Twpatt Photos: Blog https://twpattphotos.com/blog en-us Thomas W. Patton (Twpatt Photos) Sat, 11 Sep 2021 17:27:00 GMT Sat, 11 Sep 2021 17:27:00 GMT https://twpattphotos.com/img/s/v-12/u393062722-o658902088-50.jpg Twpatt Photos: Blog https://twpattphotos.com/blog 120 91 Summer Crisp and Summer Gray - A saga of 2021 https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2021/9/summer-crisp-and-summer-gray Smoke FreeSmoke FreeButte, Montana, from the East Ridge. July 2, 2021.

Here it is already September. Oddly, as I write this a wind change has moved the wildfire smoke that I wanted to talk about away from Butte, Montana. I really hope that it stays away for awhile.

Fortunately, for us here in Butte, the closest significant fires are about 50 miles to our southwest. We sometimes see smoke from those fires, but mostly we see smoke from the large regional fires in California, Oregon, and Idaho. 

Our smoky skies started in late July and have been with us through August and into September. The photo at right was taken July 2, 2021. Butte sits in the northern end of the valley, Big Butte is on the horizon, and the Anaconda Range (30 miles away) is in the distance. Views like this are what we enjoy and love in southwest Montana.
SmokeSmokeButte, Montana, from the East Ridge. September 9, 2021.

The photo at left was taken on September 9, 2021 from much the same location as the photo above. You can see the point of Big Butte at right on the horizon (about 3 miles away) and not much else.

Too many of our evenings this late summer have featured the sun as a baleful red eye surrounded by dense grey haze and falling ash. 

Fortunately, the weather seems to be changing towards fall. According to the Missoula Weather Service, our next cold front will have a touch of the polar jet involved, a first sign that the season is beginning to turn.

Thanks for reading!

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(Twpatt Photos) Butte Montana Summit Valley sunset Wildfire Smoke https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2021/9/summer-crisp-and-summer-gray Sat, 11 Sep 2021 17:25:51 GMT
The Guardian Bell https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2021/5/the-guardian-bell Stalwart GuardianStalwart GuardianThe Bell Diamond head frame standing bold. Butte, Montana. October 18, 2019.

WOW!

It doesn't seem that my last blog was posted clear back in March. Amazingly, April has slipped by and now most of May. We are sneaking up on Memorial Day and its typical mixed weather somewhere between thunderstorms and snow.

The 2022 Head Frames, Photographer Picks, and Montana Parks calendars are at the printers and I am waiting on proofs. It won't be long now.

The Bell-Diamond head frame stands at the top of the Butte Hill and (even though it is not the tallest) stands out best when viewed from many Summit Valley locations. Most of the other frames tend to blend into their surroundings. When the light is good, you notice the Bell.

The Bell-Diamond, operated 1882-1928. The main shaft is 3,609 feet deep and underground workings connected the Bell Mine (its shaft was about 500 feet away) to the Diamond Mine. Bell's frame was one of the earliest steel frames on the Butte Hill, was built in about 1890, and is 90+/- feet tall. It is the only gallus frame in Butte to sport curved gussets at its major structural joints that give it a 'leaning into the wind' look.

Thanks for reading!

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(Twpatt Photos) Bell-Diamond Butte Montana gallus frame head frames https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2021/5/the-guardian-bell Wed, 26 May 2021 03:47:45 GMT
The Bell of Butte https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2021/3/the-bell-of-butte Belle in the SnowBelle in the SnowThe Bell-Diamond, Butte. Montana. February 27, 2021. 2021 seems barely to have gotten underway, but it is already March. Daylight savings will start next week and our days are definitely longer than last month's. Butte, Montana, is enjoying a melting event with afternoon temperatures in the mid-forties... and there are a few hints about upcoming afternoon temps in the fifties.

It is hard to believe, but it is time to start thinking about 2022, at least enough to begin gathering photos for the 2022 Butte Head Frames calendar. Here is a photo of the Bell-Diamond head frame captured on February 27 that might be a good calendar cover. The photo point is a narrow gap in the fencing that requires a portrait aspect ratio--and the calendar cover requires a portrait photo.

When I captured the image, we were in an intense snow squall with a little light from the late-day sun sneaking in from the right. The flying snow added texture to the structure and the filtered sunlight created a 'sepia' tone. 

The Bell-Diamond, Butte, Montana operated 1882-1928. The main shaft is 3,609 feet deep and underground workings connected the Bell Mine (its shaft was about 500 feet to the left) to the Diamond Mine. The head frame was one of the earliest steel frames on the Butte Hill, was built in about 1890, and is 90+/- feet tall. It is the only gallus frame on the Butte Hill to sport curved gussets at its major structural joints giving it a somewhat 'swanky' look.

Thanks for reading!

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(Twpatt Photos) Bell-Diamond Butte Montana gallus frame head frames https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2021/3/the-bell-of-butte Fri, 05 Mar 2021 20:07:45 GMT
The Best of 2020 https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2021/2/the-best-of-2020 Nicely Done!Nicely Done!Madison Valley near Madison Buffalo Jump State Park. Three Forks, Montana. November 5, 2020. Last year I sorted though the more than 2,100 photos on https://twpattphotos.com and selected those I liked best. From the selections, I created collections of the 'Best' photos from 2017, 2018, and 2019.

However, I didn't stop there. Using the 'Best of' 2017-2019 collections, I created a 'Best of the Best' collection for the photos I liked best of all. 

Well 2020 is in the books (2020 hind sight seems most welcome, thank you) and it is time to select the best photos from 2020, create a 'Best of 2020' collection, and select photos to update the 'Best of the Best' for 2017-2020.

It wasn't easy!

I put only about 200 of the more than 4,100 photos I captured in 2020) up on the website. Because I only post the photos that I like best, that means that to find the 24 photos from 2020 that I like best of all, I had to, in effect, 'unlike' about 175 photos.

SIGH!

So (drum roll, please), click on the Madison Valley sunset photo (at right) or go to https://twpattphotos.com/p179684669 to see my 'best' photos of 2020. You can also navigate to the updated 'Best of the Best' collection at https://twpattphotos.com/p471094863 and find the photos (from 2017-2020) that I like best of all.

Of course, you may always find photos that YOU like better than my selections by scanning through the 'Montana Winter', 'Spring', 'Summer', 'Fall' and 'All year 'Round' galleries on Twpatt Photos. So feel free to browse.
 

Thanks for reading!

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(Twpatt Photos) Best of 2020 Best of the Best Montana Scenics mountains sunset https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2021/2/the-best-of-2020 Thu, 04 Feb 2021 22:36:19 GMT
The Racetrack Creek Moraine https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2021/1/the-racetrack-creek-moraine RacetrackRacetrackThe Racetrack Creek glacial moraines from Sand Hollow, Road. November 29, 2020. It's been more than a month since my last blog posting and feel that I 'owe' us one. I was mostly busy getting through Christmas, but also in a dry spell with few new photos I wanted to talk about.

During the last ice age, the Flint Creek range hosted alpine glaciers that carved its mountainous topography and extended down the valleys of Rock, Tin Cup Joe, Dempsey, and Racetrack Creeks into the Deer Lodge Valley. Of the four, the Racetrack Creek glacier left the most distinctive glacial landforms behind. 

I have often looked at the Racetrack Creek deposits on satellite photos. From space, the moraines are striking -- a neat glacial package of lateral and terminal morainal deposits that outline the maximum extent of this small alpine glacier about 10,000-12,000 years ago. 

I have been trying to get a good photo of Racetrack moraines for some time, but finding an angle that shows their distinct beauty is difficult. If you are too far away, the landforms blend into the rest of the landscape. Up close, they are amazingly large and you cannot really see how they fit together.

In November 2020, I caught this late-day, low-sun-angle view of the Racetrack Creek moraines from Sand Hollow Road--directly across from Racetrack Creek--on the east side of the Deer Lodge Valley. The sun highlighted the Racetrack glacier's parallel curved lateral moraines that extend eastward from the mountains.

The glacier exited the Flint Creek Range through the deep canyon that lines up between the lateral moraines. The timbered, relatively low, rumpled, topography in the mid-ground is the glacier's terminal moraine. Here the eastward movement of the ice matched the rate of melting and the ice front stopped. At the terminus, ice broke off from the main flow, became trapped in the glacial debris that it was carrying, and melted in place. The flat landscape in front of the terminal moraine is the outwash plain where meltwater deposited sand, gravel, and boulders. Strong braided stream patterns appear on satellite photos immediately east of the terminal moraine.

Take a moment to find this glacial story on a satellite view of the Deer Lodge Valley in Western Montana. It is just pretty.

Thanks for reading!

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(Twpatt Photos) Flint Creek Mountains lateral moraine outwash plain Racetrack Creek terminal moraine https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2021/1/the-racetrack-creek-moraine Sun, 03 Jan 2021 21:45:29 GMT
Mom -- can we go to Walmart? https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/11/mom----can-we-go-to-walmart The JumpThe JumpMadison Buffalo Jump State Park. Logan, Montana. November 5, 2020. I can't decide on whether this is a Montana Winter or Montana Fall photo. It sure looks like fall, but it was taken in early November.

I wanted some new photos of the Buffalo Jump at Madison Buffalo Jump State Park for my 2022 state parks calendar. I have usually visited in the middle of the day under sunny, harsh, light, but wanted something different.

Mary and headed east to try and get some late-day photos on November 5. Here is the one I like best. It was about 20 minutes to sunset and the oblique light caused much of the landscape's texture to stand out. the limestone cliff at the jump is about 30 ft tall. 

Buffalo jumps were the Walmart's of their day. You made your periodic 'shopping' trip to the jump when the animals were present (in stock!) and at a time you could guide/harass some of them over the cliff face. When harvested, the animals provided food, tools, clothing, and even parts of shelters.

Unlike present-day Walmart's though, you didn't have to worry about your debit or credit cards being accepted, and whether social distancing was working.


Thanks for reading!

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(Twpatt Photos) limestone cliff madison buffalo jump state park montana state park https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/11/mom----can-we-go-to-walmart Thu, 19 Nov 2020 03:08:36 GMT
Two from the night https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/10/two-from-the-night Moonlit ParkMoonlit ParkElk Park at the Woodville Exit, I-15, September 28, 2020. Butte, Montana. On September 28 we learned that a display of the aurora borealis (northern lights) might be possible and Mary and I headed out for a dark location with with a northern view, We drove north from Butte towards Elk Park on I-15 and pulled off at the Woodville Exit. 

It was a beautiful clear night! An almost full moon (not good for northern lights, but beautiful anyway) was at our back and lit up the landscape. Mars (bright star at right in the photo) was prominent in the eastern sky. 

Unfortunately the Kp value (a measure of how far south a viewable aurora borealis might be seen) which had been almost 6 earlier in the evening was now about 4. An aurora with a Kp of 4 might be seen on a dark night from places in far northeast, Montana, such as Wolf Point.

So as you might guess, Mary and I did not see northern lights on September 28. However, the clear night, bright moon, and lack of nearby lights helped us capture a moonlit view of a beautiful Montana valley.


Dancing with MarsDancing with MarsThe full moon in conjunction with mars. Butte, Montana. October 2, 2020.

March 2 was a smoky, hazy, evening and also the night when mars and the moon would be closest together in the night sky.

Mary and I drove out on Little Basin Creek Road to a location where we could catch the mars/moon conjunction as it rose above the East Ridge.

The wildfire smoke created a truly spectacular dark 'blood' red moon and the moon's light was a purplish-red color across much of the eastern sky. The 'rising' of the conjunction was truly memorable.

