Rugged Sunrise

Door Trail, Badlands National Park, South Dakota

One of the routines that many landscape photographers perform is to scout a location before they shoot it. There are times that this isn't possible and your only hope is that it works out. This was the case on the first sunrise shoot in Badlands. We had checked in to the hotel rather late in the day and weren't able to do any scouting. Doing some research on the web, I discovered that there was a half-mile trail that supposedly led to a sunrise location. I decided to give it a try since it was only a few miles from the hotel, and would make my getting up before dawn a little more manageable.

The location was the Deer Trail on the eastern side of the park. I was a little surprised that the trail was actually a half-mile boardwalk. I could see that location was going to be fantastic, but, in order to get the right compositions, a bit of climbing was necessary. I noticed only one other photographer at the location so I had the run of the area. 

The location turned out to be amazing as the rock formations were spread out almost 180 degrees. As the sun began to rise, they took on that great light and began to glow orange. So much for scouting (sometimes it is better to be lucky than good).