This past week, my wife and I took a road trip up to God’s Country. Well, at least that’s what Wyoming and my wife think (and I may have slightly overstated my wife’s position, however…). As much as I love trees, Wyoming really doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Wide open spaces. Wind. Pronghorn. Wind. Cool rocks. Wind. Eagles. Wind. Snow fences. Wind. Wind River Canyon. Wind. Wind River Mountains. Wind….
As we drove up, along I-25 we counted 11 overturned campers and 18-wheelers—yes, 18-wheelers. A gnarly windstorm the previous day had actually closed down sections of roadways, and we were getting tossed about pretty good in spots (sections of Wyoming roads were still closed to light, high-profile vehicles). But on the way up and back, I took pictures. I love taking pictures! Some of those images are in this blog.
NOTE: Not all of these images are great quality (i.e., sharp), because we were moving, but I did stop and get out for a few of them. I’m still learning the ins and outs of the camera. Most of the images in this post have also been compressed, so click on them for better views.
The first time I whipped out the camera was well into Wyoming, somewhere between Casper and Shoshoni. We’d come upon a large bird feeding on a carcass along the road. You’ll also find lots of carcasses along near every road you travel up there. And wind. anyway, we slowed down, turned around, and I got out my camera and tried to get a shot or two before the winged beast took off. Didn’t get very many good shots because the bird was spooked by our presence and had flown way out and I had to crank my 300mm telephoto and didn’t use a tripod. I initially thought it was a hawk…then had the funny thought that its shape also strangely reminded me of a pheasant—though I knew it wasn’t, it’s just what its profile body reminded me of at one point—but as we later looked at the photos on my laptop, my Wyoming cousin-in-law, Phil, blurted out that it was an eagle. It must have been a young one, because of its size. We’ve seen plenty of eagles before, so it was surprising it didn’t register on us that was what it was at the time! Anywho, back at our eagle/carcass visitation, we waited for a few minutes for the eagle to return but it didn’t. It just sat on its fence post and watched us. We continued on.
As we drove toward Riverton, we drove past some really cool rock formations. I love WYO (this is how the WYO’s abbrev their state name on signs) rock. They’re not Adirondack rock (or maybe they are, I just haven’t researched them—they’re in Wyoming v. my beloved upstate NY), but I still like em. They’re wicked looking.
There’re also lots and lots and lots of wide open spaces (and wind), and The WYO had just come out of a gnarly spell of snow, like a couple foot of it (have to sound “local”), so there were lots of “white caps.” That’s what all the remnants of snow reminded me of, all around the terrain. And as I watched the desolate landscape roll past, I noticed in the growing twilight how a light blue cast was falling upon the “white-capped” terrain. It looked très cool. Reminded me of the Antarctic (had I been there). So, I snapped off some shots as we sped by at some 80 mph—that’s The WYO’s speed limit (not stopping, just taking some “hip shots” out the windows, which is what a lot of what these images are). When I noticed this blue cast, I began messing with the camera settings until I got the blue I was shooting for (pardon the pun). Doesn’t the blue image remind you of the Antarctic (had you been there)? Took some more rock shots and sunset images…loving how the fading, golden light hit the rock faces. As we entered Riverton, Wyoming I took a couple of sky shots of aircraft.
After we left Riverton Saturday morning, we drove out by way of Highway 135, towards Sweetwater Station. As you leave Riverton this way, you crest a high mesa with a breathtaking view of the Wind River Mountain Range that is part of the Rocky Mountains. It was somewhere south and past the Gas Hills Road (Route 136) where I spotted a weathered and abandoned (?) trailer. So, I hopped out and took a couple of shots. When I got back in the vehicle, my wife spotted…
Wow, all bones, no meat, a little connective tissue. I’m no expert, but it was probably a pronghorn, since they are so prevalent here. They are everywhere. Along with the wind. By comparison, we only saw two deer, up and back. So, of course, I had to take some shots of that. Don’t mess with Texas? Don’t mess with Wyoming.
After we peaked the mesa (the name of which I either do not know or have forgotten…the Wind River Basin and its overlook?) I snapped some cool views of the Wind River Mountain Range and surrounding rocks. I wished I could adequately convey the depth-of-field of some of these images that looked cooler to the naked eye. If you look closely you’ll see there’s a ledge. And that it was really, really high. With lots of wind.
We continued on. Stopped at Sweetwater Station, which is at the intersection of 135 and 287/789. Hung a left. Just over the rise there, is this long-assed snow fence. Had to get an image or two of that. There are a lot of snow fences in The WYO.
Long story short, there were lots more open spaces, wind, and pronghorn…but another really cool photo op presented itself, and I blurted to my wife to Stop-stop-stop! (she was driving so I could shoot photos) as I sighted something really neat: a pronghorn sitting pretty-as-you-please atop a hill! At first as we came up on this hill, I was wondering if what I was seeing was one of those many sheet metal hilltop silhouettes—elk, jackalope, cowboy-on-bucking-bronco—but, nope, it was the real deal! We hooked a u-y and came back around. I managed to get a couple of shots as it remained “reclined,” but it spotted us and got up, showing me its white ass. For quite a while, actually. Its white ass. It just stood there…its white butt pointed toward me. I’m thinking this must be a pronghorn thing…showing your displeasure at being disturbed by showing the object-of-your-displeasure your white ass. After a while, it sauntered off.
The miles and the scenery rolled by…and as I looked out the side, my wife remarked about the beautiful clouds before us—and they were gorgeous! I switched to my 18-55mm lens and caught the images embedded. It looked so incredible! The pictures kinda capture it, but no picture can adequately capture what the naked eyes see….
And this brings up a cool point: since I’d gotten back into taking “serious” pictures with my Nikon, my wife has also become more aware (or perhaps vocal is the better term) of photo ops. We were taking about this as we were driving. How photography has you look at life differently. I know I’ve always loved to just watch the scenery go by on road trips, but now, also getting back into photography with a really nice camera has changed how I look at the world. Besides all the “standard beauty” to be viewed, I’m now looking at picture composition and capture, and it was cool my wife was doing the same thing!
After the cloud shots, I then just started messing around…and took some monochrome (B&W) shots. It’s amazing how monochrome changes the whole “tone” (ummm, pardon the pun…) of an image!
We then came upon a bunch of windmills. Yeah. The WYO. Wind. We eventually crossed the WYO/COLO border. A little bit inside Colorado, we passed this dual rock formation that we think must be part of a residence or something. Or a Colorado Rapa Nui cousin connection to Easter Island? As we drove on and through Fort Collins, I attempted an artsy shot or two. You be the judge. Or not. In any case, we were both back into heavily trafficed civilization.
THAT is something I do miss from The WYO…their drivers are nowhere near as stupid and in-a-hurry as they are in Colorado. And there are far fewer of them.
So, hello, home, it’s good to be back. We had a good family visit…and a good road trip. Hope y’all enjoy the photos. It was fun taking them!
- Wind and Snow (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Frozen Branches (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Night Driving (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- My First Nikon Camera Class (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- White Rock – Garden of the Gods – and Time (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Happy Monday (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Photography (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Bird Watching (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Snowplow (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Branches (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Night Drive (fpdorchakrealitycheck.wordpress.com)