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Forest Hugging the Sun

Forest Hugging the Sun
Forest Hugging the Sun

Forest Hugging the Sun (Cellulose Filter)

Satire: Did I mention this is Satire but just to begin…. My father told me many times that “things are as they are, not as they seem, or you are told.”

Sunspots:

You know we have a young sun. Young men often have trouble with their complexion. I heard the sun has some spots on it’s face. So, how do you expect the sun to get the spots off it’s face. Here Sol is going through the local “tree wash” before it rises up. Best be clean and shiny…. Best way it has found to get the spots off it’s face here during the solar minimum. I see the sun do this almost every morning. It takes a lot of work to keep your face under control as a youngster. . But there is a time and place for every photo and this moment in space and time is forever frozen. Caught him washing his spots I did ! 😜😜🤔📸📸

Back to my normal programming:

If you didn’t know, we are currently at the low period of the sunspot cycle. Every 9 to 14 years with a mean of 11 years, the sun goes from High to Low numbers of sunspots and back again. We’ve been watching this cycle repeat 25 times since it was first recorded in the early 1700’s. Men watching the sun with pinhole cameras could see them back in the day lol.

As I type this, there were 2 little sunspots just appearing on the suns disk. The first in months. Low sunspot numbers in the past has been affiliated with long periods of cold (Maunder Minimum is a phrase you should google). Suffice to say the sun behaves cyclically. It might not be good to get cold as famine is associated with cold times. As a GeoBiologist (literally) some of the most biologically active times on earth historically have been warm ones. Turning up and down the furnace as well as distance from that furnace is a BIG driver of the various climates earth has (Earth does not have a climate BTW. It has ALL climates on it)

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Forest Hugging the Sun

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Yucca Ridge Sunset

Yucca Ridge Sunset
Yucca Ridge Sunset

Yucca Ridge Sunset

Working the shadow line of parallel ridges with telephoto lenses has it’s rewards. I find that it’s the simple compositions that carry the most interest as complex misleads the view. Detail yes, but the time and space moment should place you in that continuum in your mind. The human eye might be able to resolve this but only for the briefest of moments. The reflexive look away followed by the ghost of the bright scene on your retina. A quick though of eye damage, you blink and a minute later your vision is back. . 

Yucca make for big speed bumps in the backcountry. Some of the clumps can get 2 feet high. In the winter they catch a snow drift behind the clumps big time. It looks like a sand dune field after a good snow and blow in the backcountry where Yucca is about. 

I look at a lot of sunsets but seldom do I do much looking at the sun. Without the benefit of a mirrorless camera set up I’d be blind by now. I watch scenes like this develop live on video. The setting changes I make to the camera show up in real time as I spin the adjustment dials. With a mirrorless camera in my hands, I know what the image is going to look like before I click the shutter. Compare to a standard DSLR where you click and then see what you did on the back LCD. Just my 2 cents on that debate. 

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

Title: Yucca Ridge Sunset

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Caveman Picture Window

Caveman Picture Window
Caveman Picture Window

Caveman Picture Window

Wilma and Fred have nothing up on these accommodations. This is a small dry cave up on our ranch. There are quite a few overhang shelters in the extended “area” I’m familiar with. This is BIG country to say the least. I’ve been up here actively exploring for 20 years. I just found this shelter last year. It’s cozy in there but it’s dry. How many of you would crawl backwards into a dark small cave. I figured I’d see what lived in there lolol.

Hell Creek/Lance formation covers our Ranch. It’s the famous dinosaur fossil bearing sandstone. There are no fossils obvious in this spot. The ridge upon which this shelter is located is typical. Aa hard well “indurated” (google word of the day) sandstone caps it like an umbrella. . The material that washed away to expose this cave was softer/less resistant to erosion. The cap rock usually protects everything under from exposure thus begins the removal of softer rocks surrounding. Eventually you have a hill or a flat topped butte. In this cave, you have a rare case where the cap rock couldn’t keep agents of erosion from removing the loosely consolidated sandstone that obviously used to fill this hole.

