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Moon Up Close and Personal

Moon Up Close and Personal
Moon Up Close and Personal

Moon Up Close and Personal

It’s not magic using a 12 inch Meade LX 200 at 3200mm, I need to take 6 images of the moon to mosaic together a full image. This top 1/3rd of a D moon (first quarter). I took this in infra-red so the color is artificial. Infra-red comes out pretty and pink raw out of the camera. This is more like it was at the time I took it not far from the horizon. The seeing was good that night. That was the mystical part….

The joy of “Mirrorless” removable lens cameras is that you get what you see in the eyepiece (or backLCD) BEFORE you click the shutter. Working in manual mode on a Mirrorless, you instantly know what your settings are doing, you watch it live on the screen. This is NOT a DSLR camera routine where you approximate the settings, take a photo, check the image on the LCD. Then you reset your setting better….. Rinse and Repeat until you get the shot.

I wouldn’t even consider buying the best possible DSLR versus a 1500 dollar mirrorless removable lens camera. Not even close. Mirrorless allows you instant feed back to your actions. If you are gear shopping, I strongly suggest you find out about mirrorless camera bodies that take removable lenses. As with anything else, you get what you pay for. I use Sony Alpha 7R series extensively though I have a couple of consumer level Canon M series cameras. I’m currently using the smaller chip cameras (not full frame like the Sony) for astro/big telescope as this image.

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

Title: Moon Up Close and Personal

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Full Moon Belt of Venus

Full Moon Belt of Venus
Full Moon Belt of Venus

Full Moon Belt of Venus

A magical “Belt of Venus” morning up on the Montana/Wyoming border waaaaaay out in the backcountry. The sunrise is still 10 minutes away behind my shoulder as the blue stripe on the horizon shows. That blue is the shadow of the opposite horizon blocking the long red light from the sun just over the lip. The pink projected onto the Ice suspended in the atmosphere are the reflections from the long wavelengths make it to my camera lens. This high rolling backcountry is very remote and relatively easy to get to in the summer. It is NOT so easy to get to this time of year. This was taken late fall 2019 before the snow pack started to form this high up.

Close / Far perspectives are a complex photographic challenge for all of you. An automatic setting on your camera is not going to do this image.

I’ve gone through the basics a few times and will entertain questions below for photographic solutions to your working on manual mode aversion. (Kind of like fear of swimming). You just have to jump in and turn that top dial to M. Then you figure out which control wheel controls each of the three settings you change in manual mode. ISO (Camera Sensitivity), f-stop (size of the aperture/pupil in the lens), finally Shutter Speed.

You only need to understand those three things to run on Manual mode. Their relationship to each other and how messing with one, requires you to mess with the others a tad to compensate the amount of light coming into the camera. Your riding a three way light teeter totter trying to balance those settings.

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

Full Moon Belt of Venus

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Windmill’s Green Spring Morning

Windmill's Green Spring Morning
Windmill's Green Spring Morning

Windmill’s Green Spring Morning

I needed to finish this image as I sort of need the dose of green. Image 5 of 6 for Windmill Wednesday. All Windmills All day 🙂

Windmill Junkies Unite: 🤘

The red gravel country road winds around our homestead. It USED to run right through our current compound but the country decided to run the road around the house thus all the curves up here. (Thank GOD) I’ve seen days without tracks in the snow on our road. Most winters, we get stranded by the drifts up here. Only oil trucks and a few local ranchers travel this road surrounded entirely by our ranch for 3 miles across 2 states.

With the green season above, there are three seasons up here. White season or simply “the snowy time”. Brown Season hereby defined as ground with no snow. And green season, when there is no snow and just a little brown. Last year was a VERY rare long green season when AUGUST had green grass. Almost unheard of up here in the borderlands. This was certainly the most wet year in my 20 year memory on this ground.

I consider winters here easy. I spent a decade in Jackson Hole Wyoming dealing with 6 feet of snow flat every year in the back yard. We do get some good snows with WINDS here on the border. Jackson Hole is not overly windy. We have WAY more drifting than Jackson did. I used to snow blow a foot of powder snow a couple of times a month. Snow seldom drifted like it does here.. Jackson Wins the snow amounts hands down over here in the borderlands. We win here with the amount of wind. Jackson is Colder of course.

I’ve lived 30 years in Wyoming this year. I first came here as a student of geology 40 years ago in 1980.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Windmill’s Green Spring Morning

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AERMOTOR Windmill Doublet

AERMOTOR Windmill Doublet
AERMOTOR Windmill Doublet

AERMOTOR Windmill Doublet

Aermotor windmills account for the bulk of windmills out there. The company started way back in the 1888 with 24 sold the first year. Over 20000 of the beasties sold in 1892. The company still exists. They also sold a LOT of steel fire “look out towers” for fire watch and being a lightning target lololol.

Reconstructing past lives and events grabs your minds eye coming upon and old homestea. The comings and goings of old homesteads spark my imagination. There was a homestead about 1/4 mile from this location. 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 it in when I moved here. It was an “attractive nuisance”.

Most settlers had to use the water at their windmill. I suspect an outhouse long since gone somewhere nearby downward of the prevailing wind. This land has had cattle or sheep on it for 100 years and slightly more. That’s 5 generations of cowboys that stayed the night or the summer in this treeless pasture. Being the only source of water for several miles around, the cowboys drank here too.

This is very big country open back country. Many square miles of grass are attached to any particular ranch. 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).

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: AERMOTOR Windmill Doublet

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Moon Balancing Act Rising

Moon Balancing Act Rising
Moon Balancing Act Rising

Moon Balancing Act Rising

I find the moon to be a big show off when ever it can be. Here it is balancing on a rock like a precocious 10 year old. It’s probably trying to impress the sun which is still up over my shoulder lighting up the scene I often find it resting on the horizon or caught by some rouge “Ent” Tree. Way out in the remote back country many magical and mystical things occur when I pursue light. I’m just the stenographer here with the limitations of the technology I deal with daily.

There are only a few days a month where the relatively full moon is close to the still sunlit horizon. I get perhaps 3 or 4 sunrise/sunsets a month with the moon involved. Some months I don’t get the opportunity due to cloud cover . I’m usually game to be in the backcountry for this kind of activity. Deep snow sort of slows me down but NOW I have a taller truck with 35 inch studded snow tires to help a bit. You might notice the sideways snow drifts on that 20 story high hill telling a story of high wind here in the borderlands of WY/MT.

On the moon you can clearly see the smaller top crater at 12 oclock. (It’s actually a small “Mare”). It is always at 12 oclock on a rising moon but at 3 oclock as the moon sets here at 45 degrees north latitude. That little Crater is Mare “Crisium”. (Sea of Crisis from the latin).

Have you noticed the moon’s face appears to rotate clockwise as the night progresses? This is an illusion as you are the one that is rotating, not the moon🤔. Your looking at the moon rising looking east. Then you spin and look at the moon set to the west. In other words your point of view has changed. The amount of change depends on how far north or south of the equator. Illusionary. It’s very complex from here and another whole narrative. 🤔📸 It will make you crazy trying to figure this one out lololol.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Moon Balancing Act Rising

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Skull Moon Atmospheric Lensing

Skull Moon Atmospheric Lensing

Skull Moon Atmospheric Lensing

It appears (to me anyway), like a skull looking up/left. What do I know as I have an overactive imagination. Great image for Halloween or just the 2nd day of January when this first posts lolol.

Heres an image from April of 2018 that I just finished. There wasn’t much to do to it. This shot is an interesting distortion by the 400 miles of atmosphere the setting moon light has to travel through to get to my camera. Changes in air density and humidity make for surfaces that refract/bend light just a little bit. This is metaphorically an imperfection in a glass lens.

Your actually looking at the moon when it is geometrically below the horizon as that same aforementioned atmospheric lens is at work. The atmospheric lens bends the light so that the sun and the moon actually set a little bit after the scheduled time for setting. They also rise just before they are scheduled to do so because their image is bent around the planet.

Waxing Gibbous Moon leans to the right as it sets. The little crater dot on the 3 o-clock position is a moon setting position. That crater, (Mare Crisium is it’s name) will be positioned at 12 o-clock for a rising moon image/scene. Keep your eye on that little Mare next time you see a photo of the moon situated on the horizon.

The ridge in the foreground is about 1000 yards out in this 3200mm telescopic shot. It was quite pitch black when this was happening.

Good Evening All and be safe in what you do.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana

Title: Skull Moon Atmospheric Lensing

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Moon Rising Snowy Ridge

Moon Rising Snowy Ridge
Moon Rising Snowy Ridge

Moon Rising Snowy Ridge

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 which makes using Tripods very difficult. Maybe a monopod….This was handheld. Distance is your friend here from that Lone tree. I’m about 600 yards out from it for this shot. This is a full sized image not a crop. Doing this kind of photography has found me on my butt more times than any other. 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.

