6 days in South Dakota

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  • 08-31-2006, 09:59 AM
    6 days in South Dakota
    As a few of you know from other threads in other areas I took a week to go to the badlands in South Dakota. I appreciate the help and advice for filters and other stuff needed to get nice shots. I wasn't able to "play" as much as I had hoped. I did manage to forget my good tripod :mad2: ended up stopping at the brother inlaws and picked my cheapy one:mad2: .

    Took the laptop and external drive with. Ended up taking over 1200 pics out there. Granted alot of them were family here and there. But alot of them did come out nice. I won't bore you all with 1200 pics :idea: . I have gotten through day 4 and will post highlights of the trip. This isn't going to happen all in 1 post. I will try to do a post for each day. Any comments on any of the photos are highly appreciated!

    Day 1 was the long drive from southeast Wisconsin to Hot Springs South Dakota. Me and the wife traded drive time every 2 hours. So I had alot of time to read my manual and play with the camera, and read my book that Greg McCary recommended "teach yourself photography by Lee Frost." I ended up taking a few pics out the car windows that were a 50/50 turn out.

    I was able to capture these 2 between Rapid City and Hot Springs. I wasn't able to get a graduated ND filter but these seemed to come out somewhat better than the others. These were taken out the window of our speeding car down the road.



    More to come later when I get a chance to add day 2's photos.

  • 08-31-2006, 12:38 PM
    Re: 6 days in South Dakota
    Day 2 began with the kids hitting the pool. I took a few shots before I jumped in the shower.
    1st shot - kids do the strangest things
    2nd shot - my step son jumping in the water



    After we got ready for the day. We took a short hike through town looking around and spotted this old norwegian (*spelling?) church. I took a few moments to take a few shots of it. after getting them home I decided it may be one for b&w.


    We then piled in the car and headed south of Hot Springs to Cascade Falls. I took a bunch of shots here. Got some nice shots of some trout in the stream. Also some nice shots of the falls and other stuff. Kids decided to wade in the stream, which before long they were swimming again. They were busy so I was able to play.

    Shot 1 - a pic of the falls ( one of the levels it is a 5 level falls)
    Shot 2 - a different level of the falls
    Shot 3 - a pic of the area up top of the falls where we ate lunch at, I decided to put the camera on the tripod and see what I can make of it




    After we left Cascade Falls we started heading north to Rapid City where our next lodging stop was at. This took us through Custer State Park. What a beautiful area! We ended up stopping and taking the tour through Wind Cave. Then continued our travel through the park. Seen some excellent scenery and alot of wildlife from buffalo, prarie dogs, antelope, wild turkey, big horned sheep, and donkeys(or burros), we didn't catch a glimpse of the herd of elk they have out there.

    1st shot - our first view of some of the buffalo herd. Very exciting for the family, kids really got excited. Really amazing how big these animals are.

    2nd shot - one of my favs for the wildlife. A pair of prarie dogs.

    3rd shot - Some of the herd of antelope we seen just grazing along the side of the road.

    4th shot - Just as we were leaving the park area this guy was on the side of the road. We pulled off the side of the road and I was half out the window taking shots. He was in the area with another bull just doing their thing when another bull came in from behind. Then he started grunting and stomping. Then he turned, I took this shot, and we motored out of there. We weren't maybe 20-30 feet from him. This shot would of been one of my favs if it wasn't for the shadow of the sign post. But hard to get them to "pose"





    That ended day 2. We finally got to Rapid City after the long day of driving the 50 miles or so. Just so much to stop and see it took us a good 5 hours to do it. Here is a link to a panoramic I took in the park and stitched together using autostitch. Because of the width I am just posting a link.


    Thanks again for looking and please comment on anything I could of done differently or something that I did right. I appologize for the long posts but just posting the highlights of my trip.

  • 08-31-2006, 03:02 PM
    Re: 6 days in South Dakota
    I really like the bull shot at the end. I'm not sure if you can do anything about the sign shadow or not. But his face is awesome. Maybe a cropped in shot of his face. Looks like it was a great trip.
  • 08-31-2006, 08:07 PM
    Re: 6 days in South Dakota
    ya the trip was nice and relaxing ... I really wish that shadow on the last bull wasn't there but I wasn't about to go make him move...

    well day 3 we had a tour planned. It was on a tour bus that took us to Mt. Rushmore, down Iron Mountain HWY, through Custer State Park, down Needles Hwy, Crazy horse, and back to the drop off where we were treated for breakfast before the tour and a chuckwagon style dinner after the tour with live entertainment.

