Another MilkyWay over Tarryall Reservoir

Taken the same night as the one in my previous post, this shot was taken a little earlier when the sky was a bit clearer. This is a single image and not a panorama like my previous shot.

Click on the photo to see a larger version in my Smugmug gallery where prints (traditional, canvas, metal and thin wraps) as well as a variety of keepsakes (postcards, mugs, mouse pads etc) are available.

Technical details:

Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon 16-35mm 2.8 at 16mm F/2.8. One 30 second exposure at ISO 1600.  The RAW files were converted to TIFF using DxO OpticsPro applying noise reduction, lens correction, white balance and several other small corrections. Then in Photoshop CS6 I used levels with a gradient to reduce skyglow at the horizon then several iterations adjusting light levels, color and contrast.

MilkyWay over Tarryall Reservoir, Park County Colorado

This very wide angle panorama of the MilkyWay over Tarryall Reservoir is a mosaic of twelve individual images. The sky was clear earlier and the MilkyWay was simply amazing at this dark site. By the time I took this, the sky had gotten hazy and clouds started to move in. I took the shots anyway, not expecting much but was quite pleased with the way the clouds added to the overall result.

Click on the photo to see a larger version in my Smugmug gallery where prints (traditional, canvas, metal and thin wraps) as well as a variety of keepsakes (postcards, mugs, mouse pads etc) are available.

Technical details:

Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon 16-35mm 2.8 at 16mm F/2.8. Twelve 30 second exposures at ISO 1600.  The RAW files were converted to TIFFs using DxO OpticsPro applying noise reduction, lens correction, white balance and several other small corrections. The tiffs were then stitched together in Photoshop CS6 where I then used levels with a gradient to reduce skyglow at the horizon then several iterations adjusting light levels, color and contrast.

Wild Horses of the Colorado Sand Wash Basin

We recently spent a couple days at Sand Wash Basin in northwest Colorado to photograph the wild horses. We saw plenty of horses and came away with a ton of photos. Compared to the wild horses we photographed in the Piceance Basin in late May, the horses at Sand Wash were quite relaxed and not bothered by our presence. This is likely because it was near the end of the mating season when we were at the Piceance Basin and the Sand Wash Basin horses are much more accustomed to seeing people and are more comfortable in there presence (but you still don’t want to get too close).

On our second day, we ran into Christine Beaumont & Mike Paulick – volunteer darters ( “Remote Delivery of PZP Immunocontraception in Wildlife” ) with the Sand Wash Advocate Team (SWAT) taking identification photos. We had a had a pleasant chat and learned a few things from them.

In addition to the horses, other wildlife we saw were golden eagles, pronghorn, elk, a coyote, and a bazillion suicidal rabbits and jackrabbits. I say suicidal because when driving back after sunset, they would wait until the last second to dart across the road right in front of the car.

I tried to identify the horses in these photos using the Wild Horses of Sand Wash Basin  and SWAT Facebook pages. It was my first try at identification and did manage to positively ID a few and a couple that I think I got right, but I’m not certain.

UPDATE: Heather ID several more, thanks Heather!

UPDATE: More IDs added thanks to Heather

All photos were taken with a Canon 5D Mark III with a Sigma 150-600 lens (almost always at 600mm).

Prints (traditional, canvas, metal and thin wraps) as well as a variety of keepsakes (postcards, mugs, mouse pads etc) are available on my Smugmug Gallery or you can click on the individual photo.

Click on the photos to see a larger version in my Smugmug gallery

This is Y’Oda – a stallion born in 2013

Hanging out with Y’Oda was another stallion that I think was Dragon

Y’Oda and Dragon

Kiowa (stallion born in 2001), Kramer (stallion born in 2013) I think, and Vogue (mare born in 2007 – Kramer’s mother)

Yellow Man (I think), a stallion  born in 1992

Stormie, a mare born in 2014 or 2015?

Blue Sky, a mare born about 2006 – Stormie’s mother

Blue Sky nursing Stormie

Rocket, a stallion born in 2011

Cortez, stallion

Tashka (mare born 2014) and Wren (stallion born 2012)

Surma (stallion born 2014) and Nick (stallion born about 2009)

Nick, unknown and Surma

Catori, foal born 2015 to Blondie and Zorro

Blondie, mare

Zorro, stallion born 2010

Capitano, stallion born 2009

Athena, mare

Cosmo’s band

 

Wild Horses of the Colorado Piceance Basin

This post is a collection of about 70 photos of 19 different wild horses, including 2 foals, in the Piceance Basin of Colorado taken over the Memorial Day weekend. The shots are grouped in sets of activity (ex, a frisky foal, taking a dust bath etc), family groups and individual shots.

We originally set out to to photograph wild horses at Sandwash Basin near Craig, Colorado. To our great disappointment, the roads were impassable as recent rains made the clay soils a slick, boggy mess. Since the Sandwash was a bust,  the next day we headed over to the Piceance Basin between Meeker and Rangely. We talked to locals in Meeker to get the scoop on where the horses might be spotted – their advise paid off.

