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Setting Sliver Smokey Moon

Setting Sliver Smokey Moon
Setting Sliver Smokey Moon

Setting Sliver Smokey Moon

At first I had an imaginary shark hunting the water in the distant. The waves covering all but the dorsal fin. No wait… perhaps it’s a sail boat at a good breeze in high seas. The crest of the wave hiding the hull of the sailing ship. The illusion of waves swelling in the open ocean is unmistakable. I’m often taken by flights of fancy. The freedom to search for what could be is sometimes more compelling that for what is. On that segue…

I watched this moon descend into the cloud bank on the right 15 minutes earlier. Wrote it off for the session. I figured it would be obscured. From that point on, it was just until I looked back to the horizon. Looking the other way… Preoccupied I was working the sunrise on the dawn side of the sky. I was aware (back of my mind) when the moon was setting. Having done this a few times I finally did glance around at the other horizon JUST in case. I was surprised when I looked up to see this vision. The clouds had moved to the right leaving a window to the really low moon.

Now this was taken with a huge long lens. These totally screws with your perspective. Zooming up on the relatively small mountains, makes the moon looks big. That ridge is 40 miles distant. The place I set up for this backshow of the sunrise that morning was high enough to give me views both ways. Around 4000 feet which is high ridge country in this corner of Wyoming.

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

Title: Setting Sliver Smokey Moon

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Moon Considering Crossing Fence

Moon Considering Crossing Fence
Moon Considering Crossing Fence

Moon Considering Crossing Fence

(Satire)

As I follow the full moon traveling along the ridge lines, I saw this situation develop. As I travel parallel ridge lines, I descend as the moon ascends which keeps the moon “rolling” along the crest. Ridges here travel for miles and have deep gullies adjacent. My options are many to watch the lunar progress. So I’m moving along and stop. Suddenly the moon stops moving too. Seemingly confused by the wire obstacle in it’s path. Hard to get that much cheese from here to there over that so to speak… That fence line would have been a cheese slicer for sure.

So to avoid being cut into cracker snacks, I figure it will take some computational power at least similar to the computers in Apollo spacecraft to make this maneuver. While I’ve seen the moon do many things. I’ve never seen it hike a fence. I see the same look on his face as I see on a Mule Deer. You know, that look just before they jump a fence. Sort of a mix of determination and blank stare if you break it down….. 👀

So this time delay sure could have thrown off all those critical tidal charts. That let alone the full moon effecting human behavior for longer. Full Moon and all that. To that point I’m sure this indecision slowed him down on his rounds. Must have made it up later though….But an apparent feat of athleticism as I continued my trip. I turned around, moved a few feet and JUST when I looked away and moved, it had jumped. Must have since when I looked back, it was on the other side of the fence…

Back to my “normal” programming…..

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

Title: Moon Considering Crossing Fence

Moon Considering Crossing Fence

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Subdued Moon Setting Perspective

Subdued Moon Setting Perspective
Subdued Moon Setting Perspective

Subdued Moon Setting Perspective

The August Full Moon Setting over two ridges and a cloud band. I’m low down in the drainage looking upward over parallel ridges. The first a mile out. The second ridge is about 7 miles out with the cloud bank further down range. The moon is a bit further out there past that. So thus a 4 layers landscape. That cloud bank was rising rapidly to cover the moons face.

The very early daylight or late twilight depending on which second this was taken. Very close to sunrise. This was the last image from this timeline. As soon as the clouds rose to cover the moons face, I was done. IT was a very subdued color with an obvious bias toward a red colorcast. All of the color on the clouds also hitting the light parts of the landscapes in the foreground. To the best of my ability, this is exactly as I saw it. Such subtle tones are rare at sunrise or sunset where intensity is usually the result. Only during twilight or smokey days do I see such lighting.

This one was a tough one to get right. As an avowed photorealist, I try REALLY hard to reproduce here the scene I saw there. The scene was somewhat dark as the sun was Just being exposed by the falling horizon. A slight ridge to the east blocks out the earliest light, I was in shadow taking the photos being a LOT lower than that far butte.

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

Title: Subdued Moon Setting Perspective

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Moon Hanging with Mars

Moon Hanging with Mars
Moon Hanging with Mars

Moon Hanging with Mars

Here’s a Close / Far Perspective for you. Moon Close, Mars Far…(ish). If you can full screen this, the moon is pretty sharp here….Good seeing that night.

There was an internet/Facebook meme that the Moon and Mars would be in the sky together with a GIANT Mars. Well here they are…. Mars was supposed to be the size of the moon. Darn it….. So disappointed…😜

Captured is the reality, only a “little” different than the meme circulating around with two big globes in the sky. From the human eye perspective this is a giant mars. (that little red dot far right frame). The moon getting close in the sky to mars was obvious looking up that evening. I don’t work night skies very much photographically as it’s off schedule to me. I get jet lag easily lol.

At any rate, I don’t see opportunity to take a planet and our moon in the same frame too often. Well I could zoom WAY back to be able to actually fit them in the frame lol. Only when a planet is close can you do this. The dynamic range difference between the bright moon and the little dim mars is tough to pull out of the dark.

Mars closes approach to earth will be on October 6th 2020 at only 38.6 million miles away. The moon is currently 224,800 miles out which is relatively close I suppose. It does indeed appear larger than it normally would further away lol. Not QUITE the same apparent size as our orbiting partner.. So if you read it on an internet meme, you might want to initially question the information.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Well somewhat over it anyway)

Title: Moon Hanging with Mars

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Red Barn Sturgeon Moon

Red Barn Sturgeon Moon
Red Barn Sturgeon Moon

Red Barn Sturgeon Moon

Still early before sunrise. The pink clouds in the distance distract from the briefness of the moons remaining time aloft this morning. Going down….. My intent was to photograph this wonderful scene with the moon much lower. I decided to take this image as that misty ground haze would totally obscure the lunar disk before it touches down. (it did). The horizon rising to meet it’s apparent descent. As the earth rotates inexorably in harmony with the cosmic clockwork of the universe.

