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Moon Light Only Landscape

Moon Light Only Landscape
Moon Light Only Landscape

Moon Light Only Landscape

Moon, This is the Moon. NOT the Sun. Captured from a Truck Window mounted camera up high in the backcountry of MT/WY. I have been able to get around with my “new rig” a little better. This capture on a remote ridge. This was done with a 30 second time exposure to pick up all the ambient light that was about. I could BARELY see this blush on the trees and had to set up my camera to catch this. A little tricky actually but the thought process is straight forward. The moon was heavily veiled for this and that limited me to landscapes instead of moon photos lol. This is the result.

Known as the Snow Moon, named after the snow on the ground. Some North American tribes named it the Hunger Moon due to the scarcity food. Also the hard hunting conditions during mid-winter. Others named it the Storm Moon for the tendency towards brutal February ‘s storms

Photographic Musings.

This was a very very dark capture. A 30 second time exposure requires a very stabile platform like a heavy tripod or a sand bag and a remote trigger. I used a timer. Your first priority is shutter speed, the more the shutter is open, the more light the camera is going to collect. 30 seconds is a long exposure for me.

The Aperture was F-11. To get Deep focal fields, F-11 is low for me. I wanted the Moon lit “Snow Diamonds” to show up in focus. The Snow Diamonds would blur setting a lower F-stop. Any higher F-stop and the image would have been too dark. Focal Length was 48mm.I hate using ISO higher than about 150 but here I used 300. (camera sensitivity.)

Title: Moon Light Only Landscape

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Moon Nesting in a Tree

Moon Nesting in a Tree
Moon Nesting in a Tree

Moon Nesting in a Tree (moon Monday all day)

Satire: The forest is full of a million moments of time and space. Different moments and different angles each contribute to what a camera can save for our amusement. It’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time to see the play go on stage.

Here the moon had found a nice place to catch a comfortable rest before climbing to it’s zenith. Thank heavens this didn’t hold up the moon very long as there are so many things that rely on precise timing of the moon and the tides. 😃 Think of the mess if the moon gets held up.🤔🤔

Back to my normal programming:

Of course there are other phenomena related to the full moon besides photographers making up satire. Emergency rooms get busy on full moon nights. I worked as a medic for 20 years total and I give some credence to that discussion. I’ve seen some crazy stuff on full moon nights. They say that dogs are 28 percent more likely to be taken on an ER vet visit during the full moon. Birth Rates go up (don’t ask me! I learned what caused that crap early on). More Crimes are committed (FBI stats), Amazingly and last in this short list is that during a full moon is a better time to have surgery. The outcome statistically is better during the full moon. I don’t ask why. I just go with the flow….

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Moon Nesting in a Tree

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Sun Trapped by Windmill

Sun Trapped by Windmill
Sun Trapped by Windmill

Sun Trapped by Windmill (Headline of the news story).

A tad bit of Satire if you don’t mind …. (It’s an old narrative if your new to my world 🙂 )

Windmill Wednesday: Windmill Junkies Unite: 😜🤘

Crushing Perspective with Telephoto lenses is a very good pastime. I find that certain objects lend themselves to Close/Far work which of course is quite challenging to line up just so…… “Sneaky Pete” the Windmill here lends himself more than not to photography. He sites pretty well, much better than most kids anyway. The durn sun is always moving. It worked it’s way from the “trap” by slipping out the back door…….😜

Sneaky has his job on the ranch pumping air into a barnyard pond to keep it freezing in the winter and destratified plus the O2 thing. He is an aquarium pump lolol. Just a really small duck pond. He’s close enough to my house to be the first thing I run by on my way out to backcountry photo locations I visit.

So Sneaky is a notorious photobomber of some ill repute. He is always popping into my landscapes as I obviously have no control over his actions. Only Timber slows him down as he gets tangled… He only lets me live here as he’ll be here long after I’m gone. Sneaky is quite a character, I’ve seen him hang around those innocent Mule Deer and Pronghorn. He lives of course near a running water hydrant so the local wildlife is usually negotiating deals between the various characters that live around here through him. His deal is all about publicity.📸📸

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

Title: Sun Trapped by Windmill

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Moon Rise Backcountry Windmill

Moon Rise Backcountry Windmill
Moon Rise Backcountry Windmill

Moon Rise Backcountry Windmill

There is more science going on here than you might suspect. First of all it’s about 8 minutes after sunset here. I can tell from the blue area under the pink Belt of Venus Alpenglow. The moon sits in the blue. That color is the SHADOW of the horizon. The long traveled red/pink light above the moon is the reflected light from the sun that made it back to my photon capture boxes (camera). The horizons shadow on the atmospheric Ice floating acts like a projection screen for the only color to make it that far. Ligh raveled hundreds of miles through air/dust/moisture/inversion layers bending and filtering out shorter wavelengths by those obstructions.

Photographic Musings:

Long telephoto captures CRUSH perspective. Low light after sunset starting civil twilight is one of my favorite times to practice my long range skills. This was done with a fixed 400mm lens which in an ideal world, should be a standard lens in your “kit”. Most use a 100-400 zoom. Most of those are not particularly fast lenses but they work just fine under all but these conditions lol. Bigger diameter lenses gather more light than smaller diameter lenses.

