The two hoodlum mule deer were rutting away on a nice warm morning in the late November sun. There is a lot of effort involved in pushing against another high power to weight individual. These two are not monsters but they are serious about what they are doing. There are females gathered nearby with a bigger buck in charge (more or less for that time). Itinerant Bucks come through ranging quite a few miles in their travels.
The male these guys were training for had a nice herd of females numbering 15 or so. I suspect there will be others besides these two clowns trying to take them away. A lot of itinerant bucks walk through and they have a pretty big range which they can cover quickly. Some of those are bigger than these two by far. Ultimately, the bigger necks and musculature wins the fight but antler size WOWS the gals….
I had a buck try to run me down in my backyard one night in November 2012. It’s a long story but both of us walked away relatively unhurt. I definitely came out of it better than the deer did but he survived too lolol. This event was the causation of me getting serious about building a deer resistant fence around our entire compound. I haven’t had a deer eat my flowers for several years. Young trees survive, it’s a miracle cure for deer pressure.
I’m estimating this young developing Mesocyclone is 50 miles distant/ 50 miles wide. Relatively small for a Rotating mesocyclone. It was growing at the time. The sunset for that day is ongoing exactly behind the rain shaft so the bottom of the storm is pretty much backlit as well as your going to see through one. There are just plain intense downpours under these storms sometimes. Depending on how fast they are moving makes you lucky or flooded locally lol. These only rain on a few percent of the ground area up here. Spotty! The ground under them becomes totally soaked if the storm doesn’t move.
We had a summer Mesocyclone years back that sat over us and dumped 4.5 inches of rain in 45 minutes. Water was sheet washing down the hill behind my home and skirting around the house. Almost nothing got in but that slope was angle deep in sheet wash. I have since re-landscapes using mounds to redirect any potential sheet wash off the long hill to our back. It’s only been a problem once in 20 years.
That was a rough storm. Tragically a local cowboy from a nearby ranch was killed in that storm. A truck full of locals went out to see what the 100 year water dump did, drove to one of their herds to check them, road was fine. Drove back the road had washed out. That cowboy was a passenger in that truck. County Emergency Management called me to close the road off from my side of the washout. The runoff went through a major country road that literal gully washer did. It was a major culvert to replace and a big job. We couldn’t get to the highway from that road for a while.
Here I’m using a windmill filter to moderate the bright light coming from that big Supermoon at perigee (closest approach to the earth). I lost about 30 percent of the light which is enough for my camera to pull the tower in the haze out of the dark. It would have been harder to do with the extra light had the windmill not been in the way. Those durn Photobombing Windmills always seem to work into my landscapes but this time, “Sneaky Pete” helped me some. I have no control over his actions…. 😜😜
Big Long Telephoto lenses have a tendency to CRUSH perspective like a compressed accordion . Getting topography, Windmill and Moon all to line up at the same time can be challenging. All the while, at the same elevation as the sail…..not that regular an occurrence lol. I know the topography I work pretty well after ‘working it’ for decades. Knowing the direction the sun is going to rise is a matter of looking it up on google. Get a map, (in my head by now) and figure out “what two or three things” can line up.
I never know WHAT the show is going to be when I go out with cameras. I do usually know WHERE an alignment will occur. 😄 This moon didn’t sneak up on me by any means. It was however a question as to whether or not it would dive into a cloud bank that morning lol.
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
When I see high contrast scenes I hunker down and try to bring it in. High fstop defractions and long shadows dominate the scene on a remote ridge line. The backcountry is full of an infinite number of little zen like scenes at any one time. I find that all I have to do is be there and mother nature will provide.
I walk miles in the backcountry as it keeps me in shape. Well it might be the 20 pounds of gear I’m hauling on deer trails😜…. I have to do something to make up for the computer time I sit on my tail lolol. Working parallel ridges with riding or walking a shadow line is the way to set up compositions that I’m using here. Look for opportunities to walk and follow shadow lines. Here in the backcountry I run into random opportunities to use the landscape for illusion and crushing perspective.