The photo doesn't do the scene justice. Even through the smoke, the moon was tremendously brighter than mars and to capture both, I overexposed the moon. In doing so I lost its beautiful detail.

Human eyes can see about 24 'stops' of light (the difference between a really bright object and surrounding dim objects) and our brains can make sense of something as bright as the moon in the same scene as something dim, like mars. Our cameras can only differentiate about 8 'stops' of light, so if you expose for the moon, mars will be almost too dim to see. If you expose for mars, detail in the moon will be lost.

Nevertheless, this image give a good feel of what we saw.

Thanks for reading!

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(Twpatt Photos) mars montana moon mountains night sky https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/10/two-from-the-night Mon, 12 Oct 2020 17:10:29 GMT
A Garnetian Ghost https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/9/a-garnetian-ghost A Garnetian GhostA Garnetian GhostThe Dahl Saloon (The Joint) as seen in the window of Davey's Store. Garnet, Montana. September 11, 2020. We traveled last week to Garnet, Montana, a ghost town that had its peak years between about 1895 and 1900. The town held on for some years, but by about 1948 it was mostly abandoned. The site is preserved and operated as a park by the Bureau of Land Management.

You can reach Garnet from Drummond, Montana, to the west or from Highway 200 by turning south onto the Garnet Hills Road. The Garnet Hills Road from Highway 200 is a much better ride then Bear Creek/Cave Gulch, but for those who like single lane (SINGLE is the operative word), steep gradients, potholes, and some switchbacks--feel free to drive in from the west.

You never know what (or who) you might see when you peer into a ghost-town window. I decided to be artsy and frame a photo of the Dahl Saloon in the window of the Davey's General Store. It was frustrating to say the least--no matter how I composed the shot, there was someone in the window peering out. I finally just accepted the inevitable. When in a ghost town, what might you expect?
Main StreetMain StreetGarnet, Montana. September 11, 2020.

I decided to try for a 'Main Street' view that didn't involve ghostly windows. The Davey's General Store is at right and Dahl's Saloon is in the foreground. Not to put too fine a point on it, if you look closely in lower left corner of the right hand window of Davey's, you can see that the gentleman in the photo above is still checking out the tourists.

In the distance at right is Kelley's Saloon. The building was constructed in 1898 and was one of the 13 saloons that eventually supported Garnet's social life.

When we visited, the main buildings were all closed, but other buildings on the hill west of Main Street were open.

Thanks for reading!

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(Twpatt Photos) garnet ghost town montana main street montana mountains https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/9/a-garnetian-ghost Thu, 17 Sep 2020 02:41:53 GMT
A view lot in the Tobacco Roots https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/9/a-view-lot-in-the-tobacco-roots While driving up the South Boulder River, I  The AdditionThe AdditionMiner's cabin, South Boulder River Valley. Tobacco Root Mountains, Montana. August 28, 2020.
stopped at an abandoned miner's (?) cabin. Here was a chance to explore and photograph an abandoned building.

The first photo is from near the road. The rear part of the building was built of log and its roof has collapsed. The front was built of milled lumber (with round nails) and had a metal roof. You can't see it, but a red brick chimney (and fireplace?) is centrally located and must have been its most a luxurious attribute. 

View LotView LotMiner's cabin, South Boulder River Valley. Tobacco Root Mountains, Montana. August 28, 2020. The photo below shows that even though we don't know why the house was located here, one reason could be its view of the South Boulder River valley and the Tobacco Roots. Even in the late 19th or early 20th century, good scenery was important.

 

 

 

The grassy mounds behind the house are remnants of a root cellar lined with native stone. At the base of the trees at right is an abandoned irrigation (placer water?) ditch. 

Thanks for reading!

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(Twpatt Photos) homestead cabin miner's cabin montana mountains South Boulder River https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/9/a-view-lot-in-the-tobacco-roots Tue, 01 Sep 2020 23:31:40 GMT
Warm Springs Peace https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/8/warm-springs-peace At PeaceAt PeaceWarm Springs Ponds, Warm Springs, Montana. Sunset, August 1, 2020. Take a dee-eep breath, relax, watch the light, and watch clouds silently float across sky and water. There should be insects galore--but there weren't. 

Mary and I headed out one early August evening to see if the late-day sun would get under the clouds and really produce a 'fire in the sky' sunset. If it would be so, I wanted reflections. Our closest good reflectors are the Warm Springs Ponds wetlands near Warm Springs, Montana, and we just had time enough to get there from Butte.

The sky never opened up, but that didn't prevent some really nice images. Mixed cloud levels doing different things, a tiny bit of pink on the far horizon, and glassy water. I really liked the combinations.

If you just stood and looked at the scene, you felt at peace. Warm and calm along with beautiful light made it all work.

We hung about another half hour or so hoping for the western light, but it just got dark. Suddenly, (the right temperature, humidity, barometric pressure...?) the evening insects came out to play. We got in the car and went home.

THANKS FOR READING.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) evening clouds montana mountains sunset warm springs ponds https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/8/warm-springs-peace Thu, 20 Aug 2020 20:47:58 GMT
Capturing Neowise 2020 https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/7/capturing-neowise-2020 The TravelerThe TravelerComet (C/2020 F3) (NEOWISE), over Butte, Montana, July 14, 2020. July 2020 seemed occupied by tracking and photographing Comet Neowise as it swung by the earth and sun. In defiance of fears that it would disintegrate, the comet came from behind the sun and became visible to our eyes.

I ended up taking a lot of photos (trust me, you will never see most of them) and in the process learned more about how to capture images of celestial objects, while preserving smooth, blue, night-sky gradients.

It seems to be troublesome: 

  • You want stars as points of light, so you cannot push your exposure too long. Yet you need to capture enough light to populate magenta, purple, blue, and cyan (the likely colors in the sky) in your capture. If you don't, the sky may become posterized (or banded).
  • You want to control sensor noise -- so you cannot push your ISO (sensor sensitivity) TOO high.
  • You need sharp focus -- so something somewhere that is bright enough to set the lens at infinity is necessary (auto focus will likely not work, so you must focus manually).
  • You want a pleasing composition -- context for the comet (the horizon or another object) really helps.

To create this image, I aligned five images (each taken at ISO 3200, f5.6, and 4 seconds) to sharpen the comet and control sensor noise. Keeping the sky smooth was difficult, because that part of the image was still short on the information needed to produce its colors. Increasing the ISO and/or lengthening the exposure would likely have helped.

I like this image because I managed most of the exposure issues and captured some detail in the comet's tail. However, the endmost parts of the tail likely extend off the image to the right. I wish I had moved the comet a little to the left and down so that it didn't crowd the right side.

On the bright side, I have lots of time to learn more about night sky photography; Neowise is not scheduled to return for about 7,000 years. I might have it down by then.

THANKS FOR READING.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) Comet Neowise C/2020 F3 Montana night skies https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/7/capturing-neowise-2020 Wed, 22 Jul 2020 23:22:41 GMT
Vipond Park Montana -- High Mountain Color https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/6/vipond-park-montana----high-mountain-color After reading a Montana Standard article about the wildflower potential of Vipond Park in Montana's Pioneer Mountains, Mary and I drove up there on June 12, 2020 to check it out. We found the park to be gorgeous and home to thousands of small flowering plants. USFS signs at the park's northern edge suggested that we were likely early for the wildflower season and that the park will be even more beautiful in a couple of weeks. The road was dry, and there were no snowbanks to traverse.

Spring MeadowsSpring MeadowsVipond Park, Pioneer Mountains, Montana. June 12, 2020.

(Click on the image to see a full size view.)

The photo above shows Vipond Park near where the Quartz Hill road enters from the northeast. To get here, turn south onto Quartz Hill Road off of Montana Highway 43 just west of Dewey, Montana. Stay on Quartz Hill road until you come out on top and enter the park's open areas. (Quartz Hill Road becomes USFS Road 187 in Vipond Park.)

USFS signage about the park's flora is just to the right of this photo and the high glaciated peaks of the Pioneer Mountains are in the distance.

An Avalanche  of LiliesAn Avalanche of LiliesAvalanche Lily (Erythronium grandiflorum). Vipond Park, Pioneer Mountains, Montana. June 12, 2020.

(Click on the image to see a full size view.)

USFS road 187 led us generally west-southwest through the park's meadows. As we drove, we saw extensive areas of yellow Avalanche Lilies (see above) and purple pasque flowers. 

A Little ColorA Little ColorVipond Park, Pioneer Mountains, Montana. June 12, 2020.

(Click on the image to see a full size view.)

The main road circles south, than east, and travels down Buffalo Head Gulch. Shooting stars (pink) add contrasting color to yellow and white flowers.  Long MeadowsLong MeadowsVipond Park, Pioneer Mountains, Montana. June 12, 2020.

(Click on this image to see a full size view)

USFS road 187 continues east leading out of Vipond Park. The park seems to go on forever with the meadows and flowers broken up by isolated groves of fir. A few miles beyond this point, road 187 encounters the north edge of the glaciated Canyon Creek Valley, swings abruptly west, and drops sharply down into Canyon Creek.

When you reach Canyon Creek road, turn left and drive east (you will soon pass the Canyon Creek charcoal kilns) until you join the Trapper Creek road near Glendale, Montana. Turn left again to go east towards Melrose, Montana, and Interstate 15.

Thanks for reading!

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(Twpatt Photos) clouds forest mountains stream wildflowers https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/6/vipond-park-montana----high-mountain-color Fri, 19 Jun 2020 04:17:10 GMT
The Grand Vista - smoothing out the flow https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/6/the-grand-vista---smoothing-out-the-flow Grand VistaGrand VistaWise River, Grand Vista Overlook. Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway, Wise River Montana. June 4, 2020. Mary and I traveled the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway (south from Wise River to Montana Highway 278 west of Dillon). Our goal was to check out the high parks and meadows in hopes of finding alpine flowers. The drive is one of the best that southwest Montana has to offer and in many ways reminds you of driving through a national park, except that you are alone on the road!

Into the TurnInto the TurnWise River, Grand Vista Overlook. Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway, Wise River Montana. June 4, 2020. We stopped at the Grand Vista parking area about 19 miles south of Wise River and walked down to the river. The weather was warm and dry, there were no mosquitoes, and there was just a little breeze.

I have been waiting for a chance to use my 10-stop neutral density filter that allows long exposures in strong light. The benefit is that you can capture smooth images of stream flow. Here are a couple of photos. The upper image is a 5 second and the lower image is a 10-second exposure. Both images were shot at f 7.1. The ISO was 100. As you can see the images are of normal brightness for a late-afternoon capture.

I was really happy with how the slow shutter speed smoothed out the stream surface. Under the silky smooth surfaces, I was surprised at the water's clarity and how far into the stream I could see.

I also learned a few things. That gentle breeze I mentioned earlier? Even the small wind caused most of the willows and trees to move and become blurred. The clouds are soft, as, of course, they were moving. The distant mountains should have been more crisp. I suspect that the camera might have had difficulty focusing through the filter, or the tripod vibrated while the shutter was open. 

I will have to practice more with the filter to improve my results. I will seek wind-free scenes, triple check the focus on objects that are not expected to move, and really make sure that I have weighted my tripod to minimize any motion.

Oh... the high alpine meadows were most green, with only a few flowers. I suspect that summer up that high is still en route.

Thanks for reading!

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(Twpatt Photos) clouds forest mountains stream https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/6/the-grand-vista---smoothing-out-the-flow Sun, 07 Jun 2020 02:44:10 GMT
Why did the sand hill crane colt cross the road? https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/5/why-did-the-chick-cross-the-road Last Saturday I decided to try for some bird photos and headed over into the Jefferson River Valley south of Whitehall to see what could be seen. I came across this Sand Hill Crane, peacefully foraging in a field about 50 feet off the road. I stopped for photos and we seemed to get along famously. The crane finding supper; I getting some good photos.

HuntingHuntingSand Hill Crane, Franich Lane, Whitehall, Montana. May 16, 2020. I moved about 50 feet down the road. On my right, the meadow became a fallow field. A quick motion to my right alerted me that the crane I had just photographed was flying forward alongside me. When I stopped, even though this was the bird I had just photographed, its presentation was much different. It strutted back and forth parallel to the road dragging its wingtips over the gravelly soil. Sometimes it would run ahead, stand up tall, call (a distinctive sound if you haven't heard it), and then resume its 'threatening' movement. I wondered why all had changed?

Back Off!Back Off!Sand Hill Crane, Franich Lane, Whitehall, Montana. May 16, 2020. Up the road I saw quick movement in the grass. There was a sand hill crane chick moving around and every time mama(?) would stand and call, it would cross the road and disappear into some tall grass. As soon as she would quit calling to give me the evil eye, the chick would come back out.

I thought, "Kids." I waited until it was again off the road, and went on my way. Crossing the RoadCrossing the RoadSand Hill Crane chick. Franich Lane, Whitehall, Montana. May 16, 2020. So, why did the Sand Hill chick cross the road? Mama told it to!

Thanks for reading!

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(Twpatt Photos) birds montana sandhill crane Waterloo wildlife https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/5/why-did-the-chick-cross-the-road Sat, 23 May 2020 15:34:28 GMT
A little Drama https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/5/a-little-drama Western GoldWestern GoldFrench Creek, Montana Highway 569 (Deep Creek Road), Wise River, Montana. May 2, 2020. On my trip last week to French Creek (over the Mill Creek Pass and south towards Wise River), DramaDramaMontana Highway 569 (Deep Creek Road), Wise River, Montana. May 2, 2020.
waves of clouds moved across the sky as the sun settled in the west. I mostly watched the southern sky, hoping that it would open up in time to see some good light. 

The sky cleared just as the sun reached the horizon and let some golden light into the French Creek valley. Clouds hung low, light reflected off the creek, and there were a pair of yearling(?) moose off to the right. (Too dark to get good photos, but they made me nervous!) Snow capped peaks hugged the horizon.

It always pays to look around while you wait for your scene to develop (It's how I miss most of my moon shots--I get bored and say,"Oh look over there...").

I glanced to my left and saw a cloud that had light from above seeping though and its bottom partially lit with golden light. It looks threatening, but was actually calm and beautiful. This cloud passed on by, but it was not long until others filled in the sky to rain on me.

While getting ready to leave, a fisherman driving towards Anaconda stopped to visit. He told me that there were elk a mile or so to the north, and three wolves (I don't know how he knew how many wolves.) on a hill to the east.

The rains came, I turned around to head north towards home, and saw 50+ elk on the first hill I passed. Too dark and rainy to get any photos.

Thanks for reading!

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(Twpatt Photos) clouds mountains sunset https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/5/a-little-drama Tue, 12 May 2020 17:38:04 GMT
Trumpeters https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/4/trumpeters I like to photograph birds, but often don't make the The FlotillaThe FlotillaTrumpeter Swans: Job Corps ponds, Warm Springs, Montana. April 19, 2020.
time or set up the camera properly. The birds also seem to know me by sight and get as far away as possible.

Last Sunday I put the long lens on, jacked up the camera's sensor speed, and hiked around a couple of the Job Corps Ponds at Warm Springs, Montana. I saw American Avocets, Black Necked Stilts, Killdeers, Canada Geese, a bunch of Snow Geese who landed and then left, ducks, and finally--a small flock of Trumpeter Swans.

I have wanted to see some Trumpeters for a long time. When I was growing up, I remember hearing that the Trumpeters were doing poorly and in grave danger. Apparently, they are in much better standing now.

I stood among some trees and pretended to be a gate post, which helped keep them from moving off too quickly. However five right eyes and one left eye clearly have me in sight and they were slowly swimming away. 

THANKS FOR READING.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) Trumpeter Swans water birds https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/4/trumpeters Fri, 24 Apr 2020 01:12:11 GMT
Big Sky Country https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/4/big-sky-country On April 6, 2020 I visited Hogback Road south of Big Sky CountryBig Sky CountryThe Pioneer Mountains from Hogback Road. Glen, Montana. April 6, 2020.
Glen, Montana, in hopes of catching the rising almost-full moon. I parked and walked up the southernmost lower edges of the 'hogback' and found that to the east, the moon was caught up among low clouds hugging the Ruby and Tobacco Root Mountains.

While I waited for the moon, I looked about and saw that there were gorgeous views in almost every direction.

To the west the sun beamed through clouds to cast patchy shadows on grasslands backed by the Pioneer Mountains. Small specks of black cattle, a single truck, and a trail of dust added a tiny bit of action. To me, this photo just says, "Big Sky Country."

THANKS FOR READING.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) Montana scenery mountains sunset https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/4/big-sky-country Sat, 11 Apr 2020 04:37:15 GMT
It's 2020, but Thinkin' 2021 -The Badger State https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/3/its-2020-but-thinkin-2021--the-badger-state I plan to produce a 2021 Head Frames Calendar with all new head frames photos. Here is a view of the Badger State head frame, one of the 2021 calendar candidates.  Resting PrettyResting PrettyThe Badger State, Butte, Montana. March 20, 2020. Operated 1883-1966. Main shaft 4,169 feet deep.

'Resting Pretty' shows the Badger State head frame with the Montana Resources waste dumps in the mid-distance. I had hoped to get a new view of the head frame from the northwest, but I would have had to walk too far down towards the active mining area to catch the head frame as well as the hoist house. This year's photo is similar to those from previous years and is taken from the southwest from a hill behind the mine. The early light made nice shadows, brought out color in the distance, and enhanced detail in the mountains. 

The Badger State operated from 1883 to 1966. The main shaft is 4,169 feet deep.

'Resting Pretty' is a possible 2021 head frames calendar candidate. It has competition though--click the image to see other head frame shots in the 'Montana All Year Round' gallery. Do you have a preference?

THANKS FOR READING.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) Badger State Butte Montana gallus frame head frames https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/3/its-2020-but-thinkin-2021--the-badger-state Fri, 27 Mar 2020 17:03:42 GMT
It's 2020, but Thinkin' 2021 -The Mountain Con https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/3/its-2020-but-thinkin-2021--the-mountain-con I plan to produce a 2021 Head Frames Calendar with all new head frames photos. Here is a view of the Mountain Consolidated head frame, one of the 2021 calendar candidates.  Walk in the ParkWalk in the ParkThe Mountain Consolidated Head Frame, Butte, Montana. March 17, 2020. Operated 1890-1975. Main shaft 5,291 feet deep.

'Walk in the Park' shows a view of the Mountain Consolidated Head Frame from a vegetated area east of the head frame. This area was where the foreman's house stood--it seems to have been as nice a place as possible with trees (even apple trees) and lots of landscaping. The house is gone, but some of the yard remains. The morning was foggy and I captured the image while a pocket of clear air was about.

It seems odd, but this photo makes me feel a little like a small mammal hiding in a forest, watching a behemoth T-rex walking about looking for food. I have spied it through the trees in the early light, and am being very quiet.

The Mountain Consolidated operated from 1890 until 1975. The main shaft is 5,291 feet deep.

'Walk in the Park' is a possible 2021 head frames calendar candidate. It has competition though--click the image to see other head frame shots in the 'Montana All Year Round' gallery. Do you have a preference?


THANKS FOR READING.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) Butte Montana gallus frame head frames Mountain Consolidated https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/3/its-2020-but-thinkin-2021--the-mountain-con Fri, 20 Mar 2020 20:37:36 GMT
Hogbacks and Big Skies https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/3/hogbacks-and-big-skies On March 6, 2020 I drove the Biltmore Road (starts from near Twin Bridges and becomes Hogback Road when you near Glen, Montana). The road's western end crosses several thrust faults that place old formations on top of young formations.

HogbacksHogbacksHogback Road, Glen, Montana. March 6, 2020. I stopped to catch a late day photo of lichen covered westward dipping gray limestone, most likely in the upper part of the Cretaceous Kootenai Formation. Because the limestone dips to the west, rocks in the photo farther to the left are progressively younger--all the way to the base of the large hogback in the left distance.

The hogback contains rocks millions of years older than the rocks in the foreground. How can this be?

A thrust fault along the base of the hogback provides a surface along which compressive forces pushed these much older formations eastward and upward over the top of the Kootenai Formation. 

The Tobacco Root Mountains east of Twin Bridges, Montana, glisten in the distance and represent a much different geologic event.

THANKS FOR READING.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) Montana Geology Montana scenery mountains https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/3/hogbacks-and-big-skies Wed, 11 Mar 2020 03:59:03 GMT
Digital Downloads -- Easy and Cheap https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/2/digital-downloads----easy-and-cheap What if... Aspens A'greenAspens A'greenAspens, Lost Creek Road, Anaconda, Montana. May 16, 2019.

You like Montana landscape images, but really don't want to buy prints or other products. Instead, it would be best if you could download your favorite images and use them on a computer, tablet, or telephone as slideshow or desktop images.

You're in luck. Twpatt Photos offers Digital Download products designed to let you own images that you can use on your devices. You can even make your own limited-size prints.

  1. 5 images for Desktop or Device Slide Shows: Images are medium resolution (3 megapixels) appropriate for screen displays or small prints of up to 8" x 10" at about 200 ppi. You get a royalty-free license for personal use.
  2. 10 images for Desktop of Device Slide Shows: Images are medium resolution (3 megapixels) appropriate for screen displays or small prints of up to 8" x 10" at CentervilleCentervilleMountain Con hoisthouse, Butte, Montana. October 18, 2019. about 200 ppi. You get a royalty-free license for personal use.
  3. 15 images for Desktop or Device Slide Shows: Images are medium resolution (3 megapixels) appropriate for screen displays or small prints of up to 8" x 10" at about 200 ppi. You get a royalty-free license for personal use.
  4. 24 images for Desktop or Device Slide Shows: Images are medium resolution (3 megapixels) appropriate for screen displays or small prints of up to 8" x 10" at about 200 ppi. You get a royalty-free license for personal use.
  5. High Resolution Download: Single image downloads are at the image's native uploaded resolution. The resolutions vary some, but most are between 6 and 12 megapixels. You get a royalty-free license for personal use. You can print the image at the shop of your choice.

So, if you see images you like--select, 5, 10, 15, or 24 and head to the SHOP. Find the DOWNLOADS section and click SEE ALL. Use the DROPDOWN box to select the DOWNLOAD product with your number of images and click PREVIEW. If you like what you see, click ADD TO CART. After adding the images, you can continue shopping, or check out. That's all there is to it!

A good place to find some photos to download is in the 'Best of the Best' collection. The images in this post are a couple that I like a lot. Click on one to check out the collection.

THANKS FOR READING.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) Best of the Best Digital Downloads head frames Montana scenery mountains night skies sunrise sunset https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/2/digital-downloads----easy-and-cheap Wed, 26 Feb 2020 23:45:09 GMT
A really, really, hard thing to do! https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/2/a-really-really-hard-thing-to-do I have been thinking about it for a while... Early Morning on the south BoulderEarly Morning on the south BoulderThe northern Tobacco Root Mountains from Armstrong Road. December 6, 2017.

There are more than 1,600 photos on TwPatt Photos and individual images are getting hard to find. If you are looking for a specific thing (head frames, mountains, streams, birds, etc.) the search field helps... But!