Normally I would blur the windmill as 99 percent of the time it is moving. Not that it’s windy up here or anything….. IT was indeed dead calm at this moment. Problem though, even if it was moving, a blurred windmill takes a long exposure, the bright full moon takes a shorter exposure. Your only choice is to expose the highlights properly. You can’t cheat on this on in the camera though I could have done it in the digital darkroom (photoshop) easily.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Moon Rise Backcountry Windmill

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Lone Tree Golden Background

Lone Tree Golden Background
Lone Tree Golden Background

Lone Tree Golden Background

I admire the strength and tenacity of a lone tree on a ridge. They are alone in their survival subject to the wild Wyotana weather. 80 mph winds here just about every year. Cold cold cold windchills. Drying winds with only 14 inches of precipitation a year.

The hardships for this tree have been ongoing for at least 100 years for this isolated survivor. Pine trees grow where their pine cone opened and released the fertile seed after a local grass fire triggered it. The heat causes the cones to release their seeds. I haven’t done a ring count but 100 years seems right for it’s size. Such can be deceiving though. Really big Pines here are hundreds of years old. By comparison, this is not a huge pine, about 30 feet high but very wide for it’s height. This shot was from across a canyon from a parallel ridge to the east. (behind me)

The Contrast of course is what this photo is all about. The lighting was diffuse so the sky wasn’t terribly interesting that day . Flat light can make for big contrasts between darker shades and mid-tones. The golden fields of grass ready to bale this last fall provide the backdrop for this old warrior of the ridges.

Many of the trees in this local area were burned in the late 1930’s by “fires that burned until the first snows fell. This tree is certainly remote on this hill with the closest other tree being several hundred feet distant. I believe this field has been cleared of sage early on. They did a lot of that clearing by hand. Horse and pulled single row plow back in 1906 when what was to become this ranch, was first settled.

Lone Tree Golden Background

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Fawns Wetland Dragonfly Flyover

Fawns Wetland Dragonfly Flyover
Fawns Wetland Dragonfly Flyover

Fawns Wetland Dragonfly Flyover

The wonderful scene is another one of my game trail camera amazing captures as the Dragonflies Hunt Mosquitos overhead. This fawn down in the wetlands was in the high grass on the muddy lake edge.. The automatic camera captured it dead center of the frame. Game Trail Cameras us Infra-red motion detection to trigger the shutter and like any automatic camera, will snap what is in front of them. Depending on the lighting, Game Trail Cameras can even take a good photo now and then. This is an amazing shot from one of the cantankerous things.

As I’ve said a few times before, each and every one has problems but this one is a pretty good capture. It took virtually no work to fix the built in image issues of the Game Trail camera. I get captures like this because 1: I run a lot of cameras with 29 currently in the network. 2: I place them in unusual places with viewpoints that are not just on a post at animal neck level. I often put cameras very low looking up or in places like this where it’s obvious by the trails that game frequents the area. Setting a camera up too high would resultsin the capture getting the tip of it’s ears. Properly setting it low in the spring just about promised me it would catch a fawn.

One of the few things you have control of with Game Trail Cameras is where you put them. I could write a chapter on placing game trail cameras.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Fawns Wetland Dragonfly Flyover

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Moon Resting Before the Climb

Moon Resting Before the Climb
Moon Resting Before the Climb

Moon Resting Before the Climb

MONDAY MOONDAY : All moons all day….moon image number 5 (of 6) for the day 6pm edition..

Backcountry Moon Cradle:

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 “snag” cradle it was sitting on. Who knows how long it was sitting there. I mean it only moved after I pointed a camera at it… I catch the old guy resting on unusual things all the time walking parallel Ridges on the 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 100 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.

As this moon is rising, I have to walk closer to the hill to keep the perspective. If I move forward about 20 feet, you can’t see the log / snag. Also If I move up 20 feet I’m suspended in mid air levitating above a 20 foot deep gully next to the path. The ground I am actually standing on lol. I wonder how many photographers have walked a little more back, a little more, and more. Only to find out that there wasn’t any ground there.

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

Moon Resting Before the Climb

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Fawn in the Grass

Fawn in the Grass
Fawn in the Grass

Fawn in the Grass

The wonderful scene is one of my game trail camera amazing capture. This fawn was jumping from place to place in the high grass. The automatic camera captured it dead center of the frame. Game Trail Cameras us Infra-red motion detection to trigger the shutter and like any automatic camera, will snap what is in front of them. Depending on the lighting, Game Trail Cameras can even take a good photo now and then. This is an amazing shot from one of the cantankerous things.

As I’ve said a few times before, each and every one has problems but this one is a pretty good capture. It took virtually no work to fix the built in image issues of the Game Trail camera. I get captures like this because 1: I run a lot of cameras with 29 currently in the network. 2: I place them in unusual places with viewpoints that are not just on a post at animal neck level. I often put cameras very low looking up or in places like this where it’s obvious by the trails that game frequents the area. Setting a camera up too high would resultsin the capture getting the tip of it’s ears. Properly setting it low in the spring just about promised me it would catch a fawn.

