger Chert had another agenda than I did. I wonder if it’s like the ground hog and we’re in for an early winter if it see’s it’s shadow? I’m pretty sure it saw that shadow…. Well I know for a fact this gal now resides in an escape proof glass terrarium down in my green house now where she is going to be in a few photosessions I hope. She gets fed a cricket or so a week from the green houses endless supply of crickets lolol. Ultra macro work on her might just be an interesting time spent with a camera dead winter .
Tiger Chert for Rockhounders
As you might expect, the rock is exotic. Oil Chert or Tiger Chert is a fairly rare variety of Silicate mineral.. Named for the alternating bands of light and darker browns or tans, the banding reflects the yearly deposition of sediment into the bottom of prehistoric Lake Gosiute. Outcrops of the material usually occur south and west of Rock Springs as well as a few other places in the Green River Basin. I found this WAY north and east of Dubois Wyoming so this one is an outlier. It was up high when I found it too. Big effort to retrieve it and it still follows me around.
The concoidal fracture and homogenous nature of Tiger Chert made it a favorite of flint nappers throughout the period of human habitation in North America. It occurs in archaeological sites of all ages. It’s beautifully banded, reminds me of tree rings but those were yearly mudstone lake sediments that were literally “replaced” by silicious chert in the diagenetic history of the rock deep in the Wind River Ranges. Many mis-identify it as petrified wood. It’s very similar in composition with most petrified wood but it didn’t used to be wood 🤔
The Green Iridescent Bee is gathering pollen from this surviving Aster after the freezes of late. This may be one of the last outdoor insect photos of this year.
This little guy is about 1/4 of an inch long total so this is an “UltraMacro” shot with a 2x mag factor at about 1 inch distance from the bee. There are lights around the optic so the slight yellow colorcast is due to that. I corrected it best I could without washing out the actual yellow of it’s body.
How to get 1 inch away from a bee….patience, and it is very much of a photo-yoga application. Smooth movements with no sudden changes of direction help tremendously lolol. Second finished image from this Photosession timeline and is a 2×3 aspect up to 36 high.
This Image is about 1/4 of the Crescent moon, using a 6400mm telescope… It takes 16 of these photos to cover the surface of the moon and make a photomosaic. The resultant composite is a HUGE file and could be printed 5 by 3 feet I think lol. I have yet to come by that image and repost it to get it on my gallery.
Catching a Lady Bug Up Close and Personal little guys around a plant is nerve wracking as they are as likely to zip across and go under the leaf as sure as not. They don’t like the big lens coming up this close and tend to scatter off. Can’t blame them…if this huge lens started chasing me lolololol.. My bucket list has an item number listing catching one in flight
focused as a goal in life….. Some day when the planets line up…. I’m so easily entertained these days😎
“Hey Blue Eyes”, these Mayflies are very small. About 1/2 inch long and are really jumpy. Apparently they don’t like that huge one eyed camera creature slowly encroaching on their personal space. I have to get 9 inches away for this close a shot. Sort of photoyoga sometimes. Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.
Meanwhile in the Hollyhock garden, the late season Lady Bug is hunting for food.
Catching one of these guys flying is a bucket list item though. I don’t see them much and they are pretty active so getting interesting angles is hard and they will continually move or fly away. To catch one of these flying in the wild is a lot more unlikely than trying to catch a bumble bee flying at 9 inches with a macro lens lol.
I build a lot of square 18 inch by 18 inch printable high resolution image now days. Mostly made for box canvas prints but any media will work generally. .😁
Location: in the garden, Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands…. might be snowing when this posts…..
A Katydid or maybe she didn’t that is the question? This is not actually a grasshopper but a type of cricket known as the “Bush Cricket”. They are not uncommon this time of year but not nearly as common as a “regular” grasshopper. Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.
The image above of a Sunset on a 40 mile distant Ridge was taken last week. I can tell pretty closely now by the size of the trees versus the apparent size of the sun…in this particular lens, how far out something is lol.
