Fly Fishing Behind the Ranch

There is a perfect stream here on the edge of Montana that backs onto a ranch where I have stayed a few times. At night, you can hear the stream rushing by while you sleep. Sometimes, in the morning, you can see a bit of steam coming off it as the air adjusts. In the middle of the day, the fish are biting and there isn’t another fisherman for miles.

It looks like it might be easy to cross, but, believe me — it isn’t. There’s a few deep pockets in there that you won’t find until you’re one step too late. I’ll never forget the time my chest waders started filling up with cold river water. Once a little bit starts, it’s a slippery slope!

I also ended up doing a bit of tubing down this river too… which I’m sure was completely confusing to the fish underneath.

The River Behind the Ranch

Where Geothermal Steam Covers the Land

Every time I go to Yellowstone, I see something different. There are hundreds of great locations, each one of which should be visited for at least an hour during three different times of the day.

This is a new area I visited on my most recent trip there. I don’t think it is always this steamy, since the air temp has to be a certain delta to the water. I don’t know why, but it’s always fun to sit there and watch the boiling water. I don’t enjoy watching boiling water in my kitchen, but the sight there is always mesmerizing.. There is also the strong smell of sulfur carried through the area. It wasn’t repulsive at all, but it did give me the just-took-off-my-helmet-on-an-away-mission feeling.

Where Geothermal Steam Covers the Land (by Stuck in Customs)

Where the rivers start

The Rockies are the source of a few rivers, and here is one of them. I can’t remember the name of it for sure (although I am sure some of my smart readers can), but I am pretty sure this is the Yellowstone (or maybe the Madison?) river, flowing westward out of the park. This part of the river is impossible to see from the road. I had to pull over and then walk over a tiny little hill/mountain to get there. I stayed at the top, listening to my ipod, waiting for the sun to set… It was all quite serene, as you can see! :)

Where the rivers start

John Deere at the Ranch

These old tractors are always interesting to photograph. I don’t know why! I really have no penchant for tractors one way or another, but they have a nice feeling about them for some reason, especially with a pastoral scene in the background… like a cabin with smoke coming out of the chimney. And just in case that chimney runs out of firewood, there seems to be a bit extra right around here somewhere…. now where did I put that extra bolt of wood?

John Deere at the Ranch

The Tiny Shack on the Edge of Wyoming

There is a spread of farms in the plains that face the northern face of the Grand Teton mountains in Wyoming. I explored all around the area to find as many wonderful little things that I could find. There was this old little shack sitting alone in the middle of a field, so I had to jump a fence and circumnavigate a few bison to grab a quick shot for you all! :)

The Tiny Shack on the Edge of Wyoming (by Stuck in Customs)

The one below here is one that Flickr deleted!

The Outhouse on the Edge of Wyoming

10 Principles of Beautiful Photography and the Verdant Bough

Wow I have a lot of reading for you today! I hope you have a coffee, a stiff drink, and/or some good music to accompany you!

First, my new photo today is entitled “The Verdant Bough”. The photo was shot at this really cool place in Wyoming I found while running around Yellowstone with my rig. I’m glad I didn’t fall down that cliff while shooting, but I guess that goes without saying.

Second, I had an article posted today in Smashing Magazine. It was originally titled 10 Principles of Beautiful Photography. That links here to my website, or you can visit the Smashing Magazine as well, although it’s filled with a negative nancies down at the bottom with their own flavor of commentary. No worries… I have a thick skin and I enjoy all kinds of feedback. Both articles are the same, but I like the one here on the site a little since I think the photos are best appreciated in their larger size. The eye needs to surf across them to accept all the light levels and not let your brain reject them. It’s a longer diatribe… but part of the reason this blog is soooo wide… 900 pixels across for each shot.

Oh, also, you can DIGG the article here! :)

The Verdent Bough (by Stuck in Customs)

And here are a few photos from the article that you may never have seen if you are new to the blog!

