Image No. 3 and No. 4

TRIP POST
Evening Light, Bisti Badlands, NM

Image No. 3 – Evening Light, Bisti Badlands, NM  © jj raia

Image No. 3
Of course, not all photography occurs at sunrise and it was at sunset that this image was taken at the Bisti, although this was certainly not the location I had in mind. In my research of the place, I had learned about something called the Bisti Wings and wanted to photograph them at sunset and set out to find them. However, when I did finally find them, (it’s not so easy to find things in the maze that is the Bisti, even with GPS) they were across a small ravine that would have taken a very long time to get around and from the looks of them, might be a bit dangerous to even try to get into a good position to photograph them, and then work my way around again to get back to the car in the near darkness. I opted to try to find an alternative and avoid possible injury which certainly looked like a distinct possibility if I pursued that image.

Waterways, Bisti Badlands, NM

Image No. 4 – Waterways, Bisti Badlands, NM  © jj raia

So I stumbled around the area and found the “Rock Garden”, a large flat area of round rocks scattered around, but it didn’t seem to have the pop I was looking for. I knew I had a long way back to the car, and as the sun neared the horizon, I continued my search at least in that direction. But I never found something I felt strongly about and took a few ‘abstract’ shots of the textures and dry waterways that really embody the Bisti as I headed back.
But just as the sun was close to setting, I saw some red rock and was immediately drawn to it and as I got closer found that the pattern was just about perfect for the light. The light was streaming in from the west lighting the rocks in a semi-circular shape leading to a bush in the middle distance and then leading the eye to a butte also lit from the side. All I had to do was set the tripod up to align each element and just trip the shutter. And what did I say to myself as I was looking through the viewfinder? “No one will believe that these rocks are this red, they’ll think it’s all Photoshop”. There is nothing like seeing vibrantly red rock being side lit by the setting sun and I was completely in awe of the scene. I just kept tripping the shutter until only the nearby bush was lit, but the magic had already happened when the small hillside of red rock was lit.
As I’ve said many times here, the decisions you make on where to go or where to wander will naturally influence what you photograph. If I had been determined to get the shot of the “Wings” maybe I would have been successful or maybe fell making the attempt. But if I had chosen that path, I most definitely would not have gotten the shot of the red rock here.

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