Photographing in Badlands

This Memorial Day weekend, we took off to visit Badlands, South Dakota. We were previously in Black Hills, only passed Badlands on our way, and I was really eager to see it by myself. The place was a very interesting one, compared to many other locations we visited in US. Overnight stay in Wall resembled Escalante rather then Moab, with just a few restaurants to choose from and multitude of hotels. And nothing to do when the rain started, no inside options except of famous for being famous Wall Drug Store.
The National Park itself was far to be crowded, even on Memorial Day weekend, from that perspective it was a perfect destination. The lanscape reminded me of Utah a little bit, just with red of Navajo Sandstone missing. The terrein was rocky and arid in places. We hiked several trails, and discovered with surprise that we can be going deep between the walls of canyons and have the feeling of isolation, but still be able to post pictures on Facebook.
Although the forecast was not very promising, for two days we head beautiful, warm, sunny weather. It caused my pictures to be far too contrasty. So it turned out to be the first trip I took sunrise photos. In fact, I took sunrise and sunset photos in one day. With 2 hours of sleep in between. Most serious photographers probably do not think there is anything unusual about it. But I was quite happy with myself, and the outcome. Visit the blog tomorrow, and after that, to see my favorite photographs. It was definitely worth it. And I also have the proof that I did it, as Tomasz was documenting it with his iPhone.
I also discovered that photographing during “golden hours” on such a short trip is not very practical. First, it is maybe an hour or two of time, and in the spacious park like any National Park I visited so far, limits you to be shooting in just one place. How many days you need to be there to make all your photographs? Unless you just scout and pick the most interesting locations, and come back with a picture or two? Well, secondly, about the scouting. We took a lot of time to pick the sunrise and sunset locations. It was not easy, the way the Badlands overlooks are located, you probably need to pick a day of the year to take your photograph the way you want it. They are just not optimal for neither shooting with the sun nor with sun behind your back. Only somewhere in between. Mostly, the sun was rising or setting behind some mountain range, too high when above to give this delicate cast everybody is looking for. And of course, you can always count on clouds to obscure the sun, as it happened with the sunset on Saturday. I am very happy with my sunset picture just because I was waiting and observing, and took it in just the right moment. I will post it sometime later this week.
Overall, the short trip turned out to be quite successful, I got out of town to unwind, and have a few great landscapes and multitude of great wildlife photos to add to portfolio (and put here, on blog).

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