This old working ranch barn is well maintained and fairly original to it’s early design (in this country). Ranches here were settled around 1900. There were cattle drives though this country earlier than that. This area opened up when various land grant programs from the government. Dozens of families moved up into sod houses in the area. They made the paths, figured out how to get water, did some fencing with posts they cut. This area was opened up by horses pulling wagons for decades. It’s a long way to town from here. (Gillette). Probably a 4 or 5 day round trip for supplies at first. Camping on the trail was the rule of the day.

This structure is on the historic Parks Ranch to which we are a neighbor. The Parks were a class act around 1900 (and later). Taken around 5:30 AM that morning. Getting light but still twilight “Belt of Venus pink back lighting.

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

Title: Red Barn Sturgeon Moon

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Backcountry Windmill Cutting Cheese

Backcountry Windmill Cutting Cheese
Backcountry Windmill Cutting Cheese

Backcountry Windmill Cutting Cheese

Ol’ “Sneaky Pete” the windmill is up to his old tricks again. I find he is more than willing to try to interfere with the clock work universe. Here he is trying to slice and dice up the moon again. I’ve caught him several times attempting what must surely be a crime anywhere but Wyotana.

Windmill Weekend (Windmill Junkies Unite) 🤘

“Sneaky’s” full time job is to pump air into a small pond that has barnyard ducks on it. This de-stratifies the pond and makes it more able to deal with the extra poop load from the ducks. It also keeps a pretty good hole open in the ice during most of the winter. Well, with the help of the aforementioned water fowl helping. He has been very good at pumping air over his career. I can’t even imagine how many times it has turned around over a couple of decades.

Photographic Musings: (Long but instructive)

More angles in this thing…didn’t have a clue what to use as a level horizon lololol.

Fellow students, what to do you have to do to get this kind of shot?

OK, Full Moon up during the day (maybe 2 chances a month IF the weather cooperates). Then the moon about 2 times a year lines up just so with the topography. (Topography is my master). It has to be somewhat windy.

Where to set this up, you have to be at least 300 yards away from the close object (windmill) with a 400mm lens. That puts the windmill in the same focal depth of field as the moon at infinity. I work up to 1200 mm this way for some distance perspectives. The further back you go with a larger lens will give you a relatively bigger moon in the image.

THEN with all that conveniently arranged, you have to Set your camera to the dreaded M – mode. I know, it’s scary in there. Set your priority that you need most. Blurred windmill…… OK, 1/15th of a second exposure to allow the blur. That’s pretty much set in stone so adjust the camera shutter to 1/15th. Balancing the exposure now is easy now.

That leaves only two other things to adjust, ISO (camera sensitivity) and F-stop (aperture/iris size in your lens.) F-stop controls your depth of field which you want very deep. So a high enough F-stop number to focus both is required. I used f-22 for this. Lower f stop settings will thin your depth of field. You would have to move back too far to fill the frame.

One setting left. Turn your camera sensitivity to what is required to give you the proper image in “live view” or in your mirrorless camera. In a mirrorless camera, what you see in the eyepiece is what you get. You get to watch your settings change live real time in the eyepiece. What ever it takes. Rule number one of photography is to get the picture. Damn the high ISO if it is needed. Fortunately this is still some daylight in the frame. 📷

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

Title: Backcountry Windmill Cutting Cheese

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Parks Ranch Barn Moonset

Parks Ranch Barn Moonset
Parks Ranch Barn Moonset

Parks Ranch Barn Moonset

The moon set was still 10 minutes away. As the celestial clock’s gears spin, the earths horizon rises to hide the moon earlier by the clouds. The low atmospheric moisture made the moon to go dimmer till it vanishes into the mist within a few more frames after this one. IT became so hard to see, I gave up working this amazing scene. I am really into that stack of hay bales a mile out on that first far ridge.👁

The Parks Ranch is a historic ranch here in Wyotana which is managed by an association of cattlemen/ranchers in this region. These old buildings are still used structures . But just a small part of a much larger locally owned group of ranchs. Cattle are routinely and actively worked in these corrals. Mostly vaccinations and medical needs as well. You have to run “everybody” through the corral system to give them wormer, a fly dip and some meds. No antibiotics of course. Just required by the gov’t various anti-disease shots. A family lives and works on the ranch as it is an active good sized cattle operation. Genuine cowboys / cowgirls are working down there. Good hands all.

I’ve fought fires on this ground before but a bit further up the ridge. Kept a small ridge of trees from being destroyed with my truck parked pushing a hose all by my little self. I’m not doing that much these days. Younger men get to pull hoses. I drive lolol. It is beautiful country with artesian springs around the original Parks Ranch. Those lakes named after the Parks Girls I understand.

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

Title: Parks Ranch Barn Moonset

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Moon Rising Rocky Cliff

Moon Rising Rocky Cliff
Moon Rising Rocky Cliff

Moon Rising Rocky Cliff

The convoluted bedding of the Hell Creek Formation Sandstone bedding in the foreground is a long way from the moon. The same moon was peering down over it’s deposition here on the Cretaceous piedmont existing 66 million years ago. Similar to a tropical North Carolina with Mountains to our west Paleo-geographically BEFORE the Bighorn Uplift. Those mountains were eroded away prior to the Larimide Orogeny Mountain Building episode. Those mountains all turned to sand grains I stand on. That moon back then was a little closer and bigger however. Dinosaurs looked up and watched it loom bigger over head (for another post). Our ranch is covered by this Formation at the surface. A known dinosaur bone deposit is about 1/2 mile distant from this spot.

