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High Ridge Veiled Sunset

High Ridge Veiled Sunset
High RIdge Veiled Sunset

High Ridge Veiled Sunset

(Illusion of a Tsunami wave coming into the shore but it’s all clouds)

Getting just the right angle toward a sunset with the foreground is a challenge sometimes. I wander the hills sides and ridge tops of the remote borderlands of Montana/Wyoming. I the the big distances in either an UTV (Polaris Ranger Crew) or my Ford Raptor F-150. The distances in this area are such that covering a lot of ground is a necessity to find these locations. I always ride to the distant ridge but usually am walking around for the duration of what ever event I’m photographing. My timelines smoothly go from mounted to unmounted captures. 

By walking or riding along parallel ridges, I’m able to see first and quickly compose these scenes. As I’ve always said, if I can see it in my environment, I generally can capture the scene in these high tech photon traps I use. 

Photographic Musings: 

Looking into the sun is an “edge of the envelope” activity that is best left to mirrorless cameras as I use. DSLR cameras are dangerous to do this with as there is a direct light path to your eye through the camera. Mirrorless cameras have a video screen inside of the eye piece viewer. There is NO direct light path to blind you with concentrated light from the lens. Please don’t try this with a DSLR camera. You CAN capture this with a DSLR but you have to do it without looking through the camera WHILE you are taking the image. Set up your rig before you point and don’t look through your DSLR camera at the sun… 

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: High Ridge Veiled Sunset

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Medusa Dancing in a Thistle

Medusa Dancing in a Thistle
Medusa Dancing in a Thistle

Medusa Dancing in a Thistle

I often find myself out in the middle of nowhere in the grass during sunset. Humm I wonder what’s around for filter material? 🤔🤔 Also discovered is the tendency toward you actually being where you are. A limiting factor certainly lolol. Photography is both planned AND accidental when it occurs. Rule one of getting a photograph:

RULE 1: Have a camera with you as much as possible. I don’t even like to go outside without one when I’m going to do ranch chores in the mud in the rain.☑️

I have a very limited amount of time to shoot sunsets. Depending on the sky, I choose what camera/lens combination I’m going to grab to “work” the scene unfolding in front of my eyes. A Clear Sky Sunset is an indication ahead of time to set up a “Close / Far perspective image. The Thistle globe of seeds was my sun filter to reduce / minimize the glare from the sun.

Photographic Musings:

You need a HIGH f-stop number for the deep focus plus it’s reduction of light. ISO 100 (low ISO for bright light camera sensitivity), and use shutter speed to adjust for what ever lighting scenario/exposure levels you wish.

I use filters all the time. In this case, I used a “Cellulose” filter (the thistle seed globe about 5 inches across) Biggest one ever lol.
That old bright sun even here at sunset needs some moderation before those photons hit that digital chip in my Sony Alpha Cameras.
Just for the record, I haven’t put an actual glass filter on ANY of the 7 cameras I used daily for well over a year🙏

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

Title: Medusa Dancing in a Thistle

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AERMOTOR Windmill Doublet

AERMOTOR Windmill Doublet
AERMOTOR Windmill Doublet

AERMOTOR Windmill Doublet

Aermotor windmills account for the bulk of windmills out there. The company started way back in the 1888 with 24 sold the first year. Over 20000 of the beasties sold in 1892. The company still exists. They also sold a LOT of steel fire “look out towers” for fire watch and being a lightning target lololol.

Reconstructing past lives and events grabs your minds eye coming upon and old homestea. The comings and goings of old homesteads spark my imagination. There was a homestead about 1/4 mile from this location. They had their own hand dug well 35 feet deep and 4 feet wide about 200 feet from their house down in a deep gully.. I filled it in when I moved here. It was an “attractive nuisance”.

Most settlers had to use the water at their windmill. I suspect an outhouse long since gone somewhere nearby downward of the prevailing wind. This land has had cattle or sheep on it for 100 years and slightly more. That’s 5 generations of cowboys that stayed the night or the summer in this treeless pasture. Being the only source of water for several miles around, the cowboys drank here too.