If your buying gear soon….
Mirrorless Cameras: I’m not blind now because I look through the a Mirrorless cameras eyepiece which has a video screen behind the glass so no direct path of light to blind you. Newer mirrorless cameras do this video thing. Older Designed DSLR’s don’t show you your image until AFTER YOU CLICK. Mirrorless Cameras show you your settings changes live on screen and you get what you see when you click not after. If your shopping for cameras, I would tell you to buy mirrorless. Particularly if you work outside with cameras. Studio it’s not critical either way. Don’t look into the sun with a DSLR camera.
The metadata attached to the image showed 45 degrees F. . The ice was not thick to begin with. You can see the tracks behind the canid as he trots along the shoreline. He’s right on a razors edge here…. I’m thinking that this is not a good habit for a coyote to have. Hard to argue with the image though lol. He’s just a few pounds from breaking right through to the lake below. It’s not really deep where he is but there are deeper spots around the edge of this lake.
It’s got to be easier walking than on the shore but that ice was NOT that thick. I have several captures of this fellow over several days doing this same thing. Each is unique in it’s perspective as I have several cameras covering this area. Each camera has it’s own characteristics of color and exposure based on light conditions. They are after all…automatic cameras.
I’m currently running 29 game trail cameras. It takes several trips to check them all. I usually do it while I’m actually at a location. I’ll be picking some cameras up for the winter. While others I’ll refresh the batteries and let them run all winter. I’ll check them in the spring, swap out SD cards (modern digital image storage chip). Then freshen the batteries is the final task. A good game trail camera will use 16 – 24 AA batteries a year.
Taken off the road on the way to Gillette Wyoming. I’m Traveling the “back way”. All gravel, no AAA, no cell phone service, but the radio works lol. I pass one or two trucks on this road (30 miles long) each time I take it. Unless the weather is screwy or it’s really early, this road I’m on is a relatively busy place.
I stand on ground at the same elevation as the Intervening ridge. . Right at 4000 feet above mean sea level. Now those peaks off in the distance, that’s the BigHorn Mountains. The tall peaks in that little eroded wrinkle in the earth’s crust are just now 13000 feet high. The billions of year old granite core of the continent exposed in the center of the range. All of the sediments that used to be up much higher than the core. All those eroded and filled up the big bathtub between my camera and those peaks. The Powder River Basin between has 6000 plus feet of JUST Tullock formation. The Tullock, an alluvial fan deposit, stretches from the Mtn’s to the camera.
The Coal Swamps that allowed the Powder River Basin (bath tub at the foot of the Big Horn Mtn uplift). Think of it like a sine wave with mountains on the high side of the wave and the Powder River Basin is the trough. The top of the wave erodes and fills up the trough. Those sediments from the peaks flowed toward me and reached the hill I’m standing on. It’s all Tertiary Tullock Formation. All that big bathtub filled up with sediment laid down AFTER the dinosaurs died. It was a low area adjacent to highlands thus the swamps and all the coal the Powder River Basin produces.
Location: 13 miles south of Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands. (Wyotana)
Yup, a Tyrannosaurus tooth sitting in the matrix. Wrapping it up for the trip back to the ranch headquarters is the next order of business. There it will be cleaned at my leisure when I get a pile of such things to clean so it’s worth setting up the micro-air-abrasive fossil cleaning cabinet. The black enamel of the tooth is etch by tiny rootlets that covered the surface. The chemical reactions at the rootlets deeply marked the enamel of the tooth.