Paleontological Musings: A series of MAJOR Rivers flowed around here in the Late Cretaceous. Some certainly as big as the Missouri River swept back and forth across the landscape. Leaving behind sand but snaking back and forth meandering on a surface it can’t cut down into. Shuffling and reshuffling the sands. Several times a fossil dinosaur tooth were excavated. Only to be redeposited dozens of times. Over the 3 million years this particular sand conveyor belt sedimentary system survived. Leaving about 700 feet of sands. This is literally sandstone country. We have more sand that most public beaches lol.

Upon the Ancient river dropping it’s load. When something else heavy covered it. Sediments flow like plastic. Pushed around underground like silly putty under your boot and a hard place. We get all sorts of various sandstone creations by mother nature occur in this country. Hydraulically reworked soft sediment deformation is a common occurrence. Boulders are left behind. The softer sands around them are blown or washed away. Those boulders were hardened. Cementing minerals in ground water responsible. That passing through the sands. The boulders cemented obviously better/harder than the sand that blew away exposing them. These sands moving down river to the “sink” filled up the Cretaceous Interior Seaway over time. Then the asteroid slammed into Mexico……..

I only get to play with a low full moon with the sun still up one or two times a month assuming the weather cooperates. Here the sun had just been obscured by a low cloud bank as it was setting. Low light makes this close/far perspective much more difficult to obtain. Of course the really hard part here is getting something like this close chunk of ancient river bed in focus. In focus at “infinity” along with the moon in the background that looks very large rising over this ridgeline. I’m shooting at least 400 yards away ( almost 1/4 mile) from that pile of rocks. Distance is your friend when attempting this type of composition. 📸

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

Title: Moon Rising Rocky Cliff

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A Bite Of the Moon

A Bite Of the Moon
A Bite Of the Moon

A Bite Of the Moon

I know this is a very dark image but it was very dark. Late Civil Twilight at dusk. What? You think T-rex only ate during the day? 😜 Yearning for some cheese I’m thinking.

Here the background narrative here is that we here on the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch use a “Way back Machine” (time travel) I acquired on e-bay. The estate of Mr. Peabody was disposing of it. (The 1960’s cartoon). So I sent a couple of pokes back to the end of the Cretaceous after tinkering with the machine for weeks. Got it working.. It’s hard to get all those old tubes and electrolytic’s they used back then. Lots of dust too… (Years old discussion)…👅

So we saved the moon 66 million years ago but I understand someone stepped on a butterfly. (You can be my friend if you know that reference. ). 🤘

The Plasma-Cut metal art over the Ranches “Gate 1” has been the cooperative subject of many a yarn woven into my art. It has been the subject of many a photographer over the decades since it’s inception. I created the image on my computer in photoshop (drawing). Then I had a file sent to someone who utilized computer controlled plasma-cutting of metal. This angle however is silly close to the previously mentioned foreground gate art. To have both objects in the same focal field takes some “manipulation” of the settings in manual mode. This was hand held as is most of my work. I’d say I use a tripod once a week for 5 minutes. I do use a truck window to steady a camera from the driver seat most the time. (Rested camera). I also use rocks to rest a camera. 📷

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

Title: A Bite Of the Moon

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Cliff Kissing the Moon

Cliff Kissing the Moon
Cliff Kissing the Moon

Cliff Kissing the Moon

I think there is some affection there. I think the moon was trying to Dock there….You know, take on supplies and the like…. 😜 📷

Finding the Cliff was easy. Getting far enough away from the rocks to place the cliff in the same focal plane as the moon (infinite) was the hard part. Topography has to cooperate along with celestial agreement. The Moon is mostly a moving target remember. Getting planets and Cliffs to line up has some complexity to the capture to get both in focus. Position your head/camera in the X,Y,Z and time 4th dimension (time in this case). Getting a kiss on a moving face is pretty hard. I had the idea at first of making them contact by moving my head about 1/2 inch to the left. It’s truly amazing how little one has to move to have an object 600 yards plus away (cliff) to cover a moon a couple of hundred thousand miles away. Nailed the focus on the cliff, the moon is a little soft. I will perfect this with time.

This is the Sturgeon Moon, August Moon 2020. Filed under things you can do with a 1200 mm lens…. So far I have many captures of this months moon in various situations that will work their way into my work flow shortly. Remember the full moon was 9 days ago as this posts. That is how long it takes to go from Click to Publish with me doing this essentially full time. I figure I invest on average 1.5 hours work per image/narrative page on average and I publish 4 a day every day.

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

Title: Cliff Kissing the Moon

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Pronghorn Family at Night

Pronghorn Family at Night
Pronghorn Family at Night

Pronghorn Family at Night

Taken at 2 AM by one of my game trail cameras. Of course as an Infra-red Flash automatic camera I have no choices here except for 3 levels of flash, 3 levels of sensitivity to make it flash and where to put it. The later being more important. Now the moon was full and illuminating the scene nicely thank you. Touching noses with one of her fawn ID’ing each other in the dark conditions. The other fawn is probably with the other Doe as well.

