Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota

Bridal Veil Falls. Spearfish Canyon, SD ©

Bridal Veil Falls. Spearfish Canyon, SD ©David Gardner

October 7

Every time we go through South Dakota, we make a point of visiting Spearfish Canyon. The road is a National Scenic Byway and so beautiful this time of year. The last time we came through in 2006, we caught the weather and color perfectly. We were there on a weekend that year and because it was so nice, the road was very crowded with folks taking advantage of one of the last warm days of the year. When this road is busy, it is difficult to photograph. All the turn-outs are occupied, cars are zipping by and there is simply no peace.

For us today, it was nearly deserted. Of course, the temperature is in the 30’s and it is cloudy with the promise of snow soon. But there is nothing better than having an area all to yourself and this was the case for us. We had heard the color here was past peak, but on arrival, we discovered quite the opposite was true. This would have been a perfect day if it wasn’t for the overcast conditions. While it does allow for much more even lighting, everything was a bit dull. I’ll take it however.

Bridal Veil Falls and Birch. ©David Gardnr

Bridal Veil Falls and Birch. ©David Gardnr

Spearfish Creek, SD.  ©David Gardner

Spearfish Creek, SD. ©David Gardner

The canyon is a challenge to photograph in. The walls are steep and getting to the creek is a slippery endeavor. I am happy with what I shot today. Not the greatest work ever – but nice. The waterfall there, Bridal Veil, was flowing nicely, but it is difficult to get a good angle from both the road and at the base of it. I think my best shot was of a birch branch in front of the falls. Flowing water like this is one of the biggest cliches imaginable, but it is one that still compels me emotionally enough to continue making these kinds of images. True, they often don’t make it into my portfolio, but for me, nothing conveys motion in water better than this technique.

Hillside. Spearfish Canyon, SD.

Hillside. Spearfish Canyon, SD. ©David Gardner

Birch Trees in Snow  ©David Gardner

Birch Trees in Snow ©David Gardner

Near the top of the canyon, the tress had passed peak and snow remained on the ground. I liked the tangled, layered look of the bare branches and trunks in the snow. Not sure the photographs I made here really captured the feel of what I experienced, but the white on white appeals to me.

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