What if you just want something pretty, are not sure what you are looking for, and don't have time to search through 1,600+ images?   

I thought about deleting images that seem 'old and dusty', but it's hard, because I only post images that I like and no matter how old they are, most photos get visits.

I decided to create special collections of the images that I like BEST. 

  1. I created photo collections named 'Best of 2017', 'Best of 2018', and 'Best of 2019'. (There will be a 'Best of 2020', but that's a future effort.)
  2. I sorted the images in each 'Montana Season' gallery by Seeley Lake SunsetSeeley Lake SunsetBig Larch Campground, Seeley Lake, Montana. July 26, 2019. year-captured and added the images that I liked best to the new collections. For example, images captured in 2017 were added to the 'Best of 2017' collection. I did the same thing for 2018 and 2019. 
  3. I ended up with about a hundred images in each 'Best of...' collection.
  4. Winnowing the collections down turned out to be pretty hard, but in the end each collection contained the 24 'best' images for 2017, 2018, and 2019.
  5. I added all of the 'Best of...' photos into a 'Best of the Best' collection -- I ended up with 72 images. 
  6. With weeping and gnashing of teeth, I cut the 72 images in 'Best of the Best' down to 24.

It's not perfect. I pulled out a lot of images that I like just as well as those I kept, but it is a starting point. If you work through 'Best of the Best' and don't see what you like, check out the 'Best of...' collections for each year. If you get an idea of what you are looking for, try the search field. 

The images in this post are links to their spots in the 'Best of the Best' collection. Click on one to check out the collection.

THANKS FOR READING.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) Best of 2017 Best of 2018 Best of 2019 Best of the Best head frames Montana scenery mountains night skies sunrise sunset https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/2/a-really-really-hard-thing-to-do Wed, 19 Feb 2020 20:45:08 GMT
It's 2020, but Thinkin' 2021 -The Travona https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/2/its-2020-but-thinkin-2021--the-travona I plan to produce a 2021 Head Frames Calendar with all new head frames photos. Here is a view of the Travona head frame, one of the 2021 calendar candidates.  The GreeterThe GreeterTravona Mine, Butte Montana. January 21, 2020. Operated from 1875 until after 1940. Main shaft is 1,476 feet deep.

'The Greeter' shows the Travona Mine head frame as it greets the day in rapidly brightening early light. A faint crescent moon peers through passing clouds. City lights line the Summit Valley near the horizon and the Highlands mountains lie in the distance. A large white 'Butte' painted on the Travona's black ore bin greets eastbound visitors on Interstate 115 (the fifth shortest interstate highway in the US) as they enter Butte.

The Travona operated from 1875 until after 1940. The main shaft is 1,476 feet deep.

'The Greeter' is a  possible 2021 head frames calendar candidate. It has competition though--click the image to see other Travona pics from January 21, 2020 in the 'Montana All Year Round' gallery. Do you have a preference?
 

THANKS FOR READING.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) Butte Montana gallus frame head frames Highlands Mountains Interstate 115 Summit Valley Travona https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/2/its-2020-but-thinkin-2021--the-travona Sat, 01 Feb 2020 17:53:03 GMT
It's 2020, but Thinkin' 2021 -next candidate https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/1/its-2020-but-thinkin-2021--next-candidate As you know, 2020 Head Frames Calendars are still available online at https://twpattphotos.com/headframescalendar and it's time to snap one up before too much of the year escapes. If you decide to buy a calendar, but adding captions seems too hard--put the unfinished calendar in your cart and share it with me at Twpatt Photos (There is a button in the shopping cart. NOTE--sharing your cart shares only its contents and an email address. No personal information is included). I can add the captions and share the cart back to you. You can then check out as usual.

I plan to produce a 2021 Head Frames Calendar with all new head frames photos. Here is a view of the Mountain Consolidated head frame, one of the 2021 calendar candidates.  Winter at the ConWinter at the ConMountain Consolidated Head frame. Butte, Montana. December 25, 2019.

'Winter at the Con' features a close/far view with snow-capped wheatgrass in the foreground, late-day light reflected off the head frame, and a seemingly endless view of Butte, Montana, and the Summit Valley. The cloud shrouded Highlands Mountains are in the distance.

The Mountain Consolidated mine site is now a Butte City Park with a covered picnic pavilion near the site of the foreman's house and walking paths that take you about. The head frame is the park's centerpiece, but the pathway around the hoist house offers some of the park's most photogenic angles. 

Click on the image to see a large view in the Montana Winter Gallery.

THANKS FOR READING.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) Butte Montana gallus frame head frames Mountain Consolidated Summit Valley https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/1/its-2020-but-thinkin-2021--next-candidate Fri, 17 Jan 2020 16:55:58 GMT
It's 2020, but Thinkin' 2021 https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/1/its-2020-but-thinkin-2021 We are now firmly ensconced in 2020 and it seems that time is flying by quickly. The 2020 Head Frames Calendars are still available online at https://twpattphotos.com/headframescalendar and it's time to snap one up before too much of the year escapes. If you decide to buy a calendar, but adding captions seems too hard--put the unfinished calendar in your cart and share it with me at Twpatt Photos (There is a button in the shopping cart.). I can add the captions and share the cart back to you. You can then check out as usual.

I plan to produce a 2021 Head Frames Calendar with all new head frames photos. Here is a photo of the Mountain Consolidated head frame at sunset that will likely be in the 2021 calendar. IncongruityIncongruityThe Mountain Con head frame, Butte, Montana. December 25, 2019.

I call this image 'Incongruity'. Although the Mountain Consolidated head frame sits among reclaimed mine waste (all the smooth looking grassy area) on the Butte Hill, it is framed in this photo by an apple tree. Apple trees are not normal Butte Hill Mining District occupants. This tree, and a few others, were apparently part of the yard at the mine foreman's house; an island of vegetation among all the bits and pieces of the surrounding mine yard. Scattered around the house site are mature spruces and pines, and about a half dozen apple trees. Not crab apples, mind you, but apples. 

The Mountain Consolidated mine site is now a Butte City Park with a covered picnic pavilion near the site of the foreman's house and walking paths that take you about. The head frame is the park's centerpiece, but I like the upper area near the foreman's house, where the apple trees still survive. 

Click on the image to see it in the Montana Winter Gallery.

THANKS FOR READING.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) Butte Montana gallus frame head frames Mountain Consolidated sunset https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2020/1/its-2020-but-thinkin-2021 Thu, 16 Jan 2020 05:46:57 GMT
The Terminator https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/12/the-terminator The sun was moving lower in the southwest the other day while I was visiting the Deer Lodge Valley. I was exploring up the Sand Hollow Road off Dry Cottonwood Creek, when I happened to glance to the southeast and notice sunlight pooling on the grassy hilltops. Light PoolsLight PoolsGrass lands -- Sand Hollow Road. Deer Lodge Valley, Montana. December 22, 2019.

I seem to visualize the separation between day and night (the 'terminator') as a relatively sharp line that sweeps across the landscape as the earth turns eastward. From outer space or high in the atmosphere it may appear to be sharp, but locally the terminator seems to creep up hills from deep spots in the landscape.

Here the terminator is rising from shallow tributaries of Dry Cottonwood Creek in the Deer Lodge Valley, Montana. In doing so, it creates hilltop light pools. For the moment, the camera is in its own little light pool... with the terminator at its toes. 

Click on the image to see it in the Montana All Year Round Gallery.

THANKS FOR READING.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) Deer Lodge Valley Dry Cottonwood Creek grass lands Montana sunset terminator https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/12/the-terminator Mon, 30 Dec 2019 02:32:55 GMT
Winter Solstice - 2019 https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/12/winter-solstice---2020 People often talk of the 'golden hours when low sun angle early or late in a day cause shadows and add detail to images. Thick atmospheric sections filter early- and late-day light softening shadows and adding color. Photographers are often advised to restrict photo expeditions to the 'golden hours' and stay home during the harsh light of mid-day.

The northeastern face of 9,440 ft Mount Fleecer near Divide, Montana, appears relatively featureless most of the year because the sun is too high in the sky to cause shadows, it is silhouetted at sundown, and is faced full on by the sun at sunrise. 

However, during the relatively low-angled mid-afternoon winter solstice sun, the mountain's topographic detail appears and shows how rugged it really is. Even though this December 21, 2019 photo was captured at about 2 p.m., it has many attributes of an image captured during the 'golden hour' because of the relatively low sun in the southern sky and a moderately thick deck of high stratus cloud that filtered and softened the light.

PristinePristineMount Fleecer. Divide Montana. December 21, 2019

THANKS FOR READING.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) Montana Mount Fleecer mountains Winter Solstice https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/12/winter-solstice---2020 Mon, 23 Dec 2019 04:01:22 GMT
Happy Thanksgiving -- Reprise https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/11/happy-thanksgiving----reprise Here we are -- It's the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Black Friday has come and gone at a total cost of $36.88 for a grand daughter toy and $9.99 for a good deal on coffee. However, that will be the minimum of holiday season damage.

We have yet to face the travails of December including concerts, festivals, and Christmas itself. All the kids will be home so, the house must be cleaned and all the bedrooms restarted. The tree must be rescued from the darkness of its basement box, and decorations spread about.

Mary's knee is getting better--we have abandoned the pain pills for tylenol and ibuprofen. That is very good!

All in all -- a good Thanksgiving.

Below is a 'First Snow' photo of the Highlands Mountains taken October 18, 2019 from the little park just east of the Steward Mine in Butte, Montana. Golden, tall, grass provides a good foreground for distant snow capped peaks.

First SnowFirst SnowThe Highlands Mountains. Butte, Montana. October, 18, 2019.

THANKS FOR READING.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) first snow golden wheatgrass Highlands Mountains https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/11/happy-thanksgiving----reprise Sun, 01 Dec 2019 03:45:05 GMT
Could it be Montana Winter? https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/11/could-it-be-montana-winter The lake is frozen over. There is snow on the beach. The distant Anaconda Range (sprinkled with the last light of day) is looking pretty icy. Thanksgiving is a week away.

IT MUST BE MONTANA WINTER!

Because it is still technically fall and I like to classify my photos by Montana season, it is difficult each year when most of my photos begin to look pretty wintery. Some time each November I cave and start calling posts Montana Winter rather than Montana Fall, even though the really short, dark, days are yet to come. I have a similar problem in late winter, when there is still a month of winter, but the country starts looking springlike. 

Here is a 'wintery' picture of Georgetown Lake, Montana, actually taken in the last month of Montana Fall.

GeorgetownGeorgetownGeorgetown Lake, Montana. November, 23, 2019.

THANKS FOR READING.

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(Twpatt Photos) Georgetown Lake ice mountains pastel sky snow sunset https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/11/could-it-be-montana-winter Sun, 24 Nov 2019 23:39:57 GMT
Old Tech - New Tech -- can they meet in the middle? https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/11/old-tech---new-tech----can-they-meet-in-the-middle I have had a vintage Pentax-M Macro 1:4 100 mm telephoto lens since sometime in the early 1970's. At one point I attempted to use the lens on my Nikon 5300, but I could never manage the manual focus correctly.

Today, I decided to try some photos using this lens on my Nikon Z6. I found a suitable subject in our Christmas (Thanksgiving?) cactus and decided to see what I could do. The plant sits by a west facing window and today's cloud-filtered light really caused the blooms to stand out. The Z6's electronic view finder (which is zoomable to the monitor screen on the camera's back) allowed me to manually focus on the flowers with pretty good sharpness. I set the exposure control to a 2 second delay and caught some photos.