I place this camera at the gate between this field of grass and the field behind the camera where the water tank is. We keep 4 different water tanks open 364/24/7 for anybody that needs it. It’s funny how they don’t hang around water most of the time . Preferring to eat a mile or so away from where they water most of the time. I suspect that is an adaptation to Pleistocene hunting pressure near water . Back when the Large Cat population of crazy types like Saber Tooth, American Lion etc were about…. These guys are adapted to escape from those cats no longer an issue. Nothing else alive on the plains today but humans in our machinations can keep up with them. They don’t have a lot to worry about these days. As a chunk of the Pleistocene Megafauna slowly disappeared, these ungulates survived the causes of that extinction. What ever they did, it worked and here they are lolol.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands

Title: Pronghorn Family at Night

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Four Percent Crescent Morning

Four Percent Crescent Morning
Four Percent Crescent Morning

Four Percent Crescent Morning

At 239,000 miles away, this Four Percent Crescent Moon is a pretty cool image. Being a fingernail shaped crescent with edges distorted very slightly by the atmosphere. Taken 5:10AM, 7 days prior to it’s being published here. I did manage to finish it the same day, write the narrative your reading and publish it to post today. I’ve built over 1800 of these narratives as of this posting.

Using a terrestrial optic to do astronomic work no mounted to concrete can be wrought with problems. It was windy at the time and my tripod (my truck) was a rocken. (you could knock if you must) This was taken while the 28 inch long camera/lens was resting on my Raptors Drivers Window. No tripod. No sharpening, just as it came out of the camera minus a little crop. This is a full resolution 2×3 feet aspect image. Seeing into the shadow happens occasionally but not on this one. Usually you see it with just a little atmospheric ice acting like a projection screen to the light that is in that shadow. Pretty inky black sometimes.

The best shows are during the lunar eclipses where that dark shadow area is visible in the “earthshine”. Seeing Details on/in Craters still is better right on the “terminator” (where the shadow meets the light). You can see the long shadows better which helps resolve the topography. Contrast is higher at the terminator.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Four Percent Crescent Morning

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Setting Buck Moon Perspective

Setting Buck Moon Perspective
Setting Buck Moon Perspective

Setting Buck Moon Perspective

You can always tell the setting versus the rising moon. Look at the three small bottom craters on the moon lower right. They are pointing to 3 or 4 o’clock. That is a setting moon. The rising moon will have those three craters pointing at 12 o’clock. Another way of knowing is that the “Man in the Moon” is going to sleep laying his head down to the right if so, it is the end of the night. If the “Man in the moon”s face is upright, then it’s a rising moon.

The Buck Moon here is colored by the effect the atmosphere has on the reflected sunlight. I pursue Full Moon still above the horizon with enough light to capture a close stand of Jack Pines for the close / far perspective aspect of this capture. Mostly you get silhouettes doing this with most gear. This particular image was my second of three chances I worked the July 2020 moon. By capture far this has the best color for the moon to wear out on the town for all to see. It is of course a major influence on human behavior, perhaps it’s operating in condition orange like the rest of us down here on earth ☹️ . Some are in Condition Red…..

The moon has been consistent in it’s behavior throughout all historic human issues here on Planet Earth. There are certainties in the universe. I suspect the moon is watching our silliness now with a tear in it’s eye. Regardless… It will be continue acting as it does long after we are gone. 👀 🤔 📷

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

Title: Setting Buck Moon Perspective

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Moon Catching Air Surfing

Moon Catching Air Surfing
Moon Catching Air Surfing

Moon Catching Air Surfing

I follow the moons shadow line on opposite ridges during times like these. Surfing tree to tree. When the sun AND the full moon are both dancing with the horizon occurs rarely. Usually once a month I get one, two or three opportunities to photographically work a 96 percent plus moon face. While the moon is certainly rising while I work, I actively move across the landscape to a proper position.

Here I caught the moon showing off jumping between two trees midair . It was one of those “here, hold my beer” moments. I see the moon messing around on the horizon all the time. While I might muse of his more amusing traits, I certainly respect his position in the scheme of things over time.

I’m not sure why this story came up but I’ll tell it. As the earth ages, the moon is slowly getting further away from us. Like an ice skater throwing his arms out. THere are all sorts of ramifications:

One of world’s oldest living fossils: the chambered Nautilus has a growth ring that is timed by the sun (i.e. one per day). Plus a new chamber timed by the moon (once per lunar month). Back in the Cambrian Period (about 500 million years ago) these Cephalopod fossils have mostly 18 growth rings per chamber. Modern day nautiloids have 28 growth rings per chamber. It isn’t just two end data points either! All through geologic history, including the entire age of dinosaurs to now. The nautilus gains growth rings per chamber in a fairly smooth progression over the many centuries.

This indicates clearly that in the Cambrian life (nearly the oldest fossils of this living calendar found), that a “month” had only about 18 days. For the moon to complete an orbit of the earth this fast, it had to have been much closer to the earth (shorter orbital path). This has all kinds of implications on geologic history when you consider that “earth tides” are synchronized with the moons revolutions around the earth.

All sorts of other effects such as the diurnal deformation of the earth as well as ocean tides are dramatically influenced thusly. If the moon was much closer to the earth in ancient geological times. Much physics would be magnified in it’s effect. That helps explain the past high energy movement of crustal plates, huge orogenic formation of mountains and other earth-building events such as eustasy our ancient geologic past. A closer moon would make for REALLY big tides…. REALLY…

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

Title: Moon Catching Air Surfing

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Buck Moon Cloud Silhouette

Buck Moon Cloud Silhouette
Buck Moon Cloud Silhouette

Buck Moon Cloud Silhouette

Algonquin tribes of what is now the northeastern United States called this full Moon the Buck Moon. Also called the Thunder Moon because of early summer’s frequent thunderstorms. It lived up to the latter name as several thundershowers moved through the area during it’s time full this month. The Europeans call the July Moon the “Hay Moon” for the activities this time of year in the fields. Also coined the “Mead Moon” for the honey gathered in it’s making.

