I Can See You, You Know


Us wildlife photographers have to be a wily bunch to be able to sneak up and catch our quarry without being discovered so we can document their lives without them knowing about it. We do this so that you can see what they do behind closed bushes as it were. Some of it is pretty weird but usually they’re just doing normal stuff, eating grass, laying a round, having quiet discussions and so on.

Lots of times the subject we’re stalking doesn’t want to be photographed so we have to resort to subterfuge and disguises. Disguises work best unless they don’t. If they don’t work that means you didn’t choose your disguise very well. Some larger photographers will disguise themselves as a Winnebago because the elk in this case are used to seeing Winnebago’s and pay them little attention. However one cannot take a Winnebago into the bush so it has limited applications. Another is a Ranger suit. It also has its limitations due to the fact that although the elk are used to seeing Rangers, when they do, it’s usually because they want to do something to them so they’re suspicious and unphotogenic. There is also that little thing about it being unlawful to imitate a federal employee. Besides Rangers get really cranky when you do goofy stuff while wearing a Ranger suit. At least at Rocky Mountain National Park.

We use a foolproof disguise, a full-sized flowering Mountain Mahogany bush suit that almost always fools everybody and lets us get right in the middle of everything without being outed as human in a bush suit. But… having said that, once in a while one of the elk figures out what’s going on, we’re not sure how yet, but they do, and then there’s the inevitable embarrassing confrontation. There is yelling and name calling. If it’s a big cow who has had a bad day or has some other type of feminine problem, kids acting up, the bull not coming home for dinner, or worse coming home loaded, then things escalate pretty fast. That’s when it is prudent to haul tripods and retreat to the safety of a bunker or some other fortified building.

A bit of warning. Do not, repeat, do not  wear your bush suit from September on. That’s when the bulls are coming out  of their velvet and they will flat tear up a bush trying to rub the velvet off their antlers. A nine hundred pound bull doing his best to tear off every limb on the bush by repeatedly sticking his rack into the center of the bush then violently shaking his head back and force can cause equipment failure even to Nikon’s or Canons and lots of times put the eye out of the photographer hidden inside it. Just saying. Don’t do it.

That was the case when photographing this youngish cow elk and accidentally sneezing. They perk right up and get suspicious when a bush sneezes. In this particular case we lied and said we were from National Geographic doing an article on winsome young cows. Being naive she bought it and we even got her to prance around and do clever elk tricks before one of the older cows came over to investigate. Seeing right through us she immediately began calling for one of the herd bulls so we bailed and went and had lunch.

So remember, to be a good wildlife photographer you have to be sneaky, wear a good disguise ( but not a bush suit after August 31st) have a good line ready if you’re caught and watch out for bulls. That’s it then, happy shooting.

Moon Painting


Several days ago we ran a post titled Cloud Cutting http://www.bigshotsnow.com/cloud-cutting/ where we showed off our new weather modification process we have developed here at *The Institute. Using full disclosure you should know that we have “Applied for a Patent, Trademarked it , Branded it, and are protecting it by (American) gun-toting thugs”, who help us convince patent stealers to cease and desist. We have some of the best thugs in the world right here in our own country and they are all certified pure-bred American thugs with no ties to any other country. Period, End of Story. So rest easy only our real American thugs will call on you if you try to steal our patents. The Institute prides itself on buying American and keeping our hard-earned American money working here at home.

What happened was we forgot to tell you about one important aspect of our new technology. It is also as new and revolutionary as our Cloud Cutting program. We have named this new process Moon Painting. We know it’s not a very original name and doesn’t have that new pizzazz that some of our other high-profile programs do, but we wanted this new process to be identifiable by everyone, even if you have trouble analyzing new ideas or English is your seventh and final language. ( Hey we’re not knocking non-native English speakers. We applaud you on your efforts and thank you for trying). Half of our interns do not speak English all that well. In fact many of them do not have a discernible language of any sort, we communicate with them by American sign language and flash cards and loud yelling. It is a fact that if  you yell loudly at them in a language they do not understand they will many times nod as if understanding your meaning and go away and do stuff. Sometimes it is even what you want them to do. Sort of.

