Thursday, August 30, 2012

Yellowstone Wildfire

The photos below are pretty much in reverse chronological order because as any high school journalism student will tell you, you never want to bury the lead. 
    After a day of taking average photos at Yellowstone of the usual tourist attractions, my family headed north back to our rental house in Livingston, MT (50 miles north of the Gardiner Entrance).  We immediately noticed a billowing smoke plume in the distance in the direction we were heading.  It ended up being in Pine Creek, about 5 miles south of our rental.  The first photo is a cropped image taken with a telephoto lens from the bank of the Yellowstone River behind the cabin.  

Close up of  Pine Creek wildfire
   The second photo taken from the same location with a wide angle lens shows the smoke from the Pine Creek fire  rising up, into a cloudless sky, under the smoke of the Bozeman Fire 20 miles to the west.
Pine Creek fire seen from our vacation rental
     This photo, taken earlier in the day at Yellowstone, shows a Killdeer wading among the thermophiles in the scalding water of Mammoth Hot Springs to eat bugs that are obviously less heat tolerant than itself.
Killdeer picking dead  bugs from Mammoth Hot Springs
  The Killdeer even waded into the deeper water to take a hot mineral bath.
Killdeer bathing in Mammoth Hot Springs

Flowing hot spring and mineral deposits

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Badlands, SD

Colorful Badlands

Wild animals fighting

Rock Wren

Mule Deer

Kissing Prarie Dogs

Pronghorns avoiding the midday sun
    A 3D effect can be sensed  in the pair of photos below by crossing your eyes until you see three images and then focus on the middle one.
3D view
   The effect works because the two images were taken from slightly different vantage points. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Orange Bird Day

     I haven't had much blog traffic lately. It may be due to my recent subject matter that has me considering changing the blog name to Leastly Birds (always).  I got nothing earth shattering to report but here goes......

      To some people that live in more wooded areas it's not a big deal to get an orange bird in their yard.  From my yard I've had less than 20 Baltimore Oriole sightings in the 8 years that I've lived here.  This morning I not only had an Oriole but also a Blackburnian Warbler.  It was the fourth Blackburnian sighting ever in my yard and third this year.

Blackburnian Warbler in a Locust tree

Contorted preening Baltimore Oriole

   As you can see from the photos the Warbler popped out  for a quick portrait,  the Oriole, while out in the open, was too preoccupied with grooming to pose for a decent photo.

  The photo below shows my neighborhood marked with an X,  the gray (or grey as they say in Blighty) color is indicative of the summer concrete in full bloom , which limits my oriole sightings because they, like most birds,  prefer a habitat with actual vegetation.

   Hopefully Orange Bird Day can become a regular thing and give Queen Ant Day a run for it's money as an end-of-August-should-be holiday.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Catching Lightning

   Nothing quite gets your attention like a nighttime electrostatic discharge between the ground and sky.  Nature's 3 mile long camera flash illuminating the landscape that initially grabs your eyes, assaults your ears, rattles your bones and will take three double oxygen molecules and form two odoriferous triple oxygen molecules known as ozone that gives lightning its smell.  Last night I was able to capture some images of an approaching storm before the much needed rain arrived.

     As a kid after I had been startled by the instantaneous thunderclap of an extremely close lightning strike my Dad calmed me by saying " If you had time to be scared that means it didn't hit you".  Not the most important bit of wisdom he shared with me, but one I come back to when I hit the shutter release on a stormy nights.