Capturing this kind of image is a “sub-hobby” of mine within the general photography that I do. I find it a seriously fun challenge to get terrestrial objects in the same focal plane as the moon or the sun in twilight or darker conditions. Just like this 📸

You have to get working that camera on Manual if you want to do this kind of work lol. Cell phone cameras need not apply and won’t do this without an external lens of some rigged hook up….lolol Lots of fstop, then all you have to do is adjust the other two parameters left, ISO (camera sensitiviey) and Shutter speed. I’ve covered that many times elsewhere so I won’t do it again here 📸 Suffice to say, distance is your friend here and lots of lens to do this.

. 2×3 aspect to 3 feet tall from a 1200 mm telephoto lens. Not a crop.

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

Title: Moon Rising Snowy Ridge

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Moon Over Windmill Perspective

Moon Over Windmill Perspective
Moon Over Windmill Perspective

Moon Over Windmill Perspective

MOONDAY Monday, moon photos, all day, number 6 of 6 at 9PM.

I hope you enjoyed my moon Monday collection of Full Moon images. I’ve never done a thematic day before. If you like Moon Monday let me know and I’ll do it again in the future sometime.

“Sneaky Pete”the Windmill here provides a perspective regardless of his intent to photo-bomb this moon capture. I have no control over his actions. He just likes the attention. He and his bigger older brother “Re Pete” live and work here on ranch. They seem to work their way into my landscapes way higher than the statistical average compared to other ranch creatures. 😜😜😀

Photographic Musings:

Manual Mode Phobia: (You know who you are) ….

Close / Far perspectives are a complex photographic challenge for all of you. An automatic setting on your camera is not going to do this image.

I’ve gone through the basics a few times and will entertain questions below for photographic solutions to your working on manual mode aversion. (Kind of like fear of swimming). You just have to jump in and turn that top dial to M. Then you figure out which control wheel controls each of the three settings you change in manual mode. ISO (Camera Sensitivity), f-stop (size of the aperture/pupil in the lens), finally Shutter Speed.

You only need to understand those three things to run on Manual mode. Their relationship to each other and how messing with one, requires you to mess with the others a tad to compensate the amount of light coming into the camera. Your riding a three way light teeter totter trying to balance those settings.

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

Title: Moon Over Windmill Perspective

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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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Horsey Belt of Venus

Horsey Belt of Venus
Horsey Belt of Venus

Horsey Belt of Venus

MOON MONDAY 3PM offer… Moon photos all day today. This is number 4.

These two jokers were hanging out where I was driving just as the moon Full December moon was setting. The pink”Belt of Venus” was pervasive in the back show that morning. Alpenglow like the Belt of Venus is a result of LOT of atmospheric ice. The pink is the light that made it over the horizon, the blue like under it is the shadow of the eastern horizon on the western atmospheric ice screen. There are not many days of the month you can catch this and then the sky has to be clear enough to see the moon down that low to the horizon. As the western horizon moves upwards, the blue will disappear along with the full moon setting in due time.

Yet another low light (civil twilight) Close / Far perspective out of a 23-135 Sony G series lens. Some lenses do this kind of thing better than others but a medium zoom of about 70mm was my pick here. High F-stop for deep focal depth of field. Camera sensitivity and speed you set to light conditions with ideally lower iso and faster shutter if you can get away with it. Riding the razor blade of light balance. F stop is your priority here unless the horses are moving. If they are moving your going to have to make your shutter speed faster and turn up your camera sensitivity to compensate for the less light due to a faster speed/shorter exposure. It’s always those three settings working your camera in manual mode. Your camera on automatic is not going to take this image.

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

Title: Horsey Belt of Venus

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Moon Trapped in Alpenglow

Moon Trapped in Alpenglow
Moon Trapped in Alpenglow

Moon Trapped in Alpenglow

MOON MONDAY 12pm ‘entry’ for this Last Monday of the decade.

The Pink Belt of Venus Alpenglow phenomena that colors the sky Pink was turning to cranberry on the left of the frame. I LOVE smooth subtle gradients in skies.

Photographic musings:

I try my best to find tight frames for the moon. It’s surprisingly hard. I couldn’t step back any further as topography is my master in that. Operationally, I often drive or walk the “shadow” line on parallel ridges of the moon or sun to find an interesting “Close” object to get in focus with the moon. I’ve worked parallel ridges for miles while the moon or sun rises or sets, I’m on that line. The moon is considered an infinite focus but in low light, getting closer things precisely focused is a function of distance and f-stop. F-stop is the aperture (pupil) size of your lens. Higher numbers is small pupil, lower f-stop number are a bigger pupil (aperture). Manual Mode….