This is very big country open back country. Many square miles of grass are attached to any particular ranch. This is a steel windmill which is more expensive than building the wood towers was. Wells were positioned centered in the pasture. This made it accessible to the entire area. A lot depended on the ground water geology to make the shallow wells work long term. (luck mostly early on).

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: AERMOTOR Windmill Doublet

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Sunset Across the Border

Sunset Across the Border
Sunset Across the Border

Sunset Across the Border starts in Wyoming where I stand. The Prairie Dog Hills on the Horizon in the Montana side of this sky show.

The Horizon Rising to cover the suns face occurs with finality in the backcountry. This spot is several miles out into the grasslands. When the sun goes down, it gets very dark very quickly. Particularly so on moonless or cloudy nights. Dark as Pitch. In fact as Dark as the North Atlantic Ocean according to NASA’s website that discusses such things.

Twilight landscapes are one of my favorite things to pursue. Landscape details out of the dark are worth learning how to extract from your data file on an image. The information is usually in there but just hidden in the black in your cameras raw file. I pay very close attention to the highlights exposing them correctly to the actual scene then retrieve the details in the dark later.

I always travel with a tritium illuminated compass. There is a very real phenomena called “Death by GPS”. I only use them for land owner Identification. I would never travel back here with one. There was a semi-truck driver that had to walk out of the backcountry up here because he followed his GPS. He high centered his truck trying to turn around. 95 degree day, he had a bad time but managed to find a ranch with a hose and got cooled down after a 6 mile walk with very little water. Compasses used properly don’t usually lie.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Sunset Across the Border

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Windmill Sunset 2:1 Aspect

Windmill Sunset 2:1 Aspect
Windmill Sunset 2:1 Aspect

Capturing Windmill Sunset 2:1 Aspect is not an easy settings combination to figure out on your camera. It is counter-intuitive to say the least and a cell phone isn’t going to catch this image. The layers of ridges , the sails blur, the rising horizon (setting sun)🤔

Montana skies on the right. Wyoming Skies on the left. Living on the Montana/Wyoming border has it’s little spiffs lolol.

There are 3 things you have to set to run a camera on manual:

1: Your first priority here is to catch a blurred windmill. The only way to do that is to set your shutter speed to a very long 1/15th of a second to facilitate the blur. That makes a longer time for the windmill sail to blur the whole disk. Your kind of stuck with this first setting priority.

2: So then you have a VERY bright sun on the left of the frame. …. …. Your f-stop will reduce light so automatically you turn it all the way to the highest number the lens will go (this was f64). I was about 300 yards out from the windmill. 800mm telephoto.

3: You will still have to turn the last thing you have to set to run the camera on Manual. ISO or Camera sensitivity . I would think not many cameras can do this because they don’t have enough built in dynamic range . I use ISO 80 for this and the camera will go down to 50. Yours will probably go down to ISO 100.

This was done WITHOUT a glass neutral density filter in front of the camera but that might help some of you that cant turn your ISO any lower.

Disclaimer:

Now you know everything I know about trying to take one of these except, don’t do this with a DSLR camera as the direct light path to your eye will blind you. I look at a video screen to do this using mirrorless cameras. Also, make sure your using a camera that can take this (is rated for it). a direct sun through a long lens can and will melt some sensors in cameras out there. Don’t melt your camera please.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Windmill Sunset 2:1 Aspect

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Rising from the Peak

Rising from the Peak
Rising from the Peak

“Rising from the “Peak” Knowing where the sun will rise is an advantage. 10 miles out, this peak was a difficult one to “line up”. Topography is king and controls where and when I can do this kind of alignment. I have several places that do line up at two very specific day interval (about 5) where I can take this photo once in the fall and once in the spring. I run out of ground to stand on either side of those weeks as the sun migrates with the season lolol. I haven’t figured out how to levitate yet but I’m working on it…. 🤣

An amazing sky that morning. Lots of good captures from it :). Getting in the right position in early twilight is sometimes interesting driving in the dark off road in the backcountry.

