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Reflection over Farm Pond

Reflection over Farm Pond
Reflection over Farm Pond

Reflection over Farm Pond (Magic on the border)

The Belt of Venus variety of Alpenglow enhancing a rising full moon with it’s man (in the) looking back. This was just after the sun set over my right shoulder. It was an orange sky the other direction. Long wavelength red light makes it through the atmosphere to light up on the projector screen that this summer ice filled sky provided. Summer Belt of Venus is way more uncommon than in the winter.

Rising moons will alway have that face upright looking at you. The setting moon that face is on it’s right side. The moon appears to twist as it rotates but that’s an illusion. It’s actually you that twist as the earth rotates and look at the two different horizons for moon set and rise. It sort of depends on how far north or south of the ecliptic (good google word) the moon is.

Getting the Reflections of a Full Moon in the Borderlands of Wyoming/Montana is a matter of finding a lake lol. We are mostly a dry land ranch. A few small ponds near our well driven hydrants are sparse on the ranch. This one is no exception being hydrant driven. A ranch pumps a lot of water. Fortunately a wet year to kept this lake full all year. This was mid summer with heavy due on the grass and twilight skies miles into the backcountry. It was a wonderful drive to go there that morning.

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

Title: Reflection over Farm Pond

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Reflections over Farm Pond

Reflections over Farm Pond
Reflections over Farm Pond

Reflections over Farm Pond

6 months ago, In a backcountry far far away… (scrolling text talking about Jedi)

Backcountry…. I use the term all the time. OK, Here’s how it goes…

This little mirrored pond is 3 miles of bumpy two track paths from the closest county road. The county road is gravel, it is 14 miles then to the closest paved road. It is 70 miles to the nearest 4 way 3 color traffic light but there is a 4 way red light 50 miles away lolol. Back far away from population…. = Backcountry or at least that is my definition. My nearest neighbor is about 4 miles away.

I find that you “are where you are” when the sun goes down. I tend to levitate to reflective scenes but this I live on a “dryland” ranch. We don’t have any running water except during a big rain. Then we have flash floods lolol. Limited to the gullies fortunately. We did have a 4 inch rain in about an hour during which shin high water was running around the back of my house. So we do get some water dumps now and then.

This lake I have seen run dry before but not this year. We were way above average moisture accumulation. It remains full through totally iced over at the moment lol. (January) . Living in the backcountry tends to boil down life to the essentials. I find that photography, simple is usually better. Wood, Water, Grass and Sun combine for this composition.

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

Title: Reflections over Farm Pond

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Reflections Sunset Longhorn Drink

Reflections Sunset Longhorn Drink
Reflections Sunset Longhorn Drink

Reflections Sunset Longhorn Drink

Sunsets up here are an unfettered bright environment photographically. Using a lake as a reflective media just about doubles the light intensity. So walking down range of such things is a rough road to a good image. TOO much light…..

Photographic Musings: 3 things to adjust in Manual Mode (because your cell phone isn’t going to take this shot) Easy as 1,2,3….📸😀

Turn that top big dial with the M on top of your camera. Turn it to M. (Manual Mode)

1: F-Stop: For this bright environment, you really have to turn UP the F-stop to about as high as it will go for your particular lens. This gives you a very deep field of focus where the grass up front is sharp as well as the cattle and sky. High fstop also cuts out light. (High F-stop = Little pin Hole as an aperture. . Low F-stop = Big aperture (pupil) in the lens.

2: Shutter Speed: You also have to turn up your shutter speed to a very fast shutter which cuts off some of that light. Say 1/2000th….. (variable), A faster shutter will let in less light. A longer/slower shutter lets in proportionally more light. 1/100th of a second lets in twice as much light as 1/200th. A little speed change can make a big difference. Your using shutter speed to adjust exposure usually last but here I’d use ISO as the last variable and keep it a fast shutter.

3: Camera Sensitivity (ISO). A low ISO number is used for Bright daytime. So ISO 100 or lower if your camera will go there is usable. Really low ISO introduce noise into the image though just as High ISO. Native best choice for daytime is ISO 100. ISO 800 for dark rooms. ISO 3000 or higher depending on your camera will introduce grain and noise.

Your priorities are deep focus, and proper exposure. Set your first priority first which is F-stop for the focus and cutting light. Just two left.

