I’m always riding parallel ridges working the shadow line. I see some amazing silhouettes daily. The peculiar red light affiliated with forest fire smoke is characteristic. The low ground effect slowly giving way from yellow tinted clouds to white tinges on the clouds straight up. This is sort of a gradient with a broken projector screen only reflecting parts and pieces of the smooth transitions of color. If you see the “All Seeing Eye of Provenance” that the sun creates here, consider yourself in good company. You Masons out there should pick that right up on this lol. All it needs is a triangle around it.
The smokey sunsets of late have been a boom for me with orange color. If you’ve seen the orange skies making national news a week back, There have been some afternoons around here where it was indeed VERY orange. The crowd in the big west coast cities just aren’t used to it so it’s news there. Being under smoke, one experiences very subdued lighting. A LOT of ranchers are discovering the weakness in solar voltaic water pumps with this sky. Also the renewable crowd in California are figuring that out as well. If a smoke Pall covers the sky, solar panels won’t run much. I’ve had a 4000 watt solar array feeding my electric “cloud” and sending back to grid for 20 years. I bought my first solar 30 years ago. Some of that is still running but not as well under smokey skies.
At first I had an imaginary shark hunting the water in the distant. The waves covering all but the dorsal fin. No wait… perhaps it’s a sail boat at a good breeze in high seas. The crest of the wave hiding the hull of the sailing ship. The illusion of waves swelling in the open ocean is unmistakable. I’m often taken by flights of fancy. The freedom to search for what could be is sometimes more compelling that for what is. On that segue…
I watched this moon descend into the cloud bank on the right 15 minutes earlier. Wrote it off for the session. I figured it would be obscured. From that point on, it was just until I looked back to the horizon. Looking the other way… Preoccupied I was working the sunrise on the dawn side of the sky. I was aware (back of my mind) when the moon was setting. Having done this a few times I finally did glance around at the other horizon JUST in case. I was surprised when I looked up to see this vision. The clouds had moved to the right leaving a window to the really low moon.
Now this was taken with a huge long lens. These totally screws with your perspective. Zooming up on the relatively small mountains, makes the moon looks big. That ridge is 40 miles distant. The place I set up for this backshow of the sunrise that morning was high enough to give me views both ways. Around 4000 feet which is high ridge country in this corner of Wyoming.
My sense of Proportion mixing with the admiration of the cowboys that built all of the 30 miles of fence on and surrounding our ranch. Pastures being shaped by topography as often as by choice. I wonder how many fence builders / fixers that have passed this way before. Dozens of good (and bad) hands over the years I suspect. I’m just the latest to stretch, patch and otherwise tend to the pasture borders.
Rotating pastures is good husbandry of the land. One big pasture is inefficient as cattle center around the water. Ranchers have found over the years that open range just doesn’t work. Rotating keeps any particular area from being overgrazed (assuming you have any grass at all un-like this year). Fences make ranches work. They also make work for ranchers lol.
The smoke Pall covering the valley distant spans the 40 mile distance to the “Red Hills”. The last ghostly ridge is what you can see of that range.
The one good thing about a Smokey Atmosphere is the effect it has on the incoming light. Mostly it just absorbs all the shorter wavelengths such as Indigo, Blue and Green. That makes orange and red disproportionately abundant (otherwise known as “ColorCast”). When you have a LOT of Red, Orange and Yellow light, everything takes on a strange “Golden Color” thus the “Golden Hour”.
Here’s a Close / Far Perspective for you. Moon Close, Mars Far…(ish). If you can full screen this, the moon is pretty sharp here….Good seeing that night.
There was an internet/Facebook meme that the Moon and Mars would be in the sky together with a GIANT Mars. Well here they are…. Mars was supposed to be the size of the moon. Darn it….. So disappointed…😜
Captured is the reality, only a “little” different than the meme circulating around with two big globes in the sky. From the human eye perspective this is a giant mars. (that little red dot far right frame). The moon getting close in the sky to mars was obvious looking up that evening. I don’t work night skies very much photographically as it’s off schedule to me. I get jet lag easily lol.
At any rate, I don’t see opportunity to take a planet and our moon in the same frame too often. Well I could zoom WAY back to be able to actually fit them in the frame lol. Only when a planet is close can you do this. The dynamic range difference between the bright moon and the little dim mars is tough to pull out of the dark.
Mars closes approach to earth will be on October 6th 2020 at only 38.6 million miles away. The moon is currently 224,800 miles out which is relatively close I suppose. It does indeed appear larger than it normally would further away lol. Not QUITE the same apparent size as our orbiting partner.. So if you read it on an internet meme, you might want to initially question the information.
Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Well somewhat over it anyway)
The Emergency Alert was going off on the Local Radio Station warning of golf ball sized hail, 60 mph winds with dangerous lightning. I’m not much for heading down the basement. I’d rather drive up a local ridge and watch it all develop. I don’t have cell service up here in the backcountry so I don’t have radar. I have to react visually to what I’m seeing. Fortunately this one wasn’t moving directly at me staying about 20 miles to my south.
These storms are huge and while we did get a direct hit, the 50+mph outflow from it was “sporty” up on a high ridge line. I often have to set up and tear down camera gear very quickly to keep them from getting wet. Rain coming in a vehicle window is not good for high end camera gear. I know there are rain coats for cameras lol. Just another layer of complexity I think. I’ve been known to pull off of the ridges onto the leeward side of the hill to get out of the highest winds. Some of these Mesocyclone can get pretty sporty before you know it. It’s always good to have a plan be. I’m about a mile away from someplace I can pull behind/under at this particular spot.
This is a classic wall cloud surrounding and acting as a floor to the massive cloud above. The back side of these storms (right) is usually the worst hail. Those shafts are hail not rain. The hail is often hidden in the rain too. That tendency caught me off guard during our big hail storm in early July this year (2020). I didn’t see it incoming. No radar remember…. In the front (left) , you can see the rain precipitation wedge in the front of the storm ahead of it’s motion. The down drafts forcing the rain sideways forming the wedge.
This fawn is about to get nipped. I’ve seen a few deer bite deer scenarios historically. Not too many though. Perhaps that tail looked tasty for a minute. Just a little nip. Perhaps this is a deer form of spanking. Butt Biting certainly would change the expression on it’s face I’m thinking lol. It’s natures way to correct our young one’s inattention.
These guys were grazing out in the backcountry grasslands up high on the ridges. I randomly came by. Blending in and letting the deer get back into natural behavior after your initial intrusion. They definitely have a line in the sand you don’t cross without loosing your photographic privileges. Some close than others. These twins are good with me as are their mother. I watched them for about 1/2 hour. Then continued on up the ridge to find a location to photograph the one going “Golden Hour” and the coming sunset.
I have read that twins are normal in most healthy populations. 10 to 15 percent of the deer in such biomes bear triplets. I have not seen any triplets in a few years. I suppose I only see a small population sample here on a 5 square mile ranch relative to say the 36 square mile township. There are a lot of deer in a 36 square mile township lolol. We only have a few dozen small herd nearby here that I interact some with. Most of them just overlap their range on my place. Only a few herds actually live here. Of course there are itinerant bucks that come by occasionally.
I think there is some affection there. I think the moon was trying to Dock there….You know, take on supplies and the like…. 😜 📷
Finding the Cliff was easy. Getting far enough away from the rocks to place the cliff in the same focal plane as the moon (infinite) was the hard part. Topography has to cooperate along with celestial agreement. The Moon is mostly a moving target remember. Getting planets and Cliffs to line up has some complexity to the capture to get both in focus. Position your head/camera in the X,Y,Z and time 4th dimension (time in this case). Getting a kiss on a moving face is pretty hard. I had the idea at first of making them contact by moving my head about 1/2 inch to the left. It’s truly amazing how little one has to move to have an object 600 yards plus away (cliff) to cover a moon a couple of hundred thousand miles away. Nailed the focus on the cliff, the moon is a little soft. I will perfect this with time.
This is the Sturgeon Moon, August Moon 2020. Filed under things you can do with a 1200 mm lens…. So far I have many captures of this months moon in various situations that will work their way into my work flow shortly. Remember the full moon was 9 days ago as this posts. That is how long it takes to go from Click to Publish with me doing this essentially full time. I figure I invest on average 1.5 hours work per image/narrative page on average and I publish 4 a day every day.