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

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Antelope Eyelashes at Dawn

Antelope Eyelashes at Dawn
Antelope Eyelashes at Dawn

I try really hard to maneuver such that I can photograph Pronghorn Eyelashes at dawn. I’d have rather had another 10 feet of elevation so I could have the rising sun behind those eyelashes but I’ll take this one. Topography prevented the desired alignment. Coulda done it if I was taller lololol.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Smokey Sunset in the Backcountry

Smoky Sunset in the Backcountry
Sunset in the Backcountry

During the smoky days of the summer of 2019 we only had a few weeks of forest fires giving us red/umber sunsets up here in the
high backcountry of the Montana/Wyoming borderlands north of Gillette Wyoming. The Rim of the Powder River Basin immediately to our west and western Edge of the Wyoming Black Hills at my doorstep easterly. We have 180 mile horizon to horizon views here.

I live and work in this environment if you don’t know me or follow me yet.

The Bliss Dinosuar Ranch sits on a series of high ridges high above the surrounding drainage here on the Montana/Wyoming border literally. We are 70 miles from the nearest 3 color stoplight here but there is a 4 way red 50 miles away🤣

I prefer to drive in the backcountry on two track roads which I do about 10 miles of day of. I encounter many strange beasties and beautiful scenery along the way.

I usually have 6 or 7 camera/lens options with me and hopefully I’m able to capture just a tad of the little zen like things I see everywhere up here.

So many photos, so little time.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Lady Bug Hunting in the HollyHock Garden

Lady Bug Hunting in the HollyHock Garden
Lady Bug Hunting in the HollyHock Garden

Meanwhile in the Hollyhock garden, the late season Lady Bug is hunting for food.

Catching one of these guys flying is a bucket list item though. I don’t see them much and they are pretty active so getting interesting angles is hard and they will continually move or fly away. To catch one of these flying in the wild is a lot more unlikely than trying to catch a bumble bee flying at 9 inches with a macro lens lol.

I build a lot of square 18 inch by 18 inch printable high resolution image now days. Mostly made for box canvas prints but any media will work generally. .😁

Location: in the garden, Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands…. might be snowing when this posts…..

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A Great Blue Heron Warming His Feet

A Great Blue Heron Warming His Feet
A Great Blue Heron Warming His Feet

This is a re-post of “A Great Blue Heron Warming His Feet” to get it into my gallery. Taken this summer during nesting season down in the wetlands of the ranch….

It takes a variety of things aligning just so to pull off a capture like this.
1: there has to be a good sunset
2: I had to be there with the right equipment to capture this crazy light.
3: I had to be on topography that allowed me to move up while the sun went down.
4: The birds have their own minds in this and only “Sneaky Pete” the windmill has any say in their cooperation…🤣

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Down in the Wetlands

Down in the Wetlands
Down in the Wetlands

Down in the Wetlands is an image that I took a few years back now. I was waiting around for the sun to come out from this location. Sure enough, it did emerge as the clouds parted for about 30 seconds, and that was all.

I find that light is where and when it occurs. If no one is there to catch those photons, they are lost

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana

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Sunset through the Thistle Seed Globe “Filter”

Sunset through the Thistle Seed Globe "Filter"
Sunset through the Thistle Seed Globe "Filter"

I use filters all the time. In this case, I used a “Cellulose” filter (the thistle seed globe about 5 inches across) Biggest one ever lol.
That old bright sun even here at sunset needs some moderation before those photons hit that digital chip in my Sony Alpha Cameras.
Just for the record, I haven’t put an actual glass filter on ANY of the 7 cameras I used daily for well over a year🙏

I try REALLY HARD to be a photo-realist photographer.

Location: miles into the backcountry of the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Twisted Pine Sun Filter

Twisted Pine Sun Filter
Twisted Pine Sun Filter

I often use cellulose filters (in this cas a tree) to reduce the glare from the overly bright sun. A plus is I like Lone Trees as well😁

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.