So I’m up on a high ridge for twilight. The sun is down for 5 minutes and the clouds are lighting up with a still blue sky above. I was driving my Polaris Ranger Crew UTV that has 2 bright LED lightbars on the front. I sat down right up against the front bumper in the grass. I brought a 12 mm wide lens but I cropped the image down to the center since the edges were all dark. Only the center was bright enough to recover. I only expose the highlight properly and worry about the dark later. This actually came out much better than it could have.
Close / Far perspectives under low light are rather tricky to capture. It’s takes a basic understanding of the requirement to use Manual mode on your camera to catch an image like this. High F-stop numbers, Long shutter speeds (tricky with moving grass), and perhaps a higher ISO to add a little camera sensitivity. Your priority here is depth of focus field. To get close grass AND the sky in focus at the same time requires you to use that requirement as your first priority. F-stop is the baby here. The other two settings are to get enough light to compensate for the high Fstop (very small hole in your lens to let light through). You have to realize that fstop is a double edge sword.
I’m always on the look out for framing deer inside of antlers of the foreground animal. A little out of season perhaps.
With all the cold weather coming in this image came to mind that spring isn’t that far away. The sage brush that time of year is a wonderful cyan/green color, the deer have all new coats. Their rapidly growing antlers are covered with the capillary blood vessel rich “Velvet” covering the bone under supplying it with nutrients.
Sometime later in the year they antlers will stop growing. The velvet starts to itch and they will rub those antlers tearing the velvet to ribbons. They will rub on any bush or tree unlucky enough to be in their path. Deer rubs on trees are good signs of deer activity and you can usually tell how recent they were.
Reminder: Photographic Musings (memorize this)
Terms you need to know: (F-stop) is your aperture size. The size of the “pupil” inside your lens. Big pupils (low fstop numbers) lets in a lot of light but your depth of focus is thin and shallow. (the eye is in focus but your ears are not). With a high F-stop number, you get a very deep field of focus/depth of field. The whole face and the trees behind the face are all in focus. This is because a high f-stop number makes a very small pin hole for a “pupil” in your lens. F-stop is one of three settings you adjust in Manual mode. It is a double edged sword, deeper focus field comes from having a small aperture “pupil” which means less light. Light is what your balancing here. The other two settings compensate for what your doing with f -stop in this case.
I needed to finish this image as I sort of need the dose of green. Image 5 of 6 for Windmill Wednesday. All Windmills All day 🙂
Windmill Junkies Unite: 🤘
The red gravel country road winds around our homestead. It USED to run right through our current compound but the country decided to run the road around the house thus all the curves up here. (Thank GOD) I’ve seen days without tracks in the snow on our road. Most winters, we get stranded by the drifts up here. Only oil trucks and a few local ranchers travel this road surrounded entirely by our ranch for 3 miles across 2 states.
With the green season above, there are three seasons up here. White season or simply “the snowy time”. Brown Season hereby defined as ground with no snow. And green season, when there is no snow and just a little brown. Last year was a VERY rare long green season when AUGUST had green grass. Almost unheard of up here in the borderlands. This was certainly the most wet year in my 20 year memory on this ground.
I consider winters here easy. I spent a decade in Jackson Hole Wyoming dealing with 6 feet of snow flat every year in the back yard. We do get some good snows with WINDS here on the border. Jackson Hole is not overly windy. We have WAY more drifting than Jackson did. I used to snow blow a foot of powder snow a couple of times a month. Snow seldom drifted like it does here.. Jackson Wins the snow amounts hands down over here in the borderlands. We win here with the amount of wind. Jackson is Colder of course.
I’ve lived 30 years in Wyoming this year. I first came here as a student of geology 40 years ago in 1980.
