Taken around 11PM at night of the LONG day we had a dangerous grass fire on ranch. I had gotten up at 3AM to work Neowise Comet the night before. LONG day. A lightning storm around 2 pm started a fire over a ridge about a mile from my homestead. Instantly upon hearing thunder I jumped in the Raptor. Used it’s agility to quickly get the heck up the 400 foot hill I climb to see around. Binocs come out. Sure enough, smoke in one of our fields and a rapidly growing area of flame in 20 mph winds. Crushed grass from hail and somewhat grazed down fortunately. It took me 20 minutes to get a fire truck to the scene. We activate the local calling tree. The counties involved were both Powder River Mt and Cambell County Wy. The fire was on the border. This conflagration harmed no dinosaurs.👀😜
We are under extreme fire danger up in the country this year with one of the driest June/July’s on record. Last year was one of the wettest. If you don’t like the Wyotana weather, stick around it will change. Such as it been since the beginning of time on earth lolol. We are loaded with hundreds of square miles of hour fuel. A Hour fuel is very combustible. Dry grass for example. Fortunately grass fires are easier to fight than timber fires. We kept it out of the timber.
So we fought that fire, after seeing the Bureau of Land Management crew sitting the fire overnight and wishing them a peaceful night under the stars, I went back toward the homestead only to be waylaid by this little thunderstorm (Mesocyclone) for another hour. Time exposures of up to 30 second. It was a little windy that night as I indicated. The trees are all blurred from moving around in the lengthly 20-30 second period of electronic shutter. Wind moving my truck/tripod is problematic. Particularly if there were any point sources of light around. Blurs result.
Note the stars in the upper right corner of the frame.
Storms with personalities journey through our lands. Some have a sour disposition, others benign. This one was showing off with a very intricate set of flow lines in the storm. Bands of moving air rushing to the up draft built into these huge spinning tops called Mesocyclones. They range in size from embryonic newbies only a few miles across to pure monsters at 100+ miles in diameter. Slowly rotating along the way. The big ones spawn all sorts of problems here on the high plains. Tornados come out of these when well developed. Lots of rotation built into the systems.
The worst of this storm was a little behind this display but this was pretty nifty I thought. The swirling soup that was this storm did produce some small slushy hail with associated gusty winds at my location. Nothing spectacular for this country and NO lightning I could capture. That of course, is what I was waiting for to photograph. This is a very wide rectilinear 10mm lens on a full frame camera. This lens scrunches things on the edge just a little. I corrected for this best I could.
This capture taken across the front yard of the Historic Parks Ranch’s original Homestead. Built around 1900, it is an amazing huge structure. Dated to the 1950’s last remodel. Made of locally obtained wood. Best spot in the watershed for a ranch with a half -dozen nice spring fed lakes around there. Caretakers live on site. Hunters sleep there in the fall.
Watch That First Step, it’s a Moosey. She was carefully considering her next Mooove.
So just a few Really cold minutes after sunrise this sub-zero icy morning. Bossy looks outside at the long step down. The cattle have obviously access to the first floor in this abandoned ranch homestead. I personally would stay in the house as it cuts any wind making sub zero hoodie weather lol. This borderlands image caught me by surprise.
Bossy thinks that this looks like a good exit but a 1000 pound girl going down over that window jam 3 feet to the ground seems excessive to me. Obviously she is not the first through that window based on the bottom sill board laying to the side. There was a herd of perhaps 100 angus crowing the building for it’s wind break characteristics. The half dozen cows inside the old building certainly had the better idea. I didn’t look to see if there was a basement under the structure. I didn’t approach the house as it was full of cattle and I really didn’t want to panic them to get out of there quickly. A panic is seldome a good thing.
I have seen cattle do many things but this is the first time I’ve seen one examining in some detail a move. She waited at least 2 minutes in this window looking down the whole time. It was pretty snickery at the moment. .
It was around 11pm and my Mastiff’s wanted out. It was the beginning of a 24 hour snow but it was still rain at this point. The drizzle covered anything exposed. That is a 400 watt LED stadium light. It is as bright as the sun versus the total black here in the backcountry. According to nasa, when it’s dark here, it’s as dark as the north Atlantic Ocean. I can see lights effecting the sky from towns hundreds of miles away. Particularly if I go up high and look around. (Billings, Gillette, Sheridan for starters). You can’t see the actual city lights but you do see the glow in the sky on the horizon. The cities light pollute the local “seeing” and not at all here, 70 miles from the nearest town.
I don’t do much dark night photography these days. I’m not sure why but I do need some sleep sometimes.
I did this without a tripod as I was only hunting for the highlights in this image.. Negative space here is as important in the composition. I wanted to razor edge the settings. So you need light in the camera AND a fairly deep focus. Compromise. ISO 1000 for sure. (or a tripod) and minimum handheld shutter speed of 1/50th. That only leaves f-stop to set. . If your far enough away, you’ll have some leeway in f-stop. F-stop primarily going to be set low numbers here to gather light, damn the reduced focus depth of field as a result of the low f-stop setting.
I obviously let the word out that there was feed in my barnyard from which I feed my flock of ducks, chickens from. The turkeys somehow found out about it through their channels. So these freeloaders come by now and again to supplement their diet. They fly over the electric fence. I’m still trying to figure out how they learned that. This is our side yard about 50 feet from my west side door.
I wonder if they know they significance of having ten (10) genuine Native Americans over for dinner. Here in America for a LONG time before humans. After all they almost becoming the national bird. Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to his daughter where he stated that the turkey was “more respectable” than the eagle, which he thought was “of bad moral character.” He argued vociferously for it. The turkey would have been on coinage/buildings/seals from the beginning. That instead every artistic portrayal of a regal eagle has been done since. The Eagle won, instead of the majestic soaring turkey (oh wait), well at least they are brave. Boy that snood is quite a protuberance as well lolol. . The males are plain annoying at times. I see dinosaurs in them.
Surviving the major extinction of the Megafauna at the end of the Pleistocene, the turkeys had a humble beginning in the Early Miocene. Their ancestors went back to avian dinosaurian history though. The Miocene was a time of high CO2, high biological productivity, and rapid growth of new species development from 22-9 mya.
An Autumn Landscape in the Borderlands of Wyoming/Montana.
I’m standing on a hill top in Montana about 4 miles north of the Ranch on the right side of the image. I’m shooting south into Wyoming across some of our place 40 miles out to the cloud decked “Red Hills”.
This is without a doubt, the greenest I’ve ever seen this landscape and I’ve been watching it cycle between white green and brown season for 20 years.
I’ve yet to really see brown season and I NEVER even had to fill up my fire truck this year :). Snow tomomorrow…. A big storm is moving through and through thursday we’re getting dumpted on. I still have a few chores to winterize totally but I’ll get another chance. Pretty much done with the important stuff…