The Badlands … not so bad!


A recent 10-day trip took a friend and I to South Dakota, Wyoming, and back to Colorado again. Our first stop was The Badlands National Park. We were glad to see it wasn’t too crowded … as National Parks often are. The scenery is beautiful but also challenged me. I was reminded of how it is when you take a photography trip in unfamiliar territory. The landscape is large and foregrounds are often barren. We were lucky to have spring green grass leading up to the formations. I found interesting skies important in my approach and got lucky enough on a few occasions.

Last light falls upon the Badlands looking to the east.

‘Badlands Twilight’ © Denise Bush

The South Dakota sun rises over a Badlands landscape in spring.

‘Badlands Sunrise’ © Denise Bush

A beautiful spring morning in The Badlands National Park depicts how green it can be in the spring

‘Badlands Morning’ © Denise Bush

‘Green Valley’ © Denise Bush

A close-up of one of the yellow mounds in Badlands National Park.

‘Yellow Mounds Close-up’  © Denise Bush

The sun strikes a formation in the Badlands accentuating its jagged contours.

‘Badlands Sidelight’ © Denise Bush

Formations in The Badlands National Park can be smooth and display a variety of colors as seen in this view including some of the ‘Yellow Mounds’.

‘Undulations’ © Denise Bush

The spring green vegetation contrasts with the rough and barren Badlands of South Dakota

‘Spring Contrasts’ © Denise Bush

Grass in the foreground matches the warm colors of a Badlands formation.

‘Solo Peak’ © Denise Bush

Sunset lights up the sky before The Badlands retire for the night.

‘Goodnight Badlands’ © Denise Bush

A closer look at a colorful sunset in The Badlands shows the texture of the rugged rocks against a warm sky.

‘Sunset Close-up’ © Denise Bush

54 Responses to “The Badlands … not so bad!”

  1. Wow! Some postcard worthy photos. Congrats.

  2. 3 Judith B Hazen

    One of my favorite places! Both parents were from South Dakota, so we visited most of the state more than once!

  3. Good work. As someone who’s photographed there, I recognize some of these formations and appreciate how well you rendered them.

  4. Those rock formations are amazing!

  5. 9 Terry Wilson

    Amazing photos! I passed through in September 2011 when I drove out to Calif and it was all dried up. In addition, we were there in the middle of the day. Your sidelit image, “Badlands Sidelight” is outstanding!!

    • Thanks Terry. We would go out in the morning and evening and nap or scout during mid-day. I’m glad you like ‘Badlands Sidelight’ … one of my favorites too.

  6. 11 Deb

    That Sunrise is AMAZING!!
    Beautiful series Denise!

  7. Incredible geology and amazing shots, Denise. It looks a bit like Mordor, doesn’t it? 😉
    Did you see any wildlife there? It looks like there should be bison grazing on all that lush grass.

    • Thank you! We saw some bison grazing on the outskirts of the park. We also spotted some bighorn sheep with lambs on some of the rocky outcrops.

  8. love undulations! And all the rest, too! Wonderful work as always.

  9. Now there’s some landscape I have never seen. Weird and wonderful to see. If there wasn’t grass in some of these I would expect to see Will Robinson, Dr. Smith and the robot make an appearance in one of these scenes. Neat stuff!

    • Yes … the landscape is kind of lunar. I wonder if any space themed movies or shows have been shot there. I’ll take you to Devil’s Tower in a future post … lots of aliens there!

  10. Excellent! Badlands sunrise is my favorite! It was a great trip!!

  11. Great work, Denise, so expertly captured! Love it!

  12. 23 Russ Hunt

    All beautiful!!!

  13. Denise, you make the Badlands look like Goodlands. I particularly like Badland Sunrise and Solo Peak. It’s a trip I have been meaning to take.

    • Thank Linda. We were there the first few days of June which seems like a good time to go. It wasn’t to crowded, it was green, and the temps were pleasant.

  14. 27 Patricia Worley

    Very nice as always! My favorite is Sidelight on the Badlands.

    Sounds like a fun trip!

  15. Love the light you captured in these pictures. Lovely!

  16. 31 Amy

    Great photo captures of the amazing landscape!

  17. Well, I’d never guess by looking at these that it was a challenge for you – they are all excellent. “Sidelight.” “Undulations” and “Spring Contrasts” are fun to see one after the other – what a varied landscape! For some reason Yellow Mounds Closeup and Green Valley are not there – just the title.

    • Thanks for letting me know your favorites. Too bad they didn’t all load. That has happened to me on other blogs and usually if I go away and come back it resolves.

  18. Gorgeous captures, Denise, you captured such beauty!

  19. 37 Virginia

    Your images are always outstanding Denise you’ve captured the Badlands with grace and style I’m sure you were going to do very well on selling a lot of these just beautiful

  20. Skies, light and the dramatic landscape makes for some stunning images. I think you made great use of the barren foreground to create depth and drama.

  21. Looks like you got “lucky” on more than a few occasions.

    • Hi Dave … thanks for visiting and getting caught up with my posts. It’s hard for me to keep up but I plan on doing the same very soon.

  22. Such a beautiful place – yes, doesn’t seem so bad. 😊 The “Sidelight” composition is my absolute fav. I’ve come to really appreciate all the skill, creativity and professional technique that goes into each photo.

  23. Stunning scenery and I love the lighting on these captures!!

  24. We traveled through the badlands in the late 90’s. It is so starkly beautiful, but I don’t think I wopuld like to live there. I love my green too much. The quality of the light changes the colors so much and you have done a great job capturing the different hues. I can’t pick a favorite.

    • Thanks Ruth! The color of the light surely does change the color of the rocks but there were also variations from almost white to the yellow of the the yellow mounds.

  25. Gorgeous images! My favorite is the “Badlands Sidelight”

  26. They look a lot like the remains of our giant pyramids of mud bricks in the Peruvian North Coast. Nature is a fantastic sculptor ^_^

    • Glad you see the similarity too. Did you see the title on the first image? Thank you for visiting!!! 🙂

      • I did, not so bad lands indeed xD. Always is nice to see your chronicles, Denise. Kind regards n.n

      • Oh … whoops … I thought you were commenting on my more recent post where the title was, ‘My Private Pyramid’. 🙂

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