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

Title: Reflections Sunset Longhorn Drink

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Springtime Whitetail Doe Climbing

Springtime Whitetail Doe Climbing
Springtime Whitetail Doe Climbing

Springtime Whitetail Doe Climbing

During the early spring, Whitetail turn a wonderful light tan color. The shedding of their winter fur is mostly over and a silky look is the rule for healthy animals. I don’t see a lot of Whitetail up here. I seldom can get close to them. Automatic cameras managed and placed in the correct location is the start of this process. Then the deer have to cooperate lolol.

I’m not able to track over time these guys like I can follow the growing Mule deer. Whitetail are MUCH more shy in my experience. Quick to run from you as well.

The Game Trail Camera I used for this is one of the more expensive rigs I have in my arsenal. I don’t talk up or endorse any particular brand but this one take quite good images as far as saturation and color intensity. These kind of game trail camera captures are the exception and definitely not the rule. Having a camera in the same place for a long time can lead to a whole series of encounters. Placement is the only thing you really have control of. Most of the Game Trail Cameras you get only have three or 4 settings you have any effect on. They are more or less automatic cameras and your lucky to get 1 out of a hundred images of any use. This one is the exception to that un-written rule.

2×3 Aspect Ratio to 36 inches.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Springtime Whitetail Doe Climbing

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Buck and Doe Whitetail Deer

Buck and Doe Whitetail Deer
Buck and Doe Whitetail Deer
Buck and Doe

Buck and Doe Whitetail Deer

During the early spring, Whitetail turn a wonderful light tan color. The shedding of their winter fur is mostly over and a silky look is the rule for healthy animals. I don’t see a lot of Whitetail up here. I seldom can get close to them. Automatic cameras managed and placed in the correct location is the start of this process. Then the deer have to cooperate lolol.

The buck has it’s growing antlers covered with “velvet” which carries the blood supply to the growing bone. He has a ways to go before these antlers get interesting to hunters. He looks like a 2 year old to me but they might get bigger. I’m not able to track over time these guys like I can track mule deer. THey are MUCH more shy in my experience.

The Game Trail Camera I used for this is one of the more expensive rigs I have in my arsenal. I don’t talk up or endorse any particular brand but this one take quite good images as far as saturation and color intensity. These kind of game trail camera captures are the exception and definitely not the rule. Having a camera in the same place for a long time can lead to a whole series of encounters. Placement is the only thing you really have control of. Most of the Game Trail Cameras you get only have three or 4 settings you have any effect on. They are more or less automatic cameras and your lucky to get 1 out of a hundred images of any use. This one is the exception to that un-written rule.

2×3 Aspect Ratio to 36 inches.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderland

Title: Buck and Doe Whitetail Deer

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Icicle and a Warm Day

Icicle and a Warm Day
Icicle and a Warm Day

Icicle and a Warm Day

Some warm(er) winter days present the sun directly on a snow covered roof and melting starts. If the air is still below freezing, icicles will of course start to form in the run off stream Of course it depends on how warm the roof is, how well insulated from below.

I took this to sepia intentionally as I have enough blue icicles in my pile of image to do lol. So perhaps this is considered art with the color not being photorealistic to the scene as I experienced it. I go nuts if I don’t vary my routine every once in a while lolol. One has to have a bit of variety now and then .

Photographic Musings:

Most of you have the ability to do this shot with any good DSLR or Mirrorless Camera on Manual mode.

Here is my thought process on pretty much every image I ever take.:……. You have to decide what your first priority is. ….. Freezing the water droplets so…. Shutter Speed is your FIRST priority. To freeze motion of a falling water drop start at 1/1000th of a second and you might have to wander to 1/1500th or there about shutter speed.

OK, Second priority… Adding light. Since the fast shutter speed cuts the amount of light entering the camera, you must add some. Opening up the lens by turning down the f-stop (aperture or pupil size of the lens). Lower fstop number will open up the lens and let a lot of light in. This has the double edged sword effect of thinning the focal depth of the camera. Take a photo of someones nose and his ears are out of focus thin focal field sort of thing. Well this is a flat surface so I don’t need focal depth, F4 or about as low an f number as your lens will go to. This will also BLUR the backcountry to a uniform “Bokeh”. (Good google word).

