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Up On a Backcountry Ridge

Up On a Backcountry Ridge
Up On a Backcountry Ridge

Up On a Backcountry Ridge

This kind of Close Far perspective is a favorite way to deal with first light of morning. Fortunately this ridge had a 1/4 inch of Hoar Frost covering all the vegetation. I call these coated pine needles “Pine Noodles” as it just seems to fit. Add a fence for the far vanishing point due to the distance and we’re good to go 🤘

The earliest light as the sun is just rising has a decidedly yellow color cast on this particular morning. The Yellow light projected through the Alpenglow phenomena low on the horizon shows the color of light refracted by the ice suspended there. Transmitted to the local objects, pine needles and fences coated in ice make a very good projection/reflection screen. This yellow color cast is not that common on local vegetation. Usually it presents only perceptible on the atmospheric ice.

Hoar Frost usually forms on objects disrupting air flow. The air full of moisture under freezing conditions. DIrect condensation of that vapor from supersaturated air is greater then 100%. The formation of hoar frost is similar to the formation of regular dew with the difference that the temperature of the object on which the hoar frost forms is well below 32 degree F., whereas this is not the case with dew. Hoar frost crystals often form initially on the tips of plants and or other objects. I’ve seen vehicles, fences, tires, plants and even other icicles with Hoar Frost on them. The largest I’ve seen had frost feathers/needles almost 2 inches long.

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

Title: Up On a Backcountry Ridge

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Moon On a Stump

Moon On a Stump
Moon On a Stump

Moon On a Stump

If you are “stumped” as to how I did this, I assure you it was done in the camera lol. No digital or otherwise magic involved. (well there are some orbital mechanics😜🤔)…. This was quite a ways out from my long lens to get that stump into the infinity focal depth along with the moon. Getting the moon to cooperate with the topography was quite a challenge in this hilly country.

Having terrestrial objects in the same focus as the moon or the sun is definitely an acquired skill with a few requirements for it’s practice. I’m still trying to perfect this kind of work in a variety of ways. Getting only a few opportunities a month to work a full moon low in the sky and still have the sun light up the foreground scene. Wait another 28 days and hope it isn’t cloudy during those days. 6 or 7 times a year in other words do I get a “shot” at this. .

You need at least a 400mm telephoto on a high f number for a deep focal field. You still need to stand way back several hundred yards to enable the telephoto to crush the perspective. Your lighting will change your other settings from what I used but a high f-stop is the place to start.

Perspective: Works like this…

As you step back the stump will get noticeably smaller but the moon stays about the same size. So the further you step back the smaller the stump and the relatively bigger the moon looks. Perspective takes hold….

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

TItle: Moon On a Stump

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Road to the Misty Mountains

Road to the Misty Mountains
Road to the Misty Mountains

Road to the Misty Mountains

The Journey we are on is varied in the paths we take. Many roads traveled and many not. Some choices were made to get where we are. Many were correct in the decision. Others might have been best remembered as a detour along the way.

As travelers, often we must choose between two bad choices others times the choice seems clear. I’m my journey, I have seen the best laid plans fail, and the least anticipated outcomes prevail against all logic. I’ve learned not to swim upstream. I try to float with the current that tows us all along with it’s inexorable pull.

Time and space occupy my thoughts some of the time. Oh not outer space but inner space. For I feel our understanding of what is “without” will be found from “within”. Much of what I observe externally conforms to my beliefs on how the mechanics of the universe I learned from my teachers. Their thoughts gathered from their professors and handed down thusly. The understanding of generations of observers of the natural world painstakingly and sometimes erroneously recited. There is a loss of information in the game of telephone.

The one truism I have learned during my many steps. Things are the way they are, not the way you are told or what you think. I always re-evaluate and modify my path to conform to the values that I have accepted over those miles. Just like taking a path down an untraveled snowy two track off into the distance. One must choose ones’ path carefully.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming

Title: Road to the Misty Mountains

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Moon Quarter Close Up

Moon Quarter Close Up
Moon Quarter Close Up

Moon Quarter Close Up

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 left 1/3rd of a waning Crescent/last 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 Quarter Close Up

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Tired of Snowy Sunrises

Tired of Snowy Sunrises
Tired of Snowy Sunrises

Tired of Snowy Sunrises

As I am variously locked out of the backcountry by snow amounts and drifting, I tend to drive the backroads on mornings that are likely to light up. I saw the perspective, skidded to a stop, reversed and set up. I was trying to get that sunpillar centered within the visual tunnel created by the tractor tire. That tire is a “marker” as in, “drive 2 miles past the tractor tire” kind of directions. Some rancher planted this because it was easier than burying it completely. Fill up the inside with dirt and you stop the mosquito trap. It turned into a handy marker.

