Posted on

Dinosaur Horns Assortment

Dinosaur Horns Assortment
Dinosaur Horns Assortment

Dinosaur Horns Assortment

These are nose horns from various Triceratops with perhaps a dermal scute from Ankylosaur in the front row that looks like Apollo 11 re-entry capsule.

Each horn has it’s story regarding how I found it, the “Eureka” moment, the rush of adrenaline. I have only prepped the rear one. As they were found, the remaining stay. Restoration occurred on the BIG horn in the rear. It was in 80 separate pieces when I found it.. Restored to “pretty cool” condition. I’ll post it later. The best one is the smallest on up front row. It’s an amazing fossil.

Paleontological Musings:

Triceratops horns are like cattle horns in that they take on many different shapes even within the same group. These are all from the same bone bed I call “Horn Sieve Beds” as they have given up over 30 of them to me.

Hell Creek/Lance Formations are the Cretaceous River Sands/muds is where the last of the dinosaurs hung out. Both formations cover our ranch. We span the MT/WY state line. There the Formations change names formally. Same rocks, different name.🤣

I got my masters degree around most things Paleo-Environmental……. I might have been one of the first Pale-environmentalist ever minted lolol. There is another that will read this I graduated with. Hi Dave!

So, paleo-topography when this dinosaur roamed was a broad equatorial coastal plain sloping like the piedmont of North Carolina east facing toward the then interior sea way stretching from the current Gulf of Mexico across the continent to Canada.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Dinosaur Horns Assortment

Posted on

Triceratops Horn and Frank Bliss

Triceratops Horn and Frank Bliss
Triceratops Horn and Frank Bliss

Triceratops Horn and Frank Bliss

Happy New Years Day. I don’t take many Selfies. Maybe 5 or 6 a year. I just thought I’d be a scale for this brow horn from a rather large Triceratops horridus. Triceratops is the Wyoming State fossil but I bet a few more have been found in Montana. This one was pretty much right on the border give or take a few hundred feet.

Obviously the horn is missing the tip with was either “broomed” prior to the animals death or damaged during river transport. The Hell Creek/Lance formation covers our ranch entirely. Unfortunately for the fossil collector in me, most of that is covered by grass. The initial discovery fossil from the site this horn came from was literally sitting in the grass. Located on a shallow hillside, this site has given me over 30 Triceratops Horns, dozens of teeth, toes, claws, spines, scutes and other wise a pile of pretty well preserved dinosaurian bones.

Take my work on this being a horn, somebody out there will think it’s a limb bone missing the condyle end. Nope. It’s a horn. I’ve collected over a dozen just like it. It’s the 3-D nature of the fossil that gives it away. Horns have very characteristic surfaces and this one has veinous grooves with the proper interior of a horn. Shape is Seldom the defining characteristic of a fossil. There are many rocks that look like fossils (pseudofossils) but aren’t. This is a 66 million year old horn from a big Tric. I also have over a dozen nose horns. Thus naming my bone quarry the “Horn Sieve Site”.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Triceratops Horn and Frank Bliss

Posted on

Bad Horn Day

Bad Horn Day
Bad Horn Day

Bad Horn Day for sure. So how do you have to sleep to get that “Cow LIck” or is that Pronghorn? Might be chilly out for this shot… (-2F). I love it when I get a Pronghorns breath. Frosty!

Shed Horn Sheath.

That appears to be a pretty sharp point on his right horn. I doubt it grew that way. I suppose he might have broken it off or is shedding the sheath (most likely). He actually might do some damage with that horn if he ever get’s big enough physically to be a “contender” in the rut. You know it’s all fun and games until someone puts out an eye. Designed to lock up in a fight, horns shape is sort of standardized. . Having said all that, this is a late migrator working his way down to the Thunder Basin National Grasslands. The Pronghorn “herd up” about 30 miles south of my place for the winter. Those grasslands are part of the American Serengeti. down there. They have been over the rut for weeks now.

