Saturday, July 6, 2019

BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK - MAY 14

This morning was a short photography adventure. Afterwards we would be splitting up with four of the group driving home to Illinois. They would have about an eleven hour drive. Two of us would be flying out of Rapid City.

We returned to the Park and enjoyed about an hour roaming around chasing the light.





On the way back to Wall we found few big-horned sheep to photograph on a ridge line. They posed nicely for us.



Finally we had to call it a day and returned to Wall for breakfast and then farewell to the driving group. Dennis and I had about an hour before we were picked up by taxi for the drive back to Rapid
City. Dennis was off to New York via Dallas, while I returned to San Diego via Salt Lake City. My flights were on time so I arrived at a good time to pick up crabmeat sandwiches for dinner at home.
(This is a bit of a tradition when possible to time a stop at Point Loma Seafood.)

I enjoyed this trip very much. It was good to visit a new area and be able to explore a bit on my own.

I have had a couple of people ask "What is a badlands?"
It is a type of dry terrain where softer sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have been extensively eroded by wind and water. They are characterized by steep slopes, and minimal vegetation. They are usually difficult to navigate. It is easy to get disoriented. When exploring one must be very aware of your location, and how to return to your starting point. They often have color displays, especially in the early morning and late afternoon. 

Friday, July 5, 2019

BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK - MAY 13

This morning we went to the Fossil Trailhead area for sunrise and early morning light. It was a good morning and we all found interesting compositions using patterns in the soil.

EARLY LIGHT






On the way back to Wall we stopped at a prairie dog site and had an enjoyable time there. It was mostly mothers and their pups:


LET ME THINK ABOUT THAT
ON THE MOVE
MOTHER ON WATCH

WHAT ARE YOU EATING?



After breakfast we headed to WIND CAVE National Park, about a 2 hour drive away. It was the eighth National Park, founded in 1903. It is a dry cave in the sense that there are no stalagmite or stalactite formations. It gets its name from the wind that blows across the entrance all of the time due to barometric winds that blow at its entrance. It is one of the longest caves in the world with 149 miles of explored passageways. 


Within the park there is a large herd of male bison. The few that we saw were much larger than the ones I had seen and photographed in Custer State Park. We did not get the opportunity to photograph any of these bison as we needed to check in for a tour of the cave. The drive to and from was pleasant and scenic.

We returned to Badlands National Park for an evening shoot in the Cliff Shelf area. There were some storm clouds which added to the drama of the evening:



AN EVENING NIBBLE


Sunset time -






It was a lovely end to the day.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK - MAY 12

This morning's shoot started in the Doors and Windows area of the Park. As you can see we had some good light and a number of formations, angles, and foregrounds to choose from. It wass fun wondering around the area with camera in hand looking at the different formations and finding different compositions.





This coyote was seen prowling the grassland to the side of the road. We followed his hunting for a meal for about 25 minutes.

A VOLE SNACK FOR BRUNCH








In the afternoon we visited the Ben Reifel Visitor Center where we took in a video, before going next door to the Cedar Pass Lodge. While browsing the gift shop I found a ring that I could not resist.  tried their Indian Taco for dinner which was good, but the fry bread was not as crisp as I like it.

Sunset was once again in the Norbeck Pass area.



Saturday, June 29, 2019

BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK - MAY 11

This morning we had thick overcast to start the day. We still found interesting formations with color to photograph. We were in the area of the yellow mounds and took time to photograph bits and pieces of the area. It was interesting deciding on what area of the mounds to put in to a composition. The colors   added a nice element to the images. We found a few flowers to add interest as well. As you can see there is a great deal arid and sparse vegetation.
A LONG VIEW

A COLOR MOUND

MOUND DETAIL

LINES


LOOKING UP

ENDURING

A LITTLE BIT OF GREEN


MANY COLORS
As we headed back to Wall I spotted a group of big horn sheep on the ridge line above. The 400 mm. end of my zoom lens was needed to get these pictures. They were quite a distance. It also helped that we had a sunny day so the camera settings could be adjusted favorably.

BIG HORN EWES AND BABIES
THE KIDS ARE WAKING FROM A NAP
RESTLESS ONE

 The mid-day routine was similar to yesterday starting with a late breakfast at Wall Drug. We then returned to our rooms, and reviewed pictures, and took naps. At this time, I also signed onto doing a winter trip in Yellowstone next January!

One of things that I have enjoyed so far this trip is that I now have a separate bag to keep my wildlife camera and long zoom in. This makes it very easy to grab when needed without fumbling around with lens changes, or some of the camera settings.

In the afternoon we dined at the Badlands Saloon and Grille. I enjoyed a steak which I had to share with a couple of the others as there was just too much for me. The steak was delicious along with the sides. Then we were off directly to the Norbeck Pass area for the evening.

Shortly after entering the park we came across a small group of white-tailed deer.

Then a group of big horn ewes and babies.

Dosing







Finally we took in the setting sun and color on the badlands formations in the Norbeck Pass area.


 As you can see it was a good day with a great deal of variety.