6 months ago during the summer solstice of 2019, a BIG 100 mile across mesocyclone moved over us right at sunset. Of course “Sneaky Pete” the Windmill jumped into the photo as he is a terrible attention hog. I have no control over his actions. Windmill Wednesday AND Christmas Wednesday. , Windmill Junkies Unite 🤘
I do understand through a third party that “Sneaky Pete” the Windmill wishes all of his fans a very very Merry Christmas. He has this insecurity problem where he wants to solve through fame and fortune acquired via his exposure in pictures. So he rushes into my images. His brother “Re-Pete” I’m sure also has Christmas wishes but he couldn’t be present at this photo taking session. He was over the hill out at his hangout during this storm.. Hard to get a family together portrait of the two brothers. They can’t move easily through the timber. I suspect they haven’t seen each other for a long time. I’ll have to see if I can arrange a digital family reunion someday…. 😜
I’m not sure what his New Year resolution. I’m pretty sure it has to involve photobombing more and injecting himself into my landscapes.
My new years resolution is to catch more skies like this and finally get all these images I’ve got stored away up on my web gallery. That will take a “while”. I consider it job security.
From all of us at the Bliss DInosaur Ranch, all of it’s creatures mythical and otherwise , Merry Christmas and a Happy/Safe New Year. 2020 is going to be an interesting year to be alive.
(Bowing my head and holding my hat over my heart) Here lies the last mortal remains of a predated backcountry deer. Just some simple tufts of hair spread about. I actually looked around quite a bit and for some distance in that area. Found one partial lower leg (calf) with hoof. It was hundreds of yards away from these scatterings of deer hide. I said a few words about the circle of nature and moved on knowing that nature is cruel. It is the renewal, the rebirth that is beautiful.
Close far perspectives are becoming a regular part of what I consider “working” with just about ever scene I look at these days. A really wide angle lens (10-12mm) along with high f-stop numbers in manual mode are necessary to do this kind of work. Knowing exactly what is in focus is best so knowing the characteristics of your lens is a good thing. I buy wide angle lenses based on their ability to focus really close to the lens but having a higher f-stop than f2-2 is highly desirable.
Reminder: Photographic Musings (memorize this)
(F-stop) is your aperture size. The size of the “pupil” inside your lens. Big pupils (low fstop numbers) lets in a lot of light but your depth of focus is thin and shallow. (the eye is in focus but your ears are not). With a high F-stop number, you get a very deep field of focus/depth of field. The whole face and the trees behind the face are all in focus. This is because a high f-stop number makes a very small pin hole for a “pupil” in your lens. F-stop is one of three settings you adjust in Manual mode. It is a double edged sword, deeper focus field comes from having a small aperture “pupil” which means less light. Light is what your balancing here. The other two settings compensate for what your doing with f -stop in this case.
I am literally standing on the Montana/Wyoming border taking this shot. This is a favorite overlook of mine. A view to the north of the Mud Hills which is the first range north of my ranch across the Ranch Creek Drainage. We call this place the “treed” pasture as it’s about 2 square miles of mixed pine trees and grassy hills and gullies.
A land of many uses:
Cattle grazing during the summer pasture is a major use here obviously. Cattle can’t be pastured around pine trees in the winter as they will eat the needles. Those needles contain turpentine which will cause the pregnant cows to spontaneously abort. Several hundred cow/calf pair hang out around here for a month or two during Late May through Early July. We move cattle out of here in early July to facilitate the Wyoming Tactical Rifle Championship courses 3 and 4 use.
This ground has been home to a nationally ranked Team Tactical Rifle Championship for 18 years. Almost 4 miles of groomed rifle courses in 16 shooting stations exposing 150 fixed reactive steel Targets out to 1200 yards. This location is the last (or first) station on course 3 lolol. Snipers nest with literally thousands of precision rifle shots at those reactive steel targets down range.
There are a few dozen locations (I’ve found so far) within this “Pasture” that has Hell Creek/Lance Formation that contain dinosaurian (and others) fossils. I found my first dinosaur tooth in this pasture 18 years ago. I knew they were here, I just didn’t know where. You do have to look though occasionally I stumble on dinosaur bones laying in the grass like any other stone in the middle of the prairie. I have found several fossil locations that way. You can’t find them if you can’t see them lolol.
We even have had a nationally released 4×4 video in 2008 filmed here. Peterson’s 4 Wheel Drive and Off Road Magazine filmed part of their “Ultimate Adventure” video series here that year. It’s out there if you want to watch several high end jeeps flip over trying to climb out of some of the soft sandstone lined gullies.
