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2015 South Dakota and Devils Tower Wyoming

September 2015

I decided I had better try to go with a group of like minded people and joined a group of photographers in South Dakota. I had concluded that going with a "guide" was the way to go to avoid so much scouting for just the right spot to be standing when the sun rises or sets. All in all a pretty good decision that I still believe in to this day.

A few of the Group decided to show up a few days early and I joined them. It was the annual Buffalo Roundup in Custer State Park South of Rapid City, South Dakota. While a lot of waiting around was involved and the hill side was crowded it is hard to describe the sight when those buffalo first appeared running over the hill toward us. It is said to be quite an honor to be one of the horse riders that get to participate. Then the trucks appear. Pickups. Helping to keep the buffalo in check. It seems that a buffalo can run faster and longer than a horse. It first appeared that all was will in hand when the herd split in half and about 500 buffalo decided to not follow the script. It took quite a few efforts to get them back toward the pens they were to be captured in. The purpose of the annual round up is for the animals to be given a checkup and to cull the herd to keep its size in check. Buffalo are sold to Native Americans and others. A day well spent.

Joining the group we headed out in vans on predetermined routes for 6 days to explore Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, The Black Hills, Devils Tower in Wyoming and points in between. South Dakota has so much to offer.

As you view my photographs from the trip you will note that I discovered HDR (High Dynamic Range) software that combines different exposures taken of the same scene. You see, the human eye has a much wider range when it comes to viewing a scene than does a camera. I call it my Garish Phase..... Lots of wild colors. Too much of a good thing isn't necessarily good. Calls for taking "bracketed" shots of same scene. Normal, overexposed and underexposed such that the software can combine them. Of course, once again, I over did it. I bracketed the hell out of South Dakota. Still not "getting" it.. Need to capture the shot in the field, not look for it after the fact by reviewing 3000 photos at home.

This is the trip I first started to learn how to use Adobe Photoshop Essentials to combine and modify photos.

All in all a good trip but in retrospect this was not the group to go with. It was a group of very competent photographers and I needed to be taught. They were all great guys but they were there to get their shots. Questions would be answered, of course but I didn't know enough to even ask a good one. I wasn't to learn this until a few more trips with them,

Still learning, trying to find what kind of photographer I want to be when I grow up. Have acquired a good Gitzo tripod and a new 24-105 Canon lens. It made a difference.

So take a look. Click the photo below to be taken directly to the trip gallery,

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