Of course here as everywhere agent of erosion like Wind/Water/Ice/Hot/Cold/Rain/Freezing/Thawing are the driving factors to remove boulders by making sand out of them. The sand blows or washes away. This ground used to be covered by thousands of feet of younger sediment. This sediment has been removed by the agents of erosion over the eons leaving this cave. view

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

Title: Caveman Picture Window

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Orange Banded BigHorn Mountains

Orange Banded BigHorn Mountains
Orange Banded BigHorn Mountains

Colorcast orange Banded BigHorn Mountains is an odd color to cover a landscape with. It was really that color lol.

I saw this developing the other night as I’ve been on a mission to catch the sun behind the BigHorn Mountains. Some nights, the weather window is closed to the mountains but this night it was closed to the sun. The 130 miles distant snow covered range was shrouded in this Orange colorcast that was like a stage light with an orange gel in front over the landscape.

This only lasted a few minutes of course as the sun moved down through progressively thicker and thicker layers of clouds. All just prior to being snuffed out by the range. The horizon of course is rising here, not the sun is setting….

I’ve spent a lot of time this month pursuing the Big Horns photographically. The sun and the range is playing peek a boo with the weather controlling the show. I have many good captures from this week which will slowly work their way into my work flow here. T

The black ridge at the bottom is 40 miles out from this 800 mm telephoto capture on a very high resolution camera. If you hold a postage stamp at arms length and place it against the horizon, this image would fit into a square that side.

2:1 aspect. (very wide. 40 x 20 inches at 300 dpi.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana overlooking the Red Hills out to the Bighorn Peaks.

Title: Orange Banded BigHorn Mountains

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Polarized Orb Weaver Web

Polarized Orb Weaver Web
Polarized Orb Weaver Web

Generating this image of a Polarized Orb Weaver Web, In a rare play time moment, I’m using 3 filters.. A big polarized sheet behind the web, a linear polarized (not circular) glass filter for my lens, finally an Orb Weavers Web to reduce the amount of light coming into the camera placed between the two filters.. The two”crossed” filters were adjusted/rotated so that I still got some sun through and the colors as well.

Two polarizing sheet filters at 90 degrees to each other cancels all light coming through. Black. Slightly rotate one or the other polarizing filter and some direct light as from the sun will come through. But when you have something between the two polarizing sheets, they change the way light is polarized so it makes it through the second sheet not blocked by it. That is the web you see here. .

This is sort of like a really big petrographic microscope (which I’ve spent months on) but in Large scale. You can try this by crossing at right angles 2 pairs of polaroid sunglasses. Put something like a thin quartz pebble between them and shine bright light through the crossed assembly.

Of course the play of light is like that with polaroid sunglasses and automobile windows. . It all was very faint of course and I “brought it out” but the result is self explanatory. Cool stuff Orb Weaver Spider Webs….

If you want to learn more about this phenomena, research optical mineralogy or petrographic microscope on google. Same application here more or less the same physics involved.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Polarized Orb Weaver Web

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Autumn in the Grasslands

Autumn in the Grasslands
Autumn in the Grasslands

Autumn in the Grasslands is full of colors.

I’m not sure of the seed plant here. Grows in big bunches. Not a lot of them on ranch so they are probably a noxious weed I don’t know lolol. Anyone got an idea??

Our ranch is about 1/3 pine treed pastures and about 2/3rd’s grasslands. Autumn down on the flats off the old growth treed ridges is a different perspective entirely. Thats a good mix of winter and summer pasture. You don’t want your cows in pine trees as the pine needles they eat cause spontaneous abortions from the turpentine they contain. Deer do just fine with them but not cattle.

Autumn happened on a tuesday this year in full disclosure. This is actually winter in this shot between snows/melts and was taken about a week ago as I type this. (2 weeks from when it posts. ). Up here in the remote ridges/high backcountry of Wyoming/Montana borderlands, we have a pretty long ramp up to full winter. That ramp is pretty steep this year so far lol.