High F-stop number give you deep focal fields but they are a double edged sword. High f-stop also steals light which is in short supply in this lighting. Distance from the foreground object IS YOUR FRIEND. Getting too close and you’ll never be able to focus both objects. The timing/lighting for this sort of capture is of very short duration. A few minutes, once a month at most. The moon has to be in close far perspective with almost anything to be a great shot out of the gate. Enjoy the pursuit. This is one of my favorite Close far perspectives. Getting in focus grass against the moon in low light is sort of a difficult thing to do.

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

Title: Moon Trapped in Alpenglow 122219D

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Full Horse Moon

Horsey Setting Moon
Horsey Setting Moon

Full Horse Moon…. instead of Quarter Horse Moon…. 😜😄

I would like to thank the quarter horse and the moon for sitting for me. A photographer is only as good as his the source of the photons we capture. It’s harder than heck to get the moon to sign a model release I have discovered. The horse was WAYYYY easier to get to “sign”. This was a cool morning by the way. It was around 10 degrees at the time, 10 inches of snow all over the ranch land. This neighbors horse was with his all black cohort free ranging out in the backcountry. I happened by about the same time the horizon was rising to cover the moon from below. What a coincidence 🤗

This setting moon that morning was very visible with the sun rising over my shoulder left frame. The lighting was wonderful, the sky robins egg blue with wisps of clouds. The horse was only about 150 yards out for the soft focus in the close/far perspective that this image is. I’d preferred 200-300 yards but beggar opportunist photographers can’t be choosy sometimes 😜👁 Remember trying to do a terrestrial object with the moon, distance is your friend with a telephoto. Further back, the horse would have looked much smaller to the camera. This relative to the moon which would look bigger compared to the horse. I couldn’t walk any further back and still line this up. Topography is my master.

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

Title: Full Horse Moon 122019B

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Veiled Full Moon Halo

Veiled Full Moon Halo
Veiled Full Moon Halo

Veiled Full Moon Halo

Capturing a Halo around a full moon is not that easy as the full moon’s brightness usually overpowers the dimmer clouds surrounding. Most cameras can’t take it but the veil of clouds reducing the brightness REALLY helps.

I look at this and see a moon orbiting a gas giant planet such as Jupiter. That is because I live in a science fiction world of fantasy at times. I also have a somewhat overactive imagination but that is for another story lol.

Photographic Musings:

To take a full moon without clouds, the ISO 100, 1/100th and f-11 manual mode settings are a good starting place. This is more like ISO 250, 1/50th and f11 (lowest f stop on this telephoto. Your shutter speed is your variable of the three settings. The other two settings are more or less standard for moon work unless you have very fast long lenses. Everything changes if you are using a f-4.5 600mm super-telephoto lol. Fast telephotos are wonderful for this if you have a camera with a very wide dynamic range too. The ability to see the darks against the brights is what that is all about. Dynamic Range in your camera is a big deal if your working low lights, twilights and nights.

A big super-telephoto fast Canon lens to do this work is somewhere in the 6000 dollar range used. IT’s obviously prohibitive and 13K to buy one new. I suggest getting a used one through either ebay or amazon as you typically CAN return things unless otherwise stated.

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

Title: Veiled Full Moon Halo

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Moon Rolling Down Hill

Moon Rolling Down Hill
Moon Rolling Down Hill

Moon Rolling Down Hill

Perspectives of Close/Far are a favorite pursuit of mine particularly if the Moon is part of the photo. In the gamut of my photography, chasing the moon seems to be a constant. This chase of a terrestrial object in focus with the moon is literally a sub-hobby of mine. Nestled within the larger business of pursuing the possibilities of light on a broad scale. I still consider my self to be a landscape photographer. I find myself distracted by any movement or unusual angle most of the time. Click….. This morning of glass clear skies had me working at an operational tempo most seal teams would envy. One of the things I try really hard to do during a moon set this clear is “keep busy” lolol.

On a sub-zero mid-winter morning, the Moon decided to roll down the hill but it hit some resistance in the high grass as it was just starting. It couldn’t go any farther down hill so it “rose to the occasion”. Actually this is a setting moon. Keep track of those three equal sized mares on the right pointing to 3 o’clock. That indicates a setting moon. If those 3 circles are pointing to 12 noon, it’s a rising moon.

Positioning compositions like this becomes a matter of millimeter side to side or up and down movements of my camera/head. You really can’t use a tripod easily doing this. The moon is always moving. You might think there is a limited window of opportunity to catch this moment. Yup. Pretty limited but I was doing this by hand and as such, I could move with the moon. It is literally dancing with the moon. 🌕🕺📷

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

Title: Moon Rolling Down Hill

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Dinosaurs and Birds Moon Watching

Dinosaurs and Birds Moon Watching
Dinosaurs and Birds Moon Watching

Dinosaurs and Birds Moon Watching

I Love scientific irony….

It’s not a composite which is why it’s not quite what I wanted focus wise. It took a LOT of smoothing though to compensate for the low light gain as this was handheld (high camera sensitivity gives big chunky grains) .Atmospheric distortion was scalloping the edge of the moon too. I even had to give somewhere with the focus and that was on the moon. I was overly close to the Bird to do this ideally so I’ll use the image to teach. It’s still a pretty cool capture lol.

Photographic Musings.

What you have to do if you just don’t have enough distance from the close object….. HINT: focus BETWEEN the terrestrial object and the moon having each JUST A LITTLE blurry.
Hopefully your highest possible f-stop number for your lens is used. F-stop will give you a deep field of focus. The bottom line is distance from the terrestrial object is your friend. The field of focus may be big enough to bring both into focus. Not perfectly here. Wish I would have had enough time for a tripod. The bird wasn’t well compensated for his time and he left pretty quickly lolol.

Something to consider:
Dinosaurs peered at the same moon that this modern version of an Avian Dinosaur is watching right now. I love ironic scientific connections. I point out that with time the moon is moving away from the earth so the moon was a little bigger and closer during the age of the dinosaurs. It was closer the further back in time you go.

Title:Dinosaurs and Birds Moon Watching

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Windmill Duck Sun and Sail

Windmill Duck Sun and Sail
Windmill Duck Sun and Sail

Windmill Duck Sun and Sail

So I see the wonderful veiled sky. I’m several miles in, well past an easy walk into the backcountry. (I drove my Jeep because this gear is heavy! ) This is “Re Pete” the 1930’s Aermotor Windmill. He is “Sneaky Petes” (the windmill) older/bigger Brother here on the ranch. Usually they are the photobombers working their way into my landscapes and sunsets. Here the ducks photobombed the famous photobomber him self. I have no control over any of this narrative OR the windmills for that fact. It takes on a life of it’s own😜😂

An interesting path that leads to this particular moment of space and time here forever frozen . That ridge line parallels a higher line to the east. This is VERY hilly country with big gullies separating flatter divides. Two track trails cross deep animal trails from a century of cattle walking. You don’t want to hit one of those at 20 with your jeep lol. As I say, my jeep is a short timer here now.

Incoming is a new Ford F-150 that should improve my ride quality (which is beating me up as I put 3500 miles last year on my ATV alone driving two track (bumpy) backcountry roads. I feel like I’ve worked in a mine all my life driving heavy equipment. I actually wore out a set of front brakes in 2 years on my Polaris Ranger. There are a LOT of slow downhill descents (anybody can fall downhill) on that Polaris. This business is not for sissies here in the backcountry.

Memories:

I’ve only dumped ONE camera and long lens out of a moving vehicle to date. It cost 1000 dollars to fix that camera back. I feel that was cheap. Particularly compared to buying a replacement camera. The lens undamaged. I was traveling about 15 mph at the time. Then watched the unit tumble end to end. It was very close to this spot lolol.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Windmill Duck Sun and Sail

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Moon Detained Rolling Downhill

Moon Detained Rolling Downhill
Moon Detained Rolling Downhill

Moon Detained Rolling Downhill

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 slowly roll down hill but alas, a young “ent” (ish) tree has stopped it’s progression. The moon seeing it had no other way had to climb up the sky to evade and escape the clutches of the local clan of “Ents”. Thank heavens it 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 up if even one of those trees get’s their way.🤔🤔

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 Detained Rolling Downhill

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Windmill Crescent Moon Filter

Windmill Crescent Moon Filter
Windmill Crescent Moon Filter

Windmill Crescent Moon Filter

Way outside a normal photographic challenge. I come up with these ideas, show up to the time and place. Then I have to figure out how to capture such a low light event. 🤔📷

This was a 1/15th second time exposure as it was very dark out for this. The wind was BARELY moving the windmill’s sail. The camera is about 400 yards from the windmill’s blurred fan (in the camera). The moon was 200+ thousand miles out and only about 3 percent illuminated. The morning sky was full of a dark brown ice glow starting into alpenglow.

A big 600 mm fast lenses will do wonderful captures if you can keep them still enough. Any wind on a big camera lens in this amount of light is a tough photographic environment. A shot timer in the camera is a good thing (or a remote shutter switch). It takes a second or two for a really big lens to settle down motion induced by the click. The Montana/Wyoming borderlands I frequent are mostly high ridges. The wind is actually higher up here than down at more reasonable altitudes. Truly this is a tough photographic environment to catch such a low light moment in space and time.