If I see an old “No Hunting” sign, I’ll stop just for that. Add a Tractor tire to that scene and you definitely got my attention. They on cue a sun pillar lined up precisely with the row of telephone poles running off in the distance. I don’t make this stuff up, I just capture the photons from it. Mother nature and ranchers got together here conspiring to make this composition. Neither party knew what they were ultimately up to I would speculate 😜😜👀📸

Sun Pillars are the result of falling hexagonal plates of ice all oriented flat as that is how they free fall. Like little parachutes they orient and reflect light off the gathering sunrise. The cumulative effect reflects light while the surrounding moisture absorbs it. Sun pillars can form above or below the sun itself. Here the sun is JUST below/behind the horizon. I don’t see a genuine purple sky too much but this one was real. Note no Purple snow.

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

Tired of Snowy Sunrises

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Backcountry Sledding Hill

Backcountry Sledding Hill
Backcountry Sledding Hill

Backcountry Sledding Hill

Hiding a major inflexion point in earths history…..

Reading earths book: Musings.

When the Bolide (google this) struck the earth at the End of the Cretaceous, it spread a thin layer of Iridium (an element) rich dust all over the globe. This impact occurred down in Yucatan Mexico. The rocks that make up this ridge/pass are from that moment in time. There the “K/T” iridium layer exists somewhere.

Now what does a geologist/photographer do with a hill like this…. The Bolide) Crashed into the earth, killing the dinosaurs, and many other animal groups on the planet. Huge upheavals in food chains ensued. Major extinctions do that of course and here we are. Our ancestors survived the conflagration. I traced the Rock Formation that is dinosaur bearing (Hell Creek/Lance formations) to end on this hill. The type of rock changes and SOMEWHERE in the photo, is that 4 inch thick layer of debris from that major impact. You can only tell exactly where it is from taking detailed samples up the rock section then running them through a mass spectrometer . One just looks for the Iridium spike (Iridium as an element is common in outer space but rare on earth. The impactor vaporized enriching the surface in that rare element.

The number of fossils and the diversity seems to be slowly declining near the top of the section but I don’t have HARD numbers on this. Don’t discount the pizza oven effect from the Bolides ejecta reentering the atmosphere. Massive tsunami’s hit further south. I’m sure this area got cooked. Later a blast wave plough through at the speed of sound. Anything that wasn’t under water, in a burrow or somehow hidden was killed outright on this hemisphere. The climates changed markedly and initiated a failure of major populations of animals to successfully reproduce. Ultimately it’s the inability to reproduce that causes extinction. No matter what the cause.

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

Title: Backcountry Sledding Hill

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Snowy Spotlighting Sunset

Snowy Spotlighting Sunset
Snowy Spotlighting Sunset

Snowy Spotlighting Sunset

Looking westward across the 40 mile wide Little Powder River Valley , a cloud bank will snuff out the light within minutes. I am often sent home early with no “photos in the can” by cloud banks shrouding the horizon. When I head off road to climb up ridges chasing light, the mid-winter wins sometimes. This night I went up hill. Over 300 square miles of landscape presents here, all covered by this snow blanket. We get most of our 14 inches a year of precipitation during the winter.

You will note how effectively Yucca plants have a tendency toward collecting their own stash of water. The result of this is to soak the ground around them. The Yucca is a great plant up here providing food to the deer all year long. Deer from both species eat the seed pods from Yucca which grow in significant quantities up here. Yucca flowers are edible too I ‘ve seen ungulates take advantage of them every year. The deer grow fat on them. Already eaten, mostly deer have consumed the seed pods. By Mid-Winter, the deer have consumed much of the food reserves on this ridge. They have moved on to other pastures. Typically they head to sheltered gullies with water near by.