I have never found a full sized shed Pronghorn sheath. I have only found one SMALL example. I’d like to think I have a pretty sharp eye for things left on the ground having been a dinosaur/fossil hunter all my life. Patterns and shapes stand out in my mind like a starburst against the black sky. They disintegrate pretty fast I suspect.

I’m always looking down with my eye’s to the ground and I walk in the backcountry a LOT. Most folks don’t know the males do in fact shed their horns. This Pronghorn buck still has one to go. The Horns will grow back pretty quickly in the spring.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Bad Horn Day

Posted on

Corriente’ Longhorn Licker

Corriente' Longhorn Licker
Corriente' Longhorn Licker

Corriente’ Longhorn Licker was actually caught frame to frame edge in the camera lol.

This gal must have had a prickly pear cactus needle or something bitter she ate. This went on for a while as such I did have time to get the aim down. Not a crop, up to 2×3 feet.

Taken on a wonderful spring golden hour morning. Many calves were being born that month. The air was crisp, I was in an open Polaris Ranger. I was driving two track trails in the backcountry. (way off “road”). This small herd of pure bred mom’s we keep were off by themselves in cow paradise. Green Rocket fuel to eat, Lick blocks at the water hole for vitamins, lots of water around, moderate temps. They had an easy year as a group.

It’s easy to travel into the backcountry in the spring. I’m a landscape artist that is always looking of perspective and composition. You become a slave to lighting. If I see it and it’s interesting, I’ll bother to point a camera at it lol. I feel that you experience something deeper catching it in a good camera. I get to relive each experience working on the image in the digital darkroom for 10 minutes average. Then I write a 300 word or so narrative to accompany each image.

My Narratives… side note:

I write like Trump talks. Chain of consciousness plus I type very fast. Believe it or not, there is a technical reason to have long narratives on your post if your a professional photographer. Google will take note of you more/better and place you higher on search results. There are all sorts of technical things I do in my narratives to attract google. The saying is: If your not on the first or second page of google, your not going to be found. 300 words plus it is minimum per image I post. I post 6 a day. That’s around 2000 words I write each day. I’m not sure who’s going to compile it into books but I’m pretty sure there are a few books already written. Easy to assemble by sorting pages. The pages are out there already lolol.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Corriente’ Longhorn Licker

Posted on

BigHorn Longhorns

BigHorn Longhorns
BigHorn Longhorns

BigHorn Longhorns is a capture from earlier this summer. The peach colored alpenglow and purple mountain hues really accent the rich green of the pasture. This was a very good year for grass. It was hugging the hill here. It was as high as the cattle down in the fertile washes.

Alpenglow is the result of atmospheric ice refracting light. The purples hues also come due to ice. All with lots of help from the the red light that make it through that hundreds of miles thick filter. I find peach colored alpenglow is not that common. I very carefully exposed that sky to match what I saw. Bear in mind that the cattle are 300-400 yards out. The first blue ridge is 40 miles out. The Big Horn Mountains are 130 miles distant from my lens. I had to find just the right spot in the 3D topography out here to line this up.

Both those were Bulls (at that time lololol). Now they are steers……… Nothing is certain up here but Winter and brown season lol. This picture hopefully will take you back to that early summer day.

This is a very long 800mm lens. With an 800 from here, I can just fit the main peaks of the BigHorns in the frame from this distance. You need to use a pretty high f-stop to get this deep a focus. Distance from the closest object is your friend in this kind of image. Deep focal fields come at the expense of loosing light. Your already in a low light environment in twilight. Tripods help a LOT.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: BigHorn Longhorns

BigHorn Longhorns is a capture from earlier this summer. The peach colored alpenglow and purple mountain hues really accent the rich green of the pasture. This was a very good year for grass. It was hugging the hill here. It was as high as the cattle down in the fertile washes.

