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Twilight Over the BigHorns

Twilight Over the BigHorns
Twilight Over the BigHorns

Full Screen is a good choice for this. . Twilight over the BigHorns was so obviously gorgeous. I had to resort to a time exposure to catch it. The timing on this sunset is very late in Civil Twilight. I was returning home from a Photographic Road trip. My driveway offered this view as I returned to base.

Civil Twilight after sunset ends about 28 minutes after the sun goes down 8 degrees under the horizon. It’s usually the best time to get those crimson and yellow skies. The yellow is Alpenglow. Atmospheric Ice causes this phenomena caused by refracted light passing through. Only the red wavelengths which have survived through hundreds of miles of atmosphere light the cloud deck.

The Big Horns of course are 130 miles from my camera at this location. The long lenses I use crush the perspective. The black ridge at the bottom is 40 miles out. The clouds behind the range are around 200 miles out I would suspect. The distance is hard to put into proper frame. Those 13000 feet high mountains appear smaller than the thumb on my outstretched arm from here.

Photographic Musings focusing on :

Shutter speed:

When I don’t get detail in the landscape, you can assume that the lighting was pretty dim. I use very sensitive gear and this late, handheld camera work is silly to attempt. This is a 2 second time exposure. A rested camera at 1/15 th of a second is pretty tough to keep from blurring. 2 seconds you HAVE to have either a timer to initiate the shutter and a tripod/sandbag or your going to blur. I say if it’s 55mm and smaller that 1/50th is fine and stable unless your taking photos of moving things. The longer the lens, the more ANY movement will tend to blur. WIth a 800mm lens, if I’m working handheld at less than 1/200th of a second is rare and a rested camera.

My rules of Thumb for Handheld cameras shutter speed. (manual mode) all times are in fractions of a secondl You MIGHT get away with less and slower speeds blurring things intentionally is a valid photo technic. I’ve done that slow setting for a blur numerous times intentionally with bees and other fliers. Freeze the body but blur the wings composition sort of image…

Sitting still subject: 1/50th or faster..

Walking human 1/200th.

Running anything 1/800th

Flying things/moving vehicles: 1/2000th

Bumble Bee Wings 1/4000th.

These are just a rule of thumb and you can sure get away a bit on either side of those numbers. Of course the faster your exposure and the less light will enter the camera over the shorter period of time. You will have to adjust for fast shutters by either turning up ISO or turning down the F-stop numbers (bigger aperture). There are only three things to adjust in manual mode after all. You just learned one of them. 😀

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Twilight over the BigHorns

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Time to Change Pants

Time to Change Pants
Time to Change Pants

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.

Title: Time to Change Pants

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Sandhill Cranes Riding Thermals

Sandhill Cranes Riding Thermals
Sandhill Cranes Riding Thermals

At midday when the sun is shining brightly, look for soaring “kettles” of Sandhill Cranes Riding Thermals over grasslands. These groups appear as barely visible wisps from afar with the unaided eye.. I think there is around 300 here…(Rough guess). Circling, right side coming at the camera the left side going away in the spiral.

The birds are using the thermals and keeping their flight muscles toned for the journey that lies ahead. Off to Nebraska First where they gather by the thousands on the Platte River where they put on some fat.

Sandhill Migration:

Several species of Sandhills (at least 6) with 3 being non-migratory and the rest are migratory. Cranes are diurnal or daytime migrants and use thermals to their advantage. They will hitch-hike a ride with the thermal higher and higher up to an altitude of a few thousand feet. They then will glide southward in wavering lines losing altitude as they go until they reach the next thermal, spiraling upwards to repeat the process. Rinse and Repeat is the play of the day. This method of migration is highly energy efficient, more so than the powered heavy on-flapping flight of other species such as the Canada Goose… On a good day with the right thermals, cranes can travel up to 500 miles but 200 to 300 miles is more typical. Finally in the late afternoon, they seek a wetland of some type to noisily roost in for the night. They depart the next morning with weather permitting, until they reach their next destination on the journey.

This Flock was following along the back edge of a snow storm that lasted a day. They were clearly waiting for it to move on so they could get past it and hung out just circling round and round getting higher with each revolution. Eventually they headed south toward the back of the snowstorm visible in the distance only to find another thermal and jump on board.

Location: Somewhat over the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana Borderlands.

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Fawns Morning Drink

A Fawns Morning Drink at the water hole on a foggy morning
A Fawns Morning Drink: Trip to the Stock Tank

After a long trek, it finally made it to the Stock Tank to take a fawns morning drink after a walk across a divide from an adjacent pasture at least a mile away. These stock tanks (4 of which I keep open over about 3 miles of water pipeline from my main well all winter flowing water for who ever drops by) is critical for the local deer population. Most of the Pronghorn Migrate south about 20-40 miles but the deer stay around and probably couldn’t if I didn’t keep this resource available. Been keeping water sources open for 20 years in the backcountry.

Framing a Game Trail Camera image is like adjusting your underwear. You think you know know how you want to do it. Butt you definitely know it when it’s right and then only after you take a few steps (photosI mean 😄. Most of the cameras preview/show you a photo of what the camera is seeing but it is when the camera is “Open”. Not much help… So you set it up pointing it basically blind just generally pointing it in the right direction. Then there is the assistance I get by animals nudging the cameras,. They help by licking them, trying to chew on the nylon straps that hold them to trees etc. The animals are always trying to help me by cleaning the cameras with their tongue…. ewwwwww. I see some goooey things stuck to lenses now and then lolol.


This was early foggy twilight plus the Infrared Flash from the Camera. I left the white eye in for a change. Perhaps it should be all black ?. This was obviously from the early summer as the Fawns have all lost their spots a few months ago. I have a folder of over 1000 photos from this summer yet to be looked at let alone finished lolol. Job security 😀

18×18 inch square aspect

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Fawns Morning Drink