Now I know this is out of season but I am redoing my portfolio to current standards and I’m reposting some from this last summer. I think it’s an interesting break from the mid-winter weather we’ve been having.
It was raining at the time about 30 minutes after sunset. It was overcast. Quite dark thus the long time exposure. I was in my Jeep Grand Cherokee on a large flat ridge top right in the middle of lightning flashes all around me. One of the better places to be during a lightning storm in the “open” is in a car. That is as long as your not touching metal. It also helps if you don’t have long camera lenses sticking outside your open window….. oh wait lolol..
There are two ways of doing this. If it is very dark, set your camera on a stabile tripod in a dry area. Take 25 second time exposures at ISO 200 and f11 to start with… No definite formula here…. You will have to tweek some to see what comes out. Or use an external “lightning trigger” to snap the camera as the bolt touches off. Set your camera near or at ISO 200 F11 and 1/4 second. Your settings will vary based on lighting.
The trick here to get a full frame (not a crop) image was to watch the storm and figure out where the bolts were consistently hitting. Then you just point the camera into that area and wait lolol. Lightning Triggers are not necessary with a time exposure.
This MesoCyclone was Veiling the full Moon. Enough to catch the stars visible to my naked eye. Using a 20 second time exposure, some lightning flashed during the interval. Details in the clouds that are seldom to a camera pointing at the full moon. Most you see are fakes or composites. Time exposures over a second tend to overexpose the full moon badly. Even a moon that was unveiled. Limitation of the technology.
Straddling South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana, this rotating storm was around 100 miles across. Containing the energy of an atom bomb expended over it’s life.
The view I had of this storm was perfect enabling me to photographed it. I was up in the higher backcountry for almost 2 hours with 6 different camera lens combinations from before sunset to well into Astronomic twilight under the full moon. Being backcountry means any light on the terrain is ambient from the flash and the moon/stars. No other man made light sources in view from the highest mountain top around kind of backcountry.
Various colors are way saturated which is what time exposures do. I actually really dampened down the purples that were native in the camera’s software in this image. 20mm lens, cropped in a bit. I wouldn’t go over 20 seconds with a 20mm as longer would have blurred the starts. That time varies with the focal length of the lens so look it up on google lol.
This ranks as one of my personal favorite images of the year. There are a few others….🤔 Taken Mid Summer 2019. 2×3 aspect.
Fog Bank Rolling In : a little summer green for your Winter doldrums..
The cloud bank on top of this landscape ladder is a layer literally hugging and slowly flowing over that back ridge. It appeared obvious that it would eventually get to us. The back cloud bank is the 4000 feet tall Red Hill’s under the slowly moving blanket. If I’d had a time lapse on my rig, (I didn’t have mine with me 😔). I never worry about the little things though lol. That morning was sunny and clear but when this eventually rolled over us, the day went totally grey.
The whiter layer of clouds, the leading edge still trapped in the LIttle Powder River Valley 400 feet below. It took about an hour for it to climb the hundreds of feet up the ridge to my position from the valley. Lots of Rungs on this landscape ladder.
I’ll be configuring my new backcountry photography vehicle all week. Hopefully I can get back in the field more after removing all my photo gear from my old Jeep Grand Cherokee’s cubby holes last month. My new Ford F-150 Raptor has a big more storage than the jeep. The new rig is more purpose build for backcountry photography/access. It’s very agile and should be able to go anywhere I need it to up here in the borderlands. It’s longer than my last rigs so I’ll try not to high center it. I’ve never been stuck up here in 2 decades…. yet. 😜
Composite. This is a really wide angle three telephoto image composite (left, center, right). Triplet.
I just realized I hadn’t posted a windmill for some time. All you junkies out there might be having a little withdrawal. So I thought I’d throw this in as a post. Here “Sneaky Pete” the windmill has jumped over the setting sun with intent to keep it under his control. Little does he know that the wise old sun will just sneak out the back door lolol. Just a snippit of the continuing adventures of the “Pete” Brothers for their loyal followers. Don’t let your mother know you look at things like this… Just saying 😜😀
When the air is full of light snow and other ice AND you can see the sun, hang on. You never know what kind of atmospheric effects your going to get. I go up the hill sometime just hoping the sun will come below the snowing cloud deck. With this much moisture in the air, only the red light makes it through all the ice. This was a while ago when we had fresh snow. Currently there is ice everywhere on the ground from a few warm days. Thick crusts with slick surfaces. The footing is treacherous.
