Our original plan for fall 2020 was to fly to New Mexico, attend some events, and then travel around the state for photography. Well, the events were called off, and New Mexico wanted visitors to quarantine for 2 weeks, so we cancelled that. As an alternative, we decided to do a driving trip from Michigan across the Dakotas to Wyoming, stopping at some places we had not been to before. We would also have a chance to add some new national parks to our list.
Our first significant stop for photography was Badlands National Park in South Dakota, a new park for us. This was during a period of many large wildfires in the western US, and the smoke from many hundreds of miles away was having a significant effect in the Badlands park. The distant landscape was especially hazy, and the sky did not have its normal blue color. Still, we explored the park during the first afternoon of our arrival, and then stayed overnight there and continued the next morning. The closer landscape of the badlands was not badly affected by the smoke, and the somewhat diffused light actually helped reduce contrast during the mid day sun.
At many of the overlooks along the main road through the park, there was virtually no vegetation of any kind. At the Pinnacles Overlook shown here, however, that was not the case, and it allowed for a more interesting composition, more contrast in the scene, greater color variation, and flowers in the foreground.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor