As with most of my work finished on a big computer monitor, full screen is preferred. Click the image to enlarge.
I’m always trying to experiment with different lighting when I do night time exposures. Here I used my yellow flashing light on the top of my Raptor (I often block backcountry roads for 10’s of minutes at a time so I like a warming strobe). So the flashing strobe is like a flash bulb but in yellow. Of course we are in a drought and the grass is brown anyway. The color cast added to the scene I thought for the Close/far perspective. I have another version of this with LED white light. Just as this, the suffuse foreground lighting diminished up the hill. Stay tuned for that image.
The star field is just about properly exposed, sharp and well populated. Interestingly, the longer you leave open the shutter, the more stars that keep appearing. Our sky here on the Montana/Wyoming border 70 miles from the nearest bright city is as dark as the North Atlantic Ocean according to NASA. One of the darkest skies in the United States. If you have a sensitive camera and a steady surface you can just about fill the frame with stars. There is close to 1000 visible in this photo alone.
When you are leaving the shutter open for 10-15 seconds at a time, ANY movement of the truck the camera is mounted on will ruin the image. It was periodically gusty during this shoot. Therefore MOST of the images I took during this timeline were ruined by the movement. No fixing 1000 stars with blur tails. Ground tripods with really long lenses are better than vehicles due to the smaller wind profile.
Long Red, Orange and Yellow wavelengths survived the gauntlet of the atmospheric filters present. This lake looks HUGE but I assure you it’s a perspective trick of angle and light. It is a small melt water pond on ranch probably 50 feet across but that is irrelevant to the illusion. If it were not windy that night, this would have been a very nice mirror. I know the bottom here and have driven into this pond before to work it from the center. This is an ephemeral pond that will dry up in the summer. The bottom is firm thick grass.
Reflections from lakes are always darker than the skies they are reflecting. Rippled water presents a smaller surface to reflect the available light so windy surfaces are even more dark. The dynamic range of these Sony Alpha 7 series never fail to amaze me and I’ve used them for 2 years now. I put a lot of clicks on camera bodies lol. Hard use up here in the backcountry. Lots of dust /environmental exposure plus wear and tear.
This location is for all intents and purposes, directly on the Montana/Wyoming border looking almost straight west. As this posts the sun is setting closer and closer to straight west each night until the March 19 at 9:50 PM MST. It will set at 270 degrees that day but just a tad earlier lol. I will be working long east west fence lines for the next few weeks with out a doubt. The sun will be at the end of east/west roads as well. There are so many opportunities over the next week folks, pay attention to sunset and sunrise and where those “leading lines” lead to.
6 months ago during the summer solstice of 2019, a BIG 100 mile across mesocyclone moved over us right at sunset. Of course “Sneaky Pete” the Windmill jumped into the photo as he is a terrible attention hog. I have no control over his actions. Windmill Wednesday AND Christmas Wednesday. , Windmill Junkies Unite 🤘
I do understand through a third party that “Sneaky Pete” the Windmill wishes all of his fans a very very Merry Christmas. He has this insecurity problem where he wants to solve through fame and fortune acquired via his exposure in pictures. So he rushes into my images. His brother “Re-Pete” I’m sure also has Christmas wishes but he couldn’t be present at this photo taking session. He was over the hill out at his hangout during this storm.. Hard to get a family together portrait of the two brothers. They can’t move easily through the timber. I suspect they haven’t seen each other for a long time. I’ll have to see if I can arrange a digital family reunion someday…. 😜
I’m not sure what his New Year resolution. I’m pretty sure it has to involve photobombing more and injecting himself into my landscapes.
My new years resolution is to catch more skies like this and finally get all these images I’ve got stored away up on my web gallery. That will take a “while”. I consider it job security.
From all of us at the Bliss DInosaur Ranch, all of it’s creatures mythical and otherwise , Merry Christmas and a Happy/Safe New Year. 2020 is going to be an interesting year to be alive.
This highest point around “Red Hills Overlook across the Little Powder River valley to our west has a spectacular view.
This high point I’m standing on is known on ranch as Rattlesnake Ridge because the cowboys of the past blew up a rattlesnake den there or so the story was told to me by an old timer years ago. We don’t have a lot of rattlesnakes because of some dynamite that was a useful tool decades ago and easy to get then lol. I understand the den was blown up on this boulder strewn hilltop.
I’m actually standing in Wyoming for this capture. The Mountains on the horizons, the “Red Hills” are 40 miles distant and 15 miles into Montana as you look at the peaks. This image is 50/50 pretty much equal of both states lol. Lighting up here is wonderful at times. 😀
Geologic Musings:The Chain of Mountains in the distance is called the “Red Hills” which are what’s left after the Little Powder River at it’s base removed all the material between where I’m standing and that far ridge (40 miles out to the peaks). 😲 The “Little Powder” is a 10-20 foot wide river currently, was responsible over time for removing all that sediment between where I’m standing and that Mountain Chain…..That’s moving a lot of sediment over a long time (I’m at essentially the same elevation here as the saddle between the peaks in the distance). I am however stratigraphically (geologically) lower in the rock section though as the normally flat layers of rock formations are diving in that direction about 50 feet every mile. The rock units are diving into the huge bathtub that is the Powder River Sedimentary Basin at the foot of the Big Horn Mountains. You get 30 percent of your electricity from coal swamps formed in that basin nationally.
Regional Geomorphology: My ranch is literally located on the eastern Edge of the Powder RIver Basin and the western edge of the Wyoming Black Hills geomorphologically. I’m located pretty much on the “inflexion point” between those two regional geologic structures almost exactly… Both structures resulted from a regional compression on a huge scale about the same time because of huge tectonic forces acting regionally bending layers of rock about. 🤔 I live on the middle of the teeter-totter this way too …..
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 …..📸
This Crown Sky during mid-civil twilight (about 15 minutes after the sun went down that night) is a pretty rare sky event. I’ve only been able to photograph a half dozen crown skies in 30 years and this is the ONLY one from twilight with the sun well below the horizon by 5 or 6 sun diameters by the time this was taken.
I know it’s dark…it was dark. I didn’t enhance the colors, this is a time exposure of about 3 seconds which tends to enrich colors a bit. I adjusted them to where I remembered them. This is a night sky after all…
If you look really close, you might find something looking back at you in the clouds but I’m just playing there a little as part of my style. The rest of the image is pristine to the actual scene and unmolested. Most won’t notice. Channeling Doolittle a little …….
This is a 2:1 Aspect Ratio Image that is 72 by 36 inches at high resolution (smiling).
This farm pond 3.5 miles out into the backcountry of my remote ranch is never easy to get to in the daylight. Two track ranch roads depending on how wet the ground is are always fun to negotiate :). I put 3500 miles on my ATV up here last year for example. All backcountry photography related with a tad of ranching thrown in.