If it’s going to be winter, I wish it would freeze the backcountry ground. As I type this it’s been staying around freezing and just above for weeks. Mud in the backcountry completely blocks me from access as I don’t want to rut up my two track trails.

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

Title: Snowy Spotlighting Sunset

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The Sun Stuck in a Rut

The Sun Stuck in a Rut
The Sun Stuck in a Rut

The Sun Stuck in a Rut

In the past:

Wyotana Sunsets on ridges 10 miles out through a “sun slit” below the cloud deck.

These scenes can go either way as I set up evaluating where I wanted to go for that night. I have this little map in my head where terrain and the sun will align on a particular night. This Deep Saddle between two higher sections of that 10 mile distant ridge in the Prairie “Dog Hills”. A heavy overcast like this is always an IFFY thing to put the time and energy into. It’s a lot of workloading up the vehicle and take the cameras out for an hour or two.

Here I was chasing questionable skies. This is always a risky thing to schedule/commit to lol. The rare possible rewards such as this make it worthy of both your attention and my time. But just occasionally. I evaluate the weather before sun rise and sunset every day then decide my photographic activities for the evening. I got lucky on this particular image as the sun lit this sky up like a neon bulb. All as Sol dropped into the clear below the deck. I’m very picky on the light I work on these days lol.

Fast forward to the present:

I type this at 5 in the morning, 1.5 hours till sunrise. The scenario for sunrise seems to be coming to something like this. Overcast….. It often takes me over an hour to shoot a BASIC sunset from 1/2 hour before to 1/2 after. Extended shows can run 2 hours. Me committing to 2 hours of photography on an iffy sky isn’t good time management. I have about 4000 backlogged images to refinish …. It seems silly but new material is important somehow lolol. There is always: “You have to be there with a camera to get the light” (Rule 1 of photography). The sky has been horrible all week for photography and the snow is old. We need some light snow to freshen the scenes up.

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

Title: The Sun Stuck in a Rut

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Alfalfa Bloom Game Trail

Alfalfa Bloom Game Trail
Alfalfa Bloom Game Trail

Alfalfa Bloom Game Trail (Back to the Summer Farm in the Winter)

I’m easily distracted by a play of colors and shades in monocultural fields surrounded by less disturbed landscapes. The cultivated field in contrast to the sage and grass natural turf. This particular ground has had european man’s stock grazing it for over 120-130 years and probably longer. But before that this was all native prairie. Still some in the background.

Geologic Musings:

This particular alfalfa field is down low in the Little Powder River valley and tends to be flooded every now and then. It’s on a terrace not far from that small meandering river. The river rises (comes down in local vernacular), and the fields flood in the spring. Snow melt and big rains up stream are the biggest causes for floods in this country.

Meanders result from the river moving back and forth across the landscape over geologic time. A meandering river is one that is NOT cutting down into the sediment and the local geology. (River’s Base Level is a good google phrase). It only can expend it’s energy on the sides/banks as it moves across the valley back and forth. It takes a few years to work across a valley lol. There is SOME gradient to this river so the Little Powder seems to be to be slowly down cutting into the valley floor. Don’t expect the Grand Canyon to form in this Climate during our lifetime. One grain of sand bouncing down the bottom down hill at a time wears down mountains over long enough time. It’s all a matter of perspective.

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

Title: Alfalfa Bloom Game Trail

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American Eagle in Twilight

American Eagle in Twilight
American Eagle in Twilight

American Eagle in Twilight

I don’t see a lot of American Eagles up in this high/dry ridge line country. They tend to hang out around rivers where they are both predators and scavengers. The do overfly and eat road kill. (Good work if you can get it as a raptor). I do see them along the road side now and then eating a fresh road kill. Not many species but man hunts the American Eagle but they hunt a lot of species.

There is an urban legend that Benjamin Franklin lobbied Congress to make the Turkey our national symbol bird. There is of course no evidence of this occurring but his daughter did write a letter (1784) labeling the Bald Eagle as “a bird of bad moral character). The real story was the eagles link to history and how it came to be our national symbol.

Shortly after the signing of the Declaration of independance.Congress formed a small committee of three. Those characters Ben Franklin, John Adams with Thomas Jefferson were the committee. Given the job of designing an official seal would be their task. Those three failed to get a design to pass congress. Bunch of slackers those three probably eh? 😜

Another two committees tried to get a seal for the nation. They failed as the first one did in order. Finally the job/work from the three committees were handed to Charles Thomson. He was serving as the Secretary of the congress. The final result was an artistic attenuation to the best elements of the various submitted designs. By 1782 Congress adopted the design using the American Bald Eagle over other “entries” into this historic contest.