Windmill Wednesday with “Sneaky Pete” is a capture from last week that just made it through my workflow. Twilight Sky Shows after sunset are often better than the sunsets themselves.
This sky was impressively big at the 30 foot tall Windmill named “Sneaky Pete” (long term narrative if your new to “Sneaky Pete”. ). He has a habit of photobombing my land/skyscapes. I have no control over his actions as he has a mind of his own. Fortunately his size gives some perspective to this huge twilight sky that night. Some good comes out of his mischief. 😝
“Sneaky Pete” is the younger of two Windmills we have here on the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch. The older windmill is “Re Pete”. He hangs out about 3 miles out in the backcountry. More images from him as I rework my porfoiio to current standards.
Windmills in the past were the only source of water up here. We used that older windmill as recently as 2007. We’d have to change the leathers and grease stuff up. One has to climb up a 35 foot tower to do that…. We have a water pipeline now to that spot…. Working windmills are becoming rare even in this remote backcountry were easy to fix solar wells are taking over the jobs. A mile of electric wire costs MANY thousands of dollars. (maybe 60 or 70). A solar penel and pump are just a few thousand (2 or 3). Windmills need a lot of attention. Solar panels take next to nothings to keep running. Technology wins every time. 😁
The sun had set a minute before. The wind on the peaks were certainly gale force pushing snow a thousand feet into the air or more. I’ve had more sun behind the “Big Horn Mountains” this week than I’ve had in 20 years of trying to get shots like this.
Bear in mind that the range is 130 miles away from my ranch. I’m look at a VERY SMALL part of the sky at 13000 feet high peaks. Twice a year in the late fall and early spring the sun sets behind the BigHorn Mountains. The angle changes depending on where you are from the range. At this distance, you need really long telescopic lens ability to get “this close” from my place. I suggest an 800mm lens to start..
This is an 800mm lens and the image is a 2:1 Aspect ration 40 inches by 20 inches at 300DPI. I personally love silhouettes and pursue them as readily as images showing the detail of the trees on the peaks in daylight. You gotta love huge mountain chains 📸
Boy do I have images from this week of the Big Horns 📸.
Here I have posted a very well developed “Belt of Venus” . NE Wyoming version. Lots of Ice in the air…..Backshow from the sun that just went down over my shoulder.
This is the view from the Pass at RockyPoint Wyoming showing the 4 volcanic necks. The debris from them being eroded (sediments) are draping off them making an apron of debris to the relatively hard peaks. The Devil’s Tower (left) is the best known volcanic neck in this complex
. The other three peaks were emplace around the same time as the towers rocks were cooling in the deeply buried neck of an ancient volcano.
“Belt of Venus” NE Wyoming
The Missouri Buttes AKA the Three sisters are in fact 4 buttes. Hard to see all 4 unless your on the top of Devils Tower though or in a plane. Two of the buttes rise slightly lower topographically than the Tower, while the remaining two are actually higher. Devil’s Tower was formed from the same type of rock type as the Missouri Buttes. Rocks there are classified as “phonolite porphyry” by geologists.
There is some agreement among geologist (rare thing lol) that these volcanic necks were from the same intrusion of magma. That event created the hard magmatic origin rocks that obviously later resisted erosion better than the surrounding sediments. Thus they stick out of the surrounding landscape that washed away.
Geologists think magmatic injection, lead to these erosional remnants (mountains). All these peaks rocks were formed during closely related volcanic timelines it appears. Although some columnar jointing is evident in the Little Missouri Buttes, they lack the distinctive appearance and magnificent grandeur of Devils Tower which cooled over a longer period of time allow the giant columnar crystals of Dark Porphyry. These eroded exposed volcanic necks dominate the landscape with their presence here in the NorthEastern Corner of the state. This is almost entirely in Crook County but I’m standing in Campbell County Wyoming.
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.
