Clouds

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Cumulus Congestus . . . .

The Wyoming sky is an artistic creation of clouds that vary from day to day and season to season.  I am attempting to learn more about the theatrics in the sky and have begun to identify the various types of clouds.  I have a vast canvas to observe and learn from, but for now I am happy to try to photograph them.

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Sunset . . . .

Beautiful sunsets are common in Wyoming,  however it is hard to capture the breathtaking beauty with a camera lens.  I keep trying.

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Storm coming . . . .

Warm weather months find us scanning the sky, usually in the afternoon, for an indication of what the clouds have in store for us.  This day we are in for some weather.  These are “precipitating” or Cumulonimbus clouds which are quite common during summer.

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Renoir, perhaps . . . .

If I painted, I would try to capture the colors in the sky.  Since it is an ever-changing palette it must be done with photographs which capture a moment in time.

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Dante’s inferno . . . .

A glance at the sky is an omen that Mother Nature is going to have her way with you.  It could be rain, hail, or even a tornado, which is not uncommon in Wyoming.

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Twilight time . . . .

“Heavenly shades of night are falling. . . ”  Looking north and west from the ranch house, this evening rewarded me with a marvelous sunset to photograph.

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Heavens’ Gate . . . .

Imagine an opening in the sky that allows you to fly up into the atmosphere.  If only we had wings.

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Trouble . . . .

Traveled this day to an area of pre-historic rock art and a perfect spring day began to change dramatically.  I knew what was coming, but had barely begun to explore the area.  I paid no heed to my instinct telling me to pack up and leave.

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Fury building . . . .

Not too long after I took this photo, lightning bolts appeared on the horizon, followed by the crash of thunder that shook the hills.  A patter of rain turned into a torrential hail storm that left us hovering under rock outcroppings to keep the sting of hail off our heads.

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Maho Bay . . . .

Moon rising and sun setting over Maho Bay, St. John, Virgin Islands.  What great memories we made on a few visits here.

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Somewhere, over the rainbow . . . .

To capture a rainbow is magical and one of nature’s beautiful gifts that never ceases to amaze me.

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Monet . . . .

Nothing that we create can compare to the images in the sky overhead on a daily basis, if we observe.

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Mirror . . . .

The sky reflected in water is enhanced by the faint ripples from the breeze.

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Now you see it . . . .

If not for the sun’s late rays, these clouds would not appear to be visible to the naked eye but floating along on the breeze.

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Farewell . . . .

Exit stage right, enter a new line of cloud formations on the left that portend a change in the atmosphere.

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Leaving on a jet plane . . . .

A jet trail picks up the evening sun before dissipating in the atmosphere.  The glorious colors are due to scattering of different wavelengths of sunlight.

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Indigo Blue . . . .

Not all sunsets are red and gold, some are deep shades of blue and purple.

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Lavender Blue . . . .

It is a “dilly dilly” of a sunset.  What more can I say?

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Abstract . . . .or Impressionism?

Interpreting the clouds is a great way to spend some time.  Is this white fluffy cotton? Are the dark images feathers mixed with goose down?  Does smoke cloud the picture’s edge?  A few seconds in time, and then it changes and is gone.  Poof!

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Homestead . . . .

A dark layer of grey sits on these Cumulonimbus clouds beginning to form on the horizon.  On this day I was touring the site of the old family homestead at Nine Mile and watching the clouds form, thinking it would not be good to be caught on the open prairie in a storm.  Deeply rutted dirt roads make for a wild ride.

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Harbinger of spring . . . .

A young mass of Cumulonimbus clouds erupting through the trees.  The trees appear budding out but have no leaves, which would indicate the potential for rain showers in early May.  Warmer spring temperatures bring these “thunder” cloud formations that we are always watchful of, as they often produce hail and sometimes even tornadoes.

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cotton candy . . . .

A dreamy sight in the late afternoon sky filled with Mammatus clouds reminiscent of cotton candy.  What could be more beautiful?

 

Spring Things

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Time out . . . .

Young lambs take a rest across the fence in our neighbor’s pasture.  It is great fun to watch them and brings back memories of my involvement with sheep as a youth.  Each spring we would end up with a dozen or so “bum” lambs whose mothers refused to nurse them.  We assumed the ewe’s reaction was to having too many if she had triplets, or for a variety of reasons only she knew.

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Where sheep may safely graze . . . .

The survival rate of bum lambs is not great, and my heart was broken over each and every one that died.  We fed them with soda bottles with a specific black rubber nipple attached.  We mixed up their feed from a powder mixed with water that was formulated for infant lambs and they were always so eager to suckle.  As they grew, they would jump up and practically knock me off my feet trying to reach the bottles I held.   Their little hooves were sharp and left a mark.

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Looking for mischief . . . .

On mild spring evenings I would let the lambs out of their pen and take a walk with them.  They would follow closely behind, stopping to nibble green grass and ramble around.  I am certain they were so happy to be out of their pen to explore and play, which was hilarious to watch.  Similar to young goats, they love to frolic, leap and jump in the air, calling out to one another.

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Time to grow . . . .

Getting a jump on the garden requires a strategic early start as the growing season here is very short.  Inside this tent is lettuce, kale and spinach, cool weather crops that will mature early in the season in time for another planting.  Spring is our busiest time of year and gardening requires a major commitment and chunk of time if we are to be successful.

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Tucked in the rocks . . . .

Volunteer pansies peep out from a rock-lined path on the east end of the house.  They arrive early to remind me that they are tough enough to endure our spring weather, which means they will likely see snow and frost into June.  I recently planted a couple of flats of pansies in large pots around the house, confident that my volunteers know what they are doing and I will follow suit.

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On duty . . . .

Great Horned Owls live in the cottonwoods in the creek bottom and each spring they keep a vigil in the tree tops. Beginning in January nesting pairs will begin to serenade each other in a lovely duet each evening, with the male uttering five or six resonant hoots: Hoo!, hu-hu-hu,Hoo!Hoo!  The females’ hoots are shorter in sequence and may just be a single Hoo!  In March and April one owl can usually be heard singing softly in the early morning, and in May the piercing “scrawk” of baby owls can be heard overhead.  If all goes well, the young owls will fledge by the end of May and move away from the nest.

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First grass . . . .

A group of does and yearling fawns hang around the yard checking out the forage.  Before long the does will hide in the sage and pockets of scrub in the area to have their fawns and we won’t see them for awhile.  The yearling fawns will appear a little disoriented and scatter about, looking for a new connection while the does give birth. I love seeing the baby fawns when they come out of hiding.

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“What’s for lunch?” . . . .

A pair of Mallard ducks have adopted the pond that has formed in the creek bottom.  They appear each day to swim and browse, and we believe they have a nest nearby.  Spring brings forth new growth, new life and new expectations.