Hey everybody,

It's been a couple of weeks since I last made a post. I, like most people, are staying inside and have been practicing social distancing. This means, I haven't been going out that much to take photos. Also, it's been gloomy the last week or so. Last night, I decided to pull out my hard drive and look through some older photos. I remember that I never really finished editing all of my images from my family trip to South Dakota last summer. With a mixture of landscape images, pics of my nephews, and travel style photos, it was a little overwhelming to tackle the thousands of images. So they, for the most part, just kind of sat on my hard drive. I'm so glad I decided to revisit them.

I remember when I first looked at the images on the computer, I was initially underwhelmed at a few. Most likely due to the fact the scene in front of me was so majestic and the image didn't really capture that same feeling. But some time away from the image changed my perspective.

This was probably my favorite overlooked image. I used a circular polarizer which helped deepen the blue tones in the sky. In lightroom, I changed the luminance of the blue tones which deepened the blue sky even more. From there I made the basic edits(shadows, highlights, exposure, etc...). While I liked the original image, I felt like something was missing and decided to convert to a black and white image. My goal in my photography is to make someone feel something in the image. By using the available light, proper composition, and some lightroom edits, I feel like this image has some weight. It's not just a photo of a rock formation. There's mood and some mystery to the image. It's an image I am really proud of and it's an image I was looking to create prior to my visit. I wanted to show off the beautiful ruggedness of the park and I feel this image does just that.

The Badlands National Park was the first, and only, National Park I've been to. On our way out to South Dakota, we drove through the western side of the park as we made our way to the Airbnb in Sturgis. There was still a large portion that we didn't see so on our way back home, we decided to check out the rest of the park. We arrived at Badlands National Park an hour or so after sunrise so, ideally, it wasn't the best time for landscape photography. I was with my parents, my brother, and his two younger boys, so I really couldn't go off on my own. We were also heading back home that day so we couldn't spend too much time exploring. However, we were blessed with some of the best light I could have asked for. There was a perfect mix of sun and clouds, which helped highlight certain aspects of the vast and barren landscape. Watching the sun wash across the park was breathtaking. The park is vast and empty, but in a good way. You can see more miles and miles. With the exception of a few houses way off in the distance, it almost feels as if you are on another planet. I urge everyone, once this virus goes away, to get out and explore. Nature has a way to humble you. It grounds you and reminds you what really is important in life.

Stay safe everyone

Settings for the image above. ISO 125, F11, 1/360 second, 67mm focal length. Hand held. Nikon D750. Nikon 24-70. Haida CP filter.

Side Note:

I remember the first area that you could pull off and park. My brother was driving. I was practically out of the car before my brother even parked the car. I couldn't contain myself, I was just so excited. The Badlands had been on the top of my list for places to visit and I was finally there. This lead to some hurrying on my part. Somehow my camera's settings were switched to the crop sensor settings(DX). My camera is a full frame(FX). I was scrambling to change it, but couldn't figure it out. So I reset my cameras settings. While it reverted back to the FX settings, my files sizes changed. Instead of shooting in RAW, my camera was shooting in JPEG. I did not notice this until we left the park. While you can still make great images in JPEG, I wouldn't be able to pull out all the details in the highlights and shadows using a JPEG file. Luckily, the conditions were great and my exposures were correct. While there are a few photos that I think could have been improved a bit, I was happy with the end results of my images.

At least I learned a lesson that day. I made sure to know where all my settings are on my camera. I'll be posting a few more photos here in the next week from my trip to the Badlands, so make sure to keep coming back.

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Thank you for sharing, liking, and commenting on my social media posts. I really wouldn't be able to do this for a living without you.

Jason