But back to the important topic at hand, Moon Painting. Here’s how it works. The moon comes up many times after dark during the month and always it is the same old boring white. Boring being the operative word here and white being the accepted moon color for ages. Our surveys show us that frankly, the majority of you are sick of it and would welcome a new color. This was electrifying news to us as we had been secretively working on the now released Cloud Cutting program, which was only financially viable during the day. We needed another revenue stream that would fill in the rest of day, the dark part, with money generating ability. It was then when someone at one of our interminable staff meetings, we forget who, yelled out “Hey, what about the freaking moon, eh? It works at night. We should like, work on that.” He said ‘eh’ again, which is so redundant the 100th time you hear it that we have chosen to omit it from now on, we don’t care how many times he says it.

But how to paint the moon? What we needed was a “long Throw” projector. Hitachi, NEC, Christie, all make a long throw projector but we needed a very Looooong Throw projector. Like 238,900 miles long. We tried daisy-chaining a bunch of them together to get that extra reach, but that didn’t work. We tried using big fat mirrors the way the huge telescope at Arecibo works but that didn’t work either. Then one of our senior staff members who spends way too much time on Craig’s list found an old used Hubble telescope that had returned not to bunged up to Earth that we could buy really cheap. Like $260 bucks cheap although we had to pay for shipping which added like a humongous charge to it. Those folks at the Post Office even made us come and pick it up. They refused to deliver it and were snotty about it besides, which is something we intend to bring up to the Post Master General the next time we’re hobnobbing at the White house.

So, we built our own. That’s right, our very own long throw projector. After all we had our old unused ShopSmith woodworking tool, an intern with most of his fingers intact, and the hearts and minds with the collective will to do the impossible to make it happen. Yes we used the Hubble as our core and also three of those Hitachi Cp-WU8461 at ten grand a pop, our second largest expense, and using our own proprietary procedures that we’re not at liberty to disclose, built an adequate but serviceable projector. We say adequate because it does have a few wrinkles to work out yet. We use Thomas Edison’s largest light bulb ever made which is 14 feet tall, weighs eight tons, and shines like the dickens to provide our light force. We could point it at you out there in the heartland or even farther but we don’t want to put your eye out. This thing is bright. You can actually see the last one (we bought the last dozen of these bulbs they had in storage) at the Edison Museum and Memorial Tower in Edison, New  Jersey. However big as the bulb is it only lasts for about 26 minutes at full power and about two and a half hours at half-strength which produces a washed out color that isn’t all that appealing. At full strength though Virgil, it’ll flat paint that moon any primary color you want. See actual image of moon being painted above. This was taken just two nights ago and we were able to keep that moon painted nearly 8 minutes before that old Edison bulb blew, taking out the mounting ring at the back of the projector, bending the mounting tube on the Hubble’s rear flange and the wall behind it. Scared the bejezuz out the operator and most of the county below the proving grounds down there on the flat lands. The lights below the moon are from the interns’ village where the substitute interns live and wait for their rotation up here at The Institute.

Our plan is to have the kinks worked out of our projector by the end of October, hopefully in time for Halloween. There are plans for many novelty projections on the moon such as a Smiley Face, Peace Symbol, Ying-Yang symbol, caricatures of your favorite or most disliked politicians, the list is endless. Plus some corporate advertising, we got to make this thing pay for itself someway. For more information or pricing please send Self-adressed stamped envelope and six dollars American money, preferably gold or silver certificates, to Tell Me More, The Institute, Northern Colorado. Please allow six to eight weeks or an even longer undetermined amount of time for delivery.

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind.



Cloud Cutting


Many of you long time readers are aware of *The Institute’s weather modification program. We developed this ability to modify and even create certain kinds of weather early on in The Institute’s development. This was done for many reasons, all of them altruistic, but mainly for money. The Institute is expensive to run and maintain and we seek funds wherever we might find them.

