Trees growing out of boulders are always a photographic target . Particularly with a LOT trees growing out of boulders. On the crest of this backcountry ridge, is a hard cap rock that has resisted erosion thusly protecting the rocks below. This is ALL Hell Creek Sandstone. This leaves these relatively harder boulders for me to enjoy. They are 66 million years old and that lichen can be 100 years or more old. Only rocks that are undisturbed have big lichen patches. Cattle pressure/wear from rubbing will destroy it.
There are big areas of this boulder strewn surface covered with Sunburst Liichen (Xanthoria sp.), sometimes called pincushion lichen. Bear in mind that there are hundreds of different species of Lichen that inhabit Wyoming and differentiating them exactly is sort of a science all by itself. Lichenologists have to have work of some kind. Achidemia is the obvious job path. I suspect that there is a use for court testimony however the job prospects of a Lichenologist is about the same as a masters in biostratigraphy such as myself. Though interestingly, biostratigraphers do a lot of work with oil companies .. My general comment about Lichen nomenclature is that you need a bachelors of science in Biology (which I have) to look at the photos. The text about the lichen is a foreign language.😀😀.
Enjoying a sunset while walking around with several cameras in the remote backcountry is similar to a shooting gallery with a .22 but without the report. Lots of good stuff to shoot at. Just a click versus bang. BTW, I do carry a firearm in the backcountry. add a few more pounds. You never know exactly what your going to run into. A 10mm 1911 pistol with a 5 inch barrel is good for 300 yards… (work on that one for a while). This was taken this fall and it was pretty chilly.
Up above the ground clouds, these high backcountry ridge tops make for an awesome sunrise over the top. I’m several hundred feet higher than the valley floor The heavier, cooler air settles in the valley. Moisture condenses and the “Golden Hour” light against a blue sky grabbed my attention. The rustic/rural nature of this image is only matched by the sites remoteness.
I took this image from right at the highest point around locally. This captures elevation is around 4100 feet. The lowest point in Wyoming is On the Belle Fource River at 3099 feet. That location is about 70 miles east of this location. Gannet Peak in the Wind River Mountains is the highest point in Wyoming at 13,804 feet with several peaks just below that elevation. I live at 3780 feet in elevation. I have lived for a decade at 6200 feet at the foot of the Teton Range. The winters are MUCH milder down here except for the winds….
Having put a few fences in, I will tell you that that line of posts and wire was a lot of work. Ranches have tremendous infra-structure in the numerous miles of fences to rotate stock from pasture to pasture. I think we have about 30 miles of fencing in or around out ground. Just having one big pasture is a bad plan. You want to be able to rotate your stock animals from pasture to pasture. Water sources central ideally in those pastures. Generations of ranchers have figured out that works best. Fences also help prevent mixing of different ranchers cow herds togethers. Not only is there a property reason for them, they allow good grass management practices based on an areas attributes and deficiencies.
Location: Near the Bliss Dinoaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)
Picking a spot for perspective images is often a matter of thinking like a mouse. Using the camera to see reality from that mouses Perspective is what I’m always trying to do with a good sky. Close/Far captures are always a challenge. You have to have the right lighting though. Shadowss are every bit as important as the light. Keeping balance is of importance.
The Backcountry is full of old married trees. Trees that have lived together and will only divorce with their demise. The pines here have wondrully tecture bark. Add that to the perspective, the wonderful sky. that sunset dominates the background.
This was mid fall. The grass this year stayed green through August. This is the first time in two decades of living here that the seasons were so far off. We had more rain than normal and it was regular. It’s not unusual to go a month between showers in the summer. Fires everywhere this year but here. We got very lucky. Lilac were blooming on the 4th of July. As far as I can tell, everything is a month late. Well except for winter which started October 1’st this year. Fall was on a Tuesday I remember..
I spent the morning (before I typed this) clearing over a foot of snow off some two track roads. I’m blocked off now from most of my paths up on the ridges. I need to get up high Big Sky shots and back to trees like this. ” Winter is coming”. (Classical Refrence” This is the first time I’ve plowed up on ridge one. I suspect it will not be the last. More images like this incoming as I rework my portfolio📷👀
Mud Hills Across the Border into Montana was captured early summer 2019. Traveling to these remote overlooks is 1/2 the gift of photography.
I don’t travel without cameras. Particularly when out on a photographic excursion where I’m actively “Hunting for the Wild Photon”. The Hillside where I’ standing on is precisely 1/2 way between the equator and the North Pole. A long walk either way lolol. Its exactly 5,000,000 (Five Million) meters from this hillside to either point. Some well connected person in history decided 1 meter would be 1/10,000,000 of the distance from the north Pole to the Equator. You can covert 10 million meters into Ten Thousand Kilometers though.