The Silhouette here is a result of a setting Moon settling behind a thick cloud back at the horizon. (Actually the earth is spinning, the horizon rising with the moon relatively stationary but don’t worry about the way things really are 😜 ). All occurring during early morning twilight with it’s dark western sky. Little light was available for the camera to see the cloud. Only a silhouette offered it presence to be known.

The moon being close to the horizon, the atmospheric lens effectively distorting it’s normally sharp edges. This was the color of the moon during this particular encounter with it. The moons color is all about the color of the light making it through the atmosphere to my lens. This weekend provided me 4 weather windows to the moon rise. A different color of disk appeared for each timeline. I have more files to download from this months limited opportunities to catch the full moon low to the horizon. I worked it every opportunity I was given.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands

Title: Buck Moon Cloud Silhouette

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Moon Tree Surfing

Moon Tree Surfing
Moon Tree Surfing

Moon Tree Surfing

I call this Moon/Tree Surfing. Actually it’s me riding the moons “Shadow line” on the opposite parallel ridge. The higher ridge between me and the moon gives me a 500 yard distant foreground with the moon somewhat further behind that. I will drive along these ridges looking for places where the moon thinks he’s not being seen. Unsuspecting…. So I catch him carefully resting on the local vegetation as here. He’s just lifting off as he saw me. He certainly doesn’t need some high plains paparazzi posting his photo in the “Post” sitting down on the job. I me he has a strict schedule to keep and many things rely on the Moon’s time keeper.

From a strictly technical viewpoint, I get to do this kind of daylight illuminated foreground and the moon behind only once a month on average.. Some months the window is closed entirely by weather. Clouds do a good job obscuring what I know is going on behind them. Fortunately this was a very clear evening of July 3rd. The moon appeared full for two sunsets (3rd and 4th) plus a sunrise between. It was definitely a weekend to photograph the moon if you have the gear and the inclination. The air has been clear lately to boot making the “Seeing” on the moon’s surface good enough maybe to get out my big lenses from storage. Humm… 🤔

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

Title: Moon Tree Surfing

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July Buck Moon Set

July Buck Moon Set
July Buck Moon Set

July Buck Moon Set

This is the first image from the July 2020 full moon from this timeline. I’m still down loading images from the last 2 photographic trips into the backcountry. In the last 15 hours I’ve taken photos of the moon, rainbows, lightning, and (rainbows with lightning in the photo too). I’ve been very busy.

A significant portion of the twilight this particular morning provided obscured (at best) views of the setting moon. If I get one night a month where I get the full moon floating over sun illuminated landscapes, I consider myself lucky. THe moon disappeared as it touched down into that slight white hazy layer above the ridge. Show to the west over…now back to the east.

What I do with that morning and where I choose to set up is not entirely random I point out. Knowing WHERE the moon is going to set or rise becomes relevant to the discussion when your ready to go out the door with a box o’ cameras. Compass directions of moon/sun set and rise are handy out in the backcountry. The cyclical changes in the orbits of the moon changes where it sets. As the seasonal migration of the sun north and south are variables.

I still have to fly by the seat of my pants when the sun is rising behind me with a beautiful sunrise. Simultaneously this moon is going to disappear in a few minutes. Storms were going through the area. Best possible photographic conditions in my opinion. 😜

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: July Buck Moon Set

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The Moon and the Sun

The Moon and the Sun
The Moon and the Sun

The Moon and the Sun

This 92 percent Illuminated moon was rising in the eastern sky the same time the sun was setting. I used the same camera, same 1200mm lens at full magnification, both handheld front rested on a truck window. Taken a maybe 30 seconds apart. I took the moon image, turned around already spinning dials on the camera to choke out the excess light from the MUCH brighter sun. This is all done without any external filters on the Sony Alpha 7 platform. A Rising Moon and the Setting Sun. The sun is closer to the horizon, note the sculpted edges from atmospheric lensing distortion. The moon’s edges are crisp.

Granted it’s a big long terrestrial lens at 1200 mm. No astronomic telescope here, this is the same lens I use for bird eye brow images. This image is of course a composite of course with the two being on opposite sides of the sky at these particular moments. The sun and the full moon are “seldom” seen in the same side of the sky. 😜

Boy talk about a blank look on the suns face. Currently, the sun has NO, zip, zero sunspots visible on it’s face. We are at the low of a very quiet / low sunspot activity/number during the current solar minimums. Right in the middle of the low we are. A good google search this AM would be “Maudner Minimum”.

You might note that the two disks are essentially the same size. This is part of the reason the sun can cover the moon during an eclipse. The moon just had it’s supermoon status revoked last month. Moving a little away in it’s orbit. It’s still very large but would if in the right place would result in a ring of fire eclipse as just occurred in the southern hemisphere. These types of annular eclipse occurs when the moon is a little further away not quite covering the suns disc. A ring of fire shows all the way around the central moon silhouette.

Location: A bit over: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: The Moon and the Sun

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Mooning for You

Mooning for You
Mooning for You

Mooning for You

Mooning for You

I find the Moon to be quite a character of note here in the highlands. Seems I’m always finding him sitting down on the job. OK, give it a short break before the climb. I’m sure he belongs to some union giving him 5 minutes ever 30 minutes for a rest. He obviously is not a rancher.

Heck, It’s a LOT of work to climb up with all that cheese to the zenith of it’s orbit. Think of the huge mass that has to be “lifted” over our heads. Yet Again, I caught it sitting down on the job, playing “king of the hill”. This is not the first time I have images of this kind of on the job sitting around. Who am I to question how the moon does his job.

I bet there is quite a view up there. This being a telephoto image of a hill top 400 feet higher than my location on and adjacent ridge. This can be mountain goat country. If there were only mountain goats that lived here. Instead I have celestial objects summiting hillocks holding prime overlook territory.

Wyotana is indeed a magical place. There are many ways to look at any scene, each angle has it’s own story.