A result of atmospheric ice suspended in the atmosphere, Alpenglow colors the scene. The purples hues come with help from the the red light that make it through that hundreds of miles thick filter. I find peach is not that common. I very carefully exposed that sky to match what I saw. Bear in mind that the cattle are 300-400 yards out. The first blue ridge is 40 miles out. The Big Horn Mountains are 130 miles distant from my lens. I had to find just the right spot in the 3D topography out here to line this up.

Both those were Bulls (at that time lololol). Now they are steers……… Nothing is certain up here but Winter and brown season lol. This picture hopefully will take you back to that early summer day. Tired of the cold I already am.

Our Corriente’ herd has intermingled with the angus this winter. They will mooch when they can . Bossy to a cow, they know how to use their horns. IF they want through a fence, they pretty much walk through it. Fortunately, the old cows in the herd pretty much keep everyone close by. THey mingle with the angus but they know they are “better” in their mind. 😜

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: BigHorn Longhorns

Posted on

Fossil Bison or PseudoFossil

Fossil Bison or PseudoFossil
Fossil Bison or PseudoFossil

Fossil Bison or PseudoFossil?

Boy this sure looks like a fossil horn on a Bison head laying on it’s side.. It’s big and heavy. Those lichens are really old. Hummm I’m SURE that a cowboy or two has roped this over the decades lolol.

Rocks take on many (infinite) shapes due to differential weathering. Soft sediments like wet sand can flow as toothpaste from a tube into surrounding formations. When you put a 10 foot thick layer of heavy mud on top of a few feet of wet sand. This sand is the kind that would squish between your toes. You will get some mixing of the sand into the mud . It’s called “Soft sediment Deformation”. All sorts of exotic Shapes are formed. I’ve seen so many posted on the internet. I’ve got several dozen good examples but this is the biggest one. Yup, must be a fossil bison……. NOT.

Rocks that look like fossils but aren’t are called “Pseudofossils”. Wyoming/Montana has it’s share of real fossils and Pseudofossils. Don’t be fooled by shape. THere has to be substance , 3-d depth to a fossil. Biologic structures are not limited to the surface. You should be able to see “depth” to structure. This “fossil bison” is lacking in any other feature than a “Horn” sticking up and a general shape. Our minds tend to see order in random shapes so we attribute the “fossil Status” on the rock.

So it is a Pseudofossil (fake fossil). I will over time post more of them as I actually collect them and take photos side by side with the real thing. Shape does not make a fossil. There is no substance to a shape in and of itself.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Fossil Bison or PseudoFossil

Posted on

BigHorn Sun Over the Notch

BigHorn Sun Over the Notch
BigHorn Sun Over Notch

Weather this year has been cooperative in getting the Setting BigHorn Sun over the Notch between the 13,000 foot high peaks.

The Sun apparent motion is from left to right as well as down so it actually set on the peaks to the right. It’s kind of tricky to figure out where to set up for an image like this. I’m WAY out away from the range at 130 miles for this shot and the area in the sky this image covers is tiny. Hold up your thumb at an arms length and your covering it from where I am. Those are HUGE peaks, they just get smaller as I move away. The sun doesn’t change size so quickly lolol.

This sky was a Sunslit. The sun came down from the thick cloud deck above to light up the narrow strip of the sky. The relative difference in dynamic range of the bright sun and the much less bright land makes silhouettes. My eyes could have seen details in the land if I wasn’t totally blinded by the sun at that moment.

I remind you it’s not the sun that is setting. It’s the horizon that is rising. Things are as they are, not as they seem or as you were told. This is the basis science works off of. The trick is to determine how they are … The essence of discovery is the effort to discern the way things actually work. Electricity comes out of the wall right?

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: BigHorn Sun over the Notch

Posted on

Sun Slide Composite

Sun Slide Composite
Sun Slide Composite

Sun Slide Composite: Taken about a minute apart, the sun slides into the Notch between two 13,000 foot high peaks of the Big Horn Mountains.