To catch a blurred windmill sail as well as a dim crescent in the same photo….. Taking photos in very low light at distance is an interesting game. If you get a chance to try this with your gear, start at a 1/15th second time exposure. Go longer if you need if your tripod mounting the camera.

Artistically I was compositing two nested arcs in the same image. I believe this was about 1 hour before sunrise. Taken during either late astronomic twilight or earliest nautical twilight. There was just a slight glow in the sky, just enough to eek this image out.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Windmill Crescent Moon Filter

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Wooden Windmill Orange Hour

Wooden Windmill Orange Hour
Wooden Windmill Orange Hour

Wooden Windmill Orange Hour was a natural very colorcast morning with the orange light permeating and reflecting off the snow and ice.

I traveled 30 miles to get to this windmill before sunrise and of course have a whole timeline of this scene from start to near finish as this was. I left a few minutes after this shot.

Old Wooden Windmill towers are good for MAYBE 50 years. Some may last a bit longer. This is over in Crook County off Jenkins Road. I wouldn’t suggest traveling Jenkins road if there is any drifting doing on since the county may not plow it for a few weeks. This is a big backcountry up here and no one lives on this particular stretch of road. Very little commerce but ranching happens here. It is genuine backcountry Wyoming.

There was a slight sunpillar/shaft of light coming down from the sun. More of a spot light really but there was a LOT of ice in the air that morning. It had snowed the whole drive there and I was leaving the first tracks on the road both ways. I often go on road trips for hours up on Wyoming/Montana backroads and not see another vehicle. Breaking down is not an option up here without LOTS of survival supplies this time of year. Blankets, sleeping bags, food and basics are all on board. I do have a very good radio that communicates via repeater from 30 miles away if necessary. Not to worry.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Wooden Windmill Orange Hour

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Windmill Sunset 2:1 Aspect

Windmill Sunset 2:1 Aspect
Windmill Sunset 2:1 Aspect

Capturing Windmill Sunset 2:1 Aspect is not an easy settings combination to figure out on your camera. It is counter-intuitive to say the least and a cell phone isn’t going to catch this image. The layers of ridges , the sails blur, the rising horizon (setting sun)🤔

Montana skies on the right. Wyoming Skies on the left. Living on the Montana/Wyoming border has it’s little spiffs lolol.

There are 3 things you have to set to run a camera on manual:

1: Your first priority here is to catch a blurred windmill. The only way to do that is to set your shutter speed to a very long 1/15th of a second to facilitate the blur. That makes a longer time for the windmill sail to blur the whole disk. Your kind of stuck with this first setting priority.

2: So then you have a VERY bright sun on the left of the frame. …. …. Your f-stop will reduce light so automatically you turn it all the way to the highest number the lens will go (this was f64). I was about 300 yards out from the windmill. 800mm telephoto.

3: You will still have to turn the last thing you have to set to run the camera on Manual. ISO or Camera sensitivity . I would think not many cameras can do this because they don’t have enough built in dynamic range . I use ISO 80 for this and the camera will go down to 50. Yours will probably go down to ISO 100.

This was done WITHOUT a glass neutral density filter in front of the camera but that might help some of you that cant turn your ISO any lower.

Disclaimer:

Now you know everything I know about trying to take one of these except, don’t do this with a DSLR camera as the direct light path to your eye will blind you. I look at a video screen to do this using mirrorless cameras. Also, make sure your using a camera that can take this (is rated for it). a direct sun through a long lens can and will melt some sensors in cameras out there. Don’t melt your camera please.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Windmill Sunset 2:1 Aspect

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Windmill Wednesday with “Sneaky Pete”

Windmill Wednesday with "Sneaky Pete"
Windmill Wednesday with "Sneaky Pete"

Windmill Wednesday with “Sneaky Pete” is a capture from last week that just made it through my workflow. Twilight Sky Shows after sunset are often better than the sunsets themselves.

This sky was impressively big at the 30 foot tall Windmill named “Sneaky Pete” (long term narrative if your new to “Sneaky Pete”. ). He has a habit of photobombing my land/skyscapes. I have no control over his actions as he has a mind of his own. Fortunately his size gives some perspective to this huge twilight sky that night. Some good comes out of his mischief. 😝

“Sneaky Pete” is the younger of two Windmills we have here on the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch. The older windmill is “Re Pete”. He hangs out about 3 miles out in the backcountry. More images from him as I rework my porfoiio to current standards.