One of the few things you have control of with Game Trail Cameras is where you put them. I could write a chapter on placing game trail cameras.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Fawn in the Grass

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Sunrise Through the Knothole

Sunrise Through the Knothole
Sunrise Through the Knothole

Sunrise Through the Knothole. IT was a crisp cold morning, I was out collecting chips from Game Trail Cameras. I was also working the sunrise as opportunities presented themselves. i went for a walk along the shore or this small lake. The sun was just emerging as the horizon dropped away exposing the nuclear furnace. (Remember, the sun doesn’t move, the earth’s horizon drops away exposing the sun.).

Driftwood can be knot holed and this piece was big enough to stick my camera accompanied with a a wide lens attached. I’m honestly not sure which side of the border this is on as it’s pretty much on the border lol. I didn’t have my GPS with me. I usually reserve that device for fossil hunts where landownership and exact location is a bit.

Photographic Musings:

Thinking like a mouse looking through a window, I take images of natural portholes/windows as I see them. It’s the close/far focus thing that is hard to do photographically. On manual mode, if deep focus is your Priority with your image, think immediately of turning UP your F-stop number. High f-stop numbers set your aperture (the pupil size of your camera) very pinpoint. As small a hole in the lens as possible. This give you the deepest focus (thickness of the zone of focus). Low f-stop numbers give you shallow focus. Maybe a nose is in focus but not your ears. It lets in LOTS of light going big pupil (low f-stop) but you have fuzzy backgrounds. If full image (close/far) focus is what your after, then high f-stop numbers are your playground.

Once you learn F-stop is a double edge sword either taking or giving light, it also effects focal depth. The other two settings are adjusted after f-stop to compensate and balance your light equation. If you learn nothing else from this, learn f-stop means focus depth.

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

Title: Sunrise Through the Knothole

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BigHorn Mountains Cloud Cover

BigHorn Mountains Cloud Cover
BigHorn Mountains Cloud Cover

From My viewpoint at 130 miles out. This area of the sky is the size of your thumb at an arms length on the horizon. The BigHorn Mountains Cloud Cover that night was climbing up the back of the peaks. It was to cover the highest ones within a few minutes of this image collection. I had a visual window to the peaks that lasted at most a few minutes. The sun was still over head and this was very bright and hard to see. The lighting was high overhead and slightly oblique to the images. It’s a tough photographic environment lol.

Getting to see weather move over these 13,000 feet high ridges is a rare treat from this far away.

These huge blocks of the earths crust uplifted during a major tectonic compression episode called the Laramide Orogeny. Cloud peak is 13,175 feet and is visible in this image. The same compressional forces that uplifted the peaks, also downwarped the adjacent basin to the east. This Basin called the Powder River Basin. This basin the major source of coal in the US. The burning of this coal generates 30 percent of the electricity generated in the United States.

My ranch coincidentally sits directly on the western most edge of the Wyoming Black Hills. It is actually JUST east of the edge of the Powder River Basin. If I drive 2 miles west, I start to see alluvial fan sediment. These sediment fans stretch all the way from the Big Horns. Dissected into ridges by huge rivers washing off the peaks during glaciation. . These alluvial deposits are far reaching, called the “Tullock/Fort Union” formation. Major Mountain sized Anticlines and Synclines resulted from the continental wide compression.. Huge were the forces bending even the underlying crystalline Pre-Cambrian rocks. The rocks to clay washing off of those peaks filled the basin and washed just about to my front door.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: BigHorn Mountains Cloud Cover

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Sunburst Over The BigHorns

Sunburst Over The BigHorns
Sunburst Over The BigHorns

Sunburst Over The BigHorns is the solar equivalent of a nuclear burst over the 13,000 foot high mountain chain at sunset. A clear sky sun.. this was bright! The ice in the air was magnifying the sun like a projector screen.

Imagine this as a nuclear burst melting snow to vapor. This would be the scene just before you went blind ….. I think the trees on the first ridge would be smoking. You know…. Like the second Terminator Movie with Sarah Connors on the Chain Link Fence at a playground as the nuke goes off…. (Classical Reference to a SciFi Movie). I digress lolol.

This is a TOUGH light environment and on the edge of the envelope for any camera system. Looking into the sun with any gear is risky if your not using a mirrorless system and looking at the brightness ONLY on video. No direct light paths to your eyes allowed with this level of brightness. No DSLR’s. I look through a video eyepiece to set up my camera for captures like this. The term STUPID bright comes to mind lol.

There are two ridges visible in this image. The first lowest dark and treed ridge is 40 miles out from the camera and is called the “Red Hills”. They are right at the same elevation I live at. A long 130 miles to the high peaks from my lens.

The sun looks so big because the ice in the air projecting plus the distant mountains are really very small on the horizon while the sun is the same size. Further back, the mountains shrink but the sun looks bigger due to perspective. Telephoto lenses CRUSH perspective looking at an area of the sky the size of your thumb at arms length. Then they fill the image frame with it in high detail. Optical Zoom is FAR superior to digital zoom. FAR!

2×3 feet

Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Sunburst Over The BigHorns

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Good Place to Stand

Good Place to Stand
Good Place to Stand

Good Place to Stand I think. That is the 350 yard mark and those are 4 and 3 inch inch diamond steel reactive plate. I’m pretty sure he was thinking that being ridge-lined AND standing next to some of my target plates was a good idea. He’s thinking that guy couldn’t possibly see me 👁👁.