I haven’t looked it up but I’d be curious if that measurement has changed much over the centuries. Our ability to be more precise in our measurements surely change earlier estimations before satellite GPS. Of course there is some side discussions here related to geology that I’ll save for another post later lol.
Geology Factoids: The Mud Hills in the Distance are younger than the rocks I’m standing on. They are Tertiary Fort Union Formation sediments. hich are mostly alluvial sediments sourced from the Big Horns after those mountains rose. This the Mud Hills (I wonder how they got their name) may have some fossils like alligators, fish, birds, rays, fresh water clams and other invertebrates. They would not be abundant and have random occurrences up the section. The rocks I’m standing on are Cretaceous Hell Creek/Lance formations. The random fossil beds here have DInosaur remains in them where the rocks above a certain point, don’t. Humm 🤔
Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands
Title: Mud Hills Across the Border
This image was captured just as the horizon dropped exposing the relatively stationary sun. Everybody always says the sun rises but it’s really the horizon falling away. OK. It was a “sunrise” bone chilling cold sunrise. At -2F any wind amplifies the experience from a sweat shirt to full arctic gear. In dead calm air, -2 might as well be 50. I dress in layers.
Working in really cold conditions with cameras:
I’ve been up here in an open vehicle at -20 before so this was pretty comfortable relatively. Riding around with a box of 4 or 5 camera/lens in an open ATV in that temp is something I don’t like to do now.
For this capture, I was walking around from place to place for quite a while. Drove up there in my jeep. Usually my right had is my weak link. I wear “Red Head” Mitten/fingerless gloves. They are better than other gloves I’ve seen advertised for photographers and do a pretty good job. I always carry two pair. If they get wet, it’s time to change them. But you CAN work the delicate controls of a camera with them on.
I even had my Jeep to retreat to . I prefer not to let my cameras get so cold so having them in a heated car has it’s advantages.
Working out of a car window in the cold:
You have to watch shooting cameras out of a heated car into very cold air. You can get distortion similar to a mirage that I’ve actually seen live and watched it distorting the image on the cameras monitor. The warm air and the cold air mixing makes a little distorting lens just for your annoyance. With a long lens the distortion caused by this interface CAN be significant. Each situation is different. I try to keep air flowing into the drivers window versus warm air flowing out. It’s a huge difference with long lenses.
Raccoon Caught Prowling Infra-red. This was of course a Game Trail Camera capture.
The secret behind captures like this is placement of the camera. Pure dark midnight captures are a process of putting the “wildlife funnel” at the right focal distance from your game camera. Note that the tree in the foreground is slightly out of focus. It got the raccoons face is right on.
By the nature of the type of light used here (Infra-Red), everything is a bit grainy. This is a result of a highly sensitive chip piking up only reflected IR light from the flash. He was caught by surprise by the sound of this particular 360 degree camera spinning toward his position. It usually freezes the animal such that the slow shutter speed is often enough to catch him. No blur is rare in these kind of shots. A moving animal would be a non-usable photo from the motion. A little noise will get their attention. You don’t want them running the other way lolol.
This location was picked because of many animals that travel here. It had worn away the vegetation on a landing down by a lake. I’ll leave it down there for a few weeks and there will be a host of interesting beasties walking down to this spot. I think I have 5 cameras game cameras placed here. This includes the 360 degree camera. Placed here. I went three weeks between checking the cameras. I’m about to pick them all up as this spot floods in the spring. It goes completely underwater by several feet. Water is scarce once the lake freezes over. The closest place is one of my stock tanks a good 1/3 mile up drainage. Conveniently there are 4 game trail cameras on that stock tank lolo. I’ll get this guy over there this winter I hope.
Spotlighting in the Borderland Backcountry can be a very contrasty thing after a storm. This vista surprised me coming up over the ridge behind the camera. I instantly stopped of course and started composing the final frame. What dramatic contrast…. I honestly don’t see this very much this pronounced. That was a very interesting (if not cold at -2F) morning up on that ridge. It always is after a storm and the cold. That is BIG country back there.
I call this phenomena spotlighting for obvious reasons. There is about 4-6 inches of standing snow up on the ridges and I’m still driving about in my Jeep Grand Cherokee. I have a new vehicle incoming if Ford will put it in production lololol. (We have a vin now 🙂 ) Winter is coming though and I’m going to have to get plowing some snow to get up in this country. This particular spot is about a mile up a long hill to get to. Roughtly the same distance to the far ridge in the shadows with trees on it. The far right side of that ridge (ridge 4) is a full 2 tiles out. Distances are deceiving out here. The closest ranch house in that direction is about 10 miles of hills and gullies that have to be driven around. That would mean about 20 miles of driving lololol.
