Why do the Pronghorns Cross the Road? Well because they are Pronghorn lolol. Wyoming is home to about 1/2 of the worlds Pronghorn. Most of them cross the road in front of you when ever they have to go out of their way to do so. 😜🤔
I thought this vibrant green grass from the month of May. May is officially the end of the average last frost in this area. Well this year we had Lilacs blooming on the 4th of July. Every season was a month late. Except the fact that fall was on a tuesday this year. The next day there was 4 inches of snow everywhere and that was October 1st. We really didn’t have an “Indian Summer” this last fall. Now in Mid-Winter I’m enjoying looking at some of the artsy things I did in the spring.
This image was not so much about the Pronghorn but more about the colors/contrast of the red gravel against the grass. Both textures and colors combine for the stage of a classic Wyotana Scene. Drive the backroad gravel on open range sometime. (Get off the highway). You WILL have pronghorn try to beat your car to cross the road in front of you.
Having said that, over two decades living 70 miles from town, we have unfortunately hit/been hit by some wild animals driving our cars. In 20 years, we are 13 deer, 2 Pronghorn, 1 coyote and one cow. Total damage to vehicles, 1 side mirror, one shock steering stabilizer and a broken bolt on a license plate bracket. Good Bumpers 😀
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.
I’ve seen a lot of various looks from Mule Deer before. Few this precious as from this doe. This gal with her ears/neck all back lit/highlighted. It is obvious her look was annoyance. . That automatic camera probably flashed a red light at her. How undignified of the automatic Game Trail Camera to click/whir/or buzz taking a photo. A lot of the manufacturers claim no light and no noise. The animals are aware of the cameras. 📸👀
This particular Browning camera does WONDERFUL daytime stills. It’s nighttime camera looses to several other brands.. I generally endorse no particular brand as performance varies with each shot randomly. As a result bringing one of these images into the world of art on the wall takes some doing. Game Trail Cameras give me very candid images with an insight into the world of deer (and other wildlife) that we would not have with out them.
This is in a wonderfully wide wash from about a square mile of up stream drainagle. This valley get a little sporty about the time those summer rains cause it to flash flood. The cottonwoods do fine with the soaking. I’ve only seen this particular wash a few feet deep. I move game cameras on this valley floor up onto the trees for the summer.
The camera is no tilted as you might suspect. Set up to catch just this pause, right at the toe of the steep slope out of the gully. Everybody seems to stop right here, look into the camera, then run up the bank lolol. I’t a perfect game funnel. Access to this camera becomes difficult with midwinter snow blocking the way.
OK, a little out of season but some summer color seemed like a good idea. A little up close and personal..
What a beautiful bug. The legs are startling in the color gradients they present. In nature, bright colors usually means “Stay Away”. Well these guys do not bite or sting posing no real danger to humans and our familiars. They are however considered harmful bugs to be eradicated as they are a major agricultural pest. They cause millions in damage to a large variety crops. Also called Shield Bugs or Chust Bugs.
You may remember a Macro close up I did of a Tachnid Fly a month ago. A big gold Hairy Fly…. Those Hero’s of the Flies lay eggs in the Green Stink Bug and will paralyze the pest devouring it from the inside out. So we have both sides of that parasite / host equation right out in our back yard. We have apple trees here but we have not had excessive Green Stink Bug problems. Natural predation is obviously working up here at the moment.
These guys are found throughout North America unfortunately. Large Stink Glands grace both Nymph and adults of the species. Able to discharge LARGE amounts of a foul smelling liquid when they feel threatened. This fluid used to be used on an industrial scale to add odor to some acids thusly reinforcing their own odor. Long since that process has been modernized utilizing modern artificial aromatic compounds.
Location: Backyard, Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands *Wyotana) That’s a piece of Fossiliferous limestone he’s walking on.