The Lonely Trinity (by Stuck in Customs)

Stuck in India - Humayun's Tomb (by Stuck in Customs)

Hindu Ascent

A soft summer night in the marsh

My shoes have never been the same since I started tromping through this muck. That part didn’t bother me so much, but I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to make a hasty escape if something started running after me. I didn’t see anything that would start a chase… there was a herd of about 14 elk about 300 meters away. I had never seen them stampede randomly in the direction of a photographer, so I felt kinda good about that. Remember, all of these were just half-fleeting thoughts that were only half-baked… I was mostly just peacefully staring at the sunset and listening to my iPod alone in the wilderness.

A soft summer night in the marsh (by Stuck in Customs)

The Barn in your Dreams

As many of you know, I have this theory about the way memories are stored, and I suppose I will go off on a little philosophical tangent here. So, in meta-thinking about my brain, the way memory works is nothing like the way photos are stored in your directory on your computer. Since all of us use computers (obviously), and we organize photos into hierarchical directory structures, we tend to assume our memory in our brain kinda works the same way.

I think many of us, especially those of you that are regular and semi-regular visitors, have a mild form of synesthesia, where sensations get cross wired. In extreme cases, people can “taste” shapes, associate colors with days of the week, and that sort of thing. They get by fine, so it shows the brain is perfectly capable of such multi-functional wiring. After talking to many many groups and presenting my kind of art to countless people, I think that about 70-80% of us are comfortable with how these images are presented because their brains store memories like mine. The other 20-30% of people, I notice, reject them outright because it is simply not the way their brain works.

Take for instance this barn. When we think of a barn in our heads, it’s not just a series of shapes and textures… it’s every barn we’ve ever seen – it’s every weather condition we’ve seen the barn encountering – it’s every feeling and emotion we were encountering at the time – it’s imagining living in and around the barn – and it’s also empathizing with the barn itself, imagining what it must be like to be a barn. So most of this is on the subconscious level, and it’s why a boring, plain, predictable photo of a barn, while nice, does not really ever evoke anything deep in the viewer. Once you flip a few bits and allow the brain to make mistakes in interpreting an image, it allows some personal emotional context to come into play, letting the photo become more about the “viewer” and not about the photo itself.

Ahhh that was a long blog post I see… sorry about that… everyone in the house is asleep and I get lost in my thoughts.

The barn in your dreams (by Stuck in Customs)

The Place You Drew As a Child

This is one of those places I had always been looking for; I think maybe it’s one of those places that we are all looking for. I was happy to grab it and keep it part of my story.

There is a bit of drama to this one, I suppose. I had been adventuring on a little river about a mile from here. I had parked and walked off into the forest here in Wyoming by the Tetons, in search of these kinds of environs. I was shooting a nice part of the river and then I looked up — and a huge bull buffalo had walked up behind me, about ten feet away. These things are kinda dangerous and unpredictable! The bison was not impressed with my camera in the slightest, and he just regarded me for a while… It looked like my path would be blocked, so it gave me another reason to go deeper and further upstream.

After a bit, I found a huge beaver dam, that backed up this little lake, just large enough for me to fit in the frame…

(Oh, and a side note from yesterday’s thread… yes I have the D3X now, and my goal is to post the first shot from that beautiful beast on December 25th, which will thusly be known as D3X Day. I still have a wide myriad of shots from the D2X that I continue to process and post, so the next few years will have a broad mix…)

The Place You Drew As a Child (by Stuck in Customs)

Congrats to everyone at the photo contest!

I had the pleasure of being invited to be a judge at a regular photo contest here in Austin for the ACC Photography Department. I have spoken there before and I suppose I did just barely an acceptable enough job to be invited back! The students and faculty there are always extremely nice and I enjoyed being with them – a special thanks to William Tolan and Kathryn Watts-Martinez.

I wish I had more ribbons to hand out! There were some outstanding entries… There were about ten or so I almost gave it to, including this one masterful retouching I wish I could get my hands on to show you all. But they were all anonymous and I can’t find any of them!

I ended up giving the award to some gal with the last name Saunders who took a picture of that perfect barn in front of the Grand Tetons. She was not in town to accept the award, so I have no idea who she is! If you are reading this, contact me so I can post your photo here for the world to see… it’s quite amazing, and better than the ones I have taken, which still remain unpublished… I’ll probably get mine up in the next few months, but I don’t think it is as good as hers!

Here is a photo that I took in Wyoming just a few miles south from hers… (which I hope she sends soon!)

The Grand Tetons

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