Windmills in the past were the only source of water up here. We used that older windmill as recently as 2007. We’d have to change the leathers and grease stuff up. One has to climb up a 35 foot tower to do that…. We have a water pipeline now to that spot…. Working windmills are becoming rare even in this remote backcountry were easy to fix solar wells are taking over the jobs. A mile of electric wire costs MANY thousands of dollars. (maybe 60 or 70). A solar penel and pump are just a few thousand (2 or 3). Windmills need a lot of attention. Solar panels take next to nothings to keep running. Technology wins every time. 😁

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Windmill Wednesday with “Sneaky Pete”

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Hawks Photobombing My Landcapes

Hawks Photobombing My Landcapes
Hawks Photobombing My Landcapes

Hawks Photobombing My Landcapes is literally a photobomb in real life.

I was of course amazed at the lighting coming from that mornings veiled Sky. Shooting the veiled sun strong enough for silhouettes to form fools the observer to thinking this wasn’t a very bright sky. I’m shutting down the camera to light (high fstop, low ISO, and fast shutter). By Looking at the furnace in the sky, we need a fast shutter. Convenient if a couple of really fast hawks come flying by. 🤔

So I’ve got that camera/long lens set up pointed from about 300 yards back from the Windmill. The trees are Full sized old grown Pines at 30 to 40 feet high but they are 500 yards distant up a slight ridge. Telephoto lenses crush perspective distance. This is a long focal depth of field because of the higher f-stop setting I chose. High fstop takes away excess light AND gives you deep focal fields. (from the windmill to infinity here).

Looking through the eyepiece at the time with fingers on the setting options (3 only in manual mode to learn about). . I had it all focused and as the birds moved through the focus field they lit up on the video screen. The camera highlights things that have high contrast with their backgrounds. This shows focus areas. An advantage of quality mirrorless cameras is that they can tell you things. What you see is what you get with them.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Hawks Photobombing My Landcapes

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Windmill Shack Orange Alpenglow

Windmill Shack Orange Alpenglow
Windmill Shack Orange Alpenglow

For me to get to this location, I have to leave about an hour before sunrise “Windmill Shack Orange Alpenglow”. It is well down into Crook Country Wyoming about 40 miles towards Devil’s Tower. If that hill weren’t in the way, you could see the big thing.

Normally I would just drive up there. This isn’t my ground and I’m not big on trespassing on others ground. This shot was from the country road It is now filed in my “Wyoming/Montana backroads folder. All of the backcountry roads up here are gravel with an occasional Concrete/asphalt highway cutting across no mans land. It’s about 40 miles in any direction from this spot to a Wyoming State paved road. It’s all county road department maintained here.

There are some rough areas of course to get here. But if it’s frozen, the mud is no longer a problem but for deeper than your tires ruts lolol. Driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee where taller pickups leave tire grooves is always exciting. I’m still waiting for my now officially issued VIN number model year 2020 Ford F150 to be built. It should change the height at which I take images sometimes lol.

I get lost in reconstructing past lives and events, the comings and goings of old homesteads. This wasn’t much more than a cowboy bunk house with a wood stove for the “hands”. You had water with the windmill and I suspect an outhouse long since gone somewhere nearby downward of the prevailing wind. This land has had cattle or sheep on it for 100 years and slightly more. That’s 5 generations of cowboys that stayed the night or the summer in this treeless pasture.

This is very big country open back country with many square miles of grass attached to any particular ranch. This is a steel windmill which is more expensive than building the wood towers was. This water pump is still standing though. It looks to be in working conditions.

Location: “D” road, Crook County Wyoming.

Title: Windmill Shack Orange Alpenglow

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Crescent Moon Setting Sail

Crescent Moon Setting Sail
Crescent Moon Setting Sail

Crescent Moon Setting Sail is BEST seen full screen.

Setting the mood:

The layers of ridges, the dark civil twilight slowly encroaching into nautical twilight. Then the stars will start to come out. Setting very quickly, less than a minute left before the horizon rises to cover the “Sail” of the ship so far away. The first ridge (black) is 40 miles away from my lens. The second Ridge is the Big Horn Mountain chain 130 miles out from my camera. Look carefully to see the outline of the whole moon. This is all very Subtle and it was quite dark for this capture.

I seldom see such a clear sky on a night that had very heavy alpenglow. (Starts out red, goes to orange and then this umber color. This is certainly the best moon sail I’ve ever captured this late in twilight. (just minutes before Nautical Twilight) Not having grain in an image like this is a gift. Only the moon edges blurred by several hundred miles of atmosphere is coarse.

Photographic notes.