Only three things to adjust in Manual mode, so your first two priorities were satisfied above. Last is ISO or camera sensitivity. With a mirrorless camera, I would just adjust it to “get the image to the exposure you want” live real time on the video screen. You can see your adjustments before you click. Lower ISO is better IF YOU CAN. High ISO gives you grain AND artifacts in the photo but you have to resort to it in some dark environments.

With a DSLR, you guess, take the photo, look at what you got, adjust again (guess) and repeat until you get the desired result.

You now know everything I know about taking this photo for yourself.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Icicle and a Warm Day

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Cowgirl Watering Hot Mastiff

Cowgirl Watering Hot Mastiff
Cowgirl Watering Hot Mastiff

Cowgirl Watering Hot Mastiff

(Summer Alpenglow)

This 220 pound King Corso Mastiff is one of 3 Mastiff’s of 2 different breeds living in our ranch compound with us currently. (Along with my nephews tiny poodle mix lolol). Nothing like a cool bath after the last run of the day. Give the short haired dogs a few minutes to dry in the summer air and off to bed. Living with mastiffs has it’s big rewards with just a few detractions.

The Drool Thing:

As a rancher wearing ranch cloths, I don’t mind so much the drool issue.. If you’ve never been around Mastiffs that were bred by the Romans for war (not table manners), you haven’t experienced living with a salivating horse before. Generally they are clean enough for dogs but the strings of drool are impressive. I should have waited until after he drank to show the foot long strings that occur after eating or drinking. I bet there are some patentable characteristics for the sticky, stringy properties of Mastiff Drool.

So I’m sitting in my computer chair working while my wife is feeding the mastiffs. (they eat outside but we hand feed them meat rolls about a pound each. ). She let the dogs right in and the first thing the big one does is come over laying his head on my arm. I almost had to take a shower lololol. The command is now, “Wipey Wipe” after feeding BEFORE the dogs come back in. They don’t like their face wiped but they let us do it lol.

Computer Musings:

I ran across this image recently during a photo-finishing binge searching in some of the various places I’ve stashed images over the years. Most of my older material I keep off line preventing instant access. These images are stored in several separate external drives kept turned off . There fore they are no directly connected to my machine 24/7. (Safe storage). I pull “piles of files” out to work on for a few days from that source. They are all images from the past I’ve taken over the years. This was from 2018.

Note: I also keep old image backups off site in case my house burns down. I’m not loosing a lifetime of work, no way :). Everyone should practice this with their computer data if you have ANYTHING worth worrying about. It’s the end of a year, this is a good time for a backup. Give a portable hard drive for a gift to yourself, backup your machine.

Location: in our compound, Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Cowgirl Watering Hot Mastiff

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Wetland Sunset in the Snow

Wetland Sunset in the Snow
Wetland Sunset in the Snow

Wetland Sunset in the Snow

This location is about a mile below a good sized oil field pumping 140 degree water out, treating it, holding it in ponds until it eventually freezes. With it having been below zero several times already, having an open body of water in the backcountry is an oasis. Particularly this time of year. (Imaged last week) A lot of wild birds stop by and over night here. Liquid water is always interesting to animals of all kinds in deep northern Wyoming / southern Montana winters. Numerous Geothermal ponds exist from deep oil wells in the areas surrounding my ranch but none directly on my place unfortunately.

I love geothermal pond areas for photographic trips in sub-zero weather as the steam generates huge hoar frost needles on virtually everything. The mists in the mornings can be amazing to watch the sunrise through. This is the kind of things I see driving backroads in the borderlands of Wyoming/Montana.

As I noticed this, it stopped me from 45 mph and I backed up a ways to set up for it. The speed limit up here is 45 on the county back roads. It only took a few seconds to get back to the proper position for this frame. . I rarely pass another vehicle when I drive around the backcountry. Maybe one car every three or four days of work. Mostly that would be a local rancher either going to town or tending cattle.

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

Title: Wetland Sunset in the Snow

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Tippy Toe Fawn

Tippy Toe Fawn
Tippy Toe Fawn

Tippy Toe Fawn

This game trail camera is the same camera that captured the doe I posted earlier this morning. This was taken on a different day of course since it wasn’t born just yet when the doe was caught.. This is likely one of her two fawns stretching as far as it could to see what this camera is lolol. I have a whole sequence of two fawns and the mother with the cow lick on her shoulder.

