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Spring wrapup[Next Page - Fun with neutral density]
June 11, 2023

I've started grouping my images by season, so anything outside of a major trip gets dropped into the seasonal page. The Spring 2023 page starts with a fox hunting voles in April, moves on to the birds and deer in the back yard, trailcam updates, and scenes from around Red Lodge and the nearby Custer National Forest. Click on the fox to start the slide show at the beginning.

The drama in the back yard this spring was competition between the Mountain Bluebirds and Tree Swallows for the nest box. The bluebirds had it last year, but seemed slow to claim it this year and the swallows made their move in the first few weeks of May. Eventually the bluebirds gave up and the swallows seem to be raising chicks as of mid-June.

There seem to be more big birds in the yard this year, including red-winged blackbirds, magpies and ravens. I put out suet feeders this year to attract woodpeckers, and so far it just seems to attract these big birds. I don't know if that was the reason the goldfinches didn't show up in numbers until this week, but that's my theory. I was able to get a few snapshots of the goldfinches at the feeder this week. The magpies seem like they are as fat as ducks, and the deer also like to raid the feeders. There is an elusive harrier that flies past the back yard every day to so, and I was only able to get a few distant shots of it, one of which is in the slide show.

The trail cameras in the woods got the usual moose, and coyotes seem to be becoming more common in that area. I got quite a few fuzzy nighttime shots of a bobcat, and have posted the only one I got in daylight of his back end. I have set up melted Browning #6 closer to the trail the bobcat seems to take, so we will see if that pays off. The cameras also got a few elk, which is uncommon there.

While out in the woods and on local bike rides, I've been snapping the various flowers that change every week or so. Shown here is prairie crocuses in the woods.

One day while checking trail cameras, I noticed that nearby Snow Creek was running fast so I decided to return the next day with a tripod to get some shots. I've known how to blur moving water forever, but I've never actually done it before. On my first attempt, I used ISO 50, F/22, and a polarizer filter to cut down the light a bit, and I was able to get shutter speed up to between 1/3 second and 1.6 seconds. To get even slower I ordered a 6x neutral density filter and tried again a month later. I was able to get the shutter speed (down?) up to 15-30 seconds to blur the water more, and the water was even higher than it was a month eariler. In the slide show, the first five images are from May 7, the next five are from June 5-6, and the last five are from June 14. This image is from June 6, but if you click on it, it will start at the first of the 15 images.

In addition to the catchall Spring page, I also had a trips to Hawaii and South Dakota that get their own pages.

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