Posted on

Backcountry Sledding Hill

Backcountry Sledding Hill
Backcountry Sledding Hill

Backcountry Sledding Hill

Hiding a major inflexion point in earths history…..

Reading earths book: Musings.

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

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

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

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

Title: Backcountry Sledding Hill

Posted on

Winter Blues and Granular Snow

Winter Blues and Granular Snow
Winter Blues and Granular Snow

Winter Blues and Granular Snow

Deep Winter up here in the highland ridges of the Wyoming / Montana borderlands is intense. Particularly intense getting up on some of these ridges lolol. We are currently a little low on snow. I’m not going to say something stupid like we need “more snow”. That would be inviting catastrophe lolol. Up here in the hills (versus down in that valley 400 feet lower) is a bit more harsh. I was told when I moved here by the locals that this place was nick named “Little Siberia”.

Geologic Musings.

Siberia eh? While I haven’t found a fossil mammoth on ranch, I did pull a Pleistocene Elk out of the ground. Well the back 1/2 of a 6 foot all at the hip elk with toe bone connected to the foot bone, the foot bone connected to the ankle bone etc. All the way to the third vertebra in front of the pelvis. The tail, all the little leg bones were all articulated. It wasn’t in the Hell Creek / Lance formation bedrock but in the relatively loose Pleistocene loess/sands overlaying the Cretaceous bedrock up here. IT was about 10 feet below ground level at it’s location in a deep gully. There are other “more recent” individual bones I’ve found out of the more recent Pleistocene but not many.

The Pleistocene epoch was from 2.6 to about 11,000 years ago when it ended after the last ice age. We were in the Holocene right up until we started making plastics. The first indication of micro-plastics in the geologic records starts the Anthropocene. Epoch. The start of the industrial revolution is technically the start.

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

Title: Winter Blues and Granular Snow

Posted on

White Windmill Winter Wonderland

White Windmill Winter Wonderland
White Windmill Winter Wonderland

White Windmill Winter Wonderland

Windmill Wednesday: Windmill Junkies Unite 🤘 I’m aware of your addiction so I am working diligently to support your habit. Please don’t let your mother know you look at stuff like this….. 😜

Here “Sneaky Pete” took the full force of a sticky winter snow. He was operating blind with the cover of his sail covered. All the while spinning in the wind overnight.

Mustings on Mid-Winter:

As I type this there is a 5 degree windchill after the current coldest day of the year. It has NOT been a cold year so far here in “Little Siberia”. That “Moniker” was handed down to us. Thee previous owners of the ranch had generations of observations. . They were describing the tendency of this high ridgeline dry ranch. It always has more snow than the surrounding lower ground. Based on 20 years of observation living here, I would whole heartedly agree with their name and statement. It is colder and wetter up here than the surrounding ground in the winter. In the summer it’s a crap shoot as precipitation is usually from spotty mesocyclones moving over. Somebody gets the rain, others don’t. But in the winter, snow systems are usually pretty broadly spread around the region.

Winter ends in May up here. This year it pushed into late late may. Every season has been offset later this year by the current Solar Minimum.. We are just about dead center of the sunspot cycle low. Turn down the furnace and it get’s colder. Go figure 🤔📷

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

Title: White Windmill Winter Wonderland

Posted on

Killdeer Nest on the Rocks

Killdeer Nest on the Rocks
Killdeer Nest on the Rocks

Killdeer Nest on the Rocks 2:1 Aspect.

This is the second Killdeer sitting on eggs that I have in my portofolio. It is silly hard to get close enough to a Killdeer to take an “eyebrow” photo. To get a Killdeer sitting on a nest without triggering it’s wounded bird display is a slow motion process. Their instinct is to play injured bird to draw you away from their bare nest. They carry on for a hour if that is what it takes to get you distracted from where their next is. It is job one for the little guys. They are actually a member of the Plover family if you keep track of such things.

This parent was sitting on 5 small eggs surrounded by rocks. Nothing soft at all. From humble beginnings….. This patch of stones are a Killdeer’s idea of good camo for little eggs that look like stones. They are dutiful parents.

I have many photos of day old chicks running around with their parents playing their part to draw me away. Of course I ignored them and took images of their chicks. Once I know where something is….matter of time Killdeer are a hoot to watch. They are a challenge to watch out of “character” and doing natural behavior. That is besides their bad acting career lol.