    1st shot - A 3 way bridge, all the supports are made out of wood and thought it was cool. Wife took this shot out the window of the bus.

    2nd shot - just a senic view out the bus window again on the way to Mt. Rushmore



    We made it to Mt. Rushmore which was the reason I wanted to go out there in the first place. It was amazing! I was satisfied once we made it to there. Everything else we seen was just a major bonus. I really wish I had gotten my camera sooner than 2 weeks before our trip so I had more time to learn it better. I had the polarizer filter on almost the whole time, I have come to find out that it is not needed the whole time. Just in certain situations :mad2: Still had a blast with it and playing with it.

    1st shot - Mt. Rushmore, this shot was taken along the presidents trail. I really liked how the trees provided a natural "frame" for the presidents .

    2nd shot - step son on a slab of cement with the presidents in the back ground



    At this point in our trip the weather has been just great ... our 2nd day we didn't see a single cloud til later in the day with temps in the mid - low 80's .. well we stopped for lunch in Custer State Park on the tour... then we got back on the tour bus.. the skies turned very dark and it started to rain ... It rained for at least an hour .. we had a photo stop planned but with the rain it got skipped :( .. next stop after that was at Sylvan Lake *sp ? * for ice cream and some time to check out the lake .. well just as we pulled into the lot it began to HAIL !!! The hail was the size of a pea. not photo taking weather. I do wish I had taken a shot of it just to have.

    Well on to Crazy Horse.. The weather broke up and the sun came back out .. we got to crazy horse

    Shot 1 - Crazy Horse Monument


    After that our tour was basically over ... so back to the drop zone for dinner and some live entertainment ... Dinner was good .. here is the fiddle player in the band with the drummer behind her ... she could really play the fiddle well !!! The show was good.


    After the show we had just enough time to race back to MT. Rushmore for the lighting ceremony. It was a great thing to see and to end the day with ..

    shot 1 - Mt. Rushmore under the lights


    after that is was back to the hotel for a nice nights rest ....

    day 4 ... coming soon ...
  • 09-01-2006, 05:17 AM
    Re: 6 days in South Dakota
    Day 4 -

    We decided to take the tour of Needles Hwy since we missed most of it on the tour due to the weather. It took us out of our way since out lodging in Rapid City was now over. Our next 2 nights were to be spent on the north side of the Bad Lands in Spearfish. So the tour of Needles Hwy will take us south before we head north. It was well worth the extra time !!

    Shot 1 - some rock formations along the Hwy.

    Shot 2 - 1 of 3 tunnels we had to go through. Remember this is the same road the tour busses go down !!! If we could of opened the windows on the bus I bet there wasn't 3 inches clearance on each side !



    Then we reached Sylvan Lake (sp?). This made the trip back worth while. I don't think we would of had enough time to see it for what it was during the tour. We took a hike along the lake and it was just so peacefull !

    Shot 1 - Lake


    Then we continued down Needles and stopped here and there to take in some views that were just breathtaking. This Hwy comes a close 2nd to Mt. Rushmore for the highlight of the trip. I think had I not wanted to see Mt. Rushmore so bad for so long this would of topped it!

    Shot 1 - random scenery shot

    Shot 2 - rock spire formations

    Shot 3 - random scenery with step-son




    After we got off Needles we came into the town of Custer. They had the parade of buffalos there, kind of like the parade of cows that did its tour but with buffalos. We walked around the town some and took some pics of most of them. This one was my fav. On one side was the old deadwood with Wild Bill getting shot, on the other was Deadwood today. The other side was hard to get due to it being up against the wall.


    Then we headed north out of Custer. Seen this house nested in the hills and shot it from the speeding car. What a place to retire to some day !!


    On the map I seen "Spearfish Canyon Road", so we took that. There were 2 waterfalls and 2 peaks to stop and see. Ended up only seeing the waterfalls, missed the viewing spots :( .
    Shot 1- first waterfall - about a mile hike back to get to it. Well worth the effort.

    Shot 2 - 2nd waterfall - Right off the side of the road.



    Last shot was just a shot down the side of the road.


    That took us into Spearfish where we checked in. Then headed into Deadwood, seen the reenactment of Wild Bill getting shot and Jack McCall's court hearing. Headed back to the hotel and let the kids swim while I was able to upload the pics again. Then off to bed to get rest for another day of seeing South Dakota !

    Day 5 coming later
  • 09-01-2006, 10:38 AM
    Re: 6 days in South Dakota
    Love the night shot of Rushmore and the waterfall. I've never been anywhere near the Dakotas and didn't realize the mountains were so pretty.
  • 09-02-2006, 09:30 AM
    Re: 6 days in South Dakota
    Ya Rushmore at night was really cool ! The waterfall was just along the way so we stopped to take a break from the car.

    Well on to day 5. Since we left Wisconsin I had in the back of my mind Devils Tower in Wyoming. Well being in Spearfish had us a mere 60 miles from it. So pack in the car and off we went. Wyoming was just as pretty as the Black Hills area. I was glad we took the trip out there to see it. Would of been a shame to have been that close and not went.

    Shot 1 - Senic shot from the base of Devils tower

    Shot 2 - Devils Tower from the base of the trail that went around it - yes we took the trail

    Shot 3 - Me, wife, stepson front right , friend of his front left - base of the tower

    Shot 4 - Tower from the other side with the sky not all blown out ..

    Shot 5 - A couple people climbing the tower .. the guy in yellow was about 3/4 up

    Shot 6 - A couple at the base deciding where to go up at







    Also I took a panoramic shot of the area on the back side of the tower. Once again here is the link to it being so big I don't want to post it here.


    We then left wyoming. Took a drive back towards Rapid City to take a tour at Ellsworth Air Force base. Also checked out the air and space museum they had there. Alot of interesting stuff there. Glad I passed the security check and was able to go :D .

    Shot 1 - Pic of the circle drive in front of the air and space museum.


    After we left the museum we went to Deadwood again. Toured a casino that had cars / costumes / other props from tv shows and movies. Was pretty cool. I entered a texas hold'em tourney at the gold dust. Wife and kids went back to the hotel. I called them after I got beat out. Got to play some 3 card poker over at Saloon #10. I probably broke out even overall. That ended day 5.
  • 09-02-2006, 09:50 AM
    Re: 6 days in South Dakota
    This brings us to day 6. We woke up packed up the car, had breakfast, started our trip home. Our trip this time was split into 2 days. Day 1 took us to Sioux Falls South Dakota, day 2 got us home.

    On the way to Sioux Falls we stopped at the famous Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota. The wife wanted to go here since the day we left.

    Shot 1 - wife sitting next to a statue at Wall Drug. By the way the wifes name is Dayna.

    Shot 2 - Wall Drug sign.



    We then left Wall Drug, ended up stopping at 1880 town for lunch and a quick walk around there. Then our trip brought us to The Corn Palace in Mitchel. They had the corn festival going on and LeAnne Rimes was playing that night so we couldn't get inside to see. But after reading about it. It is just a big arena now so probably not a whole lot to see. Still cool how they use corn to decorate the outside of it .

    Shot 1 - Corn palace

    Shot 2 - side of Corn Palace



    That took us to Sioux Falls. Never got to see the falls :cryin: Slept good that night then continued home the following day. Overall the trip was a great time! I had fun playing with the D-50 and only wished I had it for a bit longer and learned of when to use filters and when not to. All in due time.

    I hope I didn't bore anyone with the overview of my trip. Wish I had more time to get better pics. Wish I knew how to take better pics.

  • 09-02-2006, 01:25 PM
    Re: 6 days in South Dakota
    Gene , thanks for the kind words ... good thing I only shared the highlights ... otherwise the thread would be 50 pages deep hehehe . When there are 2 kids at the age of 8 with ya .. the time you have to take pictures is very limited. We had just an excellent time out there and if I had to do it over I don't think I would change a thing!!

    Thanks again for the words and taking the time to read it .. hope it didn't bore you too much !