Setting suns move from left to right as well as the earth rising up to cover it’s face, the sun fell into that Notch. I’m pretty sure he couldn’t get out because it gradually got darker and then nothing. 😝

The Big Horns Mountains only Align with the setting sun and my ranch a few days a year and only one will the sun set into the notch. I’ve been trying to get this image for 20 years .. This week I had a pretty cooperative weather window. More of these will be incoming as I get them scheduled. I do occasionally travel to extend the alignment but there are only a few places high enough to see 130 miles to these peaks.

The BigHorn Mountain range is of course 130 miles out. This is a long 1200mm telephoto shot . There is a LOT of atmosphere between my camera ant the V notch. The area of the sky covered by this image at this distance is the size of a postage stamp at arms length or smaller. These mountains are WAY out there which I can see because I’m on a high ridge. There is another ridge down in the shadows that prevents me from seeing this if I’m not high enough up in elevation. Just a few spots for this angle.

The Play of light behind these peaks that night was spectacular to watch through the long lenses I use. I watch this essentially on video. Don’t try this with a standard DSLR camera with a direct light path to your eye. You will likely blind yourself. Please be careful. I use a mirrorless camera but even then if your camera isn’t rated for this, you could damage your gear.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Sun Slide Composite

Posted on

Ucross View to the BigHorns

Ucross View to the BigHorns
Clearmont View to the BigHorns

Surface Geology north of Ucross View to the BigHorns

What a wonderful glacial terrain. The geologist in me sees all sorts of evidence of past glaciers in this valley. Dozens and dozens of “signs”. First of course is the obvious proximity to a 13,000 foot mountain chain. In the last 1/2 million years we have had 5 glaciations advance and retreat in North America (world wide too). We are in an interglacial period at the moment and a mild one fortunately for us. Warm is good, cold means famine historically.

If you look at the valley floor in this scene, note the bumpy nature of the terrain. Each of those bumps is a pile of gravel with all sorts of geomorphological names depending on their shape and relationship to the glacier that was running through this valley. They are all water sorted gravels in various kinds of shapes and sizes. The gravel piles were mostly formed as the glacier receded and left it’s gravel load behind as the ice melted. The geomorphologists out there call glacial gravel “Boulder Clay” because that is pretty much what it is. Boulders and smaller all mixed up.

The rounded mound in the foreground caught my attention. I think (as I didn’t walk out there) that it is bedrock based on the vegetation change at the top. Those upper layers were very hard and resisted the erosion that removed all around it protecting the softer material below. The aforementioned glacier looks like it rode over it giving it that rounded mound like appearance. Classic.

Location: Just outside of Ucross Wyoming

Title: Ucross View to the BigHorns

Posted on

Sun Pillar Over the BigHorns

Sun Pillar over the BigHorns
Sun Pillar over the BigHorns

This V-shaped Sun Pillar over the Bighorns northern ridges was magnificent from 130 miles distant.

The Ground Blizzard on the peaks must have been intense at the peaks for it to blow so obviously. Remember the area of the sky in this photo is smaller than a postage stamp at arms length. I look into really bright little areas of the sky with my gear. 130 mils is so far that the air between here and there becomes a serious deciding factor if I can see the range or not. It’s the ice in front high between the ranch and myself that is lit up by the sunlight pushing over the saddle between the peaks. The sun is actually down for this so this is a night shot 😎

LONG telephoto shots like this are deceiving. Hold a postage stamp out at arms length and look at the horizon. This image would fit into that stamp. A 1200mm looks at very small things on the horizon. The mountains in this image are ONLY 9,000 – 10,000 feet high at this northern section of the Big Horn Mountain Range. The Big Peaks are to the left of this frame. .