His choices might be debatable but if he keeps this up, he might do poorly in the yearly lottery lol.

For you shooters out there thinking that these targets are ridge top…Rightly so but sorry, No the bullets don’t keep on going. You don’t have the right perspective. The shooting station for these targets look down on them (parallel ridges). I’m taking this shot from the valley floor 200 yards out. 13 of us are Certified Range Officers so our course of fire is pretty well designed over 5.5 square miles of land. You could literally shoot any small arms in the air in any direction up here and not hit another house (except mine shooting straight up 🤔.

I have 270+ fixed metal reactive targets set up on our ranch. This is the 19th year I’ve had a major shooting event annually…. These targets are part of the course of fire of the Wyoming Tactical Rifle Championship (501C3 non-profit shoot in our 10th year of raising monies for wounded vets and their families). 120 people descend on our remote ranch for 3 days every July. We are always looking for RO’s. They need their own ATV’s and binocs to follow shooters. We are not open to the public generally for this. Having said that, day three is more or less for the team versus team elimination (fast and furious). It’s more or less public at that venue but it’s a drive lol.

We had 30 teams last year (2 per team), 20 Range Officers. We always need more. Some of the best shooters on the planet come up and need score keepers/safety officers. . We are the second largest precision rifle team event in the country at the moment. We don’t hunt pronghorns during that event but we sure have volunteers it seems . 😝

We fire 20,000+ rounds as a group over that weekend. 8 miles of groomed backcountry rifle courses in both Wyoming/Montana. 3 days. Big bragging rights. 😜 Two years ago, I picked them all up by hand. We don’t leave brass in the backcountry. Now my RO’s do it at the end of the event.

Just a reminder, it’s 7 months away. Volunteers need to get their act together, get donations for the prize table etc. Start thinking about it. It is by far the best way to get a tour of this place……

Admin: Remove if inappropriate but this is a non-profit event raising funds for folks that need it. Hope it’s OK.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Good Place to Stand

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Frosty ComTower Guy Wires

Frosty ComTower Guy Wires
Frosty ComTower Guy Wires

WIth these Frosty ComTower Guy Wires being covered by 1/8th inch of ice, they had a sag in them but not too muchmuch. I have seen them much more heavily loaded. This tower has been on this ridgetop for over a decade now. There was a LOT of thought that went into this connections.

Engineering is not my forte but I’ve had to dabble at times. I’m a ham Radio Operator plus our business band so we need a com tower lol. This is 1 of the three cable connection points that holds up the 60 foot tall structure on a tall ridge. It sees other towers in the area which enable us and others to get broadband up here. Our internet is pretty fast at times. (at times being the key phrase lol) .

There is an 8 foot long dead man 4inch diameter pipe. Thus is attached well the Rod that comes out of the ground attaching to the turnbuckles. The cables are all triple clamped of course. Look carefully at the rod as it comes out of the ground. There are spikes welded to it.

Those Points at the base dissipate static. This takes some potential away from the tower itself. Everything is thermite welded copper connections, lightning there instead of the taller tower that has smooth edges. Sharp point metal attract lightning. These are the points of ionization /static build up dicharge. They are a good start to a plasma ionized air channel to a lightning bolt. There is a ring and a “star” of recycled copper water pipe buried several feet deep as a ground plain and a grounding network.

This system has been in a lightning rich area high on an exposed ridge with a 60 foot tower of steel pointing straight up to the sky. For over a decade, I’ve never lost any Equipment to lightning up there so far. The building there is a faraday cage literally. Lightning has stayed out of there to date.

Contrast is king in this photo I’m thinking. 🤔

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Frosty ComTower Guy Wires

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Lone Tree Ridge Sunrise

Lone Tree Ridge Sunrise
Lone Tree Ridge Sunrise

This is called Lone Tree Ridge Sunrise. The Clouds were such that I could point the camera into the furnace and actually see details on the edge. Such conditions where I can catch a sun surface like this are not common. The necessary glare filter here is natural cloud cover. I have a lot a captures from this morning using that veiled sun but this is one of my favorite Lone trees. It’s actually alive but it looks pretty scraggly lol.

My arrival at this alignment here is about 15 minutes too late. If the sun was lower I would have moved back from the ridge to keep the angle. Thusly more of Lone Tree would have been above the ridge . The tree is just behind the crest from this angle. Still the effect was very interesting to my artsy side so I finished the image. The yellow sun is natural as the camera saw it. It is way to bright for me to say what color it was outside the cameras protective video environment. Looking at this scene through anything but a mirrorless camera (not a DLSR) could blind you . Pick the wrong camera and you can also burn a hole in your sensor chip. Double trouble with less expensive cameras so be aware.

I worked about 15 locations over a 10 mile stretch of Wyoming Backroads that morning. It was way to muddy to go into the backcountry and tear up my two track roads. I’ll wait until it’s frozen again to venture up into the backcountry.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Lone Tree Ridge Sunrise

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Deer Watching the Sunset

Deer Watching the Sunset
Deer Watching the Sunset

Deer Watching the Sunset has caught a father (adopted) and son moment as the sun was setting into the grass. (amazing it didn’t catch on fire 😀). This is yet another deer filter in front of my lens which reduced light considerably. Any glass filter in front of my lens would have messed this up. 👀.