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

Title: American Eagle in Twilight

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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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Snaggy Perspective and Light

Snaggy Perspective and Light
Snaggy Perspective and Light

Snaggy Perspective and Light

So many choices, so few hours left in the decade. What should I post for the last day of the year? Choices Choices……

A PERSPECTIVE!!!!. Why not.

I really enjoy setting up and shooting Close Far perspectives. The trick is of course is to be where the action is. I actively hunt “snags” (fallen trees) that might be interesting with the right lighting ahead of time. Adding a close / far focus provides this Golden Hour winter images a quick draw for your eyes to the center. This particular golden hour was a sunset. I have a LOT of these perspectives still to finish. Dozens anyway… My “To Do” folder is HUGE and essentially infinite as I often put more photos in it than I finish on any particular day. Constantly paddling up stream. I love a good workload lol.

This shows the deeper backcountry snow getting a crust on it with a few above freezing days. The crust actually makes it harder to get around because your wheels are always trying to climb on top of that crust. Your basically in 4 holes all the time coincident with your wheels. Plus the snow becomes like ball bearings…. It’s about time for a big snow though. January is a busy snow month historically. The biggest of course are in the spring when all the biggest snows are. Usually LATE spring around late April or early May have have memorable storms historically.

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

Title: Snaggy Perspective and Light

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Round Up Stormy Afternoon

Round Up Stormy Afternoon
Round Up Stormy Afternoon

Round Up Stormy Afternoon

Late summer of 2019 it was time to run “the herd” through a crowding pen and sort calves from mothers. Some vaccinations ensued. Lots of “hunting / gathering required to collect the cattle. Collecting a herd of calves and cows from the square mile pasture takes maneuverability. These are real cowboys horses and good workers all.

The weather that after noon was a bit sporty to say the least. The little cumulonimbus storm off in the distance was one of several that went through the area that evening. Just as the last cow was released, everyone retreated to our large barn for tailgate food while it was hailing outside. A good time was had by all except a few calves that got branded that day. This is a ranch after all. During the year the ranch has over 200 cow calf pairs grazing the various pastures. The big pastures are around a square mile here. Other ranches that are bigger have bigger pastures lol.

Rotating pasture ground is important to manage the grass. We do have dedicated crop areas but we are a dry land ranch with no irrigation. Just the massive (not) 14 inches average rain we get a year. Most of that being from snow fall accumulation. This year 2019 was phenomenally a wet/cool year. We had the lowest forest fire risk ever. I didn’t even fill up my fire truck all summer.

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

Title: Round Up Stormy Afternoon

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Blue Heron Stall Speed

Blue Heron Stall Speed
Blue Heron Stall Speed

Blue Heron Stall Speed

Early in the Spring of 2019, the Cotton Wood Trees were not even leafing. The trees flowers were out. The thinest branches at the crest of this 50 foot tall Cottonwood Tree are about to get tested. This bird is a 5 pound 5 foot tall fully grown Great Blue Heron. That’s a big bird coming in for a landing.

You can see the wind due to the flowers all blowing from right to left. A 15 – 20 mph gusty wind was blowing. The branches were moving left to right sometimes dramatically. 10 feet below this frame is this birds mate and nest with several eggs. This bird had just returned from it’s feeding mission around the area. They usually hunt within a few miles of their rookery. In this pretty high gusty winds, he had to land on a moving target. He nailed the landing as he was essentially levitating no moving and just dropping inches a second. These guys are AMAZING masters of the sky.

I’ve spent some time watching Heron’s over the years. Building your nest near the top of 50 foot high cottonwoods one stick at a time is a story of a lot of trips by the male. The male does the stick supply route over and over again but it’s the gals job to build the house. She will carefully weave and cajole all the loose sticks together. I’ve seen them land and take off in all situations. This shot shows one of the smoothest landings I’ve ever seen a bird make. Floating down like a single feather.