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana

Title: Sun Pillar Over the BigHorns

Posted on

Sunset ON the Bighorn Mountains

Sunset ON the Bighorn Mountains
Sunset ON the Bighorn Mountains

Sunset ON the BigHorn Mountains : Boy was that bright 😎

There are two ridges here. The lowest darker ridge is the top of the “Red Hills” 40 miles distant. The second ridge is the Bighorn Mountain Chain 130 miles out. The clouds and snow storms were moving across the top of the peaks. With the sun here cutting into the cloud deck obscuring the high peak on the right. . The scene was very intense and bright with all the ice in the air acting like a projector screen. . The foreground trees are a few hundred yards out on this 1200 mm telephoto shot . Sunset ON the Bighorn Mountains

This is the second evening this fall that I’ve had “Sort” of a weather window. Seeing the Big Horns such a long ways away isn’t common. I remind you that this area of the sky is about the size of a postage stamp at arms length. All the while through a 3 foot long lens. Observing this scene change by the second as the clouds moved by quickly. I was moving between trees during this shooting. I wanted to see what the parallel ridge would present as far as opportunity to frame this scene. The sun is only setting over the Big Horn Mountains for a few more days this fall. I keep moving north while the sun moves to the south. This keeps the angle until it doesn’t lolol.

Photographers notes:

Sunset ON the Bighorn Mountains was sooo bright…. F57 was the final fstop setting at 1/2000th at ISO 100 were the settings. The high fstop (maximum for this Canon supertelephoto) accounts for the trees in the foreground being in focus at all. The trees on the first ridge are in focus too but the clouds and moisture is blurring the Big Horns at that great a distance.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Posted on

Big Horn Mountain’s Sunset

Big Horn Mountain's Sunset
Big Horn Mountain's Sunset

Catching a Big Horn Mountain Sunset (Clear Sky)

I’ve been trying to get this shot for 20 years. It was bright to say the least. A totally unclouded alpenglow sky (atmospheric ice). The sun is 93 million miles out and the ranch is only 130 miles out from the Big Horn’s Ridge line. The black Ridge (known as the “Red Hills” at the bottom is 40 miles out from my camera lens. I’m at the same elevation as the Red Hills where I’m standing for this capture. “Big Horn Mountain’s Sunset”

Rare (ish) confluence of Events, Photographic musings:

Catching a sunset on a 13,000 (Thirteen Thousand) feet high ridge from 130 miles away is a matter of proper positioning, timing and gear. I had to travel 10 miles south to get this image, I set up on early on tripods two long lenses, (800 and 1200mm). *This image came from a new Sony Alpha 7R4 which gives me a 60 meg .jpg out of the camera) The sun will set in the notch on the left in two days from the same location. If I slowly move north to my ranch, I can delay the travel time down the range by changing the angle between the sun, the range and myself… I have never seen this until the other night. Close but not on the peaks.. 

Tough to get Weather Window to the distant peaks. 

Weather is the most unpredicatable variable. I get to see the Big Horns from my vantage point a few times a week. There is always be clear days… Having said that, I haven’t had a window to this angle of sunset through the weather (clouds) for this in 20 years of living here. Usually there are obscuring moisture, clouds, ice or otherwise no view exists of the Bighorns. This particular day was a VERY clear day all day. I have big long photos of several directions from one of the highest points around here. Behind me there was a WONDERFUL Belt of Venus (BOV) against the Missouri Buttes and Devils Tower Landscape. I did some time exposures of the pink BOV sky over that volcanic neck complex this evening after the sunset. Stay tuned for that. 

Equipment Suggestions:

A good quality 800mm lens (bigger than 800mm lenses at this distance make for multiple photo composites. This is a full sized 2×3 foot print from one image. . It would be bigger if it were composite as in a 2:1 aspect instead of a simple landscape 2×3. You might want some neutral density filters in front of your lenses unless your using a Sony Alpha or other similar large format sensors. I will testify for the Sony surviving direct sun images. I don’t profess to know how your camera will survive so best safe than sorry. Don’t let the sun burn a hole in your cameras sensor. . 

