Badlands, 2019

On my way back from a work conference about a month ago I took a detour through South Dakota’s Badlands National Park. I didn’t have too much time, unfortunately, so I was only able to do a few quick hikes and (mostly) daytime explorations. I wouldn’t have minded a few more days to work some different locations for sunrise/sunset and maybe even do a little astrophotography (I scouted a really cool spot for astro, but unfortunately the timing of the milky way was off and it wouldn’t rise/rotate until pre-dawn when it’d be too light), but all things considered this was a pretty good park to visit being short on time. There’s not a whole lot of hiking/backpacking you can do in that area, and it seems like the best views/photography spots can be accessed by car.

As for the images themselves, I’m actually quite happy with how they turned out given how little time I had. There’s a good mixture of perspectives: mid-day shots that capture the harshness of the land, an image of an afternoon thunderstorm rolling in, and a handful of captures of a stunning sunrise.

I also had a blast color grading these images in Capture One. The colors of the prairie grass, the sky, and especially the land with all its shale, iron, and volcanic ash are all so stunning. I’m still learning Capture One after making the switch from Lightroom last year, but this was a case where its benefits were obvious. It was so easy to tweak and bring out the colors of all these elements of the landscape without overdoing any of the adjustments or skewing adjacent colors unintentionally.

One of the things I’ve been reflecting on since I started sharing again is how I can learn and improve from the process of sharing. Too often in the past I’ve shared images with the expectation of some quick dopamine hits from the likes and nothing more. To get something more real out of sharing, though, I want to start publicly turning a critical eye towards my work: what works, what doesn’t, what I’ll do differently next time, etc. This seems like a good set of images to try this public self-critique on with respect to their colors. I think I’ll add that to the backlog… In the meantime, though, enjoy the views! 🙂

These images were shot on either my Fuji GFX 50R with the 45mm f/2.8 attached or my Fuji X-T2 with the 10–24mm f/4 or 55–200mm f/3.5–4.8 attached. They were post-processed in Capture One. Also, I shot a roll of Portra 800 on my Mamiya 7II that I’m sending into the lab tomorrow…so stay tuned for those as well!

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