Monday, October 11, 2010

Mount Rushmore and the Errant Polarizing Filter

Moon and Mount Rushmore

After visiting the relatives in North Dakota, we headed out to return home. Our plan was to go down to South Dakota to visit Mount Rushmore and the South Dakota Badlands. The problem with that plan was that there is not a direct route from northeastern North Dakota to southwestern South Dakota. All of the roads in the Dakotas generally run North-South or East-West. There are precious few diagonal NE-SW / NW-SE trending roads, let alone interstate highways.

The trip took a full day, but we did get to see quite a bit of both Dakotas' various landscapes. They are not as completely flat as you might think. There are distinct regions with their own character that I wish I could have spent more time exploring.

More after the jump.

We spent a couple of nights in Rapid City, South Dakota. Our one full day there was spent visiting Mount Rushmore and some of the Black Hills region. The Mount Rushmore monument has changed since I last visited as a teenager. I remember parking, going up to a single viewing overlook, and then leaving. Since that time the National Park Service has greatly improved the visitors' area with museums, a cafeteria, gift shops (of course), a large amphitheater, and a boardwalk trail that takes you closer to the monument. The trail affords different views and angles then you see in the typical postcard stereotype image. While the trail is not really strenuous, there are stairs on it which make you realize how out of shape you are ... i.e. I need to walk up more stairs. Visitors can also rent a self-guided, recorded tour device near the park's entrance. However, ee didn't rent one as we just wanted to experience the park for ourselves.

This photograph was taken near the "Sculptor's Studio" museum which is along the tour trail. I am always a sucker for daylight moon images as it speaks to my sense of irony having the moon visible during the day. I used a polarizing filter to darken the sky enough to accent the moon above the Presidents' sculptures. Further on down the trail I heard my polarizing filter fall off the lens and clatter down the rocks beneath the boardwalk trail. It didn't break, but it was well beyond my reach. Lesson learned: Don't turn the polarizing filter in the direction which loosens it.

Keep shooting.


Pixel Peeper said...

Better to lose a polarizing filter than a lens!

Love the picture - getting my own shot of that is definitely on my bucket list.

Craig Lee said...

The time we were there was quite nice. It wasn't too hot and the crowds were not very large. Definitely recommend it if you get a chance to go out that way.