Cropping the top this off is possible. Obviously overexposed at the top right. Only behind behind that tree saved the image.. Automatic cameras….. I could have easily captured this with one of my fancy cameras but the candidness is all about me NOT being there. Thank god for the tree filter. Without that tree, this wouldn’t have been captured at all. This guy has just too much curiosity not to share with you folks. Deer babies are a spring thing….

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Tippy Toe Fawn

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Curious Whitetail Deer Doe

Curious Whitetail Deer Doe
Curious Whitetail Deer Doe

Curious Whitetail Deer Doe

Walking up very carefully to a stock water tank late spring is the doe Whitetail. She is about as pregnant as she can be, weeks from giving birth. Two buns in the oven I suspect. I see a female deer with the same cowlick on her shoulder later in the year on the same camera with a pair of twins.

Brown/white mottled winter days like today at 42 degrees as a high ,sure make late spring days with green leaves look amazing. This “Garden of Eden “capture isn’t far from a wonderful wetland . The warm days of summer are missed up here with our Oct 1 start of winter.

The Game Trail Camera I used for this is one of the more expensive rigs I have in my arsenal. I don’t talk up or endorse any particular brand but this one take quite good images as far as saturation and color intensity. These kind of game trail camera captures are the exception and definitely not the rule. Having a camera in the same place for a long time can lead to a whole series of encounters. Placement is the only thing you really have control of. Most of the Game Trail Cameras you get only have three or 4 settings you have any effect on. They are more or less automatic cameras and your lucky to get 1 out of a hundred images of any use. This one is the exception to that un-written rule.

Square Aspect Ratio to 18 inches.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderland

Title: Curious Whitetail Deer Doe

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Sunrise Through the Knothole

Sunrise Through the Knothole
Sunrise Through the Knothole

Sunrise Through the Knothole. IT was a crisp cold morning, I was out collecting chips from Game Trail Cameras. I was also working the sunrise as opportunities presented themselves. i went for a walk along the shore or this small lake. The sun was just emerging as the horizon dropped away exposing the nuclear furnace. (Remember, the sun doesn’t move, the earth’s horizon drops away exposing the sun.).

Driftwood can be knot holed and this piece was big enough to stick my camera accompanied with a a wide lens attached. I’m honestly not sure which side of the border this is on as it’s pretty much on the border lol. I didn’t have my GPS with me. I usually reserve that device for fossil hunts where landownership and exact location is a bit.

Photographic Musings:

Thinking like a mouse looking through a window, I take images of natural portholes/windows as I see them. It’s the close/far focus thing that is hard to do photographically. On manual mode, if deep focus is your Priority with your image, think immediately of turning UP your F-stop number. High f-stop numbers set your aperture (the pupil size of your camera) very pinpoint. As small a hole in the lens as possible. This give you the deepest focus (thickness of the zone of focus). Low f-stop numbers give you shallow focus. Maybe a nose is in focus but not your ears. It lets in LOTS of light going big pupil (low f-stop) but you have fuzzy backgrounds. If full image (close/far) focus is what your after, then high f-stop numbers are your playground.

Once you learn F-stop is a double edge sword either taking or giving light, it also effects focal depth. The other two settings are adjusted after f-stop to compensate and balance your light equation. If you learn nothing else from this, learn f-stop means focus depth.

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

Title: Sunrise Through the Knothole

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Sunset with Aroma Added

Sunset with Aroma Added
Sunset with Aroma Added

Sunset with Aroma Added (Hybrid photo/art perspective)

I have always said, “If you can make a pile of SH** look good with a camera, you could be a photographer”. It’s all about the light/composition not about the subject. (I have posted this before and it’s now up to my “current standards” lololol).

In full disclosure, I added the old bearded mans face in mask profile using Highlights on the right edge of the “pile”. Sort of digital sculpting without any of the biohazard issues 😜 Channeling Bev Doolittle a bit perhaps (no insult intended to her)…… Other than that little area, everything else is un-affected by my machinations/mutation of an otherwise plain edge.

Anyhow, back to the composition. This Perspective is a close/far focus pretty much at water level of a small wetland area. The cattle of course tend to flavor the water. Drinking out of a natural body of water…..not so much of a good idea. Just my 2 cents. For that fact, most lakes…… never mind.