Very clear Skies, Alpenglow below with a Crescent Moon in Twilight. This Crescent a few days ago was a 5 percent illuminated disc. It will be a new moon tonight if we see it. Winter weather is occurring as I type this and next week look cold…. (Your reading this about 6 days after I typed it). This image was actually taken in my driveway which ended up just about the last image I took that day. I locked the front gate behind me as I go into our homesteads electric fence deer resistant perimeter for the night. I have to close the gate though as they will go across the cattle gates without a gate in the way. Title: Crescent Moon in Twilight
That night there was so much ice in the air , it produced one of the finest Alpenglow displays I’ve seen in quite a while. This was way to the left of the main show to the west. The camera her was almost straight south by south west. The real show was in the west but the moon wasn’t so..🌙lick…
This was later in Civil Twilight just before the boundary time 28 minutes (ish) after sunset to Nautical Twilight. 28 (ish) minutes later than that Astronomic Twilight starts (so do you know the difference?) It’s a good google if you don’t. Night starts the second the sun goes down and ends with the tip of the sunrise in the morning. Remember it’s not the sun that moves, it’s the horizon that is rising or falling across the face of the sun that your watching. Things are as they actually are, not the way you think they are or the way you have told they are 🤔🙏
This image from last spring shows a favorite buck of mine named “Goal Post” tasting the air. Usually when they lick their nose they are getting some taste information to augment their keen sense of smell in the big snout. Humans are stinky and noisy for sure lol.
“Goal Post” is known to me as a deer with his left brow tine absent in the growth. I instantly recognized him this spring and he was as tolerant of me this year as last… This is very early in his horn growth and he is actually a 4×5 as those horns finally developed. His sidekick “Slow Boat” was nearby in this image lol. They are like peas and carrots those two deer are. I have some AMAZING images from working those two. I can usually work very close to them.
No mistake though, they are wild bucks. They would flee in a heart beat if I stepped outside my rig.
Catching this behavior is usually luck or just really good timing because it happens really fast as you can see by the slightly blurred tongue and this was a 1/400th sec image lolol.
I’ve know quite a few of these deer since they were fawns and photographed most of them every year several times. I know many of them by name based on ear notches or horns (which doesn’ help in the winter at all lol.
Remember I’m mixing and matching seasons all winter reworking those images finished to current standards. I’ll mix a few in a day from the past with the rest current. I’m posting 6 a day at the moment every day.
Writing my narratives takes as much time as the rest of the phototaking process sometimes lololol.
Pumping Crude is exactly what this Pump Jack was doing. This is the overground driving system for a reciprocating pump thousands of feet below ground in the Powder River Basin. At the foot of the 13000 feet high Big Horn Mountain Chain.. the whole area is underlain by coal, oil and natural gas deposits.
The Powder River Basin is the tectonic bathtub adjacent to the aforementioned Big Horn Mountain uplift. It is the literally the trough of the sediment wave where the mountains are the crest of the wave of bent Earths crust resultant from huge forces compressing formerly flat sediment into literally a wave form. The sediments washing off the high side of the wave quickly filled in the basin adjacent with sand, gravel and cobbles. The low areas were coal swamp heaven and are loaded with fresh water fossils, crocs, alligators, freshwater fish of all kinds, amphibians, birds, mammals, reptiles and a host of invertebrates/shell fish.
The “Powder River Basin” supplies coal that accounts for 30 percent of the electricity generated in the US and is a good low sulfur coal. Good to export to China to keep them from using their nasty sulfurous coal. This part of the country has a huge hydrocarbon infrastructure. BIG coal mines, lots of natural gas and thousands of these pump jacks spread about.
All the other hydrocarbons are all ultimately resultant from those swamps. Gas and volatile fluids moved away from the coal as diagenesis of the sediments proceeded with those fluids moving to the eventual trap. This well was bored into such a trap. All tenorable oil deposits require a source for the petroleum and a pathway to the trap .
This all happened AFTER the dinosaur died about 66 million years ago.
This wide 3:1 Aspect Ratio Panorama of the Big Horn Mountains on the day of Autumn 2019. Autumn was on a Tuesday this year.
This is a long telephoto composite of 3 very high resolution images stitched together in the digital darkroom seamlessly as the scene actually was. This image is the “state of my art”. It’s high resolution to 60 x 20 inches lol.
There is no sign of mans impact in this image except for the few fence posts you can see. This was captured on a road trip to Sheridan I took last week. It was 119 miles of backcountry gravel roads and two lane Wyoming highways over about 3 hours. Not that I stopped to take a photo now and then or anything….. It was a classic Wyoming, it’s hard to get from here to there trip.