Color. It’s hard to know ahead of time (at the click) how an image is going to finish. This is a rediculous light environment for any camera. Under this much bright light and glare through atmospheric ice, it usually will finish in burnt umber, crimson or orange. This one did the crimson route. No one can look into this scene with the naked eye and tell me what it looks like as it would blind you. 15 f-stops of dynamic range on this Sony Alpha 7R4 camera back.. 🤔😲 The human eye has 21. No filters in front of this lens. Zip. Most consumer cameras have 10, 11 maybe 12 fstops. 

Disclaimer: 

This was captured with a Mirrorless camera and I was looking at this scene on video so there is no direct light path to my eye. Do not try this with your equipment if it is a small sensor mirrorless camera not rated for this OR it is a standard DSLR that has a direct path to your eye from the sun. It will be the last thing you see in that eye with an 800mm telephoto gathering light and focusing it on your retina. 😎 Protect your eye. Your photography will end if they do. Title “Big Horn Mountain’s Sunset”

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands. 

Posted on

Big Horn Sun Pillar

Big Horn Sun Pillar
Big Horn Sun Pillar

Capturing a Big Horn Sun Pillar: I had to drive about 10 miles south of my ranch to have this line up a few days ago to Capture this Sun Pillar over the Big Horn Mountains. The weather window between me and those little 13,000 foot high peaks just left of the sun has been closed recently. As I type this, tonight looks to be a repeat of this performance but the sun will be over the V notch . It’s all about weather, moisture in the air mostly, maybe smoke these days. We will see……So I’ll take a drive to start with with a LONG lens say 600 mm tonight before sunset…

Photographic musings:

Looks like a gas flame off the ridge to me lolol… Those Hills are 130 miles out from the camera. This image is 100 miles wide as well at the Big Horns.

There is a lot to be said for having a mirrorless camera built to look right at a really bright sun. Of course you would never look through a standard DSLR camera to do this. The direct optic path through the camera to your retina would blind you. Don’t try this with a DSLR. Only use mirrorless cameras for such things where you are looking at a video of what your are taking a photo of. Know what is safe before you try this at home. You could also damage your gear if it’s not rated for this. My Sony’s do fine (large sensor Alpha 7’s. )

This light level is a pretty rarified ultra-bright playground for most photographers…. you obviously need Manual Camera settings. High F-stop, High shutter speed and Low ISO. Your basically shutting the camera down to light. But you have to have enough to see the silhouettes in the image. Every camera setting depends on lenses and lighting so using my system of priorities, you figure out the settings pretty quickly.

You know your not going to be shaking the camera at high shutter speeds of 1/2000th or so. Iso 100 which is as low and most cameras under 1200 bucks for the body go. And balance the light equation with f-stop. F-stop is aperture size…. higher number means smaller aperture. Your basically looking here at one focal plane at infinity so ANY f-stop setting will work. Changing f-stop higher will just defract light a bit more but with high settings , you get less light into the camera than low f-stop numbers. (low f-stop # = big aperture/pupil of the camera)

There, now you know everything I know about setting up your camera for this high light.

Being a 2:1 Aspect image at high resolution, this is two 560mm shots side by side combined in the digital dark room. It is a composite but an accurate one showing the scene as my Sony Alpha 7R4 saw it.

Location: Bliss Dinsoaur ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Posted on

Back Country Gravel Travel Sunset over the Big Horn Mountains

Back Country Gravel Travel Sunset over the Big Horn Mountains
Back Country Gravel Travel Sunset over the Big Horn Mountains

Back Country Gravel Travel and Sunset over the Big Horn Mountains. I was driving back from Gillette and went the long way around by Recluse Wyoming. Elk Creek Road is a long High path with big views of the surrounding lower ground. Those are indeed the Big Horn Mountains about 90 miles out from the camera. I’m about 40 miles west from my ranch at this location.

The air was pretty still and the dust from my passing hung in the air. This actually is a major source of particulates in the countries air. All the dirt roads add up. Still a mongolian dust storm puts out more I suspect lolol. The last dust bloom on the left was about 4 miles out.
Location: Northern Campbell Country Wyoming. Backcountry 14 miles from Recluse Wyoming.