Photography is something I do every day in deer populated backcountry . I don’t get a lot of chances to get the sun to cooperate AND the deer to be tolerant of my machinations by my Jeep Grand Cherokee. Just 3 or 4 times a year based on history.

I was crashing over sage and high grass to get in position slowly but VERY noisily. (the sage is fine and it’s my private deeded land) Essentially I circled the whole herd over about 5 minutes to get the sun behind them. They see my Jeep all year several times daily so they are not that concerned. It never chases them. I must point out that I have a rock stuck in my right front caliper that is squeeking to all heck. I’m sure they didn’t know I was there… 🤣

There were about 20 deer in this group, one buck and not a huge one. His neck is getting big from the season though. The really big boys haven’t found this group of does yet as rut has yet to start to any degree. Some of the boys are sparring but not in earnest yet. December will be hot and heavy in mule deer country though in spite of the cold Wyoming weather which is certainly incoming lolol.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Deer Watching the Sunset

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Complex Sunrise Big Sky

Complex Sunrise Big Sky
Complex Sunrise Big Sky

This Complex Sunrise Big Sky image is on the Wyoming/Montana border looking east. Both states in the image. This is a “fully involved” sky

While Montana Claims the “Big Sky” moniker, Wyoming certainly shares it. Our ranch is in both states and MOST of my images have both states well represented in the capture. I’m one of the few photographers that can legitimately post an image in both states Facebook forums lolol.

This is called a “Sunrise” but in fact it is still in Civil Twilight a full 15 minutes before the sun actually rose. This is still a night sky. Day starts when the horizon drops away from covering the sun. Twilight is my favorite time of the day. I photographically work almost every morning but clear sky cloudless mornings. There are SOOOO many cloudless gradient twilight images in my portfolio lolol. Certainly I don’t need many more.

Going out in the twilight before sunrise into the backcountry is alway interesting. I often run into still bedded deer, most of which don’t care that I’m driving by, stop, take a photo and move on… I get some of my best wildlife photography done coming back from working morning twilights. I’ve done this many hundreds of times. Over time, you get lucky and random encounters start to add up if you have the right gear and ability to work in morning golden hour light. Twilight low light is a whole different group of settings lolol. The transition from twilight to sunlight is rapid.

I have a lot of this same sky looking west taken the evening of this same day overlooking the Big Horn Mountains. You will see these as they get finished/posted.

Location: Standing directly On the “Wyoming with Montana” border, Bliss DInosaur Ranch,

Title: Complex Sunrise Big Sky

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Distorted Sunrise Early Winter Ridgeline

Distorted Sunrise Early Winter Ridgeline
Distorted Sunrise Early Winter Ridgeline

This was taken on the morning of 11/06 (Wednesday) Exactly at sunrise. I don’t fully understand hoe this sun formed but I’ll give you my theory.. “Distorted Sunrise Early Winter Ridgeline” This was a new one to me.

FIrst of all the sky was lit up pretty well through about 15 minutes of late civil twilight. So I’m watching the clock having picked my spot based on compass direction and brightness. I would point out this is EXACTLY what I was seeing through the eyepiece. At the right place at the right time this blob rose that I could have easily looked at with my naked eye. This is not a particulary bright scene which is why there is so much definition in trees.

No glare at sunrise with a “sun” must be rare. I have this on two cameras at different magnifications and framing. I have only finished this one as of yet. This was a dark scene with little light for right at sunrise. Just color and not brightness if that makes sense.

Theory

The Distorted Sun is of course sending light through hundreds of miles of atmosphere, storms, clouds etc. We actually only see a line of sight sun when it’s up somewhere ABOVE the horizon, any sun touching the horizon is actually below the line of sight. The atmospheric lens bends the suns image around thee horizon to your eye well below the line of sight.

This sun is distorted the absolute heck out of it by that “air lens”. I have not in thousands of observed/photographed sunrises/sunsets seen anything like this before. This is by far a very odd blob for a sunrise. The “sun” disappeared into the cloud banks and more or less shut down this show. I had maybe 20 seconds to get two cameras involved.

I’ve seen very formal distortions in the suns image. Stretched with a vertical elongation or sawtoothed edges I’ve seen. MIrage of the suns edge from bending around the earths surface real time I’ve watched. But I’ve never seen a blob with such color and shape? Never in my career. 😲 (Shaking head).

Filed under weird things I see working “Wyotana Skies”.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Distorted Sunrise Early Winter Ridgeline

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Sunrise Over Coyote Ridge

Sunrise Over Coyote Ridge
Sunrise Over Coyote Ridge

Sunrise over Coyote Ridge is a really long lens capture overlooking a long ridge about 10 miles away.

The Crack of dawn is literal here as the cloud bank above was very obscuring of much light . The rest of that morning was toast due to cloud cover sadly. I often go out and get only 1/2 or a 1/4 of a sunrise sky show. Clouds move in an mess it up….

Up here in the Wyotana borderlands, the “Sun Slits” where the cloud deck blocked the horizon can be beautiful for sure. The RIdge got it’s name as I’ve seen Coyotes up there numerous times…. It’s a big overlook over there. When your up on the “ridges” you have a 180 mile across east west horizon I can see.