This sort of “encounter” is a common occurrence here in Cattle Country. Many a boot has met a hose as a result of this meeting. I consider this hazardous duty for my camera as the focus distance here is about a foot. Anywhere close to water is scary to me even though I have never dropped a camera from my hands ever. My luck, I’d drop it in the pile and bounce it into the water lol.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Sunset with Aroma Added

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Red Wing Reflections

Red Wing Reflections
Red Wing Reflections

Red Wing Reflections 2:1 Aspect

This male looks nothings like the female (sexually dimorphic). The female looks like a long billed sparrow. This male was down on the waters edge hoping along this piece of driftwood. Eye for insects and small critters. They are Polygynous with the male floating among several females and the females have been known to “roam” as well. The Males are aggressive toward any intruders to their nest. Every male I’ve ever seen was the dictionary definition of brash.

They are WIDELY distributed with around 20 subspecies. Their primary diet is bugs and berries. In my barnyard pond, they seem to be mostly waiting for pickings left over by the ducks and chickens. Known to go right through normal chainlink. This to get access to the inside of my chicken coup. Another section of finer chicken wire took control of that invasion route. Nuking them from orbit might be the only option. They seem to really want to get into the grain in the chicken roost for some reason.

These guys are in the same family (Icteridae) which includes the Baltimore Oriole and the Eastern Meadowlark. Our birds have no doubt migrated to southern climates. October 1st was the first day of winter (early) . I did not notice large flocks this year but I saw some last years. Random distribution I suspect.

)rotected under the Mgratratory Bird Treaty Act, Red Wings are in trouble . Populations of Red Wings are currently in decline. Standard stuff..habitat distruction, miccro plastics normal climate variations or what ever is causeing the decline.

Just so long as we all know the bird needs to be helped not destroyed.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Red Wing Reflections

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Coyote Prowling on Thin Ice

Coyote Prowling on Thin Ice
Coyote Prowling on Ice

Coyote Prowling on Thin Ice is an unexpected Game Trail Camera Capture. I have 4 good shots of this guy walking by here on 4 different days. (so far).

There are 8 species in the Genus Canis. The Canis we know best is Canus familiaris (common house dog). This Coyote is Canis latrans.

This is a female by the looks of it on other photos.. It’s about 4/5ths the size of a full size male. Males can weigh up to 45 pounds. From what I’ve seen, they can bite you about 30 times per second per second.😀. I’ve known a human raised Coyote and they are a force to be reckoned with if they focus on you.

I’ve always thought that Coyotes were “Wiley”. Hunting on thin Ice isn’t the brightest things I’ve ever seen.. This particular lake isn’t frozen at all at the moment as I type this…. That ice was 1/2 inch thick at most. If she keeps this up, it’s going to mean a cold bath if not me finding a floating clump of fur in the spring thaw.

I tend to 29 Game Trail Cameras currently and plan to expand that network considerably over time. They take very little work but a lot of AA batteries over the network lol. I endorse no particular Game camera as they ALL have issues with photo quality. The way they save .jpgs drive me nuts as I have to fix each and every one I publish. The only thing you can really adjust besides 3 levels of exposure/flash/distance, is placement. Set them on a post or tree and wait. I will have cameras working all winter concentrated where wildlings actually go. Natural funnels and water holes are the easy picks.

2×3 aspect up to 36 inches wide.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Coyote Prowling on Thin Ice

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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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Coyote Breakfast: Morning Sip

Coyote Breakfast: Morning Sip
Coyote Breakfast: Morning Sip

A Coyote Breakfast: Morning Sip

Perfectly colored for the grass this time of year, this Coyote Breakfast: Morning Sip of Water …. That along with a pee over in the corner is what a Coyote’s breakfast usually consists of lolol.

These guys are mostly mouse hunters. Unfortunately, they do kill livestock babies, (calves lambs other wise known as a bad thing). They keep a Llama breeding industry thriving to keep them away and they keep a LOT of Coyote Hunters occupied (which is also a good thing). Generally ranchers try to eradicate them if they are hanging about. Ranch cats are always under threat of coyote’s.

