Behind the Shot: Badlands


The Badlands grade all the way from those that are almost rolling in character to those that are so fantastically broken in form and so bizarre in color as to seem hardly properly to belong to this earth.  - Theodore Roosevelt

Tech Specs : Nikon D800 : 14mm Lens : ISO 1250 : F2.8 @ 10.00 Seconds : Image Stack

There is a reason why the Lakota people from the Dakotas call this place "mako sica" or "land bad." There is a striking juxtaposition in the Badlands - between the beauty of its desolation and the extremely exposed rugged terrain. It is also one of the darkest, quietest places I have ever been to, it really feels like an otherworldly place in its eerie quiet. 

I walked along the 4 miles trek from my car to the location where I set up my tripod to take this shot in complete darkness at 3 am. In all that stillness I could actually hear my heart beating and the extremely arid conditions made the grass below my feet disintegrate...I could hear the crunching!  The total sensory deprivation of light and sounds was astonishing - it heightened my senses…. And my secret fear of the dark.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternal walk with my gear I set up the shot with a wide-angle lens. The Star Trail is a composite of 150 photos that show the beauty of the stars as we see them from our planet.

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