I actively photographically work 5 different parallel Ridges. Miles long, they are a quarter to half a mile apart. Each with it’s unimpeded views of the horizon. I move along the shadow line (terminator) of the opposite hill and the sun/moon looking for opportunities and frames.

This is a lot of negative space in an image but I personally like sun close ups and silhouettes of ridges lol.. The low angle light traveling through atmospheric turbulance is clearly distorting the suns edge. The ridge line up close is sharp as a tack and focused. It’s the several hundred miles of air between that ridge and the sun that is causing that effective blur on the background.

The blur effect is effectively a mirage. Since the sun is (literally) actually just below the horizon line of sight at that time…. The atmospheric lens is bending the sun’s image around the horizon before it is physically in the line of sight. . This is not line of site 🤔

I also remind you this is not the sun moving, it’s the earth rotating and the horizon dropping away from covering the sun. Things are as they are not as they seem 😲

These scenes are BLINDINGLY bright so don’t point your average DSLR Camera into them and expect to not be blind if you look through the viewfinder. I use only mirrorless cameras and if you don’t know what those are, don’t try this at home 😎. Protect your eyes. I watch this on video to set up my camera.

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

Title: Sunrise over Coyote Ridge

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“Ents” Catch and Release Policy

Headline: Moon Catch and Release Policy by the "Ents"
Headline: Moon Catch and Release Policy by the "Ents"

Satire: In Tolkien’s masterwork, the Living Trees are known as “Ents”. They walk and talk and generally care for the trees in the forest as their shepherds. Here the “Ents” Catch and Release Policy is demonstrated by a young cousin of “Treebeard” . (Classical Reference)

Halloween:

Halloween brings out Ents, many of which roam the Wyoming/Montana borderlands). While he was reaching up practicing the newly negotiated “Catch and Release” program. The Moon indeed did get away from the touchy feely young “Ent”. “Sneaky Pete” the windmill was responsible for the negotiations I understand but that is just local gossip and I wouldn’t be one to spread a rumor 🎃 .

Just think, if that “Ent” didn’t let the moon go, how many things would become haywire….. The oceans would become sloshy and off it’s time base for tides. It would be a BIG disruption of lunar charts etc….. “Sneaky Pete” the windmill apparently prevented all that. We own him much but we will see how long the Ents “hold” to this policy😂

Photographic Musings:

There was just enough light left over from the setting sun to drag some detail out of the rocks grass and trees in the foreground. This actually takes some light to do. Because the moon is so bright, cameras have trouble looking into the darkenss around them. Silhouettes are easy. Getting details in this kind of light is an entirely difficult thing to do unless the sun is actually up. It wasnt here and this is using twilight light to capture the shadow details. Under the category of photographic challenges. Also I’d love to see a cellphone image of something like this. I’m thinking they shouldn’t operate in this kind of environment but I love being proven wrong. They make some amazing cameras on the little lenses these days. .

Happy Halloween, share freely.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

“Ents” Catch and Release Policy

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Halloween Sky: Who Do you See?

Halloween Sky: Who Do you See?
Halloween Sky: Who Do you See?

“Halloween Sky: Who Do You See” …… was done off a pretty impressive sky to start with (still have the original still in the raw timeline somewhere. But I instantly saw the possibilities in the image. Lore from our Pagan (pre-christian) past works it’s way into the present with this holiday mixing with christian practice in the middle ages through out Europe. Much of Halloween Lore is handed down over countless generations from parents to their children along with the handed down/cut out witches on brooms and cardboard pumpkins from many childhoods ago 😀🎃🎃

So in the pursuit of this image result…. all attempts at being photorealistic went out the window and this turned very quickly into an ART/Photo Hybrid project lolol… . Did I mention this is ART for Halloween?? (Pssst, Don’t tell the kids”. ) I will always tell you when I totally mess with an image lol.

Personally I imagine the Cartoon Character “Tigger™” in this capture (its about 95 percent real and 5 percent art, just a tweek here and there really ….a little mirroring selectively. Certainly not the whole image). I would bet some dragons and devils come out of this “Rorschach Test”.

Geeky Musings:
So what is the tendency to see faces in clouds (random data) called? Pareidolia is a type of apophenia, which is a more generalized term for seeing patterns in random data. I am horribly Apophenic and anthropomorphize virtually every scene I see more or less automatically.

This tendency to “see things in clouds” was once considered a symptom of psychosis…. (Let that sink in for a second and go figure lololol) but now is considered absolutely normal. (probably not by some 😜). Humans have even taught computers how to see faces from random data. (Facial recognition and all that). There are also those poor folks that have no ability or interest in such folly but I consider it a sign of artistic talent perhaps hidden away in the rooms of your mind just looking for the door. :).

At any rate: HAPPY HALLOWEEN !
Share freely to a few special ones that just don’t look but actually see. 🙂

Location, overhead plus in my workstation, Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

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Blue Birds Migration Ready

Blue Birds Migration Ready
The Gathering: Blue Birds Grouping Before the Migration

This gathering of Mountain Blue Birds Migration Ready was caught the passing through of what looks to be a Common Flicker swooping in the middle of the flock and disrupting this gathering and scattering a few lol… Something had to set the camera off and usually its a warm body going through it’s infra-red detection grid.

