Road Trip Day 2 – Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

Even though Mount Rushmore has been photographed millions of times it is still one of those photos that you must have in your collection. I have been challenging myself to be a better photographer and not to be so lazy. The Bubba’s Garage crew was out of bed before sunrise so I could be at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial at sunrise. Everyone talks about the golden hour (the half hour before and after sunrise) for landscape photography but at Mount Rushmore this is truly a spectacular time. The presidents actually glow from the warm morning light. The added bonus is that there is almost nobody around at 5am! In fact other than the maintenance crew, we had the entire place to ourselves up until about 6:30am when a few other tourists arrived.


The time duration that the light is just right for making great shots is small but long enough to grab several different angles. The photos we posted are just the few of the hundred or so that we photographed. Using a long zoom (Nikkor 28-300mm f3.5-5.6) allowed me to get some great close-ups. We also goofed around a bit and tried some other techniques.


HDR photos don’t have to look all grungy. You can use the technique to enhance just about any photo and still keep things looking realistic. Compare the bottom photo with the previous similar normal shot and you can see that the shadows have much more detail. I used Photomatix Pro 4 to make the two shots above.


It’s rare that you see both Peg and myself in a photo but it really shouldn’t be. By using the timer on my camera I was able to join my lovely wife for one of those “We Were Here” vacation photos.