The best of the images are below. Stopping down to get more depth of field caused a hexagonal flare-like artifact in the center of some images, particularly when the camera was looking "up-light". There seems to be no way in post processing to remove the artifact. Images taken when not looking into the light seemed okay.

Christmas CactusChristmas CactusChristmas Cactus, Butte, Montana. November 15, 2019 Christmas CactusChristmas CactusChristmas Cactus, Butte, Montana. November 15, 2019
Christmas CactusChristmas CactusChristmas Cactus, Butte, Montana. November 15, 2019 Christmas CactusChristmas CactusChristmas Cactus, Butte, Montana. November 15, 2019

I was pretty happy with the results. I found it satisfying in some odd way that a 40+ year old lens mounted on some of Nikon's latest technology (released in 2018-19) actually worked.

THANKS FOR READING.

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(Twpatt Photos) Christmas Cactus flowers Nikon Z6 Pentax-M Macro 100 mm 1:4 https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/11/old-tech---new-tech----can-they-meet-in-the-middle Sun, 17 Nov 2019 03:34:59 GMT
Foursome https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/11/foursome A crystal clear sunset presented four heavenly bodies in the early evening sky October 30, 2019.

At upper left, the single pinprick of light is Jupiter. The moon is the star of the show--a brightly lit crescent cupping a dollop of earth light. In the lower right quarter of the image, just above a thin wisp of cloud, is Venus -- a tiny, tiny, yellow light. Venus is just about to set and is being swallowed by the sun's fading orange light. It is difficult to see, you might have to zoom in to see it.

The fourth heavenly body is the earth, represented by the silhouette of the horizon with its high point, 9,436 foot Mount Fleecer.

Almost 10,000 feet above sea level sounds impressive if we have to hike or walk about on it, but everything else in the image is hundreds of thousands to millions of miles distant.

THANKS FOR READING.

DuskFoursomeJupiter, Moon, Venus, and Mount Fleecer. From the Lexington Mine Yard, Butte, Montana. October 30, 2019.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) earth earth light jupiter moon venus https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/11/foursome Mon, 11 Nov 2019 22:16:26 GMT
How to buy a Calendar https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/11/how-to-buy-a-calendar Twpatt Photography's 2020 wall calendars are available!

Maybe you don't need a 2020 calendar--you have phones, computers, tablets -- calendars are everywhere. However, there is something really handy about a wall calendar right next to your computer screen. You can check the date just by moving your eyes--no clicks, no new windows, nothing electronic necessary. You don't even have to take your hands off the keyboard.

Even if you don't use the calendar as a calendar, a year's worth of gorgeous Montana scenery on your wall is a good thing. Just when you might get tired of one scene, the time comes to flip the page and, voila--life is renewed. 

The Twpatt wall Calendar is 12 inches wide, 18 inches tall, and spiral bound at its top. There is a full page Montana scene on the cover and a half page Montana scene each month. You can choose from one of the pre-selected collections (Butte Head FramesPhotographer's Picks, or Montana Parks).

The cost is $24.99 plus shipping and handling. (Orders over $35 ship free)

The calendars are best configured on a desktop computer...but don't despair if you are viewing the images on a phone. Although you can convert to a 'desktop' view and purchase a calendar directly, there is a BETTER WAY

If you are using a phone to view a calendar (or even if you are using a desktop or tablet), here is an easy way to check out the photos and order. 

  1. Click a calendar image to see the photos.
  2. If you decide to purchase a calendar(s), send an email to twpattphoto@outlook.com or click the Contact me here link on the calendar page. 
  3. In the email tell me which calendar(s) you want, and how many of each.
  4. Based on your instructions, I will create a shopping cart containing fully configured calendar(s) and share the cart to your email address.  
  5. In the email, click the shopping cart link to open up the cart, inspect the calendar(s), and follow the prompts to check out.
  6. Your calendar(s) will arrive in 3-5 days.

That's all there is to it. 

THANKS FOR READING.

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(Twpatt Photos) 2020 Calendars head frames Montana photographer picks state parks https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/11/how-to-buy-a-calendar Fri, 01 Nov 2019 15:05:12 GMT
Color Beams https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/10/color-beams The color seemed to come late this year, and then didn't last.

The first 'historic storm' (maybe a little more historic further north in Montana?) was on its way, so on September 27 I took my one color chance this fall and bet it on the Mill Creek area over by Anaconda, Montana. The storm arrived the next day and was followed by a couple of pretty cold nights. That seemed be it for fall color around Butte. Color BeamsColor BeamsMill Creek Road, Anaconda, Montana. September 27, 2019.

It turned out that Mill Creek was a good bet. It was misty and cloudy up high, but the drive south from Montana Highway 1 (the Pintler Veterans Memorial Highway) was sunlit and the aspens were nearing peak color. I like this image because the grass is golden, some of the trees are still green, there are splotches of brilliant yellow, and some red. 

I am unsure as to what the 'light beams' might be. I didn't notice them when viewing the scene, but they appear in the image. The air was not noticeably hazy, and although the sun was not that far off the lens in the upper right, they don't seem much like lens flare. No matter, they add an interesting component. 

THANKS FOR READING.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) aspens fall foliage' mill creek Montana https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/10/color-beams Wed, 23 Oct 2019 04:30:18 GMT
Sometimes, the photo just happens https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/10/Sometimes-the-photo-just-happens Mary and I toured around the Seeley Lake area on September 21 -- still air, and partly cloudy skies helped us capture images of glassy lakes full of cloud and mountain reflections. Rainy Lake in the Seeley-Swan is a favorite place and often offers brilliant views of the Swan Mountains and gorgeous reflections. Moody ForestMoody ForestRainy Lake Campground. Seeley Lake, Montana. September 21, 2019.

As we drove up the highway towards Rainy Lake (and having been there several times), I was mentally composing/anticipating the images that I might capture on a windless early fall day.

A few rain showers had passed through the area early that morning. As I got out of the car and turned, this up-light view of a glistening forest just seemed to appear. Unplanned and just there. I took a moment to try and record the feeling. Glistening, wet, shadowy, and directly into the sun.

I went on down to Rainy Lake, and the light just wasn't the same. The view to the north across the Lake was a little too cloudy and the clouds were too far down on the top of the Swans to produce the photos I envisioned. My pre-planned image just didn't work out. 

The moral of the morning: be ready for anything. If you see it, capture it.

THANKS FOR READING.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) forest Montana Rainy Lake Campground Seeley Swan https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/10/Sometimes-the-photo-just-happens Fri, 18 Oct 2019 04:09:05 GMT
2020 Headframes Calendars https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/10/2020-headframes-calendars
A Good Calendar Day:

I decided that the 2020 Head Frames Calendars sitting on my dining room table were not going to sell themselves. Despite my best wishes, no one seems to notice them there.

Yesterday I went out and about to see what I could do. 

It was a very good day! I SOLD 11 calendars and only have 6 left from the second printing.

If you would like a Head Frames Calendar, leave a comment on this post or email me at twpattphoto@outlook.com. The cost is $25.

Calendars are also available in Butte, Montana, from Books and Books, The Montana Tech Bookstore, and the Butte Chamber of Commerce.

Click on the thumbnail if you would like to explore ordering calendars (Head Frames, Montana Parks, and Photographer's Picks) online from Twpatt Photos.

THANKS FOR READING.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) 2020 calendars Anselmo Badger State Bell Diamond Belmont Butte Montana headframes Kelley Lexington Mountain Consolidated Mtn Con Original Orphan Girl Steward Travona https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/10/2020-headframes-calendars Fri, 11 Oct 2019 21:11:58 GMT
Frustrations and reflections https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/10/frustrations-and-reflections It was a frustrating day!

Nothing seemed to go right. It snowed about 4 inches last night--actually snow is too good a word. White 'slushy' that is too heavy to move and that sticks to the shovel is what it was. It made you wish for the white fluffy stuff that will come with the COLD later this winter. Nevertheless, I got out early to shovel the walk for the high school kids who meet their bus on our corner. It's no fun stand in snow in the dark just to go to school.

Apparently it is fun to kick the snow out of the gutter back onto the sidewalk so that you and your compatriots can stomp it into ice...

The kitchen faucet began leaking onto the cabinet top and floor. I decided to take it apart, see what was with the seals, and rebuild it. The hot water shutoff valve broke in the on position. The cold water shut off valve worked, sort of. It slowed water to a trickle, but a trickle too much. Nothing for it then, we had to shut off the house and replace the valves. With that in mind, we decided that a whole new kitchen faucet with multi-sprays and a brushed nickel surface would be a good thing.

I shut off the water, opened valves upstairs and waited for the kitchen faucet to stop flowing. When the flow stopped, I removed the first connector hose and found that  the system was not fully drained. The garage donated a bunch of rag towels to wipe things down. Reflection!Reflection!Lake Alva from the Lake Alva Campground. Seeley Lake, Montana. September 21, 2019.

I got the new shutoff valves on, the cold side leaked. It only needed a little bit of tightening to stop the drop, but an entire turn to re-align it to where it needed to be... On the last push the wrench slipped and I chopped a large chunk of skin off my index finger. Four hours later, it is still seeping some.

Eventually, I got the new faucet installed and it appears to be leak free. With great faith and hope, I put all the innards back into the under sink cabinet,took the wet rag towels to the washer, and hauled the dry towels back to the garage.

It was a day of nothing quite going right...

So what's a fella to do. Just looking the sky reflecting in a mirror-like Lake Alva helps a lot. The water couldn't be quieter and the reflection less perfect. It just calms me down. Click the image to see it in the Montana Fall Gallery. THANKS FOR READING

 

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(Twpatt Photos) clouds Lake Alva Montana Montana Fall reflection https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/10/frustrations-and-reflections Thu, 10 Oct 2019 02:01:42 GMT
My how time flies https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/10/my-how-time-flies I got up early September 27 and headed out to see the sunrise and catch some fall color. The weather service was predicting an "Historic" fall storm, and if it was historic enough, I would miss out on fall color photos this year. 

I was early enough to think about sunrise, but as usual I did not have a clear plan where to be when. I ended up on the road between Fairmont and Opportunity when it became time to stop. I pulled off the road and three local citizens came over to see what I was about. I quickly became less interesting than more food, so they proceeded to ignore me and got back to the task at hand. I ended up with some models for a nice fall sunrise photo.

Breakfast TimeBreakfast TimeSunrise near Opportunity, Montana. September, 27, 2019.

I said farewell to my sunrise buddies and drove over to catch early-light photos along the Mill Creek Road. The aspens were not quite at their peak, but many were looking pretty fine. At the top of the pass, the road was up into low clouds and there was a little mist on the windshield. Just to the south of the pass, no traffic let me take a color-lined highway photo that portrayed just how quiet and peaceful it was right then.

Mountain ColorMountain ColorMount Haggin Wildlife Management Area, Mill Creek Road. Anaconda, Montana. September 27, 2019. I explored around up high for a while, but the low-hanging gray clouds persisted. I decided to start heading home and found that the light improved a lot once I got back down towards Anaconda. Reddish fall vegetation is hard to find among all of Montana's yellows and greens, but this hill had quite a lot clinging to its side.

I headed back towards town and called it a morning.

Dressed to KillDressed to KillFall color on the Mill Creek Road, Anaconda, Montana. September 27, 2019.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) Anaconda aspens fall color Mill Creek montana sunset https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/10/my-how-time-flies Sun, 06 Oct 2019 01:17:50 GMT
After supper at the Mountain Con https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/8/after-supper-at-the-mountain-con Mary and I had supper on the deck. While there, a cloud rolled over and sprinkled a little rain on us. As we cleaned up, I heard a couple of distant thunders...

