I've made several trips to Badlands National Park and the Black Hills of South Dakota over the years. Back in 2003, I breezed through both locations as I was in Rapid City for a business conference. Unlike most trips where I plan and prepare for photography, this trip was photography only when and IF I could. Turned out "when I could" was often too late in the evening to shoot the way I'd have liked to with the limitations of the equipment I had at the time.
Back then I was shooting my 2nd professional DSLR, the Fuji S2 Pro. My first two Fuji cameras were beyond compare when it came to color, but they lacked in lower light and in sharp detail. This made them fantastic for working with models, but a little more challenging when I was out crawling in the mud.
Last evening, I connected to an older hard drive looking for an image and found this group of photos from 2003. These are images that I would have said "There's a photo in there somewhere", but sadly, back then, I couldn't edit/process them well enough to be happy about. Fortunately, with newer technology and a better skill set, the photos that I knew were there have arrived - a dozen years later.
These were edited in Adobe Lightroom CS and onOne Software's Pefect Photo Suite 8.
Enough talking, jump in the wayback machine with me and visit the Badlands and Black Hills as I saw them in 2003.
The prairie looking out of the Badlands toward Wall, SD. The sun was low in the sky and the color was so vibrant that I'll never forget it.
Badlands Evening SkyBadlands National Park, South Dakota The amazing colors of the Badlands, the green grass, the colored sand, the bands in the mountains and the setting sun making the sky glow.
Deer in the BadlandsBadlands National Park, South Dakota Local residents. I had no business trying to get this shot back in 2003.
Badlands Evening Sky 2Badlands National Park, South Dakota Another vista in the Badlands as the sun is getting low.
Badlands Evening Sky 3Badlands National Park, South Dakoa Looking right into the setting sun. I'm surprised I was able to find this much detail in a photograph that was ridiculously blown out.
Spearfish Canyon FogBlack Hills of South Dakota This fog was so cool. I was very disappointed that I just couldn't make it work back in the day.
Bridal Veil Falls, Spearfish CanyonBlack Hills of South Dakota Bridal Veil Falls, I had limited space to work with to capture the height of this waterfall in the canyon. Probably still be a tough photo. Time to go see it again, I think.
Roughlock Falls, Spearfish CanyonBlack Hills of South Dakota The new tools allowed me to strip away distracting elements that ruined this image for me back in 2003. This is the top of Roughlock Falls. It is a little grainy from shooting a long exposure, but for a black and white like this, it feels right.
Two morals to this story: First, don't give up on images that you KNOW have merit. Second, if you haven't been to the Badlands and the Black Hills, uhmmm, what are you waiting for?
Until next time,