We just missed a big storm this week which went to our south and east. I’d like to see some more snow but I suppose I should be careful what I ask for up here. We need some more snow however. Moisture in any form up here is usually a good thing. The timing however in the spring isn’t always good during calving season though 😔
These younger bucks got caught working out for the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch Fall Pronghorn Rut. It’s a single elimination tournament with winner take all. These bucks get along most of the year. They may even hang out “down on the corner” together. But this is as close to a full blown organized
So on an overcast Monday afternoon “Down Yonder by the fence line” was a small dojo formed for the purpose of working out and getting “tuned” for the battles to come. These guys were not not yet playing for keeps. The bigger bucks usually take it easy on the smaller males training/ramping up to the rut .It can really be violent when Pronghorn Bucks go at it. This appears more casual for the camera I suspect. This of course is a game trail camera capture from late in the fall (Fall was on a Tuesday this year). From this location in the past, dozens of various wonderful candid captures of both deer and Pronghorn occurred.
All the Pronghorn are off ranch at the moment. They all migrated about 30 miles south to the THunderbasin National Grassland. Pronghorn herds numbering in the hundreds. I had a Old Pronghorn Buck I named “Grunt” that stayed over winter several years but he’s not here this year. He either migrated with the others or in in much higher and greener pastures by his passing. I miss him as I could get very close to him as he was tolerant of me as an antelope can be tolerant.
This view of a BigHorn Mountains Landscape Ladder was taken a week ago as this posts. Th grassy remote ridgetop I was on, gives way to the Little Powder RIver Valley. The next ridge is the Red Hills backed by the 13000 foot high peaks of the core of the BigHorn Mountain Uplift. The Powder RIver Basin between the Mountains any my ranch pretty much ends at my ranch. I’m living right on the edge between the Wyoming Black Hills and the Powder River basin. Just west of my ranch, dinosaur fossil Bearing rock that is older than the Big Horn Uplift dive under the sediments worn off the BigHorn Mountains.
Our Ranch is as high topograpically above the Little Powder River Valley Floor as the dark 40 mile distant ridge. It allows me to see the peaks at this 130 mile distance. Weather windows to the BigHorns have been plentiful this year unlike previous ones. The sun is currently setting well south of these peaks from my vantage point at the moment. I won’t see it set over the big V notch until next spring again. The sun will continue to set a little more south each day until December 21’st. Then t starts to rise and set a little further north each day until the Summer Solstice.
I try to be very in tune to such things as my daily photographic activities take into account moon rise, sunsets with the time of year. Angles of sunrise and sunset are critical to where I go these days. Weather has the greatest impact of course.
Lightning Bolt Cloud to Ground is a 2 feet x 3 feet image in full size. Now I know this is out of season but I am redoing my portfolio to current standards and I’m reposting some from this last summer. I think it’s an interesting break from the early winter weather we’ve been having.
It was raining at the time about 10 minutes after sunset. This was our version of twilight that late summer 2019 evening. I was in my Jeep Grand Cherokee on a large flat ridge top right in the middle of lightning flashes all around me. One of the better places to be during a lightning storm is in a car. That is as long as your not touching metal. It also helps if you don’t have long camera lenses sticking outside your open window….. oh wait lolol..
There are two ways of doing this. If it is very dark, set your camera on a stabile tripod in a dry area. Take 25 second time exposures at ISO 200 and f11 to start with… You will have to tweek some to see what comes out. Or use an external “lightning trigger” to snap the camera as the bolt touches off. Set your camera near or at ISO 200 F11 and 1/4 second. Your setting s may vary but now too far out.
The trick here to get a full frame (not a crop) image was to watch the storm and figure out where the bolts were consistently hitting. Then you just point the camera into that area and wait lolol.
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.
“Thunderhead Lit Up Trailing Stars” is a time lapse photo on a tripod set up under my deck. All the lighting you see is ambient inside our “compound” from various yard lights mulitiplied over 10 seconds…. The storm is a 500 microsecond lightbulb flash giving me lit clouds from within. As the storm travels, it’s leaving stars in it’s wake in the pure dark sky. Got em!
This is not a composite in fact the bright star is actually a planet… Jupiter. The flash was instantaneous but the stars needed the time exposure and the results fit like a glove📸. About 10 seconds at ISO 300 with f6 (ish) should get you here if you have a tripod, and a storm that leaves stars in it’s wake… Hint…. Longer than about 12 seconds gives you streaky stars…..