We have different projects in the works constantly to fund our operation, from our innovative metal can retrieval program from the roadsides of our Nation’s highways to assisting NASA with their Space Program by supporting probes to Uranus and beyond. We have an outreach program where we have housebound or incarcerated individuals address envelopes for various corporations to help keep the Post Office’s Junk Mail program alive. That keeps untold dozens of postal workers busy and gainfully employed. There is no project too small if it assists us in maintaining the integrity and longevity of The Institute and brings in a buck or two.

Our supremacy had been untouchable in the weather modification arena and we had been so far out front that you had to jump up in the air real high to even see our dust. Then the Aussie’s got in the game. Man, they are tough. Their program to limit rain and cause desertification of huge areas, if not all of their country, has been unassailable. Our program to “drought up” California has been good but we can’t even touch what the Australians are capable of. Which is difficult for us to admit. Right now they’re the ones we watch.

Because of their (we’re talking about those miserably overachieving Aussies here) ability to make inroads into the weather modification business in general, we have had to look for other areas of the business to augment our extensive programs. We believe we’ve hit on something the rest of the WeatherMod group hasn’t touched yet and that is the untouched field of Boutique Weather. This is a small business at this time but we think the potential is absolutely enormous.

There are many very wealthy States that have incredible tourism businesses. States like Colorado, Utah, Arizona ( a biggie ) Montana, parts of New Mexico and when they pay their bills (which is why we have them in a “droughtie” right now) Northern California that are looking for that edge to keep those tourists coming in and to keep them there longer. That’s where we come in. We are already supplying many of those states and other small touristy kind of countries with custom-designed sunrises and sunsets. With our new custom “Cloud Cutting” ability we can custom tailor those sunrises and sunsets by ‘cutting’ the edges and shapes of the clouds so that they can feature or highlight a tourist drawing element, by allowing the light to be directed on them for maximum viewing pleasure. Think, Devil’s Tower, or parts of the Grand Canyon, Isis for instance, where before you had a pleasant sunset that sort of showed off the various elements of the scene, but now with our Patented Applied For “Cloud Cutting” technology, those individual elements can be seen by those money-toting tourists much more clearly and colorfully than ever before. Talk about making it rain greenbacks, we can hardly keep up with the demand for these new custom tailored clouds. Now coupled with our ability to create clouds of any size, shape or profile we feel we have a real winner here. Need God beams, we can do that. Need tiny or large holes or openings in your cloud for extra special effects? We can do that. Right now the sky’s the limit, so to speak.

The image featured above is over the Eastern edge of The Institute’s testing grounds where we work on many of our new weather projects. This is the program at work using the new “Sun nibbling” feature where we are sculpting the edge of the cloud to perhaps highlight a small secluded cove on the Eastern Seaboard, or perhaps one of the little canyons that feed into the Grand Canyon, or a meadow up in Yellowstone where elk graze in the early morning or evening. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

We have high hopes for this new element in our Weather modification program and already interest is running high for this unique new addition and we see big things on the horizon. Watch the sky above and stay tuned for further innovations.

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind.


81st Green River Rendezvous

This post has been moved to OpenChutes.com. All future postings of Powwows, Indian Relay Races, Rodeos and Rendezvous will be posted there from now on exclusively. So if you’re looking for new images and posts for all those events attended this year, plus all the old posts posted on BigShotsNow.com check out OpenChutes.com. See you there!


The 81st Green River Rendezvous was held in Pinedale Wyoming last July 7th thru July 10th and what a get together it was. There were Traders at Traders row that had Mountain Man paraphernalia for sale, a Midway with vendors and food sellers of all types, a parade with everybody that could fit into it that was two hours long! There was a rodeo at the rodeo grounds that was as exciting as any you could go to, and a pageant Sunday morning that told the story of the Rendezvous with local actors and horses and wagons and everyone in character and regalia from the time of the first rendezvous. Pictured above is one of the participants in the parade who was also a featured actor in the Sunday morning Pageant. This was all good stuff. Spectacular in fact.