I’m publishing this post on Sunday afternoon for autoposting on tuesday night but I answer post responses and questions live most mornings in and around my personal page. .
Taken Saturday evening as I was on my way to photograph the sunset. Animal cooperation and good lighting only align now and then so I missed part of the sunset working this little cottontail. (not a jack). These are not big rabbits by nature but they are well adapted to this harsh/cold/dry/hot/wet climate here on the Border with Wyoming/Montana.
The Great Horned Owl was indeed Watching my flock of Barnyard Ducks. It was around 11Pm and very dark. I used the LED lightbar on my ATV to illuminate him. He was very patient with me. He had bigger “fish” to worry about. (the ducks). lolol. I loose one now and then… That’s a good thing because I have too many currently…..Have to feed them all winter….. Just as soon feed the owl now and then
I use filters all the time. In this case, I used a “Cellulose” filter (the thistle seed globe about 5 inches across) Biggest one ever lol. That old bright sun even here at sunset needs some moderation before those photons hit that digital chip in my Sony Alpha Cameras. Just for the record, I haven’t put an actual glass filter on ANY of the 7 cameras I used daily for well over a year🙏
I try REALLY HARD to be a photo-realist photographer.
Location: miles into the backcountry of the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.
Is this just a moth or is this a Muppet Moth? I ran into this guy while walking about our backyard, he was on an birch branch trying to keep warm. I was more about getting 9 inches away without him flying which he did moments after this capture.
This particular post is going to be on about 1/2 a dozen FB Forums in one click shortly…….. And Instagram, and Reddit, and Twitter and Deviant Art, and Flicker and Blogger etc etc etc…. It takes a while to set up (weeks), but hopefully this post works right the first time…….🙏
This is a full sized image. NOT a crop in any way… All the pieces and parts fit into the frame. That means it’s a full sized 43 meg .jpg and will print high resolution in large sizes. Relevant since we are actively working on getting my portfolio on line for sale and bigger files are better.
The antennas, the claws and the tail all fit in the frame, click on the image to see all of it. FB doesn’t handle 16:9 ratio photos well.
Taken by hand held camera, precise positioning is hit or miss as at this high magnification, you can see your heart beat by the motion of the camera. I don’t care how steady you are. I’d done precision shooting of both cameras and long range firearms for decades. Lucky to get this…… Should have stepped back, use a lower mag, refocus and click…Easy but you crop the image and loose information (file size).
This guy was on the “move” all the time not appreciating the “big eye” 10 inches from it’s face.
I’m convinced the only way to get them totally in focus is to stand back and crop the image (loose resolution). This however is from 9 inches away under bright sunlight and is not a crop…full sized file, blow up big and detailed
There is this one species of fly (I don’t have the time to look it up
🙁 ) and I figure one of you will certainly know who he is. What a fancy dresser though !. Holy smoly!!. This is on a flower petal where 3 of these guys were mulling about…. Saw them from across the deck they were so shiny….
Filed under things no one likes that are wonderfully colored and engineered to do what they do….. 🤔🤣🤣📸📸
That’s all I’m posting today. Miles of computer tangles to de-ratify….
You all have a great day and be safe in all you do.
I spent the better part of 3 days with a group of 4 astute and focused adults looking for fossils…. To my bone site (The horn Sieve site”…
T-rex teeth this big are quite uncommon and are in high demand bringing a grand an inch on ebay. (I’ve never sold a fossil and never will). though they are not particularly scientifically interesting as an isolated specimen. I have found 7 over 20 year of working this location.
Guests here to the DInosaur Ranch are throwing their fishing line into a “pond” with really big fish. Anything can come out of these he Hell Creek formation and this site in particular. I send fossils home with guests they recover with the caviat if they get something scientifically important, they can pick the museum it goes to. I might trade them something as interesting by not unknown for it.
She, a first time ever fossil digger… took this home ….. They will have it professionally prepared as I suggested. It will be beautiful.
Getting a spot to dig here….harder than finding a t-rex. Don’t ask for now.