At about 7:30 p.m. I headed out for sunset photo. As I often am, I was late and only had time to get to the Mountain Con hoist house. Fortunately, the hoist house location has good views to the east, south, and west.

The first thing I noticed was the sunlight reflecting along the side of the hoist house. I strolled out into the grass (and weeds -- I am pretty sure that the little purple flowers in the lower right hand corner are knapweed) and tried to put most of the sun behind a convenient power pole. I like what I got!

Hoist HouseHoist HouseHoist house, Mountain Consolidated Mine, Butte, Montana. August 20, 2019.

I worked my way around the hoist house to its south side and looked back towards the East Ridge. I saw a dying thunderstorm. Its structure seemed a confusion of well-defined inner edges radiating outward to a filmy, thin perimeter. In the photo, its shape reminds me some of the Starship Enterprise.

Losing itLosing itEast Ridge Butte, Montana. From the Mountain Consolidated Hoist House. August 20, 2019.

From the same location, I looked back west to see the sun dropping below the distant hills. The Anaconda Mountains are silhouetted, a little virga hangs below a dying shower, Big Butte shows us its 'M' (almost in profile), and the grass glows. All in all, a good outing!

The Day's EndThe Day's EndSunset, August 20, 2019. Mountain Consolidated Mine hoist house. Butte, Montana.

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(Twpatt Photos) Big Butte gallus frame head frames hoist house montana sunset thunderstorm wheatgrass https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/8/after-supper-at-the-mountain-con Thu, 22 Aug 2019 18:55:13 GMT
2020 Calendars Butte Headframes - December https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/7/2020-calendars-butte-headframes---december The Lexington is December's featured head frame. The mine operated from 1876 to the mid-1950s and the main shaft was 3,258 feet deep.

Head Frames calendars are available at Books and Books, the Chamber of Commerce, and Second Edition Books-- all local stores in Butte, Montana. The calendars also are available on line at https://twpattphotos.com/headframescalendar

Let me know if you would like a 2020 Head Frames Calendar and I will reserve one for you!

 

The LexingtonThe LexingtonThe Lexington head frame, Butte, Montana. May 5, 2019.

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(Twpatt Photos) gallus frame head frames lexington mine montana https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/7/2020-calendars-butte-headframes---december Mon, 15 Jul 2019 14:00:22 GMT
2020 Calendars Butte Headframes - November https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/7/2020-calendars-butte-headframes---november The Travona is October's featured head frame. The mine operated from 1875 to after 1940 and the main shaft was 1,476 feet deep.

Head Frames calendars are available at Books and Books, the Chamber of Commerce, and Second Edition Books-- all local stores in Butte, Montana. The calendars also are available on line at https://twpattphotos.com/headframescalendar

Let me know if you would like a 2020 Head Frames Calendar and I will reserve one for you!

Travona SunsetTravona SunsetTravona Head Frame, Butte, Montana. April 17, 2019.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) gallus frame head frames montana travona mine https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/7/2020-calendars-butte-headframes---november Thu, 04 Jul 2019 04:00:00 GMT
2020 Calendars Butte Headframes - October https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/6/2020-calendars-butte-headframes---october The Belmont is September's featured head frame. The mine operated from 1900 to 1956 and the main shaft was 4,300 feet deep. The Belmont's hoist house is now a Senior Citizen's center and the head frame is surrounded by lawn. In this photo the Bell Diamond (lower left corner) appears to be peeking over the Belmont's shoulder.

Head Frames calendars are available at Books and Books, the Chamber of Commerce, and Second Edition Books-- all local stores in Butte, Montana. The calendars also are available on line at https://twpattphotos.com/headframescalendar

Let me know if you would like a 2020 Head Frames Calendar and I will reserve one for you!

 

The BelmontThe BelmontThe Belmont Mine head frame, Butte, Montana. May 5, 2019.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) bell diamond belmont mine gallus frame head frames montana https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/6/2020-calendars-butte-headframes---october Fri, 28 Jun 2019 22:14:15 GMT
2020 Calendars Butte Headframes - September https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/6/2020-calendars-butte-headframes---september The Mountain Con is September's featured head frame. The mine operated from 1890 to 1975 and the main shaft was 5,291 feet deep. The area around the Mountain Con is now a city park -- you can stroll right up to it and take in the details. 

Head Frames calendars are available at Books and Books, the Chamber of Commerce, and Second Edition Books-- all local stores in Butte, Montana. The calendars also are available on line at https://twpattphotos.com/headframescalendar

Let me know if you would like a 2020 Head Frames Calendar and I will reserve one for you!

Sunset at the ConSunset at the ConSunset, Mountain Con Head Frame, Butte, Montana. October 17, 2018.

 

 

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(Twpatt Photos) gallus frame head frames mile high mile deep montana Mountain Con mine sunset https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/6/2020-calendars-butte-headframes---september Tue, 25 Jun 2019 03:45:45 GMT
2020 Calendars Butte Headframes - August https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/6/2020-calendars-butte-headframes---august The Orphan Girl is August's featured head frame. The mine operated from the late 1880s to 1956 and the main shaft was 2,671 feet deep. The Orphan Girl (at the World Museum of Mining) is the only place in Butte, Montana, where you can take an underground tour. You can see for yourselves what the mines were like.

Head Frames calendars are available at Books and Books, the Chamber of Commerce, and Second Edition Books-- all local stores in Butte, Montana. The calendars also are available on line at https://twpattphotos.com/headframescalendar

Let me know if you would like a 2020 Head Frames Calendar and I will reserve one for you!

 

The Orphan GirlThe Orphan GirlThe Orphan Girl Head Frame Butte, Montana. October 5, 2018. Operated late-1880's-1956. Main shaft 2,671 feet deep.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) gallus frame head frames montana orphan girl mine underground tour https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/6/2020-calendars-butte-headframes---august Wed, 19 Jun 2019 02:04:16 GMT
2020 Calendars Butte Headframes - July https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/6/2020-calendars-butte-headframes---july The Kelley is July's featured head frame. The mine operated from 1949 to 1980 and the main shaft was 4,810 feet deep. The nearly full moon and a plethora (a murder?) of crows grace this photo. Just how many crows are in this picture?

Head Frames calendars are available at Books and Books, the Chamber of Commerce, and Second Edition Books-- all local stores in Butte, Montana. The calendars also are available on line at https://twpattphotos.com/headframescalendar

Let me know if you would like a 2020 Head Frames Calendar and I will reserve one for you!

Moon and a Murder?Moon and a Murder?The Kelley Mine Head Frame January 29, 2018. Butte, Montana.

 

 

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(Twpatt Photos) crows gallus frame head frames kelley mine montana moon https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/6/2020-calendars-butte-headframes---july Thu, 13 Jun 2019 00:45:24 GMT
2020 Calendars Butte Headframes - June https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/6/2020-calendars-butte-headframes---june The Badger State is June's featured head frame. The mine operated from 1886 to 1966 and the main shaft was 4,169 feet deep. The colorful Yankee Doodle Tailings provide a backdrop in this photo.

Head Frames calendars are available at Books and Books, the Chamber of Commerce, and Second Edition Books here in Butte, Montana. The calendars also are available on line at https://twpattphotos.com/headframescalendar

Let me know if you would like a 2020 Head Frames Calendar and I will reserve one for you!

 

The Badger StateThe Badger StateThe Badger State head frame, Butte, Montana. May 5, 2019.

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(Twpatt Photos) badger state mine gallus frame head frames highlands mountains montana yankee doodle tailings https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/6/2020-calendars-butte-headframes---june Fri, 07 Jun 2019 04:01:13 GMT
2020 Calendars Butte Headframes - May https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/6/2020-calendars-butte-headframes---may The Original is May's featured head frame. The mine operated from 1878 to 1976 and the main shaft was 3,569 feet deep. I was driving some of the little-visited neighborhood streets on the Butte Hill when as I turned a corner, I came upon this view.   

Head Frames calendars are available at Books and Books, the Chamber of Commerce, and Second Edition Books here in Butte, Montana. The calendars also are available on line at https://twpattphotos.com/headframescalendar

Let me know if you would like a 2020 Head Frames Calendar and I will reserve one for you!

The OriginalThe OriginalThe Original head frame, Butte, Montana. May 5, 2019.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) gallus frame head frames highlands mountains montana original mine https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/6/2020-calendars-butte-headframes---may Mon, 03 Jun 2019 12:43:44 GMT
2020 Calendars Butte Headframes - April https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/5/2020-calendars-butte-headframes---april The Kelley is April's featured head frame. The mine operated from 1949 to 1980 and the main shaft was 4,810 feet deep. I like how the morning sun highlights the head frame, the Summit Valley is in shadow, and the Highlands almost glitter.  

Head Frames calendars are available at Books and Books, the Chamber of Commerce, and Second Edition Books here in Butte, Montana. The calendars also are available on line at https://twpattphotos.com/headframescalendar

Let me know if you would like a 2020 Head Frames Calendar and I will reserve one for you!

 

Kelley Head FrameKelley Head FrameKelley Mine. Butte, Montana. May 1, 2019.

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(Twpatt Photos) gallus frame head frames highlands mountains kelley mine montana https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/5/2020-calendars-butte-headframes---april Sat, 01 Jun 2019 02:33:14 GMT
2020 Calendars Butte Headframes - March https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/5/2020-calendars-butte-headframes---march The Steward is March's featured head frame. The mine operated for 99 years from 1877 to 1976 and the main shaft was 3,633 feet deep. I like the bluish lighting of the head frame and in the Summit Valley and the low angle new-day-sun on the Highlands in the distance. The 'used brick' appearance of the back of the hoist house is interesting--did they reuse brick from an older building, or, has the paint just peeled irregularly?  

Head Frames calendars will be available at Books and Books and the Chamber of Commerce here in Butte, Montana. The Calendars are already available on line at https://twpattphotos.com/headframescalendar

Let me know if you would like a 2020 Headframes Calendar and I will reserve one for you!

Steward MineSteward MineSteward Mine, Butte, Montana. May 1, 2019.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) clouds gallus frame head frames highlands mountains hoist house montana steward mine https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/5/2020-calendars-butte-headframes---march Wed, 29 May 2019 13:22:06 GMT
2020 Calendars Butte Headframes - February https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/5/2020-calendars-butte-headframes---february The Bell Diamond is February's featured head frame. The mine operated from 1882-1928 and the main shaft was 3,609 feet deep. This view of the Diamond is commonly photographed -- it is just about the only angle where you can include the hoist house and not have power lines criss-crossing your picture. Even though you see many photos from this angle, I like this image because of the fresh snow, the pastel sky, and the cloud-shrouded  Highlands Mountains. 

Head Frames calendars will be available at Books and Books and the Chamber of Commerce here in Butte, Montana. The Calendars are already available on line at https://twpattphotos.com/headframescalendar

Let me know if you would like a 2020 Headframes Calendar and I will reserve one for you!

The Bell-DiamondThe Bell-DiamondThe Bell-Diamond Head Frame, Butte, Montana. February 4, 2019.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) bell diamond mine clouds gallus frame head frames highlands mountains montana https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/5/2020-calendars-butte-headframes---february Sun, 26 May 2019 14:53:18 GMT
2020 Calendars Butte Headframes - January https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/5/2020-calendars-butte-headframes---january I am working on the 2020 Twpatt Photography calendars and so far have orders for about 15 Head Frames calendars! Let me know if you would like a copy and I will add you to the list!

The Anselmo is January' featured Head Frame. The mine operated from 1887-1959 and the main shaft was 4,301 feet deep. I like this photo because the mine yard is backlit by a golden sunset and a cloud -capped Mount Fleecer. 

