Thursday, November 3, 2011

Western South Dakota's "iconic" barn

I have no statistics to back me up, but I think this may be one of the most photographed barns in the world. This is one of the Moulton family barns on Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. It has been photographed with the dramatic Teton mountain range behind it so many times it has reach the status of "iconic." I have shot the barn and others near it many times myself.

So I've often thought that it would be nice if South Dakota had an "iconic" structure of some sort that would become as well-known photographically. After exploring back roads shooting photos for over 20 years, here's the barn I've found.

First I have to come clean about "finding" the barn. I did find it, but that was about three years after Jesse Nelson, who was an intern for me at the time, showed me his photo below of the barn with Bear Butte in the background. Instead of begging, pleading and/or strong arming Jesse for the location, I went searching for it myself. Each time I was near Bear Butte I took another gravel road. As I said, it took three years of hunting before I "found" the barn.

So how do you find the barn? Nine miles east of Sturgis on Highway 34 near where the pavement makes a pair of 90 degree turns you'll see the appropriately-named Nine Mile Road headed straight north. After driving three miles north on the gravel, you should see the barn to your left. GPS Coordinates are N44 30.736, W103 20.834 to the field approach where you can conveniently park and easily line up the barn and butte.

When shooting you'll be facing west, so sunrise is a great time to shoot the barn with light hitting it's front and the mountains as well.

While Bear Butte and the Black Hills aren't quite as spectacular as the Tetons for a backdrop, they work very well for some fun photography. Now that I've given everyone directions, I'm hoping to see more and more photos of our "iconic" barn.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip, I am going in Sept.