Game Trail Camera Captures

Besides my Sony Alpha 7RII Pile, … I run a network of 26 Game Trail Cameras (for you new guys). For every “Great” photo from a Game Trail Camera like this I look through thousands of out of focus and over/underexposed images. Great ones do occasionally happen like this though lolol. My collecting SD cards from Game Trail Cameras and viewing the contents take up hours every week these days.

I find many good captures among the numerous random clicks they collect. Maybe 1 in 100 is a good image that I can fix and use here. This one is 1 in 2 or 3 thousand lolol. I actually do get multiple flocks of migrating birds on a regular basis toward the end of Autumn. Autumn was on a tuesday this year I remember all too well. Then it was winter and it’s stayed cold mostly for the last month. The Blue Birds have all headed south where there are live insects to hunt.

Each and every image from a game trail camera is problematic from a professional photo-finish standpoint and this one was no exception. Those images (to a one) take me a “bit” to “fix” before I would publish them and put my name on them. THere are all sort of .jpg artifacts and borders around high contrast areas that I have to go over very tediously to correct. Having said that, this is a full sized 2 feet by 3 feet image lol. Portrait aspect.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (my backyard).

Blue Birds Migration Ready

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Satire: Volcano Goes Off On the MT/WY border

Satire: Volcano Goes Off On the MT/WY border
Satire: Volcano Goes Off On the Mt/Wy border

Satire: “Turtle Butte” came to life the other morning with a series of rumbles and tremors resulting in a discharge of smoke and no doubt all sorts of other volcanic debris. This particular butte, only 50 miles from the Devils Tower/Missouri Butte Volcanic Neck complex, sure looked convincing the other morning when I took this🤣 Could be a precursor to Yellowstone’s caldera popping like a teenagers face before a date.

Just a geologists musings😎 with a photographers habits..📸

Happy Halloween .

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands. In fact turtle butte is precisely on the WY/MT border.

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Pronghorn Sliding Under a Fence

Pronghorn Sliding Under a Fence
Pronghorn Sliding Under a Fence

This Pronghorn Doe Sliding under a fence during it’s spring shedding make her back look much worse than it is. She was dumping hair by the clump along her back from rubbing on wire crossing fence lines last spring. She’s fine from this maybe a few scratches and maybe a few get infected now and then but I don’t see it very much.
There are only three wires here with the 4th broken so this is a favorite place for wildlife to crawl into the hay pasture from the pasture where the water source is. (Game Trail Camera
at the “funnel”). The fence has been broken here for years left for the game to get through. They are used to it…. I Even have a blurry picture of one of my Corriente’ Long Horns jumping this fence. I even have an antelope doing the same thing jumping over which is pretty rare lolol. I’ll get around to that image as I run across it and get it posted .

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Sunset over the Borderlands of Wyotana

Sunset over the Borderlands of Wyotana
Sunset over the Borderlands of Wyotana

Here’s where I spent the other evening at sunset. The Borderlands are such that when I take a photo east and or west, I’m usually having parts of both Montana (distance) and Wyoming (close) in the image.

There were small storms in the area spitting either snow or rain depending on your elevation at the time. I waited to go out until the sun was just above the “sun slit” under the cloud deck. Watching what is going on has saved me a lot of time here and there lol.

This is a nice little isolated lake not far from a road but you really can’t see it from the road. Most travelers up here drive 100 yards from this and never see it. Spring fed of course
I’m sure it was seep 100 years ago. So the ranches damed it up along with many other ponds decades ago.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Twilight Behind A Lone Tree on a Ridge

Twilight Behind A Lone Tree on a Ridge
Twilight Behind A Lone Tree on a Ridge

I took this a week ago as this posts with quite a Twilight Behind a Lone Tree on a Remote Ridge. This is a favorite lone tree of mine being on a very high ridge that is approachable from both sides at least on foot from this side AND I can get far enough away to fit it all in to the frame.

Twilight skies are notoriously color boosted. I would suggest to you that if anything, the real show was actually much more vivid in person but I stopped a bit light on saturation on this one as I’d like it to be believable lolol. It was beautiful.

Location: Ridge 1, Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Great Pumpkin Rising

Great Pumpkin Rising
Halloween Eyes from a Setting Sun

These Evil Halloween Eyes from a rising sun I took a week ago as this posts. I’m always on the lookout for the Great Pumpkin Rising.🎃 I caught him here just sticking his nose over the hill top. Particularly at this time of year when all the supernatural creatures are out and about roaming the backcountry just waiting for an unsuspecting photographer to wander by… As if all the photobombing windmills were not enough for me to deal with……😜

The Sun was down below the horizon, this is a night sky, the spot lights from the sun’s down angle illuminating and lighting up the atmospheric ice suspended in the air…. It gave me this effect and several others interesting images as the clouds changed over the timeline. This is a ridge 40 miles out so a pretty small part of the sky which was pretty dark. These sky shows each have their own personality, sometimes several bi-polar sunset/sunrises hit me in a row lol. . I try and like to think I can read a sky like the actor Bill Paxton’s character in the movie “Twister” except I try to predict good or bad sunrise/sunset ahead of time to figure out what to do instead of where to chase the tornado as in that B movie lolol. More likely one of my many Delusions… yup 😄

Share freely with the season. It’s a natural photo not a digital concoction I swear. This stuff really happens… I just set my gear and click …..📸

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

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Our Atmospheric Lens in Action Distorting the Sun

Our Atmospheric Lens in Action Distorting the Sun
Our Atmospheric Lens in Action Distorting the Sun

I have seen some distorted sunrises before but sheeeesh..I could watch the roiling atmosphere live in my Sony Alphas video eyepiece. You could see the edge of the sun actively spinning in little mirage like circles caught clearly here as a still.

