Several friends have said they are planning trips west this year and will visit Badlands National Park in South Dakota. The park is one of my favorite, but it’s been 10 years since I was last there. I returned to my images from that brief visit, and had some fun working on them. The tools for image adjustments have improved in that time, and so have my processing abilities, so I had some fun reworking some of the old images. The mid-day light is harsh, but magic happens as the sun gets low. However, one mid-day opportunity presented itself when rangers were doing a prairie burn. Aside from the badlands themselves, most of the park is short grass prairie.
Once the sun gets low, the colors come out. Here is a formation with a pretty obvious name—Yellow Mounds! Can you spot the RV in the distance on the top ridge in the middle of the image?
Some starker formations are further west near Sage Creek, and I got some images of the grasslands and badlands before the sun went down and my tent went up. Bison wandered around the campground.
Especially with cloudless skies, the best light often comes before the sun rises. I was up early and off to the east end of the park, where I hoped the morning light would be good. This wonderful, soft light was well before the sun rose and made the formations glow.
When the sun got to the horizon, it lit up the formations.
Once the sun got up, it became a subject, too. If anyone needs a personal photographer on their trip to the Badlands, let me know! I think it’s time for another trip.