Factoid. To determine if it is a rising or a setting moon. :

If the three small craters at 2 oclock are pointing up, it’s a rising moon. If those lined up three craters point to 3 o’clock, then the moon image is a setting moon.

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

Title: Mooning for You

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Moon Stuck in a Rut

Moon Stuck in a Rut
Moon Stuck in a Rut

Moon Stuck in a Rut

If I’m in the right place at the right time, I often catch the moon pausing on it’s journey to it’s zenith. I’ve even seen it casually reclining on various soft surfaces but not this time. Here’s I caught it stuck in a rocky rut on the way to work. Sometimes it takes a while for someone to come along and give you a push in this country. I’ve seen stretches of “main” road go a day with no traffic before up here. Worse this is in the deep backcountry. Fortunately… Yet again I happened to come along at the perfect time and free the moon up. Saving tidal tables world wide from being off kilter. You can’t delay clock work schedules. All it took was a nudge, a word of encouragement then onward climbing it went. 😜

Photographic Musings:

It was getting fairly dark at this click during the timeline I was working to get this. If I have a clear rising or setting moon, I will try to involve a close / far perspective. Usually this is initiated by a trip out to some backcountry parallel Ridges where I can have multiple horizons just by moving my positions. Distance is always your friend for this kind of work. You want a big length focal length lens. 400mm or greater comes to mind. Also it is good to be at least 300 – 400 yards out (depending on what lens) away from the fore ground object(s). If the moon rises, I walk down the hill I’m on and get another chance at it. If it’s setting, I just climb up a few steps and keep on shooting. Tripods don’t work well for this but a monopod has some applications here.

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

Title: Moon Stuck in a Rut

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Strawberry Moon Two Mesocyclones

Strawberry Moon Two Mesoyclones
Strawberry Moon Two Mesoyclones

Strawberry Moon Two Mesocyclones

TWO Big Storms rumble across the high prairie land of Wyotana. The wedge on the left is closer, smaller and in the partial shadow of another storm between it and the sun. The right storm is really huge and ‘muscular” for your “garden variety” of giant storm moving across the high plains. The close storm is 40 miles out obscuring the Devil’s Tower from my view. The larger storm is well over 100 miles out over in South Dakota across that state line. These storms have energy equal to an atom bomb that they expend over their lifespan.

Closed to me the window to the horizon rising early June 2020 Strawberry Moon. These two monsters spinning like tops in the way being effective a keeping me out. By this point in this 30 mile road trip, I was getting impatient for the extra 1/2 hour it took for the moon to rise over that cloud bank.

In full disclosure, this is two very wide images individually stitched side by side inside of the digital darkroom. A real scene though. It is over 160 degrees wide almost 1/2 of the sky. These were really quite a scene. This is of course, the reason I followed the storms out on the road. Waiting just for this moment. The colors are as I experienced them with lighter / whiter clouds at the top and the “Belt of Venus” sunset light projected onto the storms sides.

60″x20″ image triptych

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

Title: Strawberry Moon Two Mesocyclones

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Moon over Massive Mesocyclone

Moon over Massive Mesocyclone
Moon over Massive Mesocyclone

Moon over Massive Mesocyclone

I had gone on a backcountry road trip of about 15 miles to find a place around this storm which was blocking my view of the rising Strawberry moon. I understand the Algonquins tribe named it as the June moon corresponds to the picking of the wild strawberry crop. In Europe they are a bit more flowery with the “Rose” moon chosen for the moon moniker. Also called the “Hot Moon, the Honey Moon and the derivative of honey, the Mead Moon. Cheese with Honey I’m guessing lolol. It was probably about time for some Mead after the long winter this moon harkens the end of.

Seeing the Full moon this month was a good time for philosophy and thoughts of normalcy as the return of the season. I get very “reflective” introspectively about “cycles”. I’ve been at this place before a few times circling around our star. I recognizes processes and natures schemes for it’s perpetual engine to continue unabated. The machinations of our population makes little difference to those certainties provided by natures processes. All that is ongoing around is is insignificant in the scheme of the world around us. It’s somehow settling to have those processes continue in front of my eyes like the clock work that they are. The geologists in me tries terribly hard to be in tune with those little things. It’s makes understanding the bigger things that are so complex, possible. It takes a compilation of the little things to comprehend. Nature is easy, it’s human nature that is the tough one. IT’s the humans that the uncertainly. 😔📷

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

Title: Moon over Massive Mesocyclone

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Blue Morning Windmill Moon

Blue Morning Windmill Moon
Blue Morning Windmill Moon

Blue Morning Windmill Moon

Reconstructing past lives and events grabs your minds eye coming upon an old homesteads and a windmill.

The comings and goings of old homesteads spark my imagination. There is a demolished homestead about 1/4 mile from this location. Pieces and parts of past lives past scattered about. They had their own hand dug well 35 feet deep and 4 feet wide about 200 feet from their house down in a deep gully. I filled in that hole when I first moved here. It was an “attractive nuisance” and 35 feet deep x 5 feet in diameter. Hand dug… Many settlers had to use the water at their windmill. I suspect an outhouse long since gone somewhere nearby downward of the prevailing wind but hopefully away from their water source.

This land has had cattle or sheep on it for 100 years and slightly more. That’s 5 generations of cowboys/herders that stayed the night or the summer in this treeless pasture. Finally when this wind engine was installed, being the only source of water for several miles around, the cowboys drank here too. This is very big country open back country. It’s remote and just plain challenging to get to in the winter.