That tree is about 500 yards out and in focus, everything behind that ridge slowly starts to get affected by the mirage turbulence that morning. One of the best/most intense distortion I’ve seen with this 1200 mm effective super-telephoto. It resembles an oil painting lol. The sun is clearly out of round here due to the effect that morning.

Right at the Montana/Wyoming border looking east as the horizon drops exposing the relatively fixed sun (sun rises is the myth it’s the earth that is moving). Remember, things are as they are, not as they seem or your are told…. 🤣 (My First rule of science and thinking in general ).

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

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Sunrise: Up Close and Personal

Sunrise: Up Close and Personal
Sunrise: Up Close and Personal

The Horizon is falling across the sun’s face here Up close and Personal. The sun is actually not rising here. Remember that during a sunrise, it’s not the sun that is moving, it’s the horizon that is falling relative to the fixed ball of nuclear fire. Professional long range ballisticians/shooters even compensate their aim at long distances for the horizon dropping or rising shooting straight east and or straight west over the flight time of the bullet.


The atmospheric lens consisting of hundreds of miles of low angle air density changes (inversions) and moving air current distort several things.
1: The sun is not actually line of sight here, it’s actually and physically BELOW the horizon because the aforementioned “lens” is bending the light around the globe to make it look like it’s above the horizon lol. It takes a few minutes for the actual line of sight and what you see to get back in sync. 🤔
2: The edges of the sun (in the VERY sharp image) is sculpted by the “roiling” air. I often watch it live real time through the lens. Mirage in miniature along that normally very sharp edge.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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“Son: Some Day All This Will Be Yours”

"Son: Some Day All This Will Be Yours"
"Son: Some Day All This Will Be Yours"

Father/Son Talk..”Son, someday all this will be yours”. In the mean time ever vigilant mom watches their back while they have some quality family time right on the crest of a blind hill way on a remote county road. I stopped way back knowing I didn’t want to interrupt that family conference so I waited patiently…. figured I might as well take a photo….😂

This photo is of course an imaginary Pronghorn Family as the affiliation of the doe with the Buck is very transitory lol. The fawn will stay with the doe through the winter and weaned before the birth of her current bun in her oven. There were other does about too so he’s definitely not monogamous…..

The Pronghorn rut is over at this time so most of that business is taken care of by now. It’s time for them to migrate about 20 miles to the south. The Thunderbasin Natural Grasslands is a miniature version of the Serengeti Plain here in north eastern Wyoming. (Fewer Big Cats) Not so much in the summer but in the winter there are LARGE herds of Pronghorn that move there from a pretty big surrounding area to winter over the brutal conditions that we enjoy about this region.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Moon Rise over Trail Creek Road

Moon Rise over Trail Creek Road
Moon Rise over Trail Creek Road

One the way back to the ranch from Gillette (a 140 mile round trip), I saw this Moon Rise over Trail Creek Road. The Sun had just set behind me and all this red light was even reflecting off the road sign turning a dark blue sky into a dark redish purple “Belt of Venus” which is the long red wavelengths bouncing off the ice in the air. This gave the whole scene a rediish colorcast which here is as it was then.

This is the hunters moon which was just above a wispy cloud layer lighting it up. There were plenty of hunters packing up for the day on Trail Creek so the moon was living up to it’s name. Red Colorcast this deep isn’t that common in my experience.

Geologic Musings: Some of you know I’ve been a geologist (MS) as one of my professional careers I’ve had in my travels… I’m very much into Geobiology and sedimentology. This area in this image is a well dissescted sandstone/shale geologic sequence (Tullock or Fort Union Formation Tertiary) with most of this grassy areas bedrock being younger than the dinosaurs. My ranch way up on those ridges on the upper left of the photo has the older Cretaceous Dinosaur Bearing sediments. Down in the river valley you get some quartz cobbles where the rivers concentrate them. . It’s pretty rare to find cobbles up on the far ridges and when you do they are always affiliated with dinosaur fossils……

These stones are called “gastroliths” or stomach stones. The dinosaurs carried them from where they picked them up hundreds of miles away from where they were finally deposited when the dinosaur died…. Rivers that deposited the Cretaceous dinosaur bearing sands sand were only competent to carry sand only, they couldn’t carry cobbles very well lolol. Too heavy for the current velocity. I actually look for sand with rounded mud clasts (balls of mud) the size of the bones I’m looking for to search for fossils. I bet you think I look for fossils first. Actually I look at the sediment and it’s characteristics before I start looking about.

Location: Trail Creek Road, 1 mile south of Montana near the Little Powder River, Campbell County Wyoming.