Location: The Heron Rookery in the wetlands at the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Blue Heron Stall Speed

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Pronghorns Lining Up

Pronghorns Lining Up
Pronghorns Lining Up

Pronghorns Lining Up

I find this is one of the few ways Pronghorn Does get their heads together. Seeing alignments now and then since I do a lot of photography of herds. I normally get two lined up pretty easily but 3 is a good capture.

The North American Pronghorn:

Pronghorn are the Fasted Land Animal in North America. Nothing else even comes close. They developed these skills/anatomy as a result of learning to avoid predation. It seems there used to be some pretty fast Lions, tigers and other cats living in these hills. Those predators were obviously prolific during the last Ice Ace and before here in the Wyoming/Montana borderlands. The most most recent continental Ice sheet (5 glaciations in the last 500,000 years) stopped it’s advance about 20 miles up into Montana from my perspective here on the Bliss DInosaur Ranch. There were LOTS of critters hanging out below the glaciers.

The Pleistocene Epoch is typically defined as the time period that began about 2.6 million years ago and lasted until about 11,700 years ago. Paleontologist recognize this age as a time of geologically rapid Glaciations followed by warmer periods in between. A vast and diverse “Mega-fauna” was present within those variable ecosystems. About 11,700 years ago, things started warming up for the 5th time in a half a million years. (Warm periods between the ice sheet advances). The earth’s various climates (the earth has NO climate, it has ALL climates) were “Changing” every 100,000 years or so. The Term “Cycle” is thrown about loosely these days. I use it here in that I’m glad it’s warm because living here with an ice sheet 20 miles to our north….Might have experienced some “Climate Change” back then. Sort of like this winter so far….

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

Title: Pronghorns Lining Up

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Sunset Through the Wheel

Sunset Through the Wheel
Sunset Through the Wheel

Sunset Through the Wheel

Antique wagons each have their own tale to tell. Especially in this shape. With over 50 plus years of cattle rubbing, the wear has taken it’s toll. They have to itch on something I suppose. Needless to say, the cattle pressure on this old soldier has taken it’s toll. Not to say the weather, the freezing and thawing, haven’t had their effect. The fact that it is still even half way together speaks volumes for the quality of construction.

There are a lot of miles on those old wheels. 15 miles to the nearest general store. An all day round trip with a team. This vehicle was the ultimate convertible. You pay MORE for a convertible now lolol. How did that get switched around?? I’ve never owned a real convertible lolol. Imagine 12 hours in the wind, the rain, a storm that comes out of a blue sky out in the open.

All the metal work on this wagon is in serviceable shape. Plus it’s about all there. It would take quite a craftsman with a cause to rebuild this to new. We actually have a very nice newly built buck wagon on the ranch, in the barn, under a tarp. It’s not moving anytime soon lol. It belongs to my son’s fiancee. We don’t however had a working team of horses at the moment for it. I don’t have a photo of it (yet) even though it’s been out there for years lolol.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Sunset Through the Wheel

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Back Country Umbrella

Back Country Umbrella
Back Country Umbrella

Back Country Umbrella

I often find Deer beds under trees suring snow storm. If the snow is falling straight down, the trees act as a pretty good umbrella to keep the white stuff off. It’s common sense (which deer have a lot of). Any shelter in a storm is better than no shelter.

Lone trees on a ridge are romantic figures up here. Battling the worst that the environment has to offer. 80 mph winds, -30 degrees for weeks (historically since I’ve been here) and terrible dry spells. These lone sentinels are king of all they survey. They don’t grow very fast. This tree is at least 100 years old. I suspect the big ones are several hundred years old. This fellow happens to be sitting on a fossil microsite. Just on the other side of the ridge, bare Hell Creek/lance Sandstone outcrops with large chunky dinosaur bone fragments weathering out. I even found a pretty nice toe bone from a hadrosaur there. I left it under a rock I found it next to so it’s out of the weather. can show it to a few random folks that happen to make it up here for the discussion.

The ridge in the foreground is several hundred yards out in this long distance telephoto shot. The ridge behind the foreground tree is 40 miles distant from the camera. Telephoto’s crush perspective something fierce. It’s hard to believe you can see individual trees at 40 miles out but there they are. 📷

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

Title: Back Country Umbrella

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From Under the Snag

From Under the Snag
From Under the Snag

Looking From Under a Snag, I see the world from an entirely different perspective. There is a feeling somehow of security even though there is a ton of wood over your head being held up by rotten broken branches. What could go wrong there?😜

This is a very busy photo with all sorts of of things going on. Enjoy the looking. I ought to put a “where’s waldo” in some of these images lolol.