Cool backroad Wyoming burbs of Ucross, Spotted Horse, Clearmont, Recluse and Leiter are the “Big Towns” along the way. WONDERFUL drive on 14/16 going into Sheridan from the east if you ever get a chance to go that way.
“Reflections Grassy Knob Lake” is a study I did of this interesting shape (use of negative space) within the overall environment of rippled/reflected Nautical Twilight Sky off a lake on the Montana/Wyoming borderline. There was enough wind to ripple and the sky was starting to blaze. Click
As I move about in the backcountry here in the borderlans…I often see little areas of Zen like this almost everywhere but the hard part is capturing the scene in my photon capture boxes..🤔
This “Mother Whitetail Deer with a pair of 6 month old Twins watches me while they are grazing. I was no threat to them and moved on without disturbing the kids…. Last I saw mom was still keeping her eye on the tail of my rig lol. I’ve seen these twins before and know where they water and tend to hang out. If I’m stealthy, I can usually get their image well enough without having to get in their face.
Both me (in what ever vehicle I’m in) and the groups of deer are usually surprised by the occasionally random encounters I have with them. For my part, They have never been pushed intentionally by me. Thusly they usually allow me to get much closer than the average photographer to my “prey” without stressing them and making them move off. Quick movements they don’t like.
This loose “tolerance” of my vehicles (which I never get out of unless it hides me). My loose relationship with many of these animals is the result of years of trying not to be a threat, them seeing me as they grow up every morning and evening. I tend to drive/act/move like a grazing animal in small movements, slowly working toward but stopping and stopping along the way to “graze” like every other animal out there. I’ve literally been able to drive out among several herds of grazing deer in the past. This year not so much but in past years it was becoming a habit of mine to “work” the deer herds. (I’ve seen herds up to 20 gather in some places near here (all private land and a huge area). Keeping my finger on the pulse of the backcountry up here has been an advantage. Dinosaur fossils, photos, 4 wheel drive daily, nature at least 3 hours a day every day that has good light….Sure, I’m “retired”….. Or is that actually “more tired” 🤣
This ground is under Snow as I type this (it posts one week later). Time Warp……I have to think a week ahead to do as I do. 🤔
This 3 inch killing claw from a good sized Raptorian Dinosaur found here on the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch by me back in 2005. I was digging in an outcrop of Hell Creek Formation here on ranch (private deeded land) and his fell out into my grubby sandblasted hands. These don’t drop out of the rock every day I point out. Only one found in 18 years of working the rocks…I’m still looking for the 10 inch one.
We are covered in Hell Creek Sands. I’m a retired guy/geologist with a paleontologic graduate degree who eventually bought a ranch that only I knew had dinosaur fossil on it. I didn’t know where they were but I knew they were here. …..As soon as the water well people told me that Fox Hill sandstone (the aquifer ) was 500 feet below the surface, I knew as a paleo interested geolgist that the 700 foot thick sequence of the dinosaur fossil bearing Hell Creek Formation would be at the surface. The USGS geologic maps of the area disagreed with me. They were wrong lolol.
Perspective is Everything #6 (Down Yonder by the Fence line) was taken because the highlights on the fence stood out like a sore thumb. This was a nice stainless wire untouched by rust and it was popping for me. Just the highlights please📸
This is actually a very wide angle shot.
Location: Northern Campbell Country Wyoming borderlands.
(Satire): For me to get the image of Cowboys and Dinosaurs. I bought the old original 1950’s “Way Back Machine on Ebay. (Classical Reference to “Mr Peabody and Sherman” but the 1950’s original). It’s a time travel device, took some tinkering… So we here at the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch sent some cowboys back to the Cretaceous to collect some samples. Here’s a quick snap of some of the action 65 million years ago here in the soon to be borderlands of Wyoming/Montana. We have many such stories here on the ranch (and lots of fossils). One of my boys lost his right spur while ropin’ on that t-rex… I hoping to dig it up some day…🤣 Halloween Madness lololololol (laughing maniacally)
ART, pure and simple…
Location: In my workstation, Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.