Sage Creek Wilderness
South Dakota

Sage Creek Wilderness

20×24 prints are $1,500
30×40 prints are $3,000

The Badlands of South Dakota are beautiful but austere. While they’re composed of soft, pastel materials, at the same time, they’re almost impassible and unforgiving to the inexperienced.

This scene was photographed with the last rays of the setting sun. I saw this scene only a few minutes before sunset. Since the 8x10” camera takes time to set up, Ruth and I had to run to this precise viewpoint with all the camera equipment and work as fast as possible before the light faded. Even after we were set up, we had to wait for a lull in the almost constant wind, so that the camera would not move and blur the image.

After exposing one sheet of film, I quickly inserted the darkslide, flipped the filmholder over and cocked the shutter to make a backup exposure but the light had already faded and the image was gone.

One of the things that makes this image special to me is the quality of the sunlight as it strikes the land. The golden light has a tactile quality to it. If you squint, you can almost imagine the warm, golden light laying inches thick on the ground. Visually, the contrast and shapes of the sunlit areas interact in a remarkable way with the soft pastel hues and shapes of the shadowed areas. It reminds me of the light which brings life to the world itself.

Format: Large (horizontal)
Location: South Dakota
Reference key: scw