For those of you who do not know what a rendezvous is, it was a gathering of the Mountain Men after their trapping season was finished for the year. They brought their pelts, usually beaver, to the rendezvous to sell to the traders and obtain the goods and supplies they would need for the next year’s trapping season. It was also the time they had to have an epic blowout, carousing, drinking, raising hell of all types in particular, to let off steam from the previous trapping season. These men waited all year to have this one big party that had to last them to the following year where they got to do it again, unless of course they ‘went under’ or ‘lost their har’ to whichever enemy happened to be around. It was a tough life and for some this party made it all worthwhile.

Another huge part of this Rendezvous was the encampment of the American Mountain Man group that was held on a grassy area next to the Mountain Man Museum. These folks are the real deal. Everything they do is authentic from making their own clothes and gear, to the tents and teepee’s  they sleep in. Some of the participants of this encampment have been featured in Articles in the National Geographic magazine and numerous other publications and media where authenticity was required. This encampment was worth the price of admission alone. Of course there was no admission charge, the entire weekend was free except for a couple of things like the rodeo ($7.00 ! Cheap at twice the price) and the pageant ($5.00 !). This was a tremendous event to attend and if you ever are in the area when this event is held, drop what you’re doing and get yourself to Pinedale, Wyoming for the time of your life.

We will be posting more images and stories about the Green River Rendezvous as time goes on. Stay tuned  and check back often for more information about the Incredible Green River Rendezvous. We have already marked this event on next years calendar. You should too.


Bear Strips


Like much of the mountain west we have been plagued by pesky bears. They’re everywhere. For some reason *The institute has even more bears than the average bear-plagued place, with dozens if not more undocumented bears roaming around The Institutes grounds with impunity. They’re like locusts, you go for years without seeing a single locust then suddenly you are up to your Fuon Bwey Bwey’s in them. Such as it is now with bears. There must have been a hell of a party over the winter to have so many young bears running around now.

These bear cubs reach a point where they have grown to a size that their parents, especially their moms, say “OK that’s it, you’re out of here. Go find your own way if you’re so damn smart, Mr. know it all.” and sends the little bugger packing. These are bears that are the equivalent of adolescent to teen age bears. One bear year is equal to ½ human year. That’s two bear years per human year. So if you got a bear cub for your first birthday and you’re fifty now, you bear is a hundred years old. Leave him alone. Don’t ask him to do bear tricks and run and fetch the ball. He’s not going to do it. He’s old. And Cranky. He is more likely to tear your throwing arm off and tell you to go fetch the ball yourself.

By the same token if you were given a Hamster when you were born, their age is 11¼ years to one of ours so if you’re fifty that hamster is 562½ years old. If you ask it to get in that wheel one more time, well we won’t even go there.

This bear above was caught trying to steal the red jeep of one of our senior advisers here at The Institute and had already hot-wired it and was trying to find a good station on the radio when luckily it was spotted. All we can say is this is an example of poor parenting by it’s mother and father and will eventually lead it into a larger life of crime if it isn’t stopped.


After being hit by pine cones and yelled at from the registered and insured owner of this vehicle it nonchalantly moved away from the vehicle but took time to stop and blow raspberries and make rude gestures before retreating further up the hillside. This is a bad bear in the making.


After it found a spot in the boulders to watch for another opportunity to do a mischief the staff and The Director held a meeting titled “What To Do About Bad Bears and Is It Ethical To Smack Them Around a Bit”. As you might imagine there were several strongly held beliefs about this. We decided that since The Institutes motto is “Do No Harm Unless You Gotta” we went to our Department of Solving Unusual Problems and asked our people there to come up with a solution to Bad Bears.