It was cold near zero when this was taken a week ago as this posts. “Winter is Coming” and in reality has come here to the borderlands. Fall was on a Tuesday this year it has been confirmed. ❄️

The sunset here was a clear sky orange/yellow alpenglow show which almost always pushes me toward snags to work wide lenses….Grab that 12 – 24mm or sometimes like this I have a 10mm wide angle full frame lens. I use it when ever I get a chance. It is very wide.

Perspectives and clear skies seems to go together… Cloudy complex skies detract from the detail up close. I feel that detail is the point of the photo myself but your opinion may differ lol.

RegardingFallen logs: “Snags” each has it’s own character and personality I find out. Some are masculine and rugged like this one. Others are more curvy and feminine with a grace that is hard to describe. Orientations change from tree to tree, opportunity emerges as I drive by on the ridge tops. I see the possibilities as I go though sometimes I get on a mission for a particular tree.

Here the trees were all frosted with 1/8th of an inch of ice, 4 inches of snow sticking to everything. The air is full of ice turning the sunset orange and yellow. This little shelter under this tree has provided an expedient rain shelter for many a small animal as it’s roots make quite a cover. I find deer beds all around this area as the big tree also provides a windbreak . Such a shelter is a rare thing on these wind blown slopes. Soon this fairly recent tree fall will be rife with woodpecker holes. Thusly then to graduate to full fledged “wildlife tree”.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: From Under the Snag

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Blue Tongue and EyeBrow Horns

Blue Tongue and EyeBrow Horns
Pronghorn Doe in Heat: Blue Tongue and Eyebrow Horns

This Pronghorn Doe with the Blue Tongue and EyeBrow Horns is in Heat and Every Male in the Group of about 30 others she is with knows it all too well. The rut was in full “swing” (as it were) and the boys never gave her much rest. This is what they call an out of breath Pronghorn which is not something you usually see. She is panting hard, Blue tongue to the wind. She had run miles in a circle over the last 30 minutes I had them under my auspices.


I particularly like her eyebrow horns. Sort of a built in sun shade and permanent block to vision I would think . At any rate, the gal got all the guys attention she wanted.

Now she could have run away from the group and out of the range of the guys but noooooooo. She kept coming back just to get run around again and again. Play hard to get AND playing hard lolol.

The whole group were putting on quite a show for me that golden light colorcasted morning just after the sunrise. That light always makes them look darker than they are during the overhead sunny day where they go light tan.

Photographers notes: Remember that I try really hard to be a photorealist that leaves natural color casts in photographs. As such, I like Pronghorn lighter tan than this scene portrays them as but this was the actual scene.when I took the photo in my memory. I typically end up reducing colorcasts in twilight or early golden hour within the world of the the digital darkroom in which I live in these days. . This is something I do WAY more than “enhance” colors which really doesn’t work with the way I expose photos. I seldom have to do anything to highlight colors. It’s the shadows I really work with. Always expose your highlights properly and bring out the shadows in some good editing program (Lightroom/Photoshop). Overexposed highlights are destroyed and detail within cannot be recovered.

. Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Blue Tongue and EyeBrow Horns

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Moon Rising: Lone Tree

Moon Rising: Lone Tree
Moon Behind the Lone Tree on the Ridge

Photographing Moor Rising: Lone Tree is 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. It’s a good skill to hone for when the right situation presents itself.. 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. Full frame not a crop.

Have a great day all, be safe in all you do… 😀


Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming Montana borderlands

Moon Rising: Lone Tree

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“Red Hills” Overlook

"Red Hills" Overlook Across the LIttle Powder River Valley
"Red Hills" Overlook Across the LIttle Powder River Valley

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 …..

