Badlands National Park – June 2011

 

The Badlands National Park just rules.  I love rock formations, so I was in photo-nirvana.  I shot hundreds of images this day, and here is a small collection of them:

 

Nikon Coolpix 3100 shot at F/8 and a 1/400 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 80.  Focal length: 26mm.  

I entered the Badlands from the west (kind of a clunky way to do it; better to enter from the north at Wall, SD) and I ended up in the middle of a cattle drive!  This wonderful image was literally taken by hanging my camera out my driver’s window and clicking the shutter; I am NOT making that up!  I wasn’t even looking at the viewfinder when I shot it.  I had to adjust the level a small bit, but overall, it was framed rather well for a lucky shot.  

 

 

 

Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 18-70mm F/3.5-4.5G ED lens shot at F/9 and a 1/320 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 18mm.

It seemed to me the western part of my travels across the Badlands seemed to have sunken rock formations, such as this one, whereas the eastern part were raised formations.  Maybe it’s just the way the road was laid down?  I dunno.  Anyway, I like the repeating pattern of green waves in between the rock here.  I think I went too dark during the processing stage, but I wanted things a bit bold on this.  Does it work?  You tell me.

 

 

 

Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 18-70mm F/3.5-4.5G ED lens shot at F/6.3 and a 1/640 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 70mm.  

This image is a panoramic cropped from a 4 x 6 frame.  Obviously, I like the horizontal lines, and the pano style accentuates those lines better than the original 4 x 6 aspect ratio image.

 

 


Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 18-70mm F/3.5-4.5G ED lens shot at F/9 and a 1/320 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 31mm.  

The dynamic range of the D7000 really shows here; those rocks look like you can reach out and touch them.  This was a great scene.

 

 

 

Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 18-70mm F/3.5-4.5G ED lens shot at F/9 and a 1/320 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 18mm.  

This was shot at the same location as the previous image.  I really like the mixture of colors with the green, rock and sky.  Some very nice shadows in there as well.   

 

 

 

Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 18-70mm F/3.5-4.5G ED lens shot at F/6.3 and a 1/640 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 70mm.

A view across a typical Badlands scene.  The biggest issue photographing this was the lack of contrast; “mush” is what one nearby photographer called it.  Your eyes can pick up the contrast of this scene wonderfully, but it’s a tricky task for your camera.  Still, the dynamic range of the D7000 did rather well, and it’s a decent shot.

 

 

 

Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 18-70mm F/3.5-4.5G ED lens shot at F/10 and a 1/400 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 18mm.  

No problem with contrast here!  I do wish I had used Photoshop to fill in that bit of road in the lower left (change it to the green foliage nearby).  Image manipulation?  Sure.  However, had I done that, would that change the original spirit of the image?

 

 

 

Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 18-70mm F/3.5-4.5G ED lens. All other data missing.

A family was nearby while inspecting this area, and I thought this playful shot of the kids exploring was worthy of a shutter click.  Personally, I think the Marketing Department for South Dakota Tourism should give me a ring on this one.  Image wise, this was a crop from a larger shot, and I lost the meta-data in the process.  Very few of these images were cropped (minimally at that; except this one), which I am very pleased with.  

 

 

 

Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 18-70mm F/3.5-4.5G ED lens shot at F/9 and a 1/320 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 18mm.  

Wonderful colors here.  I love the mixture of patterns as well.  Let me ask you something; did you see the drainpipe in the lower-center before you read this caption?  If you did, I should have Photoshopped it out.  Do you see it now?  Damn.  I should have taken it out.

 

 

 

Nikon D70s with a Tokina 12-24mm F/4 AT-X PRO DXII lens shot at F/9.5 and a 1/1500 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 200.  Focal length: 16mm.

This shot gives you some scale of the Badlands.  I wish I had a longer focal length lens for this shot, as I’d like the couple and the guy to be larger.  I also wish I had used the D7000 for better dynamic range.

 

 

 

Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 18-70mm F/3.5-4.5G ED lens shot at F/10 and a 1/400 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 18mm.  

I am a high-contrast color image guy.  Eric Meola has always been my favorite photographer (with John Shaw a very close second).  I want my images to be punchy; to reach out and slap you silly with color and contrast.  This image, and the next one, does just that.

 

 

 

Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 18-70mm F/3.5-4.5G ED lens shot at F/9 and a 1/320 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 18mm.

See above comment.

 

 

Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 18-70mm F/3.5-4.5G ED lens shot at F/10 and a 1/400 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 18mm.

Many of these neat sights can be accessed easily thanks to the well plotted road network.  It’s actually just one winding road (Highway 240) but works well.   I wish the car and road were level with the formation, but it is what it is.  


 

 

Nikon D70s with a Tokina 12-24mm F/4 AT-X PRO DXII lens shot at F/11 and a 1/500 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 200.  Focal length: 24mm.

Missing here is the young couple from the Czech Republic that I played “Badlands Hopscotch” with.  I saw the female reaching out with her arm trying to get both of them in the frame of their camera (a DSLR at that!), and I said “no, no, no!” and jumped in there to get them their shot.  I ended up taking multiple images for them in different spots.  It puts a smile on my face knowing they have those.  I should have taken one for myself (with my cameras), though.

 

 

 

Nikon D70s with a Tokina 12-24mm F/4 AT-X PRO DXII lens shot at F/11 and a 1/500 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 200.  Focal length: 24mm.  

An interesting formation.  I like it.

 

 

 

Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 18-70mm F/3.5-4.5G ED lens shot at F/10 and a 1/400 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 44mm.

An almost “Battlestar Galactica” like formation with an attempt to sneak the road sign in for some variety.  It’s too bad the sign is crooked; nothing I could do about that.

 

 

Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 18-70mm F/3.5-4.5G ED lens shot at F/10 and a 1/400 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 46mm.  

Rock and Road Sign, Part II.  The road sign was crooked again, but I adjusted the level with Faststone Image Viewer to deliver this shot.  However, the vertical lines on the rocks are not angled like they are in this image.  However, I think this image works better than the previous.

 

 

 

Nikon D70s with a Tokina 12-24mm F/4 AT-X PRO DXII lens shot at F/8 and a 1/1000 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 200.  Focal length: 19mm.   

This was another late entry as I just kinda stumbled upon it while looking back at my RAW images from this trip.  It has a lot going on in multiple focal ranges, so here it is.

 

 

 

Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 18-70mm F/3.5-4.5G ED lens shot at F/10 and a 1/320 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 18mm.

The jagged, stair-step appearance is what caught my eye here.  There might be a bit too much rock below it, but the punchy color and high contrast makes up for that shortcoming.

 

 

 

Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 18-70mm F/3.5-4.5G ED lens shot at F/4.5 and a 1/1000 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 29mm.  

Day 4 was VERY windy, and at times I struggled against the wind to get my shots.  I took this at a high shutter speed to keep the leafs on the tree somewhat sharp.  This was one of my early favorites, and still is.

 

 

 

Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 18-70mm F/3.5-4.5G ED lens shot at F/9 and a 1/320 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 18mm.

This is similar to an earlier image but I tossed it in here anyway.  Once again, the patterns of green, rock and sky is what grabbed my attention.

 

 

 

Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 18-70mm F/3.5-4.5G ED lens shot at F/5.6 and a 1/1000 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 22mm.

Towards the end of my Badlands voyage (and near a visitor center, I think), I saw this.  Make sure to click on it for the larger image.  The colors and contrast just leap out on this one.  Recall the photographer that used the word “mush” to describe what he was seeing?  He was nearby when I shot this, and I yelled out to him “there’s no mush here!”  Although, taking a page from John Shaw, I wish there were a few clouds in this image, and I took it later in the day with less harsh light.

 

 …and that’s a wrap….unless you missed my Black Hills area images…if you did, click HERE!

 

all images © Scott Woelm – June 2011