Value of a Good Electric Fence:

This guy is a mile from my homestead which is surrounded by a very effective electric fence system primarily to keep deer out. It usually keeps everything else out too. There aren’t a lot of gaps in that electric fence larger than about 1/2 a foot lolol. It took me a year to get it right and about 3 months of solid work but I have a little 10 acre island of mostly wild critter free zone.

Living in the backcountry of Wyoming/Montana, we deal with it’s other night creatures besides coyotes too. Skunks, raccoons and porcupines run about and do occasionally get inside my electric fence. As a system to keep out most things, it’s very effective but the very small do get in but they do learn to keep their tails down and not up where it hits that fence lololol. All my cat’s know that game with the low electric fence wire. Keep that tail down or get knocked down lol. The dogs however don’t react well to porcupines and skunks. Fortunately we’ve been pretty lucky only pulling a few quills out of noses. There has also been a few baths in peroxide and tomato juice and I have my share of skunk stories from living up here.

Fortunately we’ve never had a coyote penetrate our fenceline. I’ve seen them right outside the perimeter before. I didn’t see it but a lion was spotted outside the wire. A few bobcats…. I know many other things hang out but we haven’t noted them. I have plaster casts of Wolf footprints (positively ID’s by a wildlife biologist) from about a 1000 yards from my fenceline at my com tower. I’ve seen bear scat out at my dinosaur dig site and there have been other bear reports locally. You never know what your keeping out with a good electric fence.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Fawns Morning Drink

A Fawns Morning Drink at the water hole on a foggy morning
A Fawns Morning Drink: Trip to the Stock Tank

After a long trek, it finally made it to the Stock Tank to take a fawns morning drink after a walk across a divide from an adjacent pasture at least a mile away. These stock tanks (4 of which I keep open over about 3 miles of water pipeline from my main well all winter flowing water for who ever drops by) is critical for the local deer population. Most of the Pronghorn Migrate south about 20-40 miles but the deer stay around and probably couldn’t if I didn’t keep this resource available. Been keeping water sources open for 20 years in the backcountry.

Framing a Game Trail Camera image is like adjusting your underwear. You think you know know how you want to do it. Butt you definitely know it when it’s right and then only after you take a few steps (photosI mean 😄. Most of the cameras preview/show you a photo of what the camera is seeing but it is when the camera is “Open”. Not much help… So you set it up pointing it basically blind just generally pointing it in the right direction. Then there is the assistance I get by animals nudging the cameras,. They help by licking them, trying to chew on the nylon straps that hold them to trees etc. The animals are always trying to help me by cleaning the cameras with their tongue…. ewwwwww. I see some goooey things stuck to lenses now and then lolol.


This was early foggy twilight plus the Infrared Flash from the Camera. I left the white eye in for a change. Perhaps it should be all black ?. This was obviously from the early summer as the Fawns have all lost their spots a few months ago. I have a folder of over 1000 photos from this summer yet to be looked at let alone finished lolol. Job security 😀

18×18 inch square aspect

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Fawns Morning Drink

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Buck Mule Deer Drinking at Twilight

Buck Mule Deer Drinking at Twilight
Buck Mule Deer Drinking at Twilight

Catching a Mule Deer Buck Drinking from a Stock Tank at Twilight is a tough one to do in person. This is why I run a network of high quality game trail cameras (26 currently) to catch some of the inhabitants of my ranch in a more candid way.

Photograhers notes:

Hints on using game trail cameras:

Each image is problematic from a professional photo finishing standpoint. Let’s just say these images from the GTC take a while in the digital darkroom to get them to my current fairly high standards lol. This particular image has been finished to print to 2x3feet at high resolution so you can get really good images from these cameras.

The problem with the actual Game cameras is that they are on automatic all the time. Therefore I have no real creative control over the lighting adjustment. Low med and high lolol. Some algorythm decides….. This camera is set at a low flash setting but no IR flash occurred for this twilight color shot. This was late enough in the twilight where the camera could/should have taken a night camera shot in Black and White via Infra-Red Light. Apparently it just got this in above that low light threshold and was still in color. Low light color shots are rare for a game camera. I use 20 and 30 megapixel cameras. I don’t endorse any particular kind though. Each has it’s own uses like a particular screwdriver once you get to know how they perform.

Watering holes and fence openings are obviously good attractions and “funnels” where game will trail. I look for paths up to fences that continue on the other side and often place cameras at oblique angles to the crossing to catch Pronghorn or deer going under and occasionally over fences. Look for fence crossings near water sources too since those will be frequented at least once a day by what ever is around. Leave gates open for a long time if you can and still control your own stock. The wild game will start using those gates more often.

I find that putting cattle into a pasture will pretty much destroy, mame, chew, lick and otherwise waste game trail cameras. Don’t do it for long or you will have a messy sloppy game trail camera with 5K images of a cows blurry side to go through for that one deer that was overexposed by walking too close to the camera…….🤣

It’s illegal to feed game animals in many states. Putting down “chum” to attract the animals is touchy so know your local rules. You can put down corn to feed your livestock, you can plant fields with the right plants they like but don’t put down food for the wildlife is generally the rule for Game and Fish about the country. There are exceptions I’m sure.

The only parameters you can control with most game trail cameras is exposure and IR sensitivity for detection of animal movement. Placement of the camera…. I find this is by far the most important thing. Composition of the shot and having a funnel or attraction to have the animals go to where the camera is actually pointing is the baby. Set up those funnels.

Have a great evening this Wednesday night.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Sunset over the Borderlands of Wyotana

Sunset over the Borderlands of Wyotana
Sunset over the Borderlands of Wyotana

Here’s where I spent the other evening at sunset. The Borderlands are such that when I take a photo east and or west, I’m usually having parts of both Montana (distance) and Wyoming (close) in the image.

There were small storms in the area spitting either snow or rain depending on your elevation at the time. I waited to go out until the sun was just above the “sun slit” under the cloud deck. Watching what is going on has saved me a lot of time here and there lol.

This is a nice little isolated lake not far from a road but you really can’t see it from the road. Most travelers up here drive 100 yards from this and never see it. Spring fed of course
I’m sure it was seep 100 years ago. So the ranches damed it up along with many other ponds decades ago.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Here’s Looking at You Kid

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

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

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

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

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Off Golden Pond

Off Golden Pond
On Golden Pond

“Off Golden Pond” This is one of the few shots I have published where I left in the lens flare(s). To me they are internal reflections in the camera, are artifacts I usually remove….that are apparently becoming quite the style with lens flares being incorporated into major movies I’ve noticed of late….

I find Lens Flares are difficult to incorporate artistically into an image in my experience. Mostly they are difficult to avoid pointing a camera toward the sun or other really bright lights because they actually can destroy the image covering it with glare. Often they are more difficult to remove in the digital darkroom if you are “cleaning” up your image there Try taking something like a huge light area off an otherwise ultra-smooth color gradient….(laughing maniacially). Have fun with that .

This one has at least 4 flares in a line to 6 o’clock. I’m not sure what the big deal is with them in modern films, but I’ll work the problem on my end when I can lolol.

To me, this image is all about the line of grass framing the bottom of the capture. Portrait aspect. I captured these photons Off this Golden Pond thus the name (sly smile). Reflections……

Location: Reflecting off…..the Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands…

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Clear Sky Sunrise from the Borderland Wetlands

Clear Sky Sunrise from the Borderland Wetlands
Clear Sky Sunrise from the Borderland Wetlands

Just before the Snow moved in, I took this Clear Sky Sunrise from the Borderlands and one of our lakes up there. This spot is about 100 yards from Montana and some of the sky is Wyoming…some Montana since the sun was essentially rising straight east at the time.

This is a good place to be at sunrise. Lots happening out here. Birds all waking up, getting airborn for the day to head south.

I’m seeing big flocks of birds head south now.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Aquaponic Orchid and Praying Mantis Hunting

Aquaponic Orchid and Praying Mantis Hunting
Aquaponic Orchid and Praying Mantis Hunting

This is another image from that Mantis that I saved from a for sure drowning. I randomly walked past a stock water tank and saw this guy floundering stuck in a carpet of floating algae strings. It took a few minutes to detangle him preferably without ripping his limbs off. he spent the next 10 minutes inside my palm warming up and once released into the jungle like humidity and temp of our underground greenhouse (Walipihni), he started chewing off the algae still wrapping his claws.

This was taken a week after that when he was happily crawling along the tops of some of the orchids I grow down in the Walipini looking for Lady bugs no doubt lol. The lady bugs hunt everything else…

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

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Reflections Yellow to Lavender Alpenglow Gradient over Water

Reflections, Yellow to Lavender Alpenglow Gradient over Water
Reflections, Yellow to Lavender Alpenglow Gradient over Water.

The rarest twilight color… “Cranberry”….Reflections on this backcountry pond of a Yellow to Lavender Alpenglow Gradient over Water. It was windy so no mirror (which I could easily fake) in the lake. I’m a photorealist that will always tell you when I do ART. (usually in the Title lolol). This is genuine color resultant from a Russian volcano spewing gasses all fall. Purple skies have been the rule this fall during twilights. I had MANY good captures from that mornings photo expedition into the remote backcountry of the Montana/Wyoming borderlands.
(about a week ago now).

This lake is 70 miles from the nearest 4 way 3 color traffic light. Maybe 300 yards from the Wyotana border. You can see both states in this image looking almost straight east for sunrise.

We’re going to be getting some more snow this week. Wettest year ever since I’ve been up here and early wet winter looks like. …..

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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When you Take a Nap and the Water is Freezing Around You…

When you Take a Nap and the Water is Freezing Around You...
When you Take a Nap and the Water is Freezing Around You...

When you Take a Nap and the Water is Freezing Around You…Now I “believe” this is a “Snipe”. An actual Snipe mind you. I may have the ID wrong as I’m NOT a birder, I’m a photographer who like photographing birds lolol.
So… napping he is, it’s right at 32 degrees, it’s snowing, the water is slowly setting like concrete around him. He was there about 5 minutes for his version of a cat nap (might be an inappropriate term for a bird napping). He got out lol.

So if you like to go out “Snipe Hunting”, here you go. It’s probably some curlew or some other related bird though lol.

Long telephoto shot, not a crop. 18×18 inches at 300 dpi 🤔

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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In the Reeds at Dawn

In the Reeds at Dawn
In the Reeds at Dawn

This exceptional Alpenglow/Reflection display in the “Reeds at Dawn” was early morning Oct 4th. It was purple earlier but as the sun got closer to the horizon it lit up more ice with yellow light , that changed to early volcanic gas induced lavender we’ve been experiencing to a yellow to orange gradient late in Civil Twilight. . What a wonderful color gradient morning that was.

Location: Down in the wetlands at the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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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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Wetland Sunrise on the Montana with Wyoming Border

Wetland Sunrise on the Montana with Wyoming Border
Wetland Sunrise on the Montana with Wyoming Border

Yesterday morning in the Wetlands watching Sunrise directly on the Montana with Wyoming border north of Gillette Wyoming. It is 70 miles to the nearest 4 way 3 color stop light from this spot and several miles from the nearest county road. It’s a nice place to spend the dawn this time of year. With the mosquito population knocked down and a lot of the grass has been knocked down by the heavy wet snow blanket that fell Oct 1. It’s relatively easy to get around with low water in October in this wetland area.

This spot is literally 1/2 way between the Equator and the North Pole at precisely 45 degrees north latitude (the Montana/Wyoming border too).🤔 We are also about 120 miles from the geographic center of the North American continent. You couldn’t get much further from an Ocean than this spot….literally lol. No local “Red Lobster” . It’s a good thing I have all this Cretaceous Hell Creek/Lance Formation Dinosaur Bearing Sandstones all over the place covering the ranch to keep me feeling like I’m at the beach..digging a hole in 100 degree sand when I look for fossils in the summer sun… 🤣.

We pay taxes in both states. My son went to HS in Montana, our main residence is Wyoming technically by 1/2 mile. We actually have about 1/2 the ranch’s land in either state.


Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming and Montana on both sides of that border.

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Need Some Table Manners

Need Some Table Manners
Need Some Table Manners

This doe obviously needs some table manners. Drinking is a dangerous thing for deer. They take their attention away and a camera goes click and ARRRRRGH. Instant over-reaction and a great candid dripper shot lolol.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Garden Crab Apple Fruit Just After a Rain

Garden Crab Apple Fruit Just After a Rain
Garden Crab Apple Fruit Just After a Rain

We use the garden crab apple trees to cross pollenate some of our apple trees. This leads to very good apples some years. This year we had a good crop. Still a tree full of apples waiting for the first few frosts but I’ve been eating wonderful ranch grown apples since about July off the trees.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.