Theodore Roosevelt National Park, SD

When I first saw Patrick Gerlach’s images of this iconic national park, I knew I had to go there. I wanted those photos! I met the photographer at an art show. He was a kind and gentle man who loved to teach and had a great sense of humor. I knew that I could learn so much from him. He introduced me to this area of badlands that was unlike anything that I had seen before. The park itself is surrounded by mountains and characterized by the crested buttes which look like flattop mountains. Large areas of prairies are found here and the Little Missouri River runs through the park. The land in the park was so varied and beautiful that I could spend a week here just taking pictures of the landscape but then there was the wildlife! I saw herds of American Bison, Mule Deer, White-tailed deer, and Elk, Pronghorns, and also Coyotes, Prairie Dogs, Badgers, and the occasional Rattlesnake. There’s also so many species of birds here including Golden Eagles. I’ve been to Theodore Roosevelt National Park five times but have never been able to photograph this elusive bird of prey. The big draw for me are the herds of beautiful wild horses. Years ago, Morgan and Appaloosa horses were introduced to improve the breeding stock and resulting in a healthy and strong population of these animals that are so photogenic. The park isn’t done with me yet. This place has stayed with me and I have to go back!