Ian Plant • Badlands National Park

The beauty can sometimes lie in the macro: grains of sand, salt and clay, carved into relief by water and wind. Ian Plant zooms in to talk about his love of the South Dakota Badlands

Although I have been fortunate enough to travel the world and see many beautiful and inspiring places, among my favorite locations to photograph is a swath of stark rock formations carved out of an otherwise featureless prairie, the Dakota Badlands of the United States. The landscape was deposited in layers composed of tiny grains of sand, silt and clay. Sharply eroded formations have been sculptured and carved into the soft rock by the continuous action of wind and water, giving them the appearance of crumbling castles. When people think of great landscape photography places, South Dakota doesn’t usually spring to mind, but I can think of few places that are better suited to mastering the fundamentals of successful landscape photography. This is a challenging and chaotic landscape that makes you work hard for your pictures, but when you can figure out a way to make it work, the results can be surprisingly spectacular.

Badlands National Park is at the heart of this tortured landscape and is the focus of most landscape photography efforts, but the formations continue outside the park into the surrounding grasslands, a mix of (mostly) federal public lands, some Native American tribal lands and private holdings. Sometimes...

Premium Feature • Access it in issue 93

Premium membership required to access this feature. Click the icon to subscribe today and enjoy content by top class photographers.

LPM Special Offer

Please share this post:

About Author


Ian Plant is a full time professional nature photographer, writer, and adventurer. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, books and calendars, and he is a frequent contributor to Popular Photography and Outdoor Photographer magazines, among others.

Leave A Reply


Send us your advert and we will promote it in both magazines FREE of charge

We understand how badly COVID-19 will affect all of us. But we also know that this terrible, unprecedented time will eventually pass – and we want to do what we can to support your photo tours business until that time comes.