Photographers come to Bisti Badlands to photograph its fascinating landscape. The entire area is a hoodoo heaven. One can spend weeks in there to photograph those rock formations and still have something fresh to shoot. On top of my list, it is a place called the Egg Factory, where you can find eroded boulders laying on the valley floor like cracked dinosaur eggs.
I wrote about logistics of getting into Bisti Badlands in my previous post Bisti Badlands (1) – Logistics. But finding the Egg Factory presents a unique challenge. Those eggs are just about two feet tall. You cannot see them until you are within 100 yards. Fortunately, there is GPS nowadays. The coordinates for the Egg Factory is N36°16’02” W108°13’26”. Park your car at south parking lot, mark your GPS location – you will need it to get back, and hike about 2 miles along the valley. The Egg Factory is at foot of the ridge on your right.
When I first saw the dinosaur eggs, the excitement was beyond what I can describe. But after the initial excitement worn off, a serious landscape photographer will start to think about how to photograph these eggs. That was when I realized that finding them was only part of the challenge. The eggs sit on the valley floor with ridges to all directions. While the midday harsh light is not photographer’s favorite, the golden hours are not exactly golden. If I have to choose, the sunset is more favorable than sunrise, simply because the ridges towards west are much further away. But you have to work quickly to finish up in a few minutes before the golden light goes away, and to start hiking out of there.
My favorite light is half an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunrise. This is when the rocks glow with colors while the valley floor reflects blue from the sky. As a bonus, I don’t have to deal with the long shadows during golden hours. Just set my camera on the tripod, shoot until I can’t see light. Sweet! But … there is always more challenge. You have to prepare for a long hike under complete darkness if you do so. I wouldn’t even think about it without a handheld GPS and a bright head lamp. The other option is to camp in there, which presents yet a different set of challenges. I described my camping experience in Bisti Badlands (3) – The Sky is My Blanket.