I look at literally thousands of Game Trail Camera images a month these days. Less now because I can’t get to a lot of my cameras until snow melt in the spring. For now those cameras are on their own. Every once in a while, I get an image that just blows me away. This one was sitting in a “To Do” folder I went partially through today. Taken this last summer along with a lot of others and it slipped my attention until now.
Game Trail Cameras are of course limited by the technology of the camera built into the device. This image drives my OCD crazy but I left it un-touched. I was just scrolling through hundreds of black and white night images so randomly this popped up on my screen. I about fell out of the chair. As I say, the image has problems but “holy deer perspective POV batman” say’s Robin. This totally took me by surprise. Probably 1 in 10,000 images comes out this nicely from those cameras. As a photographer/graphic artist, I get enough good images from my network of 29 of these to make it worth my time once a month to visit as many as I can. I usually go out about 1/2 an hour earlier those days to stop and swap Data cards.
This is a White Tail by the bone structure in the face I believe. More gracile than the Mule Deer sub-species that shares the range. Usually there is an uneasy truce but the white tail tend to force out the Mule Deer I understand. We have both but the Mule Deer are bigger, easier to approach and know. I don’t know ANY of the Whitetail around here by an identifying mark. I have several Mule deer that I have known since they were fawns. The white tail tend to head down into the valleys during the winter. The Mule Deer stay on ranch for the duration of the cold drinking water from stock hydrant/tanks we keep open all the time.
This is such a wonderful play of colors on this sunset, I thought it worthy of Christmas Eve. I’ve photographed well over a thousand sunsets going into twilight. This one ranks right up there. I often start in the golden hour then staying up on the ridges through the maximum twilight. I’ve gotten many images of this period after sunset. Often heading home from working catching photons. Not many twilights I see are this vibrant. Within this cacophony of colors, every color of the rainbow is displayed .
Lots of dust and moisture in the air effect western sunsets. I’ve never experienced better sunsets than I’ve seen here on the Montana/Wyoming border. Montana is to the far right and Wyoming is to the left on this image. As seen from my ranch, the little Mountain range on the horizon is the Big Horn Range. A 50mm lens took this scene.. Your eyes see the world in a very similar way to a 50mm lens. Typically, I often post close ups of the peaks from this distance. This is the way that your eyes would see the scene. The mountains really do look that small. Your thumb held out at an arms length would cover the 13,000 foot tall peaks over 130 miles distant from my lens.
This should give many of you an entirely different perspective of the close ups of the Big Horn Mountains than I normally post. Good long telephoto lenses will do wonderful work if you have them. Buy them generationally as lenses last a long time. It’s camera backs that are throw away after a few years. I actually have to repair several cameras a year as I wear out the controls literally. If you work on manual all the time, your spinning exposures and fstops every photo virtually.
I caught this top level insect predator hunting on a sunflower out in my garden about three months ago now. I JUST got to finishing the capture. I’m sorry to say the cold got this one I’m pretty sure. It was a good summer for insects. There should be lots of Mantis Egg sacs about. IF I see any I’ll photograph them of course. I have to get about 3 inches away to get this kind of capture. Patient predators if you ask me 🙂
I was on my knees praying for this shot. However I was for good focus as well as a slower subjec lol.
Mantis are part of a huge order of some 2400 species under that umbrella worldwide. This is a native Wyoming/Montana species. Though almost all the flowers it hunting have all been imported from elsewhere. Thrilled he was to see my lens coming at him lolol. I have to get about 3 inches away to get this kind of capture. Patient predator if you ask me 🙂 The are constantly moving back and forth a lot to imitate plants swaying in the breeze. They usually don’t stick around in any one place very long on their rounds.
I don’t see many of these out in our gardens but my Aquaponic Green House in on it’s 5th generation now of Mantis babies. About every 8 months or so I have a hatch take off down there. I bought some egg 4 years ago + and they are still going supporting themselves in that 40 x15 by 20 foot “Wyoming Walipi”. That means it’s an underground green house and is all aquaponic using all water (except for some orchids where I have some hydroton nuggets involved. .
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.