They did and it’s a doozy. Not only will it rid us of bad bears but we see a huge potential for making some money here. This is how it works, we call it “Bear Strips”, like in Fly strips you buy to put up in your milking room at the farm. These are really sticky, I mean really sticky, pieces of film-like material scented with a smell that flies like, such as Old rotting meat or Essence of Modern Politicians, so that as soon as the fly smells it, it goes right to the strip, gets snared by the sticky but smelly goo that covers the film and that’s it, they’re done.  After the strip is filled with deceased flies you take it down and put up a new one. Works like a charm and the sight of dozens of fly filled strips hanging around produces a nice ambiance while you work.

What our people did was develop a thin canvas like film that is tough enough to hold a snarling bear entrapped on its sticky surface and coat it with our new proprietary coating called “Bear Snare”. It can hold up to a dozen bears actually if both sides of the strip are used. The super strong strips are approximately 3½ feet wide and eleven feet long and are hung on tripod-like structures in places bears like to go. When the bear strip is full or before the health department and the Fish and Game folks do their inspections we simply take down the Bear Strip, roll it up and put it in the Recycling bin down at the bottom of the hill. No bears are hurt with these revolutionary new Bear Strips except maybe when they pull the strip off down at the Recycling center but that’s a problem for them to solve. We’ve done our part.

There was one small problem when one of our interns accidentally brushed up against a Bear Strip on his way to the field latrines and became entangled. They are still trying to extricate him from the strip without losing that ¼” deep skin layer that comes off along with the strip. We had classes and put up warnings that Bear Strips were in use but apparently this guy liked the smell of modern politicians, We don’t know, he’s been sedated since he started screaming. But setting that aside our new Bear Strips are working marvelously. Our bear numbers are down, we’ve had fewer vehicles stolen and all in all it’s worked out well. We’re fairly far along in manufacturing our Bear Strips. Our marketing program is ramping up and the tripods used to hang the Bear Strips are just going into production. Like my old man used to say “If you find yourself in hot water, take a bath.” that’s what we do here at The Institute. We make lemonade.

If You are interested in obtaining some of our patent applied for Bear Strips, They’re new! They’re Fun! They Work! Contact our in-house Sales Representative on our new Toll Free number 1-808- StopBadBearsNow. Ask about our extended payment plan and our pamphlet titled “Fun Things To Do With Bear Hair”.

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about he Institute, Nevermind.



Happy 4th of July!


OK Folks, it’s that time again for that holiday we all wait for. A day of birthday celebration of our country’s founding. A day of hot dogs and beer and DUI’s. A day of, or actually night of, controlled explosions producing vast amounts of colored lights, joy and the universal call of the American public “Ooooooooh, Aaaaaah” while viewing the magnificent displays in the sky. And not to mention for you gun types, the heady smell of ignited gun powder wafting through the crowd. How much more American can you get. ( relax, don’t get all weird, I’m one of you)

This was also the day that my mom’s dog, a small raspy Shih-zu like creature, would go completely insane because of the sound of the fireworks and have to be given Elephant tranquilizer to keep her alive until morning.

This is also the day that my best friend in the world, Tony, got very drunk and very mad at some comment made by a supposed friend and jumped off a second floor deck onto to the roof of the pickup truck of the guy he was mad at, then jumped up and down until the roof was level with the bed of the truck. That story is still being told around the campfire and it happened years ago.

We thought we might pass on some fireworks viewing tips to our loyal readers so you might get even more enjoyment out of the day. First, if you forgot your video camera, or can’t find your cell phone, or figure out how to use it after being the moderator of the keg all day, here’s a neat little trick to bring those memories home with you. Simply blink your eyes real fast while staring at the displays in the sky. Blink really hard and fast. Then when you get home simply sit back in your Barco-lounger and remember. The images will play against the insides of your eyelids until you have to make your pilgrimage to the porcelain god in the bathroom. If you’ve done a really good job of blinking the night before sometimes you can see the rerun of the fireworks in the swirling water as it flushes your troubles away.