The sun was just dropping below that cloud deck highlighting everything in a gold light with about 15 minutes to go to sunset at this point. I love perspectives and wide lenses

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana grasslands.

Title: Autumn in the Grasslands.

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Crimson Crack of Dawn

Crimson Crack of Dawn
Crimson Crack of Dawn

Crimson Crack of Dawn is literally just that:

When the sun starts rising, I’m working very long lenses looking at little postage stamp at arms length sized areas of the sky. The tree was hundreds of yards out from my position as getting it in focus was a priority. Distance from the foreground object is your friend.

If camera settings need to be known, looking into a really bright scene like this, LOWEST ISO number, Higher fstop number and really fast shutter speeds. Most camera users need a neutral density filter in front of the lens but I don’t need them with this Sony Alpha 7. I really don’t like them on my cameras as I often get ghost images in really bright off lens center axis photos. Never use em. Neutral Density filters reduce the over all light coming into your camera.

Set your priorities and start working in Manual Mode folks. You can’t take images like this without it.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Crimson Crack of Dawn

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Up Close and Personal

Pronghorn Doe Up Close and Personal
Pronghorn Doe Up Close and Personal

Getting this up close and personal to a bedded Pronghorn is not a common event mostly because it took me an hour to work up to this gal who was still bedded as I drove away. I probably have 1/2 a dozen images “about” this close to a living Pronghorn but this is probably the 2nd closest I have with the closest being just an eye shot of this gal.

Approaching a Pronghorn

Some of them obviously think of my Jeep as just another grazing animal and tolerate me in pretty close as long as I drive like a grazing animal walks. (long story). Cars are without a doubt good portable blinds…no question. But the only shooting from them is with a camera lolol.

There is the discussion of getting animals used to vehicles because this isn’t a problem here so far…. It’s getting them used to the human form that is a bad thing. Hunters don’t hunt up here from vehicles if they are doing it legally. (well maybe some handicapped hunters shoot from vehicles). Hunters mostly get out on foot and because of the human form in the past shooting things at them, chasing them etc, pose an easily recognizable danger to the wildlings. If I get out of my vehicles, the result is these critters are “OUTTA THERE”. They don’t like the human form.

Poaching ?

Poaching of course is always an issue but that isn’t a really good idea on a place where the proprietor is out with cameras all the time Also this is a VERY big place so just because I have a photo of a big buck photo, I’ve got about 100 square miles to search for it. Fences are no barriers to Pronghorn and Deer. They go where they want to. If you want to poach, go elsewhere lolol.

Slow but sure wins over impatience pursuing Pronghorn Portraits all year long 📸

Location: Bilss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Up Close and Personal

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Proud Buck to be from Wyoming (WY)

Proud Buck to be from Wyoming (WY)
Proud Buck to be from Wyoming (WY)

This 2 year old buck’s antlers were still in velvet last early summer when I took this. By next year he will be better but a 5 year old is best for horns. Having said that….

This Buck is Wyoming (WY) proud for sure. I actually have some other photos of this guy around the ranch that I’d have to find to show you but this is the real deal. (his antlers spell WY if you haven’t seen it yet). 📸

I have a deer image who’s antlers spell WYO somewhere too lolol. I’ll get to it.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.


(I’m now taking applicants for the a photoshoot with the deer wearing the MT antlers….🤣)

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Here’s Looking at You Kid

Here's Looking at You Kid
Here's Looking at You Kid

“Here’s Looking at you Kid” is a Game Trail Camera Capture. I use pretty good cameras (30 meg images) but I have to put a lot of work into each and every image I finish from them. They have their issues but are always candid in their acquisitions.

I’m currently running a network of 26 game trail cameras which takes several trips to swap out cards around the ranch. I usually mix business with pleasure and gather camera SD cards (modern film) when I’m in an area. Some of my cameras may spend the whole winter without me visiting as I can’t always get to them in the snow. They will be there in the spring just the same

This gal is taking advantage of one of the 4 stock tanks I keep open all year. Just enough water ground water flowing to keep it open and not suck our water pressure down to nothing because an open faucet 3 miles of pipline and downhill from the well will pretty much ruin a good shower lolol.
18inch square aspect image.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Sunset from a Natural Shelter in the Back Country

Sunset from a Natural Shelter in the Back Country
Sunset from a Natural Shelter in the Back Country

Crawling back into a natural Shelter in the backcountry at sunset would make one think about the little critters inside (and anything else that might hang on out them), but it was cold enough I’m thinking the creepy crawlies were pretty slow motion when I was in there. Nice and snug out of the wind though lolol. It’s turning winter fast here in the Wyotana borderlands.

The View was worth it.

18 inch square aspect.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch.

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Getting Ready to Bail for the Winter

Getting Ready to Bail for the Winter
Getting Ready to Bail for the Winter

“Getting Ready to Bail for the Winter” is a contrast of size and the nature we shape to our needs.

This LITTLE sparrow (I’m terrible with bird ID’s…. a Fox sparrow?? but he’s probably too small) is tiny compared to the Huge Blue Biodegradable binding wrapped hay bale which is roughly a ton in weight and 6 foot diameter 6 foot long cylinder (bale).

This tiny decendent of the avian dinosaurs was the T-rex (in his mind of this “mountain” for a while.😀I was trying like heck to catch him flying away. Got one blurry at 1/1000th…..fast wings! Shoulda kicked up the ISO and gone 1/4000th…Loose some f-stop too 🙁 From 50 yards out.

The “Bokeh” (google it) is wonderful in this image, looks like wood grain. 😎.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Layers of Landscape and the “Red Hills” 40 miles Distant

Layers of Landscape and the "Red Hills" 40 miles Distant
Layers of Landscape and the "Red Hills" 40 miles Distant

40 Miles distant from the Camera’s lens, I’m at the same elevation at that snowy far ridge “Red Hills” in this Layers of Landscape image. Big views from up here 👁
Spotlightling was rife that sunset (about a week ago). Your looking across the Montana/Wyoming border as I’m standing in Montana. It’s snowy where I am too. We got 4 inches of heavy wet snow but the ground in the valley’s got rain. Rinse and repeat all winter lolol. I have never seen it this green up here in OCTOBER up here in the 20 years I’ve lived here!!!!!!!


Geologic Note: The big Valley is the Little Powder River Drainage. It’s about 6 feet wide at the moment. It removed all that sediment between here and there though…. 🤔
From where I stand, the originally flat layers of sediments are Diving underground 50 feet every mile generally in that direction more underground. They dive into the LARGE Powder River Basin at the foot of the Big Horn Mountains 130 miles distant. The Basin is literally a downwarping of the earths crust forming a wave where the wave crest was eroded away to form the Big Horn Mountains, which wore away and filled up the wave trough (the bathtub next to the mountains where all the coal swamps formed) So the Dinosaur bone bearing Sand Beds that blanket my ranch disappear about two miles west of my house diving underground and younger rocks are on the surface. The BigHorns happened After the Dinosaurs 😎

The “Red Hills” are called such because they have a LOT of usually/mostly Red “Clinker” rocks which are coal fired “underclay” that turned to a natural ceramic by the underground fires. It is literally a coarse uneven ceramic in hardness and “Clinks” when it drops. Native Americans made a LOT of tools from it. Lewis and Clark thought it was of volcanic origin. Large outcrops of it exist all over the area and it’s mined as gravel for roads after crushing. Lots of rattle snakes live in “Clinker” dens. The Clinker shrinks as part of the process leaving voids which are homes for many creatures on the surface but often make for local perched water tables that occasionally are big enough for light local use.


Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Smoking Sun through an Old Seed Drill

Smoking Sun through an Old Seed Drill
Smoking Sun through an Old Seed Drill

The sun was “Smoking looking through this old Deering Seed Drill on a high ridge in the backcountry. Perspective is everything (except composition, exposure and subject lolol).
Taken about 2 weeks ago from this post.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Crisp Cold Apples

Crisp Cold Apples
Crisp Cold Apples

We had 4 inches of heavy wet snow on trees fully leafed. These are crisp cold apples lolol.

It will make them sweet :). Never froze.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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A Corriente’ Long Horn Mom (Salt) in an Early Fall Snow

A Corriente' Long Horn Mom (Salt) in an Early Fall Snow
A Corriente' Long Horn Mom (Salt) in an Early Fall Snow

Our Corriente’ Longhorn Mom “Salt” enjoying her natural camo during that Oct 1 Snow storm we had. Every tree had and still has leaves on it. 4 inches of heavy wet snow came in and smooshed many small trees plus quite a few branches fell. Good natural pruning this year from the 70-80 gusts we had this summer AND the heavy snow. :).

Corriente’s are WAY tougher than standard purebred cattle. A lot of Spanish blood still remains . They pretty much take care of themselves with a little mooching off the main herd in the winter. Our herd is 15 animal pair currently (VERY SMALL) but another rancher has about 200 pairs on our place. Lots of grass this year.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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One Minute to Sunrise

One Minute to Sunrise
One Minute to Sunrise

The Lone Tree watching with less than “One minute to Sunrise” has seen thousands of such sights. I struggle to catch but a few in my photon capture boxes. It’s all where you spend most of your time. It’s got me beat up on that ridge🤔

This is still a night sky being in twilight before sunrise.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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The Great Pumpkin in the Sky (ART)

The Great Pumpkin in the Sky (ART)
The Great Pumpkin in the Sky (ART)

The Halloweens Season is upon us and here is a contribution called the “Great Pumpkin in the Sky” (ART). shhh. Don’t tell the kids…
Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

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Crimson Sunrise #224

Crimson Sunrise #224
Crimson Sunrise #224

Good Sunday Morning from the Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Crimson Sunrise #244 is a fairly recent capture of mine from last month before the ice age.

I’m setting this image up to post on face book about a week before it posted and your actually reading this. (I answer in real time) so I’m predicting an ice age between now and then :).

Time Warp🤣 I have to think a week ahead now lolol.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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3 Great Blue Heron Fledglings 50 Feet Up a Cottonwood Tree

3 Great Blue Heron Fledglings 50 Feet Up a Cottonwood Tree
3 Great Blue Heron Fledglings 50 Feet Up a Cottonwood Tree

These 3 Great Blue Heron Fledges are 50 feet up a Cottonwood Tree. These are not common birds here on the high plains but they do come to roost and breed each spring. Our ranches wetlands have our share of Heron Breeding Pairs. These three are about 40 days old fledglings not yet flying but getting most of their adult feathers in. I don’t see them much on up in the drylands. Only near the ponds.

I did have at least one come onto my deck without my knowledge ….where I have had a 500 gallon tank (built into the deck 20 years ago) full of Japanese Koi that were about a foot long. It was almost entirely hidden from above by a choke cherry bush of some prestigious proportions. The heron obviously saw right through my ponds came and ate all dozen of the big ornamental gold fish I had kept in that tank for 14 years. This was a few years back and my replacements are about 8 inches long plus the choke cherry bush is more covering…… (I’m assuming it was a heron since I saw one in the yard the next day which is a rare sighting indeed here). I have photos of him flying off somewhere in my files lol.

I’ve not seen them about the nesting area since late July. This image from June of 2019. These guys were also a football field away from the vantage I had on an adjacent ridge to get this level look at the tree tops. Add a very long lens and you get “up close and personal” if you will.

Early on I can see most of the nesting in this 1/8 long mile extended cottonwood tree line. Habitants included a great horned owl and chick this year in addition to the Heron Rookery… I love this place’s diversity of subject matter.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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