I have the Head Frames calendar proof and will have the rest printed this week. The calendars will be available at Books and Books and the Chamber of Commerce here in Butte, Montana. Head Frames Calendars are already available on line at http://twpattphotos.com

 

Cold Winter DuskCold Winter DuskThe Anselmo Head Frame, Butte, Montana. February 4, 2019

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(Twpatt Photos) anselmo mine clouds gallus frame head frames montana mount fleecer https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/5/2020-calendars-butte-headframes---january Mon, 20 May 2019 02:24:40 GMT
2020 Calendars Cover Finalist https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/5/2020-calendars-cover-finalist I am working on the 2020 Twpatt Photography calendars and so far have orders for about 15 Head Frames calendars! 

I have selected the cover photo for Head Frames. I liked this photo because the flag was looking good and the sky was partly cloudy. The flag was flying strong in just the right way. 

The Head Frames calendar is at the printers and I should have the proof copy this week. The calendars will be available at Books and Books and the Chamber of Commerce here in Butte, Montana. Head Frames Calendars are already available on line at http://twpattphotos.com

Orphan Girl FlagOrphan Girl FlagThe US Flag flying over the Orphan Girl Mine Head Frame. Butte, Montana. May 5, 2019.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) clouds flag gallus frame head frames montana https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/5/2020-calendars-cover-finalist Thu, 16 May 2019 02:16:48 GMT
2020 Calendars Cover Candidate https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/5/2020-calendars-cover-candidate I am working on the 2020 Twpatt Photography calendars and so far have orders for about 15 Head Frames calendars! 

My next chore is to select cover photos for all of the 2020 calendars. For Head Frames, I have several photos to choose from, including this sunset view of the Orphan Girl. A translucent flag stretched out by a gentle wind is backlit by a cloud-filtered sun. Most of Butte's remaining head frames have flag poles, but only the Orphan Girl sports a flag.

I am excited to get started on the calendars. Watch here to see updates on their progress.

Click on the image to see it in the Montana all year round Gallery. Go to http://twpattphotos.com to see today's Home Page Slide Show. 

Standing TallStanding TallOrphan Girl Mine, Butte Montana. March 1, 2019.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) clouds flag gallus frame head frames montana state parks sunset https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/5/2020-calendars-cover-candidate Mon, 06 May 2019 14:29:33 GMT
2020 Calendars are coming! https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/4/2020-calendars-are-coming I am working on the 2020 Twpatt Photography calendars and have orders for about 15 Head Frames calendars so far! My next chore is to select cover photos for the 2020 calendars. For Head Frames, I have several photos to choose from including this sunset view of the Travona Mine. I like the dark blue sky, pink-red sunlit clouds, and the frame's silhouette. The gallus frame seems to be standing tall against the end of yet another day.

I am excited to get started on the calendars. Watch here to see periodic updates on their progress.

Click on the image to see it in the Montana all year round Gallery. Go to http://twpattphotos.com to see today's Home Page Slide Show.  Travona SunsetTravona SunsetTravona Head Frame, Butte, Montana. April 17, 2019.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) clouds gallus frame Head Frames Montana State Parks sunset https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/4/2020-calendars-are-coming Sat, 27 Apr 2019 23:14:20 GMT
Z6 and the DX lens? https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/4/z6-and-the-dx-lens The new Nikon Z6 has been in hand for a few weeks now. I am getting used to the controls and really like how it handles. However, I have been struggling a little with my 18-140 mm DX lens on the Z6 body. It seems to work fine, but apparently I did not understand that cramming a full landscape image into the "cropped" part of an FX sensor with its larger pixels would create somewhat soft images. I have tried tuning the focus--and that helped some.

To verify my thinking, I photographed the moon hovering over the mountains west of Butte, Montana, on April 19. I used my 70-300 mm FX lens for all photos and found that the images are noticeably sharper than photos of similar scenes taken with the 18-140 mm lens. I will continue to experiment, but I suspect that I will have to get an FX wide-angle lens for landscape work. The 18-140 should still work well for images with a lot of near detail that can be splashed across the camera's sensor.

 Click on the image to see it in the Montana Spring Gallery. Go to http://twpattphotos.com to see today's Home Page Slide Show. 

Rocker Valley MoonRocker Valley MoonMoonset, Rocker, Montana. April 19, 2019.

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(Twpatt Photos) full moon montana night sky NIKKOR 70-300 pink moon Z6 https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/4/z6-and-the-dx-lens Tue, 23 Apr 2019 19:59:46 GMT
Spring 2019: Good Friday Full Moon https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/4/spring-2019-good-friday-full-moon Websites such as Time and Date are handy if you want to know when the moon or sun is to come over the horizon where you might be. However, in Butte, Montana, you must add about 40 minutes (depending on the time of year) if you want to observe moon- or sunrise. Why? Butte sits in a relatively deep valley only a few miles west of the East Ridge (the Continental Divide) that rises up to 2,500 feet above the valley floor. Several times Mary have left our house in pretty dark light with intent to photograph the sunrise, driven east on I-90 up and over Homestake Pass (about 6 miles), and found that the sun was already up.

On Good Friday, moonrise in Butte was to be at about 8:50 p.m. according to Time and Date. I went out to see how the sky looked at about 9:30 p.m. and saw that the partially cloudy sky was brightening above the ridge. The moon came up into a fully dark sky at about 9:45 p.m. Full moons are tough to photograph even when they are on time, but their brightness in complete darkness adds to the difficulty.

Fortunately, a hazy sky and a few clouds muted its brightness and helped offer context for this Good Friday moon.

 Click on the image to see it in the Montana Spring Gallery. Go to http://twpattphotos.com to see today's Home Page Slide Show. 
Good Friday MoonGood Friday MoonFull moon, Butte, Montana. April 19, 2019.

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(Twpatt Photos) full moon montana night sky pink moon https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/4/spring-2019-good-friday-full-moon Sun, 21 Apr 2019 02:07:25 GMT
Spring 2019: Still Winter up high https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/4/spring-2019-still-winter-up-high The Highlands Mountains, a few tens of miles south of Butte, Montana, are Butte's own mountains. In mid-April they are still fully holding onto winter, but spring has come to the foothills. Mostly Butte folks view their iconic form directly south of the city, but other views, such as this one from near Pipestone, Montana, give a different feel. 

Cattle graze on early spring grass in the foreground. It is still winter up high.

Click on the image to see it in the Montana Spring Gallery. I have added a bunch of new images to the site -- go to http://twpattphotos.com to see today's Home Page Slide Show. 
The HighlandsStill Winter Up HighThe Highlands Mountains, Pipestone, Montana. April 11, 2019.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) Highlands Mountains montana pipestone https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/4/spring-2019-still-winter-up-high Wed, 17 Apr 2019 22:09:51 GMT
Spring 2019: band of brothers https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/4/spring-2019-band-of-brothers Last Thursday morning I got up early and traveled over Homestake Pass to Pipestone, Montana, to see what I could see. There were herons, meadowlarks, whitetail deer, and bluebirds. The bluebirds were too quick for me, but I did get photos of the herons, meadowlarks, and this pack of whitetail deer. I don't know if they are all brothers, but their 'togetherness' made me think of a tightly knit group.

I was struck by such intense concentration on a silver Subaru Outback. I can almost hear the thoughts...

"Is that a Subaru?"...

"Yep, a 2018."

"Might be dangerous!"...

"Should we run?"...

"Running is work, you know."

In the end, everyone but the guy in the center got nervous and sauntered out of view. Notice, no running involved...too much work. 

Click on the image to see it in the Montana All Year Round Gallery. I have added a bunch of new images to the site -- go to http://twpattphotos.com to see today's Home Page Slide Show.  
Eyes, Ears, and NosesEyes, Ears, and NosesWhitetail deer, Pipestone, Montana. April 11, 2019.

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(Twpatt Photos) montana pipestone whitetail deer wildlife https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/4/spring-2019-band-of-brothers Sun, 14 Apr 2019 18:59:59 GMT
Spring 2019: Camus Prairie mega-ripples https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/4/spring-2019-camus-prairie-mega-ripples Mary and I traveled west from the Big Bend of the Flathead River towards Hot Springs, Montana, on the Little Bitterroot Road. Along the way we saw hundreds (?) of Mountain Bluebirds and what seemed like a myriad of bluebird houses adorning fence posts and power poles. We turned north into the lower end of the Little Bitterroot Valley and drove for a few miles before turning west on a connecting road, crossing the valley, and finding the north end of the Big Gulch Road. We drove the Big Gulch road up and over the drainage divide into the Camas Prairie Basin. My plan was to try and get a westward view of the mega-ripples from above the valley floor. Fortunately, Mary had fallen asleep at the time we passed the "Minimally maintained road, travel at your own risk." sign, so we really didn't need to talk about that.

Here is a link to a satellite view of the mega-ripples https://www.google.com/maps/@47.5341718,-114.5973815,4952m/data=!3m1!1e3.

The mega-ripples formed during one or more catastrophic discharges from Glacial Lake Missoula when ice-dams, likely located near Sand Point, Idaho, failed. The lake(s) drained rapidly and tremendous water volumes flowed over the bedrock divide (Markle Pass), eroding it and depositing debris into the north end of the Camas Prairie basin. 

The photo below is a view to the west from near the divide between the Camas Prairie and Little Bitterroot Valley on the Big Gulch road. The mega-ripples lie mostly east-west here and are shown best by snow drifts in the swales between the ripple crests. Water flowed from right to left in this photo.

Camas Basin Ripples IICamas Basin Ripples IIGlacial Lake Missoula catastrophic flood ripples, Markle Pass, Montana. View west from Big Gulch Road. April 5, 2019
The photo below shows Markle Pass (at left near the top of the slightly green hills--you can see Montana Highway 382 going up the pass). The relatively low bedrock divide crosses the photo above the mega-ripples. Again, water flowed from right to left as the glacial lake drained. Ripples in the distance are marked by snow drifts; ripples in the foreground are bare. The green hill in the mid-ground is a deltaic gravel deposit formed by water that flowed through a low point a couple of miles east of Markle Pass. Camas Basin RipplesCamas Basin RipplesGlacial Lake Missoula catastrophic flood ripples, Markle Pass, Montana. View west from Big Gulch Road. April 5, 2019

The final photo is a view to the south from the Wilks Gulch Road, about one mile east of Highway 382. The trees at the far left are the same trees seen in the photo above to the left of the green hill. We are looking 'downstream'. Parallel horizontal lines on the tree covered hill (far left middle distance) are strand lines (beaches) made by the glacial lake. 

Camas Basin Ripples IIICamas Basin Ripples IIIGlacial Lake Missoula catastrophic flood ripples. View is south fom Markle Pass, Montana. April 5, 2019 Click the images to see them in the Geology and You Gallery. Go to http://twpattphotos.com to see today's Home Page Slide Show.

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(Twpatt Photos) Camas Prairie catastrophic flood glacial lake missoula mega-ripples montana https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/4/spring-2019-camus-prairie-mega-ripples Fri, 12 Apr 2019 04:17:30 GMT
Spring 2019: National Bison Range wildlife https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/4/spring-2019-national-bison-range-wildlife Mary and I toured the National Bison Range (Dixon, Montana) in early April hoping that bison would be conveniently near the road--possibly with early calves. The 'Prairie View' road was open and we drove all the way to the turnaround point before spotting some bison. They were working apparently greener pastures about a quarter mile away. Sadly, we didn't see any calves. Mary watched them through binoculars and I tried a few photos with the long lens.

We saw a pair of eagles near a nest just as we entered the range (no photos) and another eagle on our way back towards the entrance. There was a small herd of elk bedded down a few hundred feet north, and this bird seemed to be eyeing them closely.  