We spotted our first wild horse, a dark stallion, from a considerable distance. It was so far away, we weren’t even sure it was a horse until it started to move. He was heavily scarred and had several more recent wounds.

Update: Prints (traditional, canvas, metal and thin wraps) as well as a variety of keepsakes (postcards, mugs, mouse pads etc) are available. Prints (traditional, canvas, metal and thin wraps) as well as a variety of keepsakes (postcards, mugs, mouse pads etc) are available on my Smugmug Gallery.

Click on the images below for a larger version

We followed him slowly for a mile or so, stopping when he did, and got a few shots. He joined up with a second horse, a mare, and then a third horse, a stallion that I suspect was a yearling. After a bit, they were clearly getting nervous. We noticed that where we were parked had them boxed in a fenced area. They couldn’t get out of without getting too close to us, so we backed away and they trotted away.

Next we came across another family group of a stocky (and heavily battle scarred) stallion, a mare and a foal. They were in a creek valley where the grass was so thick and green, we worried that people might think we just took pictures of domesticated horses in a well tended pasture.

The stallion was heavily scarred, I assume from fights with other stallions and possibly predators (make sure to click the image below to better see all the scars)

A couple times he exhibited some interesting behavior. He would lower his head close to the ground and trot towards the mare and foal. Was he trying to get them to move along? If so, they were not cooperating.

Srallion_Head_Down_2Srallion_Head_Down_3Srallion_Head_Down_4Srallion_Head_Down_5

On the way back at the end of the day, we came across a pair of horses on the side of the road. They crossed the road, went down a hill and into the sagebrush. They would bite, nip and push each other. It looked more like they were playing rather than fighting, but they did get a little rough a few times.

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The next morning, we saw a lone horse in the road. It went off into the sage brush and kept a close watch on us.

Loner_1Loner_2

We didn’t see any horses for a while after that. The roads we were diving on showed no signs of horses (ex “road apples”). Eventually we ran into a herd of 10 horses, including a brown foal. They would lay down in a creek then roll on the ground and take a dust bath. At one point the foal was feeling frisky and ran around and back an forth through the herd. The last set of the trip were two or three horses that tussled while the herd moved on.

This is a series of one horse taking a dust bath

DustBath_1DustBath_2DustBath_3DustBath_4DustBath_5DustBath_6DustBath_7

Then the foal started feeling frisky, running full throttle around and through the herd

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Lastly, there were two or three horses that were constantly tussling with each other. This may have been play or it could have been more serious.

RowdyTeenagers_1RowdyTeenagers_2RowdyTeenagers_3RowdyTeenagers_4RowdyTeenagers_5RowdyTeenagers_6RowdyTeenagers_7RowdyTeenagers_8RowdyTeenagers_9RowdyTeenagers_10RowdyTeenagers_11RowdyTeenagers_12RowdyTeenagers_13RowdyTeenagers_14RowdyTeenagers_15RowdyTeenagers_16RowdyTeenagers_17RowdyTeenagers_18RowdyTeenagers_19RowdyTeenagers_20RowdyTeenagers_21

My Coma Galaxy Cluster Photograph Appears in Print

On May 2, 2010 my photo of the Coma Galaxy Cluster (Abell 1656) was featured on  NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day. I have received several requests for permission to use the image but one seemed a bit unusual – they wanted to use it as an illustration for a book about fossil trackways. I granted them permission to use the photo but then sort of forgot about it as I hadn’t heard anything for a few years. Then to my surprise I got an email from them a few days ago saying the book has been published and they would like to send me a complimentary copy, which arrived a couple days ago.

If you’re interested, the book is available on Amazon here.

So what does a photograph of a cluster of galaxies have to do with a book on fossil trackways? In the book, they have a chapter that uses astronomical distances to put the vast age of the trackways into perspective. In the case of the Coma Cluster, it is so far away that the light we see from it left around the time that the trackways were made – about 313 million years ago.

Here’s a shot of the book cover and the page with my photograph.

FootprintsInStoneComaCluster

Milky Way Over Deer Creek Valley

This shot of the Milky Way is a panorama of 14 images taken over Deer Creek Valley in Bailey, Colorado. Centered below the Milky Way on the horizon is a severe thunderstorm that was pounding Colorado Springs about 55 miles away.Lightning every few seconds was lighting up the storm clouds.

Click on the image below for a larger version.

Milky Way over Deer Creek Valley, Bailey, Colorado

Milky Way over Deer Creek Valley, Bailey, Colorado

Technical details:
Canon 5D Mark III 14 – 30 second images at ISO 3200 with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II at 16mm & f/2.8.

Moonrise reflecting on Tarryall Creek, Park County, Colorado

We were planning on shooting the full moon rising over Tarryall Reservoir, but as we were driving to our spot, we were struck by the moon reflecting on Tarryall Creek just below the dam and instantly changed our plans.

Click on the image below for a larger version.

Moonrise reflecting on Tarryall Creek

Moonrise reflecting on Tarryall CreekPurchasePrint

Technical details:
Canon 5D Mark III 30 seconds at ISO 100 with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II at 70mm & f/10, no filters.