Monday, April 5, 2010

Buffaloless prairie

"You can't figure the stinkin' buffalo. You can't! Sometimes you won't see any for days." - Timmons the wagon driver in "Dances With Wolves"

Easter evening looked like a good prairie sunset was brewing, so I threw the "Dances With Wolves" soundtrack in the CD player and drove north of Pierre on Highway 1806, headed for the actual prairie hills where much of the movie was filmed. I hoped to find the famous Triple U Ranch buffalo herd that appeared in the movie silhouetted on a ridge top with a dramatic sunset behind.

However the prophetic words of Timmons in the film came to haunt me as I found no buffalo at all and the sunset dwindled into just an "okay" orange glow.

Instead I found these horses to shoot in the dwindling twilight.

Anyone who travels the South Dakota prairie is familiar with the sight of whitetail deer bounding out of sight. I shot this impressionistic scene shot after it was too dark to portray much in a realistic style. This is handheld out the window of the vehicle with a 400 mm lens and 1/15 shutter speed and it was much darker out than it looks.

Most days you can find the buffalo along Highway 1806 at the Triple U Ranch and some great rolling prairie hills scenery to go with them. These photos were taken near the end of the pavement on the north end of the road at N44.36.4712 W100.47.5684.
More information on the Triple U Ranch can be found at, including how to visit.

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