From the moment I saw them I was in awe! Don’t let the name fool you…the Badlands are far from bad. The peaks and gullies, ancient rock formations and bands of color are mesmerizing and beautiful. Particularly in the golden hour of early morning and late afternoon, when soft low light throws shadows and brings the landscape to life. During those hours the true beauty of the Park reveals itself.
Our trip was in early September and surprisingly the number of tourists and traffic was pretty low. One morning I was up well before sunrise and in the park and to my delight barely saw any other people. I felt like I had the Badlands all to myself, but for the distant howls of a pack of coyotes.
On the first day I felt a bit overwhelmed by what seemed like an endless expanse of ridges, spires, buttes and otherworldly terrain but slowly, as time passed, I began to focus on smaller areas and take in the more subtle aspects of the area and appreciate its detail. We had 3 days…we needed three times that.
In addition to the fascinating landscapes, there is a variety of wildlife in the Badlands. We saw Bison, Bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, jack rabbits and deer, but there are also rattlesnakes, black-footed ferrets and coyotes to name a few, not to mention, many species of birds.
It was a short trip, just 3 days. A good start to many more treks to South Dakota and into the Badlands.
The Angel Oak, named after its previous owners, Justis and Martha Angel, is a live oak tree that grows on Johns Island, just a short drive from Charleston, South Carolina. It is estimated to be at least 400 and possibly up to 1400 years old. Local folklore tells stories of ghosts of former slaves appearing as angels around the tree. Whether you believe that or not, the fact that this tree was standing at the time of both the Revolutionary and the Civil war is just plain cool. It was heavily damaged during Hurricane Hugo but is still growing…so maybe there are some angels watching over her.
Equipment Used : Nikon D610 w/Nikkor AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 G ED VR Lens, Tripod w/ remote shutter release.
A recent visit to Galena, IL. took me by many beautiful Civil War era homes and Mansions. Galena was the residence of Ulysses S. Grant and eight other Civil War generals, as well as several entertainers and politicians. Once one of the most important cities in the state, Galena was a hub on the Mississippi River between St. Louis and St. Paul. It is rich in history and architecture not to mention a multitude of shops and dining choices. Below is a shot of Galena’s Main street where most of the shops and restaurants can be found.
The Belvedere Mansion and Gardens
This house is truly a walk into the history of this great nation during the time leading up to, during and after the Civil War. Ambassador J. Russell Jones served this country from shopkeeper to United States Marshall to Congress and throughout the Civil War as a champion of Ulysses S. Grant from the General’s humble residence in Galena to the seat of power in the White House. Jones remained a true friend to Eliuh Washburne, himself an honored General of the War and later Secretary of State throughout his life. Their communications are well documented and their seeds of friendship began in this very house. Lincoln called upon J. Russell Jones when he wished to know of Grant’s progress; and, the fortunes of war as far away as Paris and Brussels, as well as when Lincoln suspected that Grant might eventually take his place in the White House. From a young man, Jones tenacity for business rewarded him with the finest luxuries that life can afford (including this Victorian mansion) as well as with tragedy. (Taken from the Belvedere’s website)