A word of caution. Each 4th of July many people are injured by not letting go of the fireworks they are igniting. At best the exploding fireworks will simply blow some of your fingers off. At worst they will lift you into the air (if they’re big enough of course) and they will be finding parts of your flip-flops and maybe an ear or something way the hell and gone from the fireworks area. So don’t do that. Let go of the fireworks you just lit immediately and run like hell to hide behind the keg or some other safe place.

America is 240 years old this year if you go by that old calendar method of the Julian style of running a calendar, (we’re not ones to jump into these new trendy ideas like the Georgian method), which is a long time if you’re holding your breath but not as long as it will be if you get dead from driving while intoxicated, or mishandling fireworks. So be safe, think about what you’re doing and do not eat more than 30 or 40 hot dogs. Remember that scene from the Python movie of that great big guy over-eating in the restaurant. That should help you stay in control of your excesses this holiday. OK then boys and girls, get after it, celebrate your brains out. Happy 4th! See most of you tomorrow.

Interesting Bird Facts For You And Me

2016-07-03Legless Stilt-6

Well, it’s time for another segment in our ongoing series, Interesting Bird Facts For You And Me. *The Institute has a large Ornithology department made up of highly trained bird men and women who have various degrees of knowledge about birds. We send them out periodically to look at birds to see if they’re ( the birds not the investigators) are doing anything different inside of their bird lives. Usually they aren’t so it’s a waste of time as we know most things about birds already. After all we’re looking for the unusual, the breakthrough information about birds that hasn’t been reported on yet. The exclusives of the bird world. Think of us as the National Inquirer of bird lore.

Much of the time we get back reports on bird “A” which says it flies around a lot and eats bugs. We already know that. Or they sit in trees endlessly singing bird songs usually the same one over and over, or whistle endlessly. We know that already too. So we fire those guys that send us that stuff. This does two things. It inspires the rest to find new and interesting facts and saves us money by cutting out the humdrum individuals in the expedition.

After a firing or two we start getting in some real facts. Some with real meat on them. Stuff we can publish and get paid for. Handsomely I might add. Such as this newly discovered bird called the “One-legged Wall hugger”. Formerly this bird was thought to be a freak of Nature as it appeared to have only one leg. Well, was everybody wrong about that. This is not your common run of the mill one-legged bird that you see hanging around on corners with cardboard signs saying “Anything Helps”. No, un uhh, this is something else entirely. This is new bird behavior that has never been reported before.

What appears to be a physical defect is actually a biological trick the bird plays on Ornithologists and the Public at large and most importantly female One-legged Wall-huggers that actually have two legs all the time. This difference in physiology was confusing at first but everyone soon got over it. This new behavior is actually a mating ploy to get the female of the species to take pity on them and mate with them to make the apparently injured male feel better. This works pretty good for the male and hence it has developed into a genetic trait that is passed down from one generation to another.

Here’s how it works. Of course this bird has two legs. But what wasn’t known before was the fact that the male of the species absorbs one of his legs and appears to be left with only one leg. Our trained observers have labeled this behavior as being “Legless”, not to be confused with staying at the bar way too long, drinking until you become legless. This gives the bird the time to appear dejected and pathetic, thereby getting lucky in the meantime. Meanwhile the absorbed leg is regenerated in a pocket under the birds feathers until it is fully reformed. At that point the new leg is extended down to the ground and the other leg promptly falls off, again giving the appearance of being one-legged. To make the leg changing process even more seamless the bird has ejected both his middle toe and back toe to make entry and egress into the special leg pocket easier for the newly regenerated leg and to give a more pleasing appearance to the foot.

There you have it. Brand new facts about a little known bird and why it does what it does. Watch for this story and more unusual facts to appear on your favorite wildlife channel and supermarket tabloids everywhere. It won’t probably be there but it will give you something interesting to do while you wait to check out. For further information or questions about the wildlife you see and love, write us or call us on our new 900 number. Please have your credit card ready when making this call. Stay tuned for new and even more preposterous facts from the only place that has them The Institute.

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind.