Typically when I mention the Badlands of South Dakota, the National Park is the first place that’s comes to mind. That’s quickly followed by a comment that goes something like “I drove through there once.” But the term Badlands has a geological definition that extends far beyond the park boundaries. The Badlands National Park and surrounding Buffalo Gap National Grasslands cover approximately 925 square miles and make up the largest protected mixed grassland prairie in the United States. Although it would take a lifetime to explore all of this vast area, it if definitely worth getting off the main road to exploring some of the more remote areas of the Badlands National Parks South Unit, the surrounding Buffalo Gap National Grasslands, and some of the surrounding small towns.
In my many columns for NANPA, I have never repeated a particular location. Until now. As a result of events described below, it seems fitting to add a new insight on a familiar location.
Being a National Park Artist in Residence
Last year, I had the privilege of being chosen by Badlands National Park in South Dakota as their Artist in Residence for the fall season. Many units of the National Park Service offer these opportunities, which appear on https://www.nps.gov/subjects/arts/air.htm. In addition to National Parks, many other units (National Monuments, Scenic Trails, Historical Parks, Battlefields and more) in the system offer such opportunities. The process is very competitive with many artists across a wide spectrum of disciplines—visual, writing, performance, etc.—submitting applications. And the actual judging criteria remains unknowable.
We are accustomed to driving to our national parks. This is definitely not the case with Channel Islands National Park. This little archipelago of a half-dozen rocks jutting out of the Pacific Ocean a few miles off the coast of central California is reachable only by a short boat ride. This rather contradictory blend of remoteness and accessibility offers some unique opportunities for us photographers.
The Channel Islands are called America’s Galapagos – and for good reason. A wide variety of birds and pinnipeds are in plentiful supply. Western gulls find safety here. Continue reading →
Badlands National Park is a terrific destination for landscape and wildlife photographers. It is the location of my June 2017 photo workshop, co-lead by Sandy Zelasko. The park is a convenient hour drive east from Rapid City on Interstate 90. North of the Pinnacles Entrance lies the town of Wall where you can find accommodations and other amenities. Near Cedar Pass, at the eastern end of the park, there are campgrounds, cabins, and a few other places to overnight.Continue reading →