This is a steel windmill which is more expensive than building the wood towers was. Wells were positioned centered in the pasture. This made it accessible to the entire area. A lot depended on the ground water geology to make the shallow wells work long term. (luck mostly early on). Don’t get me going on geology lolol.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Blue Morning Windmill Moon

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Belt of Venus across Mesocyclone

Belt of Venus across Mesocyclone
Belt of Venus across Mesocyclone

Belt of Venus across Mesocyclone

The sunset main show over my shoulder is usually yellow (ish) orange or red. This sunset backshow spread across a huge Mesocyclone storm is Pink. This pink band is called the “Belt of Venus” which is often on going behind you watching a sunset. More so up here in the high ridges of the Montana / Wyoming borderlands. It you don’t turn around now and then, you miss this show. This one was fairly hard to miss though lol. These storms can be 100 miles across. I’d estimate this one is about 100 miles distant from my camera. You can see a LONG ways from the tops of the ridges around this ranch.

Your actually seeing the pink band (red light) surviving the long trip through the earth’s curved atmospherics lens. The storm colorized by that most tortured light shows the gradients well. The Blue Line / Shadow UNDER the Pink is the Shadow of the earths horizon. As the sun sets in this time line, that blue band grows upward covering the storm as the sun drops further below the opposite horizon behind me. The top of the storm is still white as the light that high still has it’s blue components unfettered by the atmosphere. The storm is an ultimate projector screen for the light shone on it from our star. Color banding courtesy of mother nature. 👀🤘📷

Several image from this particular evening made it through the “sieve” I use to determine which photo to work on. They will work their way into my portfolio with time. I’m about 8 days from taking a photo to publishing the page with the narrative in my current work flow. During this spring I’ve been finishing 4 photos a day. I finished 6 a day most of the winter. I don’t think I can do that to my current standards this winter. We will see…

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Belt of Venus across Mesocyclone

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Lone Tree Ridge Sunset

Lone Tree Ridge Sunset
Lone Tree Ridge Sunset

Lone Tree Ridge Sunset

When I get a heavily veiled sun, I’m all about getting it behind and in focus with terrestrial objects. It’s always a good thing when this particular tree lines up with astronomic objects (sun moon). This Lone Tree on a Ridge is about 1/4 mile out in this capture. The sun is a little further behind. High Ridges are their own reward even with out the photography. This is wonderful country.

Photographic Musings: The clouds were very thick and obscuring with the sun blinking in and out from behind the veil. I am as always, reactive to the light with only a bit of premonition to guide me to the next spot from here. Half the game of photography is knowing when you got the shot and it’s time to move on. Otherwise you spend too much time at the site and miss other opportunities.

I move pretty rapidly from interesting situation/alignments of the sun or the moon by driving along parallel ridges. I work the “Shadow” line by driving it and “seeing” what develops as I move. The cool stuff to photograph as in “I know it when I see it”.

There are times I see things that are virtually impossible to capture. A fully lit sun behind this tree is a common occurrence but without neutral density glass filters in front of the camera, even these Sony Super Cameras , this would be impossible. The tree limbs would be totally washed out. I never use glass filters or even do I use a pretty much standard UV haze filter. I find they get in the way of the image more than “fixing ” what they do. A UV filter does protect your lens glass from scratches though and is probably worth it for what you would do mostly. I point cameras at the sun a lot and extra glass in front of the lens has been an issue in the past for me. Just saying….

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

Title: Lone Tree Ridge Sunset

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Flower Moon Rolling in the Grass

Flower Moon Rolling in the Grass
Flower Moon Rolling in the Grass

Flower Moon Rolling in the Grass

This 99 Percent illuminated lunar disc has learned it is a lot of work to move all that cheese to the zenith of it’s orbit around the earth. . Resting too long will upset all the tidal charts that mariners use for sailing. Can’t have that…. Here I caught it resting in a soft grassy spot none the less. It saw me and rose to the occasion….

I find that the moon is a lazy celestial object. Always sitting down on the job. Here I caught the sneaky planetoid JUST lifting off the “Grass Recliner” it was sitting on. Who knows how long it was sitting there. I mean I only saw it move after I pointed a camera at it… I catch the old guy resting on unusual things all the time. This while walking parallel Ridges on the moon shadow line.

Missed are a million moments in time depending on the angle you find yourself observing a particular scene at. Every different angle will give you an entirely different viewpoint. I’m always looking at angles and what I have to do to achieve the perspective I’m looking for. The ability to anticipate the way things WILL happen and being there with a camera in your hand is about 90 percent of the photography game. The rest of getting the photo is reliant of your positioning before that time/space moment. My biggest limiting factor besides gravity is topography. Can’t stand with no ground under you or climb where there are no steps yet.

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

Title: Flower Moon Rolling in the Grass

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Lone Tree Moon Silhouette

Lone Tree Moon Silhouette
Lone Tree Moon Silhouette

Lone Tree Moon Silhouette

(May 2020, third/last supermoon of the year) I was fortunate to have worked them all. This month I only had one opportunity to work it against the landscape. I have 4 quality images from this month’s full moon which is about par for the course. Without a doubt this image is the best one I have obtained from this combination.

This one is somewhat similar to others I’ve taken and I’ve shot this tree many times as it’s only a mile from my driveway. However the burgundy (muted pink light) alpenglow, details in the dark and the dynamic range of this one makes my heart pitty pat… 📸📸

I’ve taken a few photos of this tree in front of various astronomic occurrences. It is indeed a lone tree on that position about 1000 yards away from where I took this image.

Photographing images like this a combination of finding the right position in x/y space, timing and distance is z, and that position moves with the speed of the moon. This makes using Tripods very difficult as you have a moving target. Maybe a monopod. This however was handheld. Distance is your friend here from that Lone tree.