Green Spring Wash is a capture from May of 2019. Our region has been in a winter weather pattern since October 1. I figured it was time to put you here with me at that time. This is a broad wash (shallow gully) that can flash flood with feet of water)
I had driven there in an open ATV. Early may is a tad chilly as the sun rises as such I was aware of the temperature. It wasn’t windy when I was walking though. Just brisk. This gully is a few miles from my homestead and I hadn’t worked this before. This gully has wonderful sculpted rocks and cottonwoods along with the thickest grass I’ve seen up here. All the mineral sands from a few square miles of drainage area wash by here. It’s probably as fertile as it gets in this country. .
The sun had just risen a few moments before. The sky was blue as could be with a cloud bank to the left blocking the sun. Contrasts are important. This was just a small window to the sun on a mostly overcast morning. This wash was full of spring growth.
That sideways branch in the foreground was budding having broken away from it’s parent tree years ago. Just a fine connections (lifeline) is all it needs. Life is resilient as heck here. It has to be to make it past the floods, the winds, the cold and the summer heat. Drought and fire is a common event. As a famous Movie once stated “Life will find a way”.
Perspective: Twisted Pine Sun Down during the golden hour this fall evening. I actively pursue close/far focus opportunities when ever I see them.
The landscape here on the high ridges looking to the south west, has 130 mile long landscape to the far ridges. Wood lasts a LONG time in this dry climate. We only get 14 inches of precipitation a year on average in this area. We probably accumulated 20 this year. This is the first year in my 20 years here that it was green in August and even in September.
Every season seemed to be a month late in 2019. Winter ended late. We had Lilacs blooming on the 4th of July at least a month late. I’ve noticed that the deer rut was even late by several weeks. It only got to 100 degrees F once this year if memory serves me right. July and August were not nearly as hot as normal so so it seemed to me. Global warming didn’t happen here this year. Far from it. I suspect it’s going to be a LONG cold wet winter. This belief is based on the fact that it already has been a long cold wet winter. It’s just Dec 1 too so this cold/wet/icy stuff might be around for a while.
We call these high ridges that we inhabit, “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.
Sunset Across the Border starts in Wyoming where I stand. The Prairie Dog Hills on the Horizon in the Montana side of this sky show.
The Horizon Rising to cover the suns face occurs with finality in the backcountry. This spot is several miles out into the grasslands. When the sun goes down, it gets very dark very quickly. Particularly so on moonless or cloudy nights. Dark as Pitch. In fact as Dark as the North Atlantic Ocean according to NASA’s website that discusses such things.
Twilight landscapes are one of my favorite things to pursue. Landscape details out of the dark are worth learning how to extract from your data file on an image. The information is usually in there but just hidden in the black in your cameras raw file. I pay very close attention to the highlights exposing them correctly to the actual scene then retrieve the details in the dark later.
I always travel with a tritium illuminated compass. There is a very real phenomena called “Death by GPS”. I only use them for land owner Identification. I would never travel back here with one. There was a semi-truck driver that had to walk out of the backcountry up here because he followed his GPS. He high centered his truck trying to turn around. 95 degree day, he had a bad time but managed to find a ranch with a hose and got cooled down after a 6 mile walk with very little water. Compasses used properly don’t usually lie.
A Great Blue Heron Catching Some Wind was this bird way of starting to take off. Spreading it’s wings you could see the branch lift as the weight is lessened on it. These birds are masters of their domain. This is 50 feet up at the top branches of a Cottonwood Tree.
For a shoreline wading bird, these guys handle the high tree life roost without a miss. They make their living eating frogs, small mammals, fish and anything else they can catch around their realm. These guys are widespread in our Hemisphere from the Galapagos to most of North America. They breed up here though. They like places where there isn’t much human activity. Where they set up their rookery is quite a ways off an already remote county road. Isolated they are from humans up here.
Not many people ever notice the rust colored feathers on their wings leading edges. Also of note are their chest feathers. The birds actively shread them to make a powder that soaks up all the fish and oils from the wetlands.
