Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bad weather Badlands

If you've been doing outdoor and nature photography long you've probably heard that bad weather makes good photos. Throughout the summer months on the South Dakota plains you'll often find that true in the late afternoons and evenings.

Last night several severe thunderstorms rolled through southwestern South Dakota just before sunset. It's the kind of atmospheric activity that makes me hope for great light on the back side of the storms as they clear out of an area. So I drove through rain and hail to get to Wall, northwest of Badlands National Park. My wife and I enjoyed a great hot beef sandwich at famous Wall Drug while the storms pounded the Badlands, then headed into the park for what I hoped was a spectacular sunset. We weren't disappointed.

Even with the success here, it was disappointing that all the lightning we saw wasn't frequent enough or predictable enough to get in a photo. Neither was the mountain lion that Lisa spotted. The first big cat I've ever seen in the wild quickly disappeared over a ridge without giving me time to get a shot, but added a special thrill to our evening.

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