Badlands and Black Hills Recap

 In Picture, Workshops and Classes

At the end of June, I taught a five-day photography workshop in the Badlands and Black Hills. Equal time was spent in the Badlands and Black Hills. We based out of Wall, South Dakota for the Badlands part and in the Black Hills we stayed in Custer. I lived for a brief time in Rapid City and fell in love the both the Black Hills and Badlands, so it feels like going home when I’m back out there. We had great conditions for the workshop with the only downside is that sunrise was so early in the morning and sunset so late at night. We ended up taking naps or processing images midday and then eating our dinners in the field when the light was good.

The Badlands and Black Hills Workshop is going to alternate with two other workshops, so I’ll be returning to do this workshop again in 2018 or 2019. Next year, we’re going to the North Dakota Badlands in May. If you’re interested, sign ups have already started for 2017.

Here are a few select photo from the workshop.

This first selection of images come from the Badlands. These are a few of the scenic landscape shots that I took. I typically shoot less that I normally would because I’m helping the participants get their shots, so I don’t have a broad selection of images. But, on these few occasions I was able to squeeze in a few shots. The participants actually took more and from what I’ve seen got better shots that I managed.

In the Black Hills, we visited Wind Cave National Park and Custer State Park. Both are outstanding parks and make great destinations for a photography vacation. For landscape shots, these are just a few that I really like. We would have had one extra sunrise, but the group opted for an optional Milky Way photography session instead of getting up early.


One night in the Black Hills, we went out for night shots. These are two examples of what we were shooting.

I love doing detail shots, but don’t often share them on social media. Here are a few examples from the Badlands. The shot on the right shows a couple of fossils that we found. When you find fossils in the Badlands, you just leave them on the ground and take only pictures.

When I’m teaching workshop, I like to get shots of the participants. The first three show people climbing up Saddle Pass in the Badlands. This is the steepest and probably hardest hike that we do on my workshops. Luckily, it’s short! The last shot shows the participants in the shadow of a tree. Can you figure out which picture they were making by looking at the pictures in the Black Hill scenic shots?

Wildlife. While summer isn’t the best time for wildlife shots in the Badlands and Black Hills, you do run into wildlife. It was fun to see the coyote.

There are many more shots that I could post, but these show a good representation of the images I took and that the group got. I’ll wrap it up with a welcome sign from the ghost town of Scenic.

After the workshop, I spent a couple of days at Devil’s Tower scouting for a future Milky Way Photography Workshop there, and I had fantastic conditions including a thunderstorm.

Hope you can join me for a future workshop.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Fred Beiderbecke

    Great shots, I especially like the Devil’s Tower ones. I’d love to get up there for that workshop.

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The Milky Way over Lake SUperior and the tomboloNorthern Nightscape Calendar 2017 cover