I’ve spent many hours sitting and watching these birds. After the nest is built, mostly they hunt/sit on eggs. The male will bring the female the sticks and the female does the engineering. Both parents feed the young and share the 4 weeks of egg sitting. I’ve had a pretty good window on several of the nests all breeding season in 2019. I have quite a few images to finish from these encounters still. Job security I suppose😀
Twilight Over Turtle Butte is a capture from the Montana/Wyoming border. That line is 45 degrees north Latitude exactly, which runs right through that hill.
Its called turtle butte for two reasons. First, the cap rock from the correct angle looks very much as a turtle silhouette. Second, I have found fossil turtle fragments there. Some of them the size of your palm. These fossils are significant only by their presence. They are not valuable in and of themselves. The whole fossil assemblage taken as a whole is the significant scientific information. I have found some fairly nice turtle fossils in this “general area” but not much on that hill. There have been scattered dinosaur chunky chunks but alas, no amazing finds there. This is VERY big country to walk around in and cover any significant ground.
Up here in the borderlands I find a variety of things just walking or driving around. We actively hunt deer antlers as running over them will potentially flatten your ATV’s tire. Native American stone and metal artifacts have been found on our ranch. We note the presence of several teepee rings near natural seeps and springs on the ranch. There were no big “villages” up this high up on the ridges.
There were hunting parties though during the summer. The winter restricts access to these high ridges. Where there was water, there was game. Humans have been walking around this country for 11000 years. There is a documented Clovis man site within a 20 mile circle of my place. (LOL, that narrows it down). I still walk places up here that no human has been on before. Certainly try to walk off trail when ever safely possible. You will cover better ground that way. Everyone walks the trail…
Perspective: Hill Top Back Show is a hill top/ridgeline view toward the rising moon to the east. I am standing within a few feet of the Montana/Wyoming border looking across it. The view is to the southeast. Trying to be alert to what is ongoing around you is a task. I move between shots quickly and cover a lot of ground doing photography in the backcountry. The big sky show that was going on behind me at this time was impressive to say the least. . However I make a point to turn around every few minutes just to see the show behind. Perspectives can be deceptive. Those boulders are the size of pickup trucks lol. This is a very wide 2:1 aspect image up to 40 inches wide. Its hard to find spots like this where ALL the leading lines point to one place lol. The moon had just risen an hour before sunset that beautiful spring day. With the weather turning decidedly brown season trending toward white season now. I considered this post carefully for a Friday night placement. THe other direction was beautiful. I instantly saw the perspective. These reflected photons needed gathering.📸 Science Factoid: Remember that none of these objects emit their own light. Everything seen in this image is reflecting light originating from the sun. 🤔. These are all collected photons backscattered at me from the sun. A good scientist should consider thinking this way. “Things are the way they are. They are not the way you think. Certainly they are seldom the way you have been told.” My dad used to say that. I took him seriously. Some times He would have to tell me things twice…..three times lol… I usually pushed back a bit the first time lolol. Location, Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands Title: Perspective: Hill Top Back Show
Spring Time Heron Rookery is a capture from Late Spring (May) of this year. I know it’s a little out of season but I think a little green is good now and then.
There are 6 Great Blue Heron Nests are 50 feet high up those Cottonwood Trees. (Can you find them?). There were sitting birds in all the nests this eventing this was the only parent returning in light I could catch him in. Later was too dark to catch any action. This was a sunset looking north. Early in the year the sun is still way to the left and has just set. There is NO blue shadow under the pink that would represent the earth’s horizon’s shadow. If the sun had been down for 15 minutes, there would be a large wedge shaped blue shadow low over the distant hills. The pink band moves above as the red light is reflected by the ice in the atmosphere becomes blocked by the horizon.
As I said, any darker and the bird would have blurred. This is right on the edge of catchable in the camera. I would love to see green grass sooner than May. That isn’t happening up here lol. These 6 nests have been productive this year. The species as a whole haven’t been seen here for months now. They move south as the lakes they feed on freeze over.
