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Badlands National Park -- November 16, 2022

Courtyard By Marriott

Rapid City, South Dakota

November 17, 2022

"Crap," I thought. "I have driven all this way to see the Badlands and what I get is a snowy, cold, windy day. The photos I have seen of the Badlands in the sun are so spectacular. All I am going to get are washed out images where everything is some shade of gray."

Such was my optimistic outlook as I set out for Badlands National Park from Wall yesterday morning.

I should know better by now.

I saw maybe 20 vehicles in the park; I effectively had the place to myself. I stopped dozens of time in the middle of the road to take a photograph. The snow -- I came away thinking how lucky I had been to see the dramatic landscape covered with a dusting of the white stuff. I saw a big horn sheep (he didn't see me!), buffalo, a hawk, and deer/antelope. I drove 25 miles (maybe more) on a dirt road to get to Scenic, South Dakota -- and while Scenic was worth the drive, what was really worth the drive was the drive, if you know what I'm driving at. 🤪

An invisible hand guided me in the set up my cameras. Maybe if I shoot in RAW I can do better enhancement. I better crank up the ISO and EV adjustment on my Nikon and use my longest lens. On my iPhone, I noticed previously that I can adjust the exposure -- maybe if I do that I can brighten up the photos. Those adjustments turned out to be what I needed to get better quality photos than I expected. Still postcards, but pretty postcards.

I took nearly 300 photos; whittled them down to 248. Still an overwhelming number. But George Winston has the perfect music to match the photos. Feels like a Zen video to me.

I learned again a valuable lesson that I relearn so many times while I am wandering around. Anchors up and jump right in -- I will likely encounter wonders and have new thoughts and insights just by experiencing what the day has to offer. There's a lot of beauty as well as stories in this world if I am just open to seeing and experiencing them. I'm learning how to be.

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