Practicing this kind of photography has found me on my butt more times than any other tripping over sage. The moon is constantly moving, I’m usually on some parallel ridge walking forwards (as the moon is rising and to the left a bit while looking through a 2 foot long lens (tube) and not at my feet with sage brush around on uneven ground.Bear with me as capturing this kind of image is a “sub-hobby” of mine within the general photography that I do. I find it a serious challenge to get terrestrial objects in the same focal plane as the moon or the sun in twilight or darker conditions. Just like this. This composition is a tough one to capture in this low light/long focal field combination. 📸

2×3 aspect to 3 feet. Rested 1200 mm lens on “Clever Girl’s” drivers window.

Location: near the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Lone Tree Moon Silhouette

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Flower Moon May 2020

Flower Moon May 2020
Flower Moon May 2020

Flower Moon May 2020

Black and White… Handheld rested truck window, 1200 mm Zeiss/Sony optic/ Sony Alpha 7R4 camera body. This is a single image not a mosaic of the moon as I occasionally do with much higher magnification optics. 18 x 18inches. no sharpening applied thus no resultant artifacts seen so often in other forum posts. As it came off the chip with very minor shadows/highlights contrasting.

Science musings:

NONE of the earth’s current selection of climates would be happening without the moon. Remember the earth has NO climate, it has ALL climates. Anybody that talks about the “earth’s climate” is full of hooey to begin the discussion. (say’s the old paleontologist). ⚒⚒⚒

(Morning citizen scientist assignment, please google “moon formation”).

The moon is our planets protector. It’s moving mass around the earth keeps the earths rotation stable. Maintaining the earths 3D relationship to the sun means stability. Stability means life can develop. Too much variability is a problem…

Research reveals that less than 10 percent of terrestrial planets may have a satellite large enough to provide the stability life needs to develop. (This is a big deal and where some genuine magic occurs)

The Mass and resultant gravity is necessary to stabilize the Tilt of our planet like a stable slow motion gyroscope. (Tilt relative to the “Ecliptic” (another good look up). Most scientists will agree with me to say Earth’s “obliquity”, as this tilt is known, is important to remain stable. Changes in Obliquity have huge repercussions from the resultant environmental reactions. IT does wander over time BTW but a long time…🤔👀

Should Earth’s obliquity wander over hundreds of thousands of years, it would cause environmental chaos by creating a climate too variable for complex life to develop in relative peace. Imagine obliquity such that the South Pole is all daylight 100 percent of the time and the North Pole in 100 percent night sky all year.

Our lunar neighbor has literally made it possible for you to read this as a sequence of events set up in the flow of Space and Time. 🤔📸

Location: A little over Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana (Wyotana) plus pretty much every where else 😜

Title: Flower Moon May 2020

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Rising April 2020 Supermoon

Rising April 2020 Supermoon
Rising April 2020 Supermoon

Rising April 2020 Supermoon

April 8th Pink Super moon rise to be specific.

See the medium sized Mare (Mare Crisium) at 12 oclock. The one near the edge. . That smaller crater will always point to 12 during a rising moon. It points to 3 oclock on a setting moon image. The little light from the twilight behind me was enough just to barely see the slope of that ridge. That ridge was around 10 miles from my camera/1200mm lens.

It’s not the moon that is turning in space to rotate that crater…. Actually you are the one that is spinning/rotating here on earth. IT’s all about your perspective. Question to think about…if your standing on Mare Crisium, does the earth ever set?🤔👀👅

A Supermoon is one when the moon is at perigee (closest to the earth on it’s elliptical orbit). The moon looks particularly large because it is lol. Blood Moon, Blood moons historically have actually had blood shed under them unfortunately. This has indeed influenced the course of history. The Blood red this month described from the Lunar Eclipse coincident this Super moon. I did not have a photographic window to the eclipse.😔 Syzyge (SiZ-i jee) … what a wonderful scrabble word. It’s a nifty occurrence though.

Conjunctions of 3 celestial objects (sun, earth moon) is an alignment in a straight line). A solar or lunar eclipse when all three are aligned is Syzyge Perigee syzgy… the moon is at perigee AND there is syzygy happening, aligning with the Earth and Sun, It’s termed perigee syzygy, AKA Supermoon. Now you know as much as I do about the Pink Moon this year. All my images are posted about a week or two after they are taken so this posts the 29, taken the evening of the 8th. It’s as fast as I can get to “recent” images finished and get the posted these longer /warmer days. I write these narratives right at a week ahead of their posting. (currently).

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Rising April 2020 Supermoon

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Moon Sign

Moon Sign
Moon Sign

Moon Sign

Right Turn “Clyde” series…. (Lot’s of detail in that dark )

This was less than easy to do. Handheld long lens rested on the Ford Raptor’s open door, (Clever Girl herself) with the 48 inch Rigid LED light bar lighting up the reflective sign. The trick of course is to get back far enough to get both objects in the infinite focal length. Then you still have to place enough light on the sign…. Now I handicapped myself by sticking with the truck. I could have walked back another 100 yards with a monopod and still have the same light on the sign.. I’m not always tolerant of windy/cold and this was a windy/cold night. Taken about an hour and 20 minutes AFTER sunset, the only real sources of light was the 98 percent April (Pink) Moon and my headlight. That is a dark night sky behind.

There were stars but even this crazy high dynamic range camera couldn’t sense/see them. The clouds right around the moon that were lit up, made it into the cameras data stream. Getting any detail around a moon of such wispy clouds scantily covering a moon is not something I’m able to accomplish some nights. Very very iffy that process. I’m thinking an average cell phone is not going to capture this.

This April 2020’s moon was every present for 4 photo-sessions in a row. I can’t remember a full moon interval where I’ve gotten to work it so much. The April supermoon, our orbiting partner was as close as it gets this year to the earth for this.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Moon Sign