All of this ground in this image is underlain by the Cretaceous Hell Creek/Lance Dinosaur Fossil Bearing Sandstone. This is prime country to find dinosaurs. I found a partial Triceratops just left of the frame around the corner or a hill so I have some basis for saying this lol.
Getting to a favorite overlook for catching a Twilight Moment in the Backcountry in the Wyoming/Montana Borderlands is an exercise in driving remote two track roads in the dark dark lol. I might take 10 or 20 minutes to get into position for a shot like this pre-sunrise usually in late Nautical Twilight where stars are visible early on. (Do you know your twilights??)
Eastern Skies almost always have better twilight shows than western skies as there is usually more ice in the atmosphere by my observations. Others may disagree.🤣This is in mid Civil Twilight which starts 28 (ish) minutes before actual sunrise. Nautical Twilight just ended and Astronomic Twilight (when the stars just disappear) has been over for a 1/2 hour. IT takes about an hour for the sun to rise during which time, the horizon is falling away from covering the sun for the night. Remember it’s not the sun that’s moving, I remind you that it is the earth that is rotating and the horizon is literally falling when you look to the east about 4 inches during the time it takes a rifle bullet to reach 1000 yards out.
This Backcountry show starts in pitch black as deep as the North Atlantic Ocean (according to NOAA) with little dribs of color smattering through the needles. The “volume” is turned up on the color wheel as the timeline progresses. Such Sky Shows are a pleasure to watch from beginning to end and I have done many many hundreds in totality. I’m pretty sure time isn’t taken off your lifeline for time spent watching sunrises and sunsets.
This is a 2 second time exposure as it is. No wind, dead calm or the pine needles would be a blur. I consider this a night sky…
This Big Horn Mountains Dusty Sunset brought to you by me driving back from Gillette the long way back Via Recluse Wyoming and Elk Creek Road. It’s a higher elevation drive over the Red Hills (about 40 miles from my ranch to the west). The Big Horns are right at 100 miles out from my camera in this image. The air was so still that that is the dust from my travels from miles back. Most of the roads up in the backcountry are at best gravel and Campbell County usually has pretty good roads. Speed Limit is 45 on the gravel up here.
Satire: I’d like to imagine this Hunter’s Moon here was rising off it’s resting place in the remote backcountry of the Wy:Mt borderlands. It’s a lot of work rising all that cheese to it’s zenith at the top of the sky. I think a good rest before a climb is always in order don’t you?🤣
The moon never stays long resting as I photograph it all the time being lazy on things. If it stayed too long thought, the tide charts would be all messed up. I catch the moon doing all sorts of anthropomorphic things in my images. You just have to think about it😎
Location: Near the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.
I took this Sept 30th the day before the October 1 storm came in so this was the Last Day of Fall for the BigHorn Mountains eastern front. You could feel the storm coming in. Everybody was buying snow shovels and salt at the local farm store.
Full Screen is obviously best…. 🙏
These 13,000 foot + peaks dominate the landscape near Clearmont Wyoming. The highway State 14/16 from Gillette to Sheridan Wyoming will present you with this view if you stop at the right spot :).
This is a composite of three images left/center/right carefully blended/stitched back together within the digital darkroom. As such is it ended up being 60×20 inches at full resolution 300 dpi so the original is a huge file reduced here for social media of course lolol.
Oct 1, the region got 4 – 12 inches of wet heavy sticky snow on trees fully leaved still from the 75 degrees the day before when I took this on Sept 30th.
I of course take photos of these hills all the time from my Ranch about 100 miles over my shoulder at this location. I get a little better resolution up here📸
Location: Somewhere near Clearmont, Sheridan County Wyoming.
Announcement: With Perspective being (is) everything #1 being a place to start… I’ve got a hundred perspectives to post over the next month or so. I am mixing and matching seasons at random now and will be for the fore-seeable future.
As I post an image on my personal FB page or one of the other social media sites I post into. , It is automatically available for purchase on my gallery page at www.blissphotographics.com.
The Gallery, no question is the best way to view my work though currently only a small portion of it. (I’m writing this on thursday for posting on monday in the software I use). www.blissphotographics.com is the site.
We just got the search by category function working. I’m still populating some categories but I assure you I’m spinning the hamster wheel as fast as I can to get those holes populated with beautiful photos shortly.
So I’ve got a series of winter photos getting done here lately. Up they go…👁