This is a spring (and runoff of course) fed lake from an aquifer 500 feet below by a crack in the ground. (a fault). This crack allows water to seep up to the surface because the “hydraulic head” is higher than 500 feet at this place. The sandstone that provides this lakes source is literally a water tank full 500 feet higher than the sandstone is at this location..
One of the last of the 2019 Bee images “Bumble Bee Pollen Mining” on a wildflower naturalized up in the shelter belt (woods) west of our homestead. A bit out of season lolol.
This image ended up with a particularly deep focus for this kind of work. Much of the image is fairly sharp which is noticable to me at least as I’ve done a few of these lately lolol📸
Mini-Lesson for working on Manual: This particular ultra macro lens has a ring of LED’s around it’s periphery which helps tremendously in cranking up the f stop numbers to give yourself a deep focus. For something less than an inch long….from about 2 inches away…pretty deep field of focus….. So this has a Manually set High F-stop# of 36 with this lens = deepest field of focus possible (thick) but you loose light gathering ability the higher the fstop number. You also loose a little sharpness due to diffraction. Light has to come from somewhere, so you need to select a longer exposure speed and or turn up ISO (camera sensitivity) higher to gain more light. . But higher ISO numbers give you grain soo…double edge sword. Only three things to adjust in manual really….. 😎
Anybody got a cell phone photo like this? They would work for this kind of photography pretty well I believe. Except the getting stung part lolol. (In full disclosure I’ve never been stung doing this. I’m just a really bright extra sun incoming with this illuminated lens.
Time to Change Pants was taken by a Camera with a lightning Trigger on top of it.
I know this is out of season. I’m mixing into my daily posts refinished (to current standards) most of my older portfolio (4000+ images left to do. I digress..
There are many manufacturers of Lightning triggers and I endorse NONE of them….. Like game trail cameras, they all have issues I think lolol. In theory, they detect a bolt and automatically triggers the shutter. Your camera settings are highly variable depending on the light so I won’t . I will tell you that 1/4 of a second is a good shutter speed. I’m really glad I wasn’t standing by the camera just under a tin roof (to keep it dry (ish). I was inside my house tending to a project and about jumped out of my chair.
To this day I don’t know what in the barn yard this het. The trees are about 100 yards out from the lens across my “front” south facing yard. Since one bolt is behind the trees fingering down to the ground, I would assume that the bolt is to the rear of the trees. It looks a tad closer than that like it might have been inside my fence.
The time between the flash and the boom was non-existent so it was quite close. (5 seconds roughly for sound to travel a mile). So as a result of this photo, I’ll be using
Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands, front yard.
A Praying Mantis at the Altar was captured from this last summer…
The purple Russian Sage was growing in and around a barberry bush and in the middle of it was this big green Mantis slowly crawling about. Crypsis is a side to side rocking motion they use to “resemble” vegetation blowing in the wind. They rock/sway a lot of the time. Really small ear buds I’m thinking 😜
They are really green when freshly molted turning brown with an old skin being ready to shed. I’ve had Mantis live 6 months down in my Wyoming Wlipini greenhouse breeding all year long. I have at least 4 years of successful Mantis Breeding on going down there. This is a wild Mantis though.
It may seem like yesterday but it’s been 63 posts since my last mantis photo lolol… Putting 6 posts a day out there adds up fast.
This is certainly one if not THE last of the Butterflies for 2019. The next day all these flowers were frozen and most of the insects were pretty much destroyed as well if they hadn’t crawled into a warm spot. These high ridges get harsher, windier, colder, wetter weather than the lower river valleys we have such great views of. It is 12 degrees as I type this at 6AM… there is snow on the ground, hard freezes continue and will do so through the harsh winter I predict to come this year of low sunspot activity. In fact, the winter came early this year to the borderlands of Wyotana. Started October 1…
There will be a few more insect macros trickling in left over from this summer but remember I am reworking most of my older images to current standards and those will be posted as they are finished. 🤘 Those re-worked images will be working their way into my posts all winter. I am literally buried under the crush of images I have to work on this winter. Having said that… Job security is a good thing😀. I have a great deal of trouble identifying bugs, birds and flowers as I’m a paleontologist. Got my fossils all down, flowers bees and bugs….not so much lololol.
