Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness in New Mexico is an HDR Heaven

Bisti Texture

Bisti Texture

If there was EVER a PERFECT place to shoot photos for HDR it is Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness in NW New Mexico aka “The Bisti Badlands” another “gem” of the National Landscape Conservation System. I had seen photos of this otherworldly place many times but wasn’t sure where it was or if I could find it – I was specifically looking for a unique geological feature called “The Egg Factory” – the rocks in this one small area look like huge cracked eggs on Mars….or one of those other planets whirling around in our solar system but certainly NOT THIS planet! I had to see this place for myself and of course, I HAD to shoot photos of it.

 

Bistiscape

Bistiscape

I searched online and found a few blogs and websites with somewhat nebulous directions to this unique phenomenon and it seemed that finding it would be a true Easter Egg Hunt…I mean I did go in April not long after Easter. I sure wish the Easter Bunny was at Bisti to guide me.  Essentially the directions that I found online went something like this; drive 25 miles south of Farmington, look for a marker, disregard “No Access” sign,  drive to the end of a dirt road, look for tire tracks, find barbed wire fence, follow said barbed wire fence east, turn left at the wash, then south then do the hokey pokey and turn yourself around and then jump up and down and rub your tummy while chewing gum…….oh my gosh…really…….is this how the Easter Bunny finds things????? Wow – that Easter Bunny must have one heck of a GPS – I on the other hand do not have a GPS….I know, you’re shocked right? Well I DO have a VERY good sense of direction and have never needed my own GPS….usually I am with someone who has one or we just don’t need it.

Bisti Shrooms

Bisti Shrooms

Anyway, the point of this blog post, and there is one but as always I might need a GPS to get to it. My point is to share with you some of the HDR photos that I shot while at Bisti. I do most of my photo posting on my Facebook page and then get comments like; “Can you show us the “original” photos that you used to make this HDR?”. The format on Facebook is not really set up to do that so I thought I would write a blog post and show you the photos that I used to create “Bisti Shrooms”, which is the photo that seemed to get more requests than the others.

Basically, I shoot 3 photos 2 stops apart for my HDRs – I use Photomatix HDR software to process them and then do my final touches in Lightroom 3 – I keep my work flow simple and fast since I would much rather be out shooting then sitting at my computer where I spend a ridiculous about of time already. Below are the 3 photos that I used to create “Bisti Shrooms” HDR Photograph:

 

 

Photo #1: 

Photo #2:

Photo #3:

 

Of course you can shoot more than 3 photos but I have and probably always will just shoot 3 for my HDRs – if it ain’t broke why fix it, right? The diversity of the landscape out at Bisti is amazing – we walked through dry cracked areas, tall hoodoos, big boulders, magical looking mushroom forms, tiny rock fields…..you name it..this is an awesome place to shoot those magical HDR photos and people will wonder where the heck you were. Just tell them you took the Space Shuttle into orbit for a few days!

If you are just learning about HDR and need some guidance, I offer an online HDR course entitled, “Turn your Photos into Fine Art” – you can take it at your convenience and it also comes with my new companion eBooklet; “Transform your Photos into Stunning Works of Art” – in my 112 minute class you will learn the basics of how to apply Photomatix HDR to your photos – here are the details:

Here’s what you get: click HERE to sign up! 

    • My popular 43 minute “Turn Your Photos into Fine Art” Instructional HDR Video Class
    • My NEW 23 page companion eBooklet; “Transform your Photos into Stunning Works of Art” (sent via email after log in)
    • Your personal 30 day access code emailed to you
    • 2 BONUS videos in the class – “HDR Shooting Techniques” & “What’s in the Bag?”
    • FREE Photomatix HDR Software Trial Download
    • A 15% OFF DISCOUNT CODE to purchase the Photomatix HDR Software Full License
  • Below is my newest “Cheyenne’s VERY Cool Life” video episode that I shot at Bisti – it will also show you the “otherworldly – ness” of this amazing place

 

Bisti Tumbleweed

Bisti Tumbleweed

In closing, I never did find “The Egg Factory”, I know I was close though after rereading some other directions and posts. I kind of always think of my 1st trip to any new location as a scouting trip anyway – so now I know. The light was getting low and to be honest I was concerned that I would not find the way back to my car as there are no trail markers and the landscape can be very disorienting out here – it seemed to change with every step. Back to the car we went and along the way I did find some diverse and beautiful places to shoot photos in my short time at Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness. Next time I will be back either with the Easter Bunny or a GPS and I will find those eggs.  Something to look forward to for sure.

I tell you HOW to get to this otherworldly place in my “Cheyenne’s Top 10 Photo Locations” eGuidebook – New Mexico – just click HERE to order your handy guide. You don’t want to go to New Mexico WITHOUT IT!

Let me know if you ever make it out to Bisti…..I’d love to see YOUR HDR photos – Happy Hunting – Cheyenne

 

The End

The End

 

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2 Comments. Leave new

James MacIsaac
August 13, 2012 9:05 pm

Hello Cheyenne, Beautiful photos and great hdr. I like that you don’t overdue it in the hdr process. I am heading down to bisti from seattle in a few weeks to take some photos. I am wondering if you could tell me where the dry cracked mud picture was taken in the badlands. Not sure if it would even be possible to give me directions but figured i would ask. I want to shoot that. I would love to see your other photos. Do you have a website?
Thank you,
James

Reply

Hi James – thank you for your message…..and you are VERY right….giving directions to any place in Bisti is virtually impossible…just park and wander – I do have a chapter in my NEW “Cheyenne’s Top 10 Photo Locaitons eGuidebook – New Mexico” on Bisti – it is a very cool and very odd place at the same time. The book is available from my blog – it is a PDF that can be downloaded to your iPad or smart phone for easy travel – or some print it out too…..the old fashioned way! Here’s the link – http://www.cheyennerouse.com/books

My website (Online Gallery) is http://gallery.ancientlightphotos.com/ – thanks and happy travels!
Cheyenne

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