Fossil Teeth: Selective preservation…
Teeth were “plentiful with many per dinosaur. They often broke off, the new ones erupting from below. Shed teeth were called spitters.They were literally spit out or lost eating. Some teeth passed through the digestive system. Quaintly named (sh**ers) by collectors. I’ve been told by older and more experienced paleontologists the way you tell the difference is their taste…… 😜
Here pictured next to the 6 inch wood awl that I used to dig it out of the Hell Creek/Lance Formation quarry wall. I have a 50 foot long by 4 feet thick in the center, river channel filled with mixed debris. This debris was dropped by the river for a reason. The current velocity dropped enough to leave what it carried here, behind. The bigger/heavier things came out first so we find a lot of big bones. The little things concentrated somewhere else with a lower current velocity.
I caught this top level insect predator hunting on a sunflower out in my garden about three months ago now. I JUST got to finishing the capture. I’m sorry to say the cold got this one I’m pretty sure. It was a good summer for insects. There should be lots of Mantis Egg sacs about. IF I see any I’ll photograph them of course. I have to get about 3 inches away to get this kind of capture. Patient predators if you ask me 🙂
I was on my knees praying for this shot. However I was for good focus as well as a slower subjec lol.
Mantis are part of a huge order of some 2400 species under that umbrella worldwide. This is a native Wyoming/Montana species. Though almost all the flowers it hunting have all been imported from elsewhere. Thrilled he was to see my lens coming at him lolol. I have to get about 3 inches away to get this kind of capture. Patient predator if you ask me 🙂 The are constantly moving back and forth a lot to imitate plants swaying in the breeze. They usually don’t stick around in any one place very long on their rounds.
I don’t see many of these out in our gardens but my Aquaponic Green House in on it’s 5th generation now of Mantis babies. About every 8 months or so I have a hatch take off down there. I bought some egg 4 years ago + and they are still going supporting themselves in that 40 x15 by 20 foot “Wyoming Walipi”. That means it’s an underground green house and is all aquaponic using all water (except for some orchids where I have some hydroton nuggets involved. .
Sharpie Over the Shoulder was one of those looks of interest but of little concern. These Sharp Tail Grouse are mooches off my barnyard and there is a pretty big flock that hangs out and about the place.. It’s slim pickings when my ducks get done with feeding time but there always seems to be a flock of these guys sitting watching for an opening to come in for easy pickings.
It was -2 degrees F when I took this image a few weeks ago as this posts. A fairly good sized flock was hanging out in the side yard. A few were nice enough to post for me in bright sunlight when I happened to have a 1200 mm lens with me. Up close and personal is of course the best way to see this wonderful feather patterns. Good camo too … The wind was blowing directly at his rear so he is slightly fluffed up for this capture.
I’ve worked these guys in 30 below windchill and they just hunker down. They seem to weather the storm quite well. They range up to Alaska and they mostly get as cold as we do there. As far as I can tell, they care not about snow. But they are heavy birds and fall into powder drifts readily lol. They are fairly plump birds which I consider flying boats. I sure wouldn’t want to get hit by one flying. They have come close to me before ..
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.
At 239,000 miles away, this Low Sky Crescent Moon is a pretty cool image. It’s only a 5 percent or so crescent with edges distorted very sharply by the atmosphere. Taken this last week. I just got to finishing it but it did get pushed to the front of the line lol.
Using a terrestrial optic to do astronomic work is usually wrought with problems. This was taken while the camera was resting on my Jeeps Window. No tripod. No sharpening just as it came out of the camera minus a little crop. This is a full resolution 2×3 feet aspect image. I left a little extra black on the top because the moon would continue up and is actually centered vertically.
Seeing into the shadow happens occasionally but not on this one. Usually you see it with just a little atmospheric ice acting like a projection screen to the light that is in that shadow. Pretty inky black sometimes. The best shows are during the lunar eclipses where that dark shadow area is visible in the “earthshine”.
Seeing Details on/in Craters still is better right on the “terminator” (where the shadow meets the light). You can see the long shadows better which helps resolve the topography. Contrast is higher at the terminator.