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

“Red Hills” Overlook

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Moon on the Mountain

Moon on the Mountain
Moon on the Mountain

I caught the Hunter’s Moon rising over a mountain top. This “mountain” top was a mile or so out there. When the moon is this low, sometimes the atmospheric lens really distorts the “globe” shape but this night it was pretty clear and non distorting. There is some sculpting of the edges by the roiling atmosphere at such a low angle. Pretty good detail for a horizon moon though. I have literally seen a scrushed blurred blob setting before. It all depends on the air and what it’ doing to the light.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Mooning a Windmill Hiding Behind Hay Bales

Mooning a Windmill Hiding Behind Hay Bales
Mooning a Windmill Hiding Behind Hay Bales

Seen north of Gillette Wyoming, a mooning of an antique windmill hiding behind hay bales. That is a big stack of hay bales with that platform being at least 20 feet high. The old wooden tower windmills are becoming rarer and harder to find. I’m trying to figure out how that sail got damaged but it must have been a very big bird involved…..


Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Wagon’s West to the Big Horn Mountains

Wagon's West to the Big Horn Mountains
Wagon's West to the Big Horn Mountains

I took a trip to Sheridan Wyoming and it was Wagons West to the Bighorns. It’s about 40 miles of mostly maintained gravel roads and another 70 of two lane backcountry Wyoming Highways to get there from here. It’s an extra hour to go to Gillette and over by Interstate to there.

The Autumn Colors are in full bloom now though I’m too low and dry here for the Aspens to be quaking about. They are mostly up the “hill” a bit.

This whole landscape taken yesterday (a week ago as this posts)) is today totally covered with snow.

I’m not going that way anytime soon now lol.

Location about 20 miles from Sheridan on Rt 14/16 heading west

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Mitten Butte Alpenglow Twilight on a Frosty Morning

Mitten Butte Alpenglow Twilight on a Frosty Morning
Mitten Butte Alpenglow Twilight on a Frosty Morning

Locally this “Pyramidal Hill” is known as Mitten Butte. The Yellow Alpenglow behind on this Frosty Morning was captured a bit more than a week ago as the image just now made it to the web and gallery.. Twilight Landscapes are all dark…because they were/are 😁

A good word to look up would be “Monadnock” Great word of the day.

Geologically this hill is an erosional remnant, still standing when all the material/sediment around it was washed away. A hard cap rock and being at the top of the drainage made this possible. I’ve been to the top 3 times in 20 years. I do have photos somewhere lolol. There is no road up there as it is state land. The only way up is to hoof it. It’s about 300 feet higher than the base. IT’s Lance formation but no dinosaurs or fossil microsites that I saw and I have pretty much walked it all. . Because it’s state land, it is illegal to disturb any vertebrate remains I would have found. I saw some small pieces of vertebrate materials but nothing worth telling the state geologist about. I just wanted the viewpoint to see what was up there. Big view and not much but harder rocks than lower down the slope. All sandstones/mudstones and silts. Cretaceous river sediments is all that hill contains. No mystic Pyramid or Volcano, home for aliens or some other exotic purpose. Just a pile of hardened sand/mud/silt.

Location: Hardly a mile from Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

BlissPhotographics.com

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Killdeer Hunting at Waters Edge

Killdeer Hunting at Waters Edge
Killdeer Hunting at Waters Edge

This Killdeer bird (a Plover) is hunting insects at the waters edge on one of the ranches wetlands.. They are fairly ubiquitous up here in the high borderlands of Wyoming/Montana.
We live with integrated with all these animals up here. Everyone has their place. These guys seem to be happy where they are whether in my yard or on the prairie. I watch them set up nest (I’ve got egg photos on rocks), have chicks, (photos of lots of chicks), and I follow them all summer through their August gathering season then they are just not here (migrated).. I see these cycles every year.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Autumn Landscape in the Borderlands of Wyoming:Montana

Autumn Landscape in the Borderlands of Wyoming:Montana
Autumn Landscape in the Borderlands of Wyoming:Montana

An Autumn Landscape in the Borderlands of Wyoming/Montana.

I’m standing on a hill top in Montana about 4 miles north of the Ranch on the right side of the image. I’m shooting south into Wyoming across some of our place 40 miles out to the cloud decked “Red Hills”.

This is without a doubt, the greenest I’ve ever seen this landscape and I’ve been watching it cycle between white green and brown season for 20 years.

I’ve yet to really see brown season and I NEVER even had to fill up my fire truck this year :). Snow tomomorrow…. A big storm is moving through and through thursday we’re getting dumpted on. I still have a few chores to winterize totally but I’ll get another chance. Pretty much done with the important stuff…

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.