This pair is up on a high ridge but there is a stock water tank a few hundred yards down hill from them. I have several game trail camera photos of Killdeer drinking there. (not worth publishing). This isn’t a Game Trail Camera photo lolol . The full sized file is 40 inches x 20 inchs at 300DPI. 2:1 aspect.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Killdeer Nest on the Rocks

Posted on

Perspective: Pine Noodles Bough

Perspective: Pine Noodles Bough
Perspective: Pine Noodles Bough

Perspective: Pine Noodles Bough is a capture initiated by the -2 degree morning, the icy air and the lighting. The later of which was JUST coming over the ridge but about 15 minutes after sunrise.

Photographic Musings:

Topographically, I’m working just over the lip of that higher ridge. Opportunities like this after photographing that sun coming up over a ridge 20 miles out are important parts of the timeline. I move quickly to transition to working a closer ridge several hundred yards out as the sun climbs. A sunrise is a period of moving from place to place to take advantage of the terrain. It is very important to know WHERE to and WHEN to move to the next shot. Extending your time working the “Golden Hour” is the result. You only have so much time to “Work the Light”.

Shadow line:

I work “Parallel” ridges because I’m very mobile to look for interesting leading lines and angles. Here I saw this long pine bough covered in ice from freezing fog the night before. (the night I’m typing this the same weather is occurring and I’ll be up on the ridges for sure ). There was an 1/8th inch of ice on everything that was exposed to the wind. So a vibrant landscape with an interesting weather event… (a hero as every photo needs a hero). But working that shadow line is the game.

The glare from the sun is quite a hard thing to deal with. I am literally looking into the sun with this camera with a white ground reflecting light plus the ice. You’ve GOT to turn your camera to HIGH F-stop, LOW ISO and your shutter speed is used to balance the equation. If you don’t want a sun star, go f-11 mid range. You adjust either with a neutral density filter in front of your lens (I hate them), or higher shutter speeds. Many consumer cameras don’t have 1/8000th shutter like the higher end models do to compensate . So faster shutter speed to reduce light into the camera may not be as much of an option depending on your equipment.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana

Title: Perspective: Pine Noodles Bough

Posted on

Sun Settling on the BigHorns

Sun Settling on the BigHorns
Sun Settling on the BigHorns

This is the first of 2 images I’ll post from this timeline . Remember that at sunset, the sun is actually moving sideways to the right but not quite as fast as the sun is dropping. (the horizon is actually rising). We are spinning on an axis that is tilted over 20 degrees to the Ecliptic so the sun travels at a 20 degree down angle as we spin. It me a few minutes to work out exactly where to be for this sunset. I’ll post the next image in this timeline of this Sun Settling on the BigHorns tomorrow.

Research/google the word “Ecliptic”. It is an important concept to be able to figure out opportunities as they “line up” lol. I traveled about a mile from my house for this one. I’ve been pursuing this all week. The weather window for my limited opportunity for this line up has been open all but 2 days so far. I have about another 3 or 4 days I can work this . There are so many good images from this totally nutty sky above the 13000 feet high mountain range.

I forgot to mention that I’m 130 miles distant from those peaks and that the range looks small in perspective to the sun. The sun doesn’t change size (get smaller very much as I drive to the east to get further from it. However the mountains will continue to get smaller until I can’t see them if I keep driving. (Make sense?) Further away, small mountains, sun is the same apparent size as long as I stay on the earth lol.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Sun Settling on the BigHorns

Posted on

Killdeer Sitting on Eggs

Killdeer Sitting on Eggs
KillDeer Sitting on Eggs

Killdeer Sitting on Eggs is sort of a hard to negotiate capture..

By nature, Killdeer do their best to distract you from their nesting spot. It’s essentially impossible to cross their invisible line in the sand without them putting on a show of “injured bird” holding up a wing and exposing their bright underside. These birds are WIDELY known across the US as they are either year round or breeding in the USA. Wyoming is in the breeding range for the species.

I think this is the only sitting on eggs photo I have of Killdeer. They are pretty spooky. They literally live in my yard and every year. Of course the same injured bird ritual rises and repeats. Shooting through grass has it’s issues but this is a rare image as far as I can tell. Getting within a hundred feet of a nest without a big scene occurring is unlikely. I got lucky with this one.