Being a student of such things I think it worth noting that being able to differentiate the two ridges in this image or see the un lit side of the moon is almost magic (high technology we don’t understand) This is a brand new Sony Alpha 7R4 camera back and the dynamic range on this camera is PHENOMENAL. It also gives me 100 meg raw files to begin with 🙂 (60 meg .jpg out of the box). Put it on good fast glass and it’s a Monster for low light.

Dynamic Range??? What is that?? Low light??

. The Human Eye has 20 f-stops of Dynamic Range.(DR) This newest Sony has 15 f-stops of DR compared to less in MOST other cameras. The ability to see black cats in a coal bin and make out the individual hairs on the cat is good DR. . DR is all about seeing MORE levels of black or whiter on duller whites between. Seeing a white weasel on snow and picking out white hairs is all about DR. Or in this case, resolving a difference in what I thought at the moment was a dark silhouetted single ridge landscape but the data was there.

The inability of a camera to take the photo of stars behind a properly exposed full moon is due to that (at least) 5 f-stop difference between the human eye and some of the best technology we use. (as a normal consumer anyway). IF you ever see a properly exposed detailed Full Moon AND there are stars in the background of the image…..It’s a composite image combining a star field in photoshop which is very easy to do. If the artist is presenting it as a photo, he/she is a fibbing a tad.

Stars behind the moon.

I use pretty good (very good) gear and I CAN NOT take a close up (long lens) photo of a Full Moon where you can see the properly exposed details AND have stars in the photo. I see fakes ALL the time. Literally I have worn down a few batteries out trying to do so lolol…It is however, really easy to do it in photoshop all day lol. A veiled moon is easy to get SOME starts through the cracks in the clouds but not an unfettered full bright moon. A single Bright Planet like Jupiter MAYBE. Not a star field….. “ain’t gonna happen”. It goes against the Laws of Physics involved.

Gear, Sony Alpha 7R4, Canon 600mm with a 2x on a good tripod. 1 second time exposure, ISO 250, f-11

Location: From my front yard: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Crescent Moon Setting Sail

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Western Woodgrain Skies Through a Windmill “Filter”

Western Woodgrain Skies Through a Windmill "Filter"
Western Woodgrain Skies Through a Windmill "Filter"

“Western Woodgrain Skies through a Windmill Filter” is a 300 yard distant telephoto capture of “Sneaky Pete” the windmill who is notorious for Photobombing my landscapes and sunsets. He attracts lightning and otherwise gets in my way so just ignore him in the photos and enjoy the sunset😜

Woodgrained skies are not that common but I’ve seen a few of them this month and as I type this, both sunrise and sunset today were similar to this. I have yet to download those images from my cameras lolol. I’m literally slammed with images to finish. That is a good thing though lol.

Have a great day and get that cup of coffee going !

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Moon Leaning in for a Haircut

Moon Leaning in for a Haircut
Moon Leaning in for a Haircut

In a rare moment of personal grooming, I caught the Moon Leaning in for a Trim on “Sneaky Petes” rapidly spinning blades. Talk about cutting cheese!!📸

Photographers notes: I’m illuminating “Sneaky Pete” the photobombing Windmill with the LED lightbar of my UTV. It was pitch black out but for the lightly veiled moon. The blur is both Wyotana wind and long exposure time. Only a veiled moon will work for this kind of shot. An un-encumbered moon is too bright for our cameras limited dynamic range to resolve the difference. Also, distance from the terrestrial object is your friend. This is a 200 yards out shot on the windmill…a bit further for the moon… Park Rig and start walking back and turn up your fstop for focal depth lolol. Tripod…

If your new to my “world”…. “Sneaky Pete” is a years long narrative of mine. He’s quite the fellow/character and his brother windmill here on the ranch….”Re Pete” are both always photobombing my landscapes. I have no control over their actions but I snuck up on “Sneaky” for this one 🤣 His second job as a barber and all that …… He’s (wait for it) ………….. “Moonlighting” for this job 😎

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Sunset Seen Yet Again by This 100 Year Old Windmill

Sunset Seen Yet Again by This 100 Year Old Windmill
Sunset Seen Yet Again by This 100 Year Old Windmill

Sunset from the point of view of a 100 year old windmill. (Re Pete). This old fellow is on our ranch about 3 miles into the backcountry via two track roads. I usually work my way out to this guy’s hangout where he gleefully “photobombs” my landscapes…. (It’s a years old narrative if you don’t understand lolol).

Aermotor windmills account for the bulk of windmills out there. The company started way back in the 1888 with 24 sold the first year. By 1892, 20000 had been sold lolol. The company still exists. They also sold a LOT of steel fire “look out towers” for fire watch and being a lightning target lololol.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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