The Badlands were formed by a series of depositions and then erosion. Seventy-five million years ago, the area what is now the Badlands was a part of an inland sea extending from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Pole. The lowest levels are sea bed depositions. From 75 to 45million years ago, plate movement gradually forced up the Rocky Mountains and created a depression which is now the Badlands. During this period, erosion from the raising mountains and volcanic action deposited various layers of material in the depression. Starting about 500,000 years ago the Cheyenne and White Rivers carved out the deep valleys through the area. Torrential rain storms and wind have been eroding the area at a rate of one inch per year.
I’ve been laid up for the last couple of weeks and have not been able to get out and do any photographing. As such, I have been catching up on various photography topics. Jason O’Dell just put out a webcast on the Badlands that caught my eye. Jason, thanks for the stimulus. I was there for just a few hours as I drove across country from Philadelphia to Washighton. The day wasn’t the best for photography, but I was able to come up with a few that had potential. My visit was more of a scouting trip, hopefully for a return visit when I can spend the time to explore. I look back to my short visit. I look forward to when I will return.
Along the northwest section of the park drive, yellow hills and green valleys provided a change in color contrast of the landscape. This post concludes my quick trip through the badlands. Some day I hope to go back and explore the area at a more leisurely pace.
Fuji X-T1, XF18-135mm @ 18mm, f/11/ 1/80 sec, ISO 1600
At one time this area was a vast a sea bed. Color abounds in the different strata deposited over the millions of years in our geological history. I just felt in awe as I viewed the history in front of me. I felt so inconsequential in the stream of time.
Fuji X-T1, XF10-24mm @24mm. f/22. 1/13 sec, ISO 1600
The sky was very dark and covered with clouds. The landscape was very dark and covered with shadows. Then for a few seconds the sun popped out in a small gap in the clouds. The landscape opened up its arms for me to enjoy. The three hour drive starting at 3:00 AM to catch the sunrise was worth it!
Fuji X-T1, EF 18-135mm @ 31mm, f/16, 1/110 sec, ISO 800
I walked down into the basin of the Badlands and looked up to see the towering, eroded hills behind me. I processed this image to separate the foreground from the background by adding a touch of NIK’s Color EFEX Pro graduated fog to the background. I should have shot this image at a wider aperture to produce a natural effect. Lesson Learned: Take my time, work the image from different settings and exposures to create the effects that bring out specific elements of the subject.
Fuji X-T1, EF18-135mm @ 18mm, f/11, 1/175 sec, ISO 400
During a 2,880 mile, 4 day drive from Philadelphia to Washington State, I made one stop to photograph the Badlands National Park. The Badlands has been on my photography “bucket list” for years. I got up early at 3:00 AM and drove 200 miles to catch the sunrise at the park. I spent only 5 hours driving and taking short walks to capture the typical sights. It was more of a quick scouting expedition rather than a planned photo shoot. I will be back!
The light was rather poor, even at sunrise. But that did not alter my enjoyment of the park. I anticipated that I would end up processing the images in B&W, so I focused my shooting on trying to capture tonal contrasts. During the next few days I will post additional Badlands National Park photos.