A Praying Mantis at the Altar was captured from this last summer…
The purple Russian Sage was growing in and around a barberry bush and in the middle of it was this big green Mantis slowly crawling about. Crypsis is a side to side rocking motion they use to “resemble” vegetation blowing in the wind. They rock/sway a lot of the time. Really small ear buds I’m thinking 😜
They are really green when freshly molted turning brown with an old skin being ready to shed. I’ve had Mantis live 6 months down in my Wyoming Wlipini greenhouse breeding all year long. I have at least 4 years of successful Mantis Breeding on going down there. This is a wild Mantis though.
It may seem like yesterday but it’s been 63 posts since my last mantis photo lolol… Putting 6 posts a day out there adds up fast.
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.
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
The symmetrical Order Versus the Chaos of a Bad Hair Day.
One of the most ordered things in the universe sitting amongst a scattered scaffolding of coarse hairs. Clearly Chaos defined.
Captured here by a nice really TINY snowflake. It’s Sitting individual hairs of BobCat fur. I find animal fur a very good platform to shoot snowflakes from. The hard part is getting the BobCat to stay still long enough to get the shot……..🤔
Fur in general will catch flakes and often hold them ideally vertically for me. I get into enough Photo-yoga without having to block light to get over horizontal flakes. I can’t think of a better media for this work as it won’t melt the snowflakes. The hair is a wonderful insulator
Just before I started typing this narrative, I was outside with this very piece of fur looking for that perfect flake while enjoying zero windchill. The gear I use is variable depending on the lighting as I work from several Macro lenses. Each lens you should EVER buy should be a generational purchase. I have lenses I’m still using I bought in the 1990’s and use several 1970’s lenses say weekly…
On the other hand, I consider camera backs a disposable item after the repair cost exceeds a new camera. They are worth less and less each new model that comes out. I haven’t worn one out to the point of not being able to repair one though just yet. What’s good about Sony is that you CAN get them fixed.
I’m about to send two 1400 dollar Sony Alpha 7 RII cameras back into repair (400-900 dollars each camera so far). I wear out several Camera backs a year these days. Environmental stress destroys complex delicate electronics, LOTS of manual settings, beat up the settings wheels. There is a lot of grit in the atmosphere/environment here too.
I find that cameras in this extreme environment stop working in some manner in the 50-100k click mark. I easily take that many photos and more but spread that 8 cameras currently. I send one in about every 2 months or so lolol. I’ll be working with only 6 functioning workhorses for the next month. That is sort of a handy-cap the way I do things these days sadly. They will come back like new if History is a guide.
If your able to afford it, having cameras and lenses covering all different focal lengths is HIGHLY desirable. I always take 5 or 6 cameras and lens combinations with me while working to make what I do happen. You can sure take good photos with one camera body with multiple lenses. Problem is you have to change during a shoot. No one has enough time during a sunset to be changing lenses. For an example: last night I worked 5 cameras for a half an hour last night as the Sun set directly over the Bighorn Mountains. Every camera has dozens or hundreds of images of that event.
Changing lenses also introduces dirt and dust into your camera. You can buy cleaning kits on amazon. Not that hard to do. Get the right sized sqab kit though…
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.
“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.
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.
Here’s a frozen motion shot of A Chase and Evasion During the Pronghorn Rut a week ago (from this post). The rear male actually wasn’t involved in this chase/evasion. The other three were just running past him in the slow lane… The three in the front were traveling about 50 mph (all out in other words) and the MUD WAS FLYING on the corners. This wasn’t running away from me, they didn’t care I was there…this was running away from the middle buck in the photo. Trying to get the attention of the gal between them. Fighting/rutting for the doe…. Flat out hauling white furry A** /cornering too….
Photographers notes: 1/2000th second F13, ISO 1000, 1200mm(fast) lens. About 200 yards out. Not a crop 🙂 Full Morning sun..
Tracking these guys with a 2 foot long, 13 pound camera/lens setup out of your jeep window is a challenge lol.
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.