We live under the Powder River Flight Training Complex. It’s a huge area of South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming used by the U.S. Airforce to work out their rigs. A couple of times a year I see strange contrails during sunrise and sunset. Usually it’s without a long lens camera ready to rock in my hands. 🤔 (Rule one of photography is “Have a camera handy”.
These planes do a variety of maneuvers to train the crews that fly towards the sound of war… Obviously this plane (in clouds?) did a downward spiral at altitude only to recover still well about the hard deck. I’ve had a lot of encounters with the monster pieces of technology while living here. This capture is an unusual one every for living in the shadow of military activity over my place now and again. Ellsworth AFB is located just outside of Box Elder, South Dakota but think Rapid City. Without a doubt military is the largest employer in the region. Statistics show it the second largest employer in the state of South Dakota.
“Providing rapid, decisive and sustainable combat air power and expeditionary combat support, the 28th Bomb wing is assigned to 12th Air Force under Air Combat Command. As home to the B-1B, the 28th Bomb Wing provides operational support in many areas.” Hu Raaaa Tip of the Spear. 🤘
First note the jet contrail against the left side of this frame. It clearly curves around the HUGE Mesocyclone to the right of frame that was terrorizing Sundance and Newcastle Wyoming at the time. I was driving to Gillette through the Thunderbasin National Grasslands driving around it too . Smart Pilot there lolol. The road I’m on is about a 20 mile gravel trip to get to the 2 lane concrete highway traveling that direction. I usually run into something very Wyoming down there and this is no exception.
To see a storm that large mid day is not good news for those east of there under it’s influence. They have a presence you have to be near to understand but lets just say they intrude on your personal space from a long way’s away. There are just plain intense downpours under these storms sometimes. Depending on how fast they are moving makes you lucky or flooded locally lol. These only rain on a few percent of the ground area up here. Spotty! The ground under them becomes totally soaked if the storm doesn’t move.
These monsters are the source of most of the “bad weather” we experience in Wyotana during green and brown season. Think of them as big spinning tops with the energy of an atom bomb inside. That energy is released over time but it’s still a LOT of kenetic and potential energy up there. They take their own time over where ever they travel.
I purchased a “Way Back Machine” on e-bay supposedly from the late 1950’s cartoon show Peabody’s Improbable History . It is a time travel device that Mr Peapody (the smartest dog on the planet), used to travel around in history. He used it like a space ship to go places. Well I figured since I had a chance at one on the auction, I might as well try. What do you know but I got it.
Now what does a geologist/photographer do with a time travel machine. Well I used the Way Back Machine to zip back to the seconds before a meteor (Bolide) Crashed into the earth, killing the dinosaurs, and many other animal groups on the planet. Huge upheavals in food chains ensued. Major extinctions do that of course and here we are. Our ancestors survived the conflagration.
I left before it hit of course. I did not want to be in the way of the blast wave. Don’t discount the pizza oven effect from the ejecta reentering the atmosphere. Massive tsunami’s hit further south. I’m sure this area got cooked. Later a blast wave plough through at the speed of sound. Anything that wasn’t under water, in a burrow or somehow hidden was killed outright on this hemisphere. The climate changed markedly and initiated a failure of major populations of animals to successfully reproduce. Ultimately it’s the inability to reproduce that causes extinction. No matter what the cause.
Disclaimer, this is a real un-molested photo. Where I got it MIGHT be a story 😜👀⚒
Being under the US Air Forces Powder River Training Complex has it’s benefits. I could hear the roar from inside the house. The B!B is many things but it isn’t quiet. B1B’s can be faster than the sound (probably close to light speed) but I haven’t heard a sonic boom for the 20 years I’ve lived here. If nothing else the Air Force is polite. There is nothing like maybe 100,000 horse power flying overhead. I’ve had the fly 500 feet off the deck directly over head. It’s a real punch in the adrenal gland.
I’m thinking someone forgot their extra Skoal can in their locker then had to head back. In training, they are probably stacking spirals to gain altitude.. The sky was perfect to preserved the trail through the big strategic bomber moves pretty quickly. I’m thinking he pulled some “G’s” around that pretty tight loop at 450 knots. 🤔
Strategically these fellows have a low radar cross-section to make detection considerably more difficult. Their ability to fly lower and faster than the B52, while carrying a larger payload makes this a heck of a plane. Advanced electronic countermeasures to enhance survivability makes it a two way trip.
This guy is out of 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota. They have a fairly large around of southeastern Montana and North Eastern Wyoming along with a Bunch of the Dakota’s as fly over. We unfortunately had one crash about 50 miles from here about 5 years back.
Using a WIDE angle fisheye lens I corrected significantly for lens distortion. There is still a little down angle on the log ranch lodge but it corrected fairly well.
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.
Here is an image that must be a Bear Claw Scratch in the Sky. It’s actually 5 fighter jets in formation over the Powder River Basin Training Complex for the US Airforce. Tip of the spear really 🙂 Probably in route from A to B and a random overflight.
If I post it here (for the last month anyway),…Landscape aspect images like this print up to 3 feet x 2 feet at high resolution.
Best way to check out a lot my art/photography from our Wyotana borderlands universe is in my ever-growing photo gallery at: