I was watching this long eyelashed gal from afar. I wanted to see what she was getting into. It was a choice between photographing her or a heavily clouded sunset. That sunset held little appeal to me. I drive a Black F-150 Raptor in the backcountry. It has been accepted by many of the local inhabitants. This gal was totally unbothered by my presence. She even let me move around a bit.
Living on a small ranch surrounded by REALLY big ranches pretty much is living in the wilderness. No mistake, this is a wild animal. She has just accepted me as no threat. This animal has been hanging around the easy water holes about my homestead. We have kept 4 stock tanks open for any comers for 20 years now. The wildlings like easy clean water. I go out onto the ranch land several times most days. I’m seen a lot by the local denizens. If I behave properly, the animals accept me now.
Sweet Clover is a biennial plant. The Sweet Clover is abundant so mule deer and antelope use it for forage throughout the year. It gets way less palatable later in the year getting “stemmy” and coarse. It makes a lot of noise under your truck then too. Burns hot too….. Wildfire concern every other year (this year). The pollen is problematic to some (me too) but the bees take full advantage of it. We have a California Honey company show up every few years here. They put out hives and give up several big cases of honey each time. It’s payment enough for me lolol.
I don’t see a lot of blue eyed cattle…. But how often do you get this close? 😜👀
IT was a crisp cool 45 degrees this fine spring morning. Blue Eyed Bertha was enjoying the dew covered grass. Spring growth just starting from the winter dormancy. Every year are cycles. This mother has given us 5 calves so far. Starting to get too old to be sure of breeding, she was “sent to town” this winter. Blue Eyes has made the transition from lawn mower to be part of the food supply.😔
Such is the cycle of things on a cattle ranch. We do sell cattle for beef after all. Trips to town are the eventual result of a calf growing up to a cow living a cows life. I’ve known some of these animals for quite a while. Honestly this gal was a little standoff(ish) and seldom would cooperate with me going left when I wanted her to go right. Some girls lolol.
The 5 years she lived up here were never years of want. She always had food, always had water along with free health care and a place to hang out. There were always things to see, others to gossip with, new places to mark with their leavings. She wandered over about 5 square miles mostly with her head looking at the grass. I wonder if she ever took the time to appreciate the views, the sunset or the sunrise. She never sent a complaint to the management but I’m sure the weather was a concern now and then lolol.
I’m always on the look out for framing deer inside of antlers of the foreground animal. A little out of season perhaps.
With all the cold weather coming in this image came to mind that spring isn’t that far away. The sage brush that time of year is a wonderful cyan/green color, the deer have all new coats. Their rapidly growing antlers are covered with the capillary blood vessel rich “Velvet” covering the bone under supplying it with nutrients.
Sometime later in the year they antlers will stop growing. The velvet starts to itch and they will rub those antlers tearing the velvet to ribbons. They will rub on any bush or tree unlucky enough to be in their path. Deer rubs on trees are good signs of deer activity and you can usually tell how recent they were.
Reminder: Photographic Musings (memorize this)
Terms you need to know: (F-stop) is your aperture size. The size of the “pupil” inside your lens. Big pupils (low fstop numbers) lets in a lot of light but your depth of focus is thin and shallow. (the eye is in focus but your ears are not). With a high F-stop number, you get a very deep field of focus/depth of field. The whole face and the trees behind the face are all in focus. This is because a high f-stop number makes a very small pin hole for a “pupil” in your lens. F-stop is one of three settings you adjust in Manual mode. It is a double edged sword, deeper focus field comes from having a small aperture “pupil” which means less light. Light is what your balancing here. The other two settings compensate for what your doing with f -stop in this case.
Here’s is a Pronghorn Doe keeping an eye on me while nursing her twin fawns. This is from about a month ago and those fawns are 4 months old. Still reliant on their mother through the winter they are about to migrate about 20 miles south of here as their Rut ends (a week ago as this posts). The snow moves in and they move south quickly towards the “Thunderbasin National Grasslands.
Herds of hundreds of Pronghorn gather there for the relatively mild winter there and good feed and some moving water plus ranchers often keep their stock tanks open for them in the area. I keep 4-10 foot diameter water tanks open on my ranch all winter for the wildlife and who ever else might need it at 20 below zero..(up coming months for sure).
Fall was on a Tuesday this year and looked like this. The next day it was covered in snow. It was still green in the valleys and local wet areas. This is the “greenest” I’ve ever seen it here.
Winter has come early with 4 inches of wet stuff on the ground as I post this. You’ll see this image a week later on the 18th when it comes up in the que.
Location, standing in Wyoming and shooting north into Montana…. Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.
This “Mother Whitetail Deer with a pair of 6 month old Twins watches me while they are grazing. I was no threat to them and moved on without disturbing the kids…. Last I saw mom was still keeping her eye on the tail of my rig lol. I’ve seen these twins before and know where they water and tend to hang out. If I’m stealthy, I can usually get their image well enough without having to get in their face.
Both me (in what ever vehicle I’m in) and the groups of deer are usually surprised by the occasionally random encounters I have with them. For my part, They have never been pushed intentionally by me. Thusly they usually allow me to get much closer than the average photographer to my “prey” without stressing them and making them move off. Quick movements they don’t like.
This loose “tolerance” of my vehicles (which I never get out of unless it hides me). My loose relationship with many of these animals is the result of years of trying not to be a threat, them seeing me as they grow up every morning and evening. I tend to drive/act/move like a grazing animal in small movements, slowly working toward but stopping and stopping along the way to “graze” like every other animal out there. I’ve literally been able to drive out among several herds of grazing deer in the past. This year not so much but in past years it was becoming a habit of mine to “work” the deer herds. (I’ve seen herds up to 20 gather in some places near here (all private land and a huge area). Keeping my finger on the pulse of the backcountry up here has been an advantage. Dinosaur fossils, photos, 4 wheel drive daily, nature at least 3 hours a day every day that has good light….Sure, I’m “retired”….. Or is that actually “more tired” 🤣
This ground is under Snow as I type this (it posts one week later). Time Warp……I have to think a week ahead to do as I do. 🤔
Reflections Off a Backcountry Pond (Daylight Blues) is a rare image from me. I don’t work blue skies very often mid day.
But the wind was dead calm and I thought that a trip a few miles into the backcountry to get to this place would worth the trip.
Backcountry…. I use the term all the time. OK, Here’s how it goes…
This pond is 2 miles of bumpy two track road from the county road. The county road is gravel, it is 14 miles then to the closest paved road. It is 70 miles to the nearest 4 way 3 color traffic light but there is a 4 way red light 50 miles away lolol. Back far away from population…. = Backcountry or at least that is my definition. My nearest neighbor is about 4 miles away.
This spot is about 200 yards from the Montana/Wyoming Border and it has a bit of both states in the Image as do most of my photos.
This little 4×4 Mule Deer Buck is very used to me now. When a deer is this close and grazes, he is at peace with the situation . At the end of the summer, I work my way inside of groups sometimes. Surrounded by photo opportunities so to speak. I get to work the light from the inside out lol.