I knew where the nest was having run across the pair of Killdeer earlier that week. (early summer). I have photos of the eggs sitting on gravel/grass. Nothing fancy for sure. There is a lot to be said for working out of cars/vehicles. Much better than a regular blinds because vehicles have radios news and tunes. 🤠 #jeepwindowphotography

This pair is up on a high ridge but there is a stock water tank a few hundred yards down hill from them. I have several game trail camera photos of Killdeer drinking there. (not worth publishing). This isn’t a Game Trail Camera photo lolol . The full sized file is 3×2 feet at 300DPI.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Killdeer Sitting on Eggs

Posted on

Last of the Butterflies

Last of the Butterflies
Last of the Butterflies for 2019

This is certainly one if not THE last of the Butterflies for 2019. The next day all these flowers were frozen and most of the insects were pretty much destroyed as well if they hadn’t crawled into a warm spot. These high ridges get harsher, windier, colder, wetter weather than the lower river valleys we have such great views of. It is 12 degrees as I type this at 6AM… there is snow on the ground, hard freezes continue and will do so through the harsh winter I predict to come this year of low sunspot activity. In fact, the winter came early this year to the borderlands of Wyotana. Started October 1…

There will be a few more insect macros trickling in left over from this summer but remember I am reworking most of my older images to current standards and those will be posted as they are finished. 🤘 Those re-worked images will be working their way into my posts all winter. I am literally buried under the crush of images I have to work on this winter. Having said that… Job security is a good thing😀. I have a great deal of trouble identifying bugs, birds and flowers as I’m a paleontologist. Got my fossils all down, flowers bees and bugs….not so much lololol.

This little guy is Boloria eunomia. (Bog Fritillary is it’s common name ?) Their population exceeds 1 million and are a Northern Tier of central states and Canada distribution. Wyoming to Wisconsin then up to Alaska through Canada is common. Anybody see one further south than Wyoming?? Those that know say the population exceeds 1 million, I have maybe 1/2 that up here at times lolol… Their preferred habitat is “alpine tundra” according to the web. That pretty much describes this place most of the year lol.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Last of the Butterflies

Posted on

Frost Feather

Frost Feather
Frost Feather

This Frost Feather was actually on the bottom of a very well insulated window taken from the inside out with a flashlight doing the highlighting. Dark as pitch outside. COLD AS HECK…

Seeing this as it was small…

This was a TINY 1/2 inch growth which was just screaming to take it’s photo as frost is so Fractal in it’s design by the master architect of such things. Window frost forms as a pane of glass is exposed to sub-freezing temperatures on the outside freezing the relatively moist air on the inside.  Water vapor from the air condenses as frost on the inside surface of the window.  The picture above demonstrates a patch of window frost about the size of U.S. Quarter Coin. .  Window frost often makes elaborate patterns as the crystal growth is strongly influenced by the window surface because scratches, residual soap, cleaning streaks, etc., can all modify the way the crystals nucleate and grow.

Damage?

Window frost was more common in the before about the 1970’s, when houses still had single-pane windows.  Snow used to actively blow in the windows of the 1970s ranch house we first moved into up here lol. The newer double-pane windows are working far better insulators and thus not so cold on the inside surfaces. Frost can cause damage because as it melts, it transfers moisture to whatever is next to it. If that’s a wooden window, it can discolor varnish and crack paint or even damage the wood. Frost can also melt off single-paned windows and seep down into a wall. resulting in damage of one kind or another.

If moisture is not handled swiftly and completely, mold can begin to grow. Keep it warm and dry inside to avoid the frost. A dehumidifier will help. But the best way is to replace older inefficient windows with double or triple layer windows. Boy they make some nice ones these day lolol. (Ours are 20 years old and one just lost a seal 😖. ).

We had a lot of moisture/rain/snow today. Wet year overall so far.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Frost Feather18 x 18 inch square aspect.

Posted on

Last Day of Fall for the Big Horn Mountains

Last Day of Fall for the Big Horn Mountains

I took this Sept 30th the day before the October 1 storm came in so this was the Last Day of Fall for the BigHorn Mountains eastern front. You could feel the storm coming in. Everybody was buying snow shovels and salt at the local farm store.

