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Early light of dawn at Badlands National Park

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Meg and I were on our way to Montana in early July, 2000 to do some photography there. We watched a beautiful sunset as we were driving along I - 90 heading west through South Dakota. The weather looked like it might be promising for some real nice morning light, so we drove into the Badlands National Park and spent the night there. We had visited the park for several days a few years before, so I had a good idea of where I wanted to be in the morning to set up to photograph a 360 degree panorama of the unique landscape.

We set the alarm for 4:30 AM so I could be in place for the 5:15 AM sunrise. I found the spot, and set up with plenty of time to watch all the shades of colors change on the clouds in the sky and on the clay surface of the Badlands, from the blues of pre-dawn, to the glowing reds and pinks of sunrise. Lightning occasionally brightened parts of the sky, and rain showers fell on the distant plains. The sun shone briefly on the landscape before being hidden by the clouds.

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