A couple of weeks ago my family and I took a road trip to the Black Hills in South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore. I visited that area when I was a little kid and don’t remember much of anything. Mostly what I remember is getting a piggy bank with the four presidents’ heads on it. My wife and kids had never been. We decided that it would be a great travel destination, so we hitched up the RV trailer and went.
Living in the Salt Lake City, Utah, metro area affords us the opportunity to see all sorts of great places. It’s closely located to many iconic sites of the American West. We can get to most anywhere west of the Great Plains within two days of driving, and many places can be reached within one day. To get to the Black Hills required two days on the road, although, if we weren’t pulling the trailer and really stretched ourselves, we might have been able to make it in one day.
Approaching the Wyoming boarder the landscape changes significantly. Even though you cross the Continental Divide several times while traversing the Rocky Mountains, the scenery becomes rather boring. While it is quite clear that these are not the same Rocky Mountains that John Denver penned songs about, there is a certain beauty in the emptiness, especially with building thunderstorms around.
We spent the night in Alcova, Wyoming, which is a tiny community along the North Platte River. It’s also the halfway point between our house and Mount Rushmore. This is where the scenery starts to become interesting again. The hills slowly become more green and trees begin to appear here and there, eventually becoming thick pine forest in South Dakota.
On the second day of our trip we arrived at our campsite north of Custer and south of Hill City in time to cook dinner and enjoy a campfire. Everyone was glad to be out of the car and at our destination. The fresh pine air felt great to breathe in. We spent the evening settling in and relaxing, as we had plenty of things planned for the next two days.
The only pictures that I captured on the drive out was at the camp in Alcova, Wyoming, and at a gas stop in Edgemont, South Dakota. Mostly I just wanted to “get there” so I kept pushing forward instead of stopping for photography. I saw plenty along the way that would have been worth the time to capture, so maybe on another trip through the area I will take my time. Once settled in at our camp in South Dakota I pulled out the camera again and captured some more images.
All of the photographs in this article were captured using a Fujifilm X-Pro2 and Meike 35mm lens. I really like this combination a lot. On this trip the lens was brand new so I was still figuring out how to best use it. I had other gear with me, but on these first two days I stuck to just this one camera and lens, more for the simplicity of it than anything else. These are all camera-made JPEGs, mostly Classic Chrome and Acros, although Velvia, PRO Neg. Std, and PRO Neg. Hi were also used. Enjoy!