Full Screen is obviously best…. 🙏

These 13,000 foot + peaks dominate the landscape near Clearmont Wyoming. The highway State 14/16 from Gillette to Sheridan Wyoming will present you with this view if you stop at the right spot :).

This is a composite of three images left/center/right carefully blended/stitched back together within the digital darkroom. As such is it ended up being 60×20 inches at full resolution 300 dpi so the original is a huge file reduced here for social media of course lolol.

Oct 1, the region got 4 – 12 inches of wet heavy sticky snow on trees fully leaved still from the 75 degrees the day before when I took this on Sept 30th.

I of course take photos of these hills all the time from my Ranch about 100 miles over my shoulder at this location. I get a little better resolution up here📸

Location: Somewhere near Clearmont, Sheridan County Wyoming.

Posted on

Crisp Cold Apples

Crisp Cold Apples
Crisp Cold Apples

We had 4 inches of heavy wet snow on trees fully leafed. These are crisp cold apples lolol.

It will make them sweet :). Never froze.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Posted on

A Windmill in Winter Wonder Land

A Windmill in a Winter Wonder Land
A Windmill in Winter Wonder Land

Here the oldest windmill on the ranch “Re Pete” is in one of my winter landscapes again. I don’t know the exact year he was installed but I think 1920’s. This brand (AEROTOR) was first built in 1888.


This was from a 10 days ago as it posts… Early snow this year, it’s going to be a long solar minimum. Take it from a geologist that that he sun is the furnace that drives our climates (note the s).

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Posted on

Bliss Dinosaur Ranch’s Best Back Yard Drift of 2018/19

Bliss Dinosaur Ranch's Best Back Yard Drift of 2018/19
Bliss Dinosaur Ranch's Best Back Yard Drift of 2018/19

Here at the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, we keep track of the “Best” drift in our backyard each year, this was the winner in the winter of 2018/19.

That fence is 6 feet high at the top rail. Stark image📸

Location: our backyard fence, Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Posted on

Bumble Bee Frozen in Flight

Bumble Bee Frozen in Flight
Bumble Bee Frozen in Flight

Catching a Bumble Bee Frozen in Flight and being able to do it reliably is a challenge for every photographer. The depth of focus at 9 inches away (where you have to be to get a shot like this with a 90mm macro) is around a 1/2 inch thick so getting a very rapid fire camera really helps as well as one that will take 1/6000th or higher shutter speeds. This is not a crop. Full sized file as it were.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands….in our garden with the hollyhocks…

Posted on

Bumble Bee Fly By Up Close and Personal

Bumble Bee Fly By Up Close and Personal
Bumble Bee Fly By Up Close and Personal

To catch a Bumble Bee Fly Up Close and Personal…takes some planning.
First I have to get within 9 inches of my subject for maximum magnification. WIth a LOT of light, I can maybe get 1/2 an inch focal depth at 9 inches (f22). Somebody could do the math but it’s not a deep focal field. It’s more like catching a fly with two chop sticks. You have to think ahead of the bee. You know…. “Be the Bee”😂
More importantly, you have to focus where the Bee is going to Be lolol.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming Montana borderlands.

Posted on

Old Glory Flying at Night in a Downpour

Old Glory Flying at Night in a Downpour
Old Glory Flying at Night in a Downpour

Old Glory Flying at night, in a heavy drenching downpour about as heavy as it gets (not much lightning in this storm though) There was enough wind to inflate even the totally soaked flags. I often saw water whipping in sheets off the flags but catching that on film under these conditions will wait for another day (and lens). This was from about 100 yards away with the flags back lit (365 days a year ) dusk to dawn by a 400 watt LED stadium lamp. I was in our huge metal barn (about the size of a regulation foot ball field/indoor) arena type building. It was absolutely deafening under all that heavy rain in there with all that metal roof.
Catching rain drops moving like this occurs at a very particular setting point with shutter speed being the key. Mostly your options are: Freeze the flags, go fast shutter or see the rain, go slow shutter so you have to play with your settings on this kind of opportunity.

Have a great day all, I’m actually posting this on sunday for your enjoyment today. I think my autoposting system is working.

I try hard to read and respond to all comments live real time though. 😀
Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana.