Tag Archives: badlands

Oldie But Goodie Number 12?

This one belongs in my favorites short list simply because of the cool story behind these natural bricks. This was taken in the North Dakota Badlands, also known as Theodore Roosevelt National Park. These are naturally fired bricks created by natural coal vein fires that were, at one time or another, burning profusely firing the natural clay deposits, probably the result of lightning strikes. These bricks were extremely valuable, especially to the indigenous peoples of North America.


Destinations of a Lifetime

Update, The book has now been published and is selling at #1 in Amazon’s Travel/Pictorial seller’s list. Unfortunately the image, as is now published, turned out to have been oversaturated, especially the reds. I should have insisted on the conversion of my colorspace used in my printer/paper to National Geographic’s printers colorspace. Oh well, live and learn. And… holy crap! It is pretty damn cool to see one of my images in print in such a well respected National Geographic publication. I think my dad, who taught me basic photography and darkroom practices, would be proud since he was a huge fan of National Geographic.

By the way the entire book is pretty darn cool and very well done, I definitely recommend buying it.

Previously post:

I’ve been honored by National Geographic by selecting one of my images to be published as a two page spread in their upcoming book  Places of a Lifetime . It should be available in late October, but Amazon is now accepting preorders.


Yellow Mounds Color Corrected

Many have criticized my image called Badlands Sunrise, taken just west of the Yellow Mounds viewpoint area, claiming that they had been there and it did not look like this. Asserting that I grossly over processed the image. I have to say no, the image was not over processed. This last trip I decided to do an actual color corrected image using a color correction card during a basically overcast sky at sunrise.

This is important because an overcast sky is basically natures gigantic light box giving very nearly uniform light with very few shadows. Taking the image at sunrise brings out a very important feature of the Badlands areas, that is that during the daytime lighting conditions, when most people simply drive through the park, the subtleties of color and texture are simply washed out by being overly lighted resulting in being overly bright and thus appearing washed out and bland.

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I’ll bet that most of those still critical of my image simply have never experienced a spectacular sunrise or sunset in this park, too bad that they missed out on one of the most spectacular features of this park. Even this unspectacular overcast sunrise is still breathtaking in its overbearing subtitles that are simply lost nearly any other time of day.

Clearly you can see why this area is called Yellow Mounds, Just below the red layer the soil is yellow colored from the fossilized rain forrest and jungle compounds that existed during the era of the dinosaurs. In other words the colors are indeed already there, though very difficult to see during normal daylight.

My Badlands Sunrise image, that will be published by National Geographic this October, had some very unusual conditions that makes it rather rare, there were large areas of grass fires to the east in SW Minnesota, Iowa, eastern Dakotas and Kansas that gave an unusually reddish color to the sunrise. This brought out and enhanced the reddish compounds in the soil, while the yellow nature of any sunrise or sunset colorized the rest. Serendipitously very lucky on my part, right place, right time, incredible scene, awesome image.

Bison Close Encounter

While in the Badlands I was waiting for the next sunset I decided to get some close-ups of some prairie dogs using my 800mm lens setup. Unfortunately by sitting behind my tripod on my lens case I seemed to have frightened them and they never really popped out of their closest holes. They were chattering at me only from afar.

After about a half hour I looked over my shoulder and HOLY CRAP! A bull bison was crossing the road about ten feet away looking directly at me! I froze, I didn’t want to startle it so I very slowly moved around to the other side of my tripod, my heart was pounding violently! I was way too close so I had to remove my 2x teleconverter to reduce the lens focal length to 400mm and wallah!. Right in from of me he started kicking up a prairie dog mound and rolled in the dirt, it was so damn cool. He then slowly grazed his way away from me.

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Unfortunately this was the best that I shot of the prairie dogs. I think a ground blind and more time would be needed in order to get closer, more candid shots._DSC7521

Badlands Sunset

I was in the Badlands investigating some copyright infringements. I normally always use a visually non detectable Digimarc  copyright watermarking, but I am now convinced that in addition to this, a very noticeable copyright watermark notice needs to also be included to address those idiot thieves who actually claim ignorance or stupidity.

I have eyed this spot for several years and it looked as if this trip was also going to be a complete bust for this site. The sky was almost a completely cloudless blue, forgoing a very boring sunset. BUT there was a layer of haze near the horizon as well as a few clouds that actually mucked things up by filtering most of the light from “lighting up” the ridge-line.

The unique thing that I love about the Badlands is that the formations are basically blank slates, or whitewashed canvases. That is that the formations generally take on the unique colors of every sunset or sunrise. Here a half hour before or after sunrises or sunsets generally makes the entire region washed out blandness and a whole lot of nothing, artistically speaking.

There was a hole, or a layer, in the cloud formation near the horizon while the Sun was about one minute from dropping below that horizon when, for less than one minute, the ridge line “lighted up.” I actually had to desaturate this image in order to make it believable. Enjoy, click on it for a larger view:

_DSC8055 Panorama_cpThis was taken with a Nikon D800 and one of my favorite lenses, a Nikon 85mm f2.8 PCI tilt/shift architectural  lens, my second favorite, especially found during this trip, is my newly acquired Nikon 24 mm PCI lens. The un-cropped image is 48 images stitched into an HDR 39744 x 7212 pixels image in size, or a whopping 20 x110 inches when printed at a very fine resolution of 360 pixels per inch fine art image, that is, it is NOT a ‘blown up” cheap poster image.

Note that this image does not represent an actually full quality printed image, the Moon here is merely a white disk, whereas, in the actual full quality print the Moon’s features, as well as many other features, are clearly quite visible and really quite breathtaking.


National Geographic Photo of the Day

National Geographic “Photo of the Day” April 22, 2013:


Thanks everyone,

My picture drew 9000 Facebook likes (6th place so far for April) and drew 54 comments (3rd place so far for April) which is pretty good since I have absolutely no social media following or presence. There were some very excellent photos this month so I’m probably not in the running for “Photo of the Month” but I’m very happy with the response.

Its still not too late to “Like” or place a comment.

Permanent link:

This photo is the clear front runner for April, 33,000 Facebook likes and 126 comments. An amazing shot.

Update; It appears as if the mouse was placed as bait for the owl by the photographer. This has resulted in a huge controversy and may result in this front running image being disqualified.