This little guy is Boloria eunomia. (Bog Fritillary is it’s common name ?) Their population exceeds 1 million and are a Northern Tier of central states and Canada distribution. Wyoming to Wisconsin then up to Alaska through Canada is common. Anybody see one further south than Wyoming?? Those that know say the population exceeds 1 million, I have maybe 1/2 that up here at times lolol… Their preferred habitat is “alpine tundra” according to the web. That pretty much describes this place most of the year lol.
“Bet You Don’t See Me”: This deer heard something from the 360 degree game trail camera spinning (internally of a camo’d shell) and it made her look that way for a nice portrait view of her in that moment of time and space. This Automatic camera was planted on a short t-post in the middle of a natural traffic funnel and joining of trails here on ranch.
Located down in a deep gully and several fences funneling trails down to the spot are angled inwards to here. Anything that is going this general direction is channeled to this point where I keep 2 of my best Game Trail Cameras. There is a game/fence crossing about 20 feet behind the camera so anybody wanting from Montana/Wyoming across the border and back have to go this way or jump a fence somewhere else. Mostly Pronghorn and Deer choose the easy path and don’t like jumping. Deer Jump Way more than Pronghorn do fences. So they walk right by my cameras. You’ve seen several images over the last few months from these cameras.
Game Trail Camera Thoughts
Proper placement of Game Trail Camera is about the only control you have over those contraptions. Some do very fine quality images during the day (like this one). Others are better at night. Seems no one builds the ideal Game Trail Camera for me yet lolol. I run a network numbering 26 of them currently. They cover a lot of choke points (water holes, gates to feeding grounds, etc).
You can usually set three different exposure levels and sensitivity levels for the movement IR sensor but that’s about it. Set it and walk away for weeks or months. See what wanders by and what the cameras built in auto software does 😊 . It’s be nice if they would do a 3 shot exposure bracket. Maybe someone makes one but I don’t know of the device.
“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 🤔
This particular Black Cat Considering Halloween is a scary thing.
In Old Britian and Europe, a black cat walking across your path was considered good fortune. Always setting up arguments with the pagan past, churches thought the cats were associated with witches. This “familiarity with witches comes from Pre-Christian/Pagan Europe when witches weren’t looked down upon. . It was the church, who apparently thought the witches were contemptuously evil and changed their reputation through sermons to the populace.
Aloof to the fuss, black cats were still seen as good luck, until the witch hunts of the 16 and 1700’s in the US and Europe caused them to be affiliated with bad luck. It probably was not a good time to be a witch I’m thinking…. So starting in the Middle Ages because it was thought that a witch could transform herself into a black cat and back again at will which leads to why black cats are still associated with the harvest festival such as Halloween. In some places still today, black cats are considered good luck. Others…. not so much lolol🤣
Factoids: Black Cats almost all have golden eyes and they tend to be healthier than other color cats. Black fur has a survival benefit in camo and not being seen particularly on an inky night. Black cats are more difficult to “Re-home” according to rescue agencies which know such things. More black cats are male than female but the Black fur turns brown in the sun for extended periods so if you want your cat black, keep it out of the sun. 🤔
The end of October is a time here in the winter(ish) borderlands when the fur starts growing quickly into a thick blanket on the barn cats in order to accommodate the coming polar vortexes that sweep over our humble abode each winter. We have seen30 below for a week one year but 20 below every year is common. Keeping everybody fed everyday is the chore here…. Water also needs to keep running to stay open. No room for mistakes in winter here.
Before you notice he (neutered) isn’t wearing a tag, none of my “Barn Cats” wear collars as they 1: don’t leave the compound much as it is way too far to the nearest neighbor across wild country and another domestic cat encounter. 2: would instantly get caught in a fence, a hole or otherwise hang themselves on all the wire surrounding a remote Wyoming/Montana ranch. 3: we have all shots and tags current neutered cats. I’ve had the same 6 cats for 8 years roughly now. We’ve only lost one cat mysteriously in 20 years….. The BobCat’s don’t like our electric wire. 😲
Needless to say, these guys are bad a** tough fellows. They survive Wyoming winters outdoor unheated with access of course to a large barn (no wind inside). They have picked some warm places and sleep together a lot. Someone saw 4 of them in an automobile tire one day. Coiled up inside happy and warm… I wan’t there or I’d be posting that photo lolol…
I do feed them freely but their sole purpose here is to hunt mice which without them, would build up to plague populations with the grain that moves through here. Well fed cats mouse better than hungry cats interestingly enough. They are well acclimated to this environment and know where all the hiding places are. Each is friendly to a cat to humans vaccinated and vet checked…. My nephew who is living on ranch, is spoiling them badly as they show up to his porch now at a designated feeding time every day now lolol.
Happy Halloween. Share freely.
Location: At the ranch Homestead, Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.
The view from my Driveway of the Big Horn Mountains behind the Veil of a big cloud bank in the Powder River Basin. That ridge is about 40 miles out from my position and the peaks of the 13,000 feet high Big Horns are 130 miles out from my viewpoint.
This is actually a side show to the sunset on going off the right side of this frame.
We are as high elevation wise as the first black ridge (the Red Hills) and generally have the same weather as the high grounds around us. The lower areas down in the valley often has rain where we get snow. We call this place.. “Little Siberia” and that designation has been handed down to us from the previous owners of this ranch decades ago lol. The name still applies. But we have the views😄
As I type this, we are 4 degrees (oct 29th) at 5:14AM. … It’s October NOT November yet. Winter is coming (for a classic reference).
When a calf slips under a fence into an adjacent pasture, a sip through the wire is in order lolol. It might take it a few days to find it’s way back to mom but it usually does on it’s own. If mom is bursting, and calf is hungry, wire isn’t a problem and a situation usually presents itself to relieve the pressure that’s building lol.
It was a beautiful morning that day and I was driving my Jeep across country following cattle trails to a remote high point to watch the sunrise. This photo was just one of those things I randomly run into as I travel from location to location. Some of my best images have occurred that way and I actively try to be ready for such encounters by having my cameras reset from pointing at the sun to pointing at the backshow 😎📸.
I’m not sure how and where and particularly why calves go through barbed wire away from their mom. Curiousity I suppose is their motivation. I try to be an observer of nature when ever possible but I only get snippits here and there of the real story. I see the end result all the time. The process leading up to that result is what I’m not usually in the loop for lolol. My dad used to say “things are as they are, not as they seem OR as you are told). I try to examine all things backcountry with this philosophy in mind. I run into things every day that I’ve never seen before let alone have an explanation for lolol.
It around 6 pm as this posts so be safe for the rest of the evening. Fricking dark at 5:30 and the time changes next Sunday……Boy is daylight savings time messed up !
This Pronghorn Doe Sliding under a fence during it’s spring shedding make her back look much worse than it is. She was dumping hair by the clump along her back from rubbing on wire crossing fence lines last spring. She’s fine from this maybe a few scratches and maybe a few get infected now and then but I don’t see it very much. There are only three wires here with the 4th broken so this is a favorite place for wildlife to crawl into the hay pasture from the pasture where the water source is. (Game Trail Camera at the “funnel”). The fence has been broken here for years left for the game to get through. They are used to it…. I Even have a blurry picture of one of my Corriente’ Long Horns jumping this fence. I even have an antelope doing the same thing jumping over which is pretty rare lolol. I’ll get around to that image as I run across it and get it posted .
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 from last spring shows a favorite buck of mine named “Goal Post” tasting the air. Usually when they lick their nose they are getting some taste information to augment their keen sense of smell in the big snout. Humans are stinky and noisy for sure lol.
“Goal Post” is known to me as a deer with his left brow tine absent in the growth. I instantly recognized him this spring and he was as tolerant of me this year as last… This is very early in his horn growth and he is actually a 4×5 as those horns finally developed. His sidekick “Slow Boat” was nearby in this image lol. They are like peas and carrots those two deer are. I have some AMAZING images from working those two. I can usually work very close to them.
No mistake though, they are wild bucks. They would flee in a heart beat if I stepped outside my rig.
Catching this behavior is usually luck or just really good timing because it happens really fast as you can see by the slightly blurred tongue and this was a 1/400th sec image lolol.
I’ve know quite a few of these deer since they were fawns and photographed most of them every year several times. I know many of them by name based on ear notches or horns (which doesn’ help in the winter at all lol.
Remember I’m mixing and matching seasons all winter reworking those images finished to current standards. I’ll mix a few in a day from the past with the rest current. I’m posting 6 a day at the moment every day.
Writing my narratives takes as much time as the rest of the phototaking process sometimes lololol.
To freeze a Dragonfly in Time and Space, you need to be patient and persistent. You also need to understand that dreaded M for Manual on the top of your camera. A cell phone isn’t going to do this, a DSLR on anything but manual has no chance either. Sooooo, here’s the trick… (catching a fly in between 2 chops sticks is easier) 😂
Photographers notes: This is an 800mm telephoto in direct bright sun (requirement) with your f stop on that long telephoto being f22 ish for a longer depth of focus field. He had to fly into a little zone about an inch thick at 15 feet away (minimum focal distance for my 800). That lens acts like a macro at 15 feet. IT is on a Sony Alpha 7RII giving me 70meg raw files or 40 meg .jpgs depending on what I tell it to do.
So I’m following a moving dragon fly and trying to catch him in an inch wide zone, and almost fill the frame at the same time. (this is a full sized image not a crop except for the sides of the formerly landscape aspect). I’ve never used autofocus, I don’t think it would work on this anyway. I set up a zone and let the dragon fly…fly into it. Machine gun clicks at 10 frames per second.
I digress, the faster shutter speed (which sucks up light) has to be fast fast fast at least 1/2000th of a second or more to freeze wings.. I was about 1/1500th here… Just a TAD too slow and a compromise to get more light… . Faster shutter = less light and your already loosing light from the f22 adjustment). You give up light for focal depth and fast shutter…. You have to compensate somehow….. (only three things you really can adjust on a camera , ISO, fstop/aperture size and shutter speed)
So that leaves ISO (camera sensitivity) to balance your image and gain that light back…. Less is better when it comes to ISO since too much will make your image grainy. Note how fine the grain is on this image. IT’s the last priority though because it lets you get the shot which is an important thing lolol..
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.
I took this Sept 30th the day before the October 1 storm came in so this was the Last Day of Fall for the BigHorn Mountains eastern front. You could feel the storm coming in. Everybody was buying snow shovels and salt at the local farm store.
Full Screen is obviously best…. 🙏
These 13,000 foot + peaks dominate the landscape near Clearmont Wyoming. The highway State 14/16 from Gillette to Sheridan Wyoming will present you with this view if you stop at the right spot :).
This is a composite of three images left/center/right carefully blended/stitched back together within the digital darkroom. As such is it ended up being 60×20 inches at full resolution 300 dpi so the original is a huge file reduced here for social media of course lolol.
Oct 1, the region got 4 – 12 inches of wet heavy sticky snow on trees fully leaved still from the 75 degrees the day before when I took this on Sept 30th.
I of course take photos of these hills all the time from my Ranch about 100 miles over my shoulder at this location. I get a little better resolution up here📸
Location: Somewhere near Clearmont, Sheridan County Wyoming.