The western meadowlarks were everywhere--and their calls were constant. Meadowlarks move much faster than I do, however, one did pose on the top of a juniper for me. It soon decided that I was too close and took flight. I happened to catch a photo when its totally extended left leg and foot were still touching the juniper.

Photos from the Lake Missoula ripple marks are still on their way. 

Click the images to see them in the Montana Spring Gallery. Go to http://twpattphotos.com to see today's Home Page Slide Show.

Are You Food?Are You Food?Bald eagle. National Bison Range, Dixon, Montana. April 5, 2019. LaunchLaunchA western meadowlark. National Bison Range. Dixon, Montana. April 5, 2019. Chasing the GreenChasing the GreenAmerican Bison. National Bison Range, Dixon, Montana. April 5, 2019.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) bald eagle birds bison montana national bison range western meadowlark wildlife https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/4/spring-2019-national-bison-range-wildlife Wed, 10 Apr 2019 15:12:04 GMT
Test Z Run: the first images are in https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/4/test-z-run-the-first-images-are-in The end of our week tends to be a little less scheduled than our Mondays-Wednesdays. So, despite somewhat cloudy and dreary weather forecasts, Mary and I took off to see how the new camera might perform. We headed towards Missoula and a couple of scenic sites on my photographic bucket list: The Big Bend of the Flathead River south and west of Round Butte, Montana, and the giant Glacial Lake Missoula ripple marks in the Camus Basin south of Hot Springs. On our way, we noticed that we would drive by the entrance to the National Bison Range--so we stopped there also.

Photos from the Bison Range and the Lake Missoula ripple marks should show up on Twpattphotos in a few days -- The new camera has forced me to relearn some of my processing techniques. There are settings within settings in the new camera and some of them try to help 'a little more' than what I am used to. I am figuring out which ones to keep, and which ones to turn off. 

So far, the Nikon Z is working well. My lenses work well (although I have to give away more pixels than I would like when I use my crop-sensor lens). I had planned to get a full-frame camera sometime, so as I acquired lenses, I purchased full-frame lenses. The full-frame lenses give me all the pixels that I am used to and the Z6 sensor is definitely better quality than the sensor in the D5300. The biggest issue so far is that even though all of the controls I am used to are there, they are all in different places. On the other hand, I can see how the lay out of the Z6 controls will ultimately be more 'user friendly' than the D5300's. Stay tuned for more thoughts on the camera as I get used to it.

A couple of thoughts on the Flathead River photos. After the Flathead River leaves Flathead Lake below Kerr Dam, it flows south more or less along the western edge of the Mission Valley. West of Round Butte, the Flathead flows directly towards and almost seemingly into the glacial-lake-bed-choked mouth of the Little Bitterroot River before it makes a sudden 180 degree bend back to the north. The river flows north for a few miles and then east toward Sloan's Bridge. Past the bridge, the river quickly it turns south and finds its way to where the Jocko River joins near Dixon. 

The 'Big Bend' of the Flathead is gloriously scenic. The river's west, south, and east banks are lined with light-colored cliff-like glacial lake deposits that are actively slumping into the channel. It is a little-known scenic spot that really isn't very difficult to find. Drive west from Ronan on Round Butte Road, turn south on Sloan's Bridge Road, and then travel 2-3 miles past the bridge to where you can see the river off the road to the right.

Click the images to see them in the Montana Spring Gallery. Go to http://twpattphotos.com to see today's Home Page Slide Show.

Big Bend of the Flathead River IIIBig Bend of the Flathead River IIIFlathead River, south of Round Butte, Montana. April 6, 2019. Flowing to the east and turning north. Big Bend of the Flathead River IIBig Bend of the Flathead River IIFlathead River, south of Round Butte, Montana. April 6, 2019. Flowing south towards the Little Bitterroot River.
Big Bend of the Flathead River IBig Bend of the Flathead River IFlathead River, south of Round Butte, Montana. April 6, 2019. Turning east around the bend.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) flathead river glacial lake missoula mission mountains montana https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/4/test-z-run-the-first-images-are-in Mon, 08 Apr 2019 03:57:09 GMT
Upgrade -- I took the plunge https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/4/upgrade----i-took-the-plunge I put about 5K images on the old D5300, and it seemed time to see if there was something new about. All my lenses are Nikon, so Nikon was the vendor of choice. Mary was in a magnanimous mood, so I ordered a Nikon Z6 mirrorless body.

Other than that none of the buttons are in the right places, so far--so good. Compared to the D5300, it has some nice features like a histogram right in the electronic view finder and a much better resolution monitor screen. On the downside, the whole time I was tracking my (seemingly slow as snails) shipment from Nikon to me using the UPS apps, the weather here was beautiful. Now that the Z has arrived, skies are a lot cloudy and gray again. Oh, well. Spring is still approaching and the weather will improve soon. I am anxious to get out and see how it works!

Go to http://twpattphotos.com to see today's Home Page Slide Show.

 

Nikon Z6UpgradeThe new light gatherer thing.

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(Twpatt Photos) montana nikon Z6 https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/4/upgrade----i-took-the-plunge Thu, 04 Apr 2019 05:07:10 GMT
El Nino - Uh Oh, we may be in the grips https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/4/el-nino---uh-oh-we-may-be-in-the-grips The Missoula, Montana, Weather Service Office, included a rather ominous statement in its afternoon forecast discussion update for Sunday, March 31, 2019.

"Its taken all winter and part of the spring to get here, but El Nino has finally taken control of our weather pattern, effectively directing the majority of upcoming organized weather systems south of the region. The lack of consolidated jet stream energy aloft will result in each passing weather system relying upon weaker, mid-level impulses which are notoriously challenging to forecast and not all that effective in producing more than showery conditions."

If El Nino continues its grip and produces a dry Montana spring, I worry about our growing and fire seasons. All the water laying around as snow in the valleys right now will be good for groundwater systems and other segments of the hydrologic cycle that pay attention to large-scale events, but plants, trees, and dryland crops will get little benefit from the snow cover. Plants, trees, and dryland crops pay attention to the last 3-4 weeks of weather. If spring and summer rains don't come, it could be tough. 

Hopefully, El Nino will fade away this spring and we won't see too many red sunrises like this one over the Bridger Mountains and the Missouri River Valley near Three Forks, Montana.

Click the photo to see it in the Montana all year round Gallery. Go to http://twpattphotos.com to see today's Home Page Slide Show.

Early lightEarly lightSunrise over the Bridger Mountains. September 5, 2017. Three Forks, Montana.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) bridger mountains missouri river valley montana smoky skies sunrise https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/4/el-nino---uh-oh-we-may-be-in-the-grips Tue, 02 Apr 2019 04:48:53 GMT
April means--soon out into the hills https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/3/april-means--soon-out-into-the-hills There is likely too much snow (or if not snow, mud) yet to make my annual trip to this location, but I plan to get up there as soon as I can this spring.  I was up there last April (2018) to catch the moon-rise. Even though I was checking my phone for the time and direction of the moon on the horizon, I missed it. However, I still really like this view of the Tobacco Root Mountains with the first hints of green in the foreground hills. 

Click the photo to see it in the Montana Spring Gallery. Go to http://twpattphotos.com to see today's Home Page Slide Show.

A tinge of greenA tinge of greenThe Tobacco Root Mountains. Melrose-Twin Bridges Road. Melrose, Montana. April 27. 2018.

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(Twpatt Photos) green hills moon snow capped tobacco root mountains https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/3/april-means--soon-out-into-the-hills Mon, 01 Apr 2019 01:51:10 GMT
It's going to be April! https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/3/its-going-to-be-april With the amount of snow remaining in the back and front yards, it is hard to believe that it is almost April in Butte, Montana. April means budding trees, rain showers, raking, trimming, and truckloads of yard waste of to the compost section at the landfill. Part of me is anxious to get started -- on the other hand, the yard is no bother in the winter and I get used to ignoring it. Mixed thoughts for sure. Fortunately, I don't have to think too much about it yet as everything is still buried under snow, or frozen to the lawn. But soon...

Click the photo to see it in the Montana Spring Gallery. Go to http://twpattphotos.com to see today's Home Page Slide Show.

 

April showerApril showerAspen in flower. Sunlit rain. Butte, Montana. April 14, 2018.

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(Twpatt Photos) aspen butte Montana rainfall sunset https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/3/its-going-to-be-april Sun, 31 Mar 2019 03:05:14 GMT
The Rookery is -- ACTIVE https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/3/the-rookery-is----active One of my favorite places out at Warm Springs Wildlife Management area is the Rookery. Base on my visit last week, it looks like the nest is occupied again in 2019. That's good news as it is fun to stop at the entrance and watch Ma and Pa care for the children. In addition to watching the eagles, you can walk down the trail towards the ponds for more birds onshore and in the water. 

Click the photo to see it in the Montana Spring Gallery. Go to http://twpattphotos.com to see today's Home Page Slide Show.

Spring HousekeepingSpring HousekeepingBald eagle, Warm Springs Ponds, Warm Springs, Montana. March 19, 2019.

 

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(Twpatt Photos) bald eagle birds montana warm springs ponds wildlife https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/3/the-rookery-is----active Sat, 30 Mar 2019 04:19:45 GMT
A Warm Springs Junco https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/3/a-warm-springs-junco OK--today is another snowy day and I need a sign of spring. Here is a dark eyed junco who came near while I was out at Warm Springs Ponds last week. It checked me out, decided that I was not dangerous, and more importantly--wasn't food. Then flew off.

I don't know if juncos are happy or sad people -- however, this one looked glad to see me.

Click the photo to see it in the Montana Spring Gallery. Go to http://twpattphotos.com to see today's Home Page Slide Show.

JuncoDark Eyed JuncoWarm Springs Ponds, Warm Springs, Montana. March 19, 2019.

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(Twpatt Photos) birds dark eyed junco montana warm springs ponds wildlife https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/3/a-warm-springs-junco Fri, 29 Mar 2019 00:53:44 GMT
Twpatt Photography: to blog or not to blog? https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/3/twpatt-photography-to-blog-or-not-to-blog As I write this inaugural post it is snowing again. It is the end of March, and so far, today, we have received about 4 inches of wet snow (hard to tell as it melts as it falls). Even though I know that this a spring storm and that better weather is just around the corner, a day of additional snow is discouraging. 

I have been thinking about a blog for a some time, and dithering about 'to blog, or not to blog'. Internet wisdom says that maintaining a blog is good for website exposure and search engine optimization--but up until today that didn't get me off of dead center. One event that really made me think about starting was a random visitor to Twpatt Photos who spent more than average time at the site, and kept revisiting the, then empty, blog page. Even though that person may never return, I thought that I should write some posts in honor of them trying so hard.

The final nudge write some posts came from this image of a pair of Canadian geese pulling out for parts unknown. I captured the photo last week when it was still spring out at the Warm Springs Wildlife Management, Area near Warm Springs, Montana. I know that there are lots of photos of flying geese everywhere, but what struck me about his pair was their almost diametrically opposite wing positions. Lead goose fully down; rear goose fully up. I suspect the lady was in front as her slightly open mouth seems to be giving direction.

I don't know if this pair was moving on to greener pastures, or just off to find a nesting site. In any case their flight was the final little thing that told me to try some blog posts. Let's see what happens.  I'll do up, you do downI'll do up, you do downCanada geese. Warm Springs Ponds, Warm Springs, Montana. March 19, 2019

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(Twpatt Photos) canada goose montana warm springs ponds https://twpattphotos.com/blog/2019/3/twpatt-photography-to-blog-or-not-to-blog Thu, 28 Mar 2019 04:12:20 GMT