Here is a flat light shot from Oct 1 as it was still snowing…Heavy Wet Snow on Trees that sill have leaves is not ideal. Natures pruning shear hard at work. There were lots of branches from this but surprisingly nothing big. The 70-80 mph wind storm we had a month ago already took out the weak ones lolol.
All melted off now…. snowed since and probably again when this posts.
This really is the Great Pumpkin in the Sky as it is totally unmolested in the digital darkroom as to the face and color. (It is natural and really happened like this) IT was very bright of course which is when everything else is silhouette.
This is called spotlighting and somewhere there was sunlight illuminating the landscape like a beam from above. Everywhere else was getting dark fast from the overcast and setting sun.
This is a telephoto shot so your actually looking at a ridge about a mile away and the sun is a bit bigger that the face… The bottom of the sun is in fact the bottom outline of the “mouth” at the top at the tree top where it sat down for a micro-second resting after it’s climb to it’s zenith. It’s been all down hill for about 6 hours but think of all that effort ! Must be tired 🤣
I’ve never had 4 Meadowlarks in one photo before. They are Gathering Ready to Migrate. Several hundred yards down a fence line, if I move closer, they will fly away .
This was taken Oct 1 with the first snow of the 19/20 winter here in the high plains of Wyotana. The Meadowlarks couldn’t find a place to land with 4 inches of wet heavy snow about and were VERY active and singing. Their songs were everywhere. I bet they are gone in a week. 🙁
Photogrpahers notes: The T-posts holding the wire are about 16 feet apart so this is a 60 foot section of fence in low light heavy overcast snowing at the time (look at the fence wood brace post). Tough to get it all in focus with that light. It was a choice between really grainy or something out of focus in the image. I went to freeze motion and deal with the focus later lol. This would make a really good square photo of just the two that are in focus. I wanted to show the gatherings were going on.
A Twister is a Windmills Worst Fear. Here you can see “Sneaky Pete” the windmill Quaking in his boots over this funnels off not far in the distance. He still had the state of mind to photobomb my weather photo though. I have no control over his actions….🤣📸
Three spinners, one photo lol.
This did not touch down but the two funnels rotated about each other for about 30 seconds then disappeared back up into the clouds.
Channeling Bill Paxton the actor (Classic Reference)🤔
In September, the Morning Weather at Sunrise can give me amazing Landscapes just at the end of twilight…. The back country provides my visual tunnels and leading lines, the 180 mile horizon to horizon sky here gives me the other half of the image, the lighting.
This is a “Wonder World” of Photographic subjects up here in the borderlands of Wyoming/Montana
Way earlier as this storm was traveling from left to right over the Missouri Buttes and Devils tower *left center horizon out at 40 miles… The Storm was completely in South Dakota…… I was on Rocky Point pass… Went there 3 times in 2 days.
Whew… There!! 10 images finished this AM, worked sunrise, downloading currently, 8AM….. Late…… Time to get some more images finished for tomorrow and post in about 15 forums some two different or more images… It’s going to be a busy day catching up.
This fellow from the thunderstorm high wind event that did do some damage and I was in a car facing into the “breeze”. Easy Hurricane force winds shortly after this photo was taken. One of those “on the edge” images I probably shouldn’t have been there but such bolt shows don’t happen too often. I haven’t even scratched the pile images from this weekend.
SO…… off to the races… I’ve still got to pick up my dig site from the work there this weekend.
Good Monday Morning about 1/2 an hour before sunrise.
This image of the Photobombing “Sneaky Pete” the Windmill jumping into my lightning shot. (Fast huh? ) That guy has no sense being out in a dangerous storm like that being metal and all….. I have no control over his actions……. 🤔🤔😲😲😲😲
I still have two guests digging for fossils. We had a “pretty good” dig this weekend. But…….I had to move dry dirt over the site to work the dig though. Thank heavens for diesel fuel…
I will still be in the field today and hopefully will get SOME limited images on later today. Tomorrow I’ll be slow getting on with the clean up then back at em?
I have lots of clean up (branches broken things by REALLY high wind….more than even we are used to) to do after the big blow the other night that came through with one of these Mesocyclones that are hanging around up here this august lolol
OK, I lied….One post this weekend…. Guests aren’t here until a bit later this AM.
We’ve had 2, TWO inches of rain in 2, TWO days.. Makes looking for dinosaur bones easier and harder at the same time…. Mostly harder..
From Last night…. I sat this storm for an hour with several cameras involved. Car headlights are good but you actually have to be outside (in the rain) to do images using the car head lights usually lololol…
Have a great weekend. I will probably not post again until sunday evening or monday.