Our family/maternity session with Diane and Andrew is one we will truly never forget, for oh so many reasons! Steven was absolutely ecstatic when Diane reached out about doing a family portrait session for them, especially since she’s expecting a new member of the family soon! Now the trick was, they live in South Dakota, so Steven assumed they were visiting Orlando on vacation, but that was not the case. They actually wanted to have Steven travel out to SD for their session; not only that, but they wanted portraits in Badlands National Park, one of several national parks still showcasing starry nights after dark!! Diane wanted to capture the family around the park, but especially under the stars, which Steven absolutely LOVES to do with our Starry Night Sessions, helping raise awareness about the issues around light pollution!
Steven arrived in South Dakota on the day of the session, and by circumstance, was able to bring his dad too, which made this trip even more special! We met the family at the Conata Basin Overlook within Badlands National Park, and got started with maternity portraits there while the sunlight was gorgeous. This particular stop along 240 showcases some gorgeous color in the natural mounds, with shades yellow, green, and red! We were honestly so thankful that Steven’s dad joined, as we needed someone to watch over their daughter in some of the photos of just Mom/Dad! They were instantly naturals in front of the camera, like they’ve done this before! :) We also have to say, it was very apparent that their daughter was going to be the star of this show all weekend LOL! We also had to take a step back to admire how absolutely gorgeous the weather was in the park. The first thing we noticed upon getting out the vehicle, was just how quiet it was, with the wind providing the only sounds; absolutely amazing!
After a good variety of portraits with all three members of the family, we hopped back into our vehicles and proceeded over to the Pinnacles Overlook, which provided an amazing view of the landscape, and a completely open horizon, which we kept in mind for later…With what sunlight we had left, we captured more portraits, different groupings of the family, and their daughter just being a complete goof :). Once it started turning twilight and the chilly winds were starting to get very cold, we called it and headed into the town of Wall for a delicious and filling dinner!
Whenever we travel for these Starry Night Sessions, we plan a multi-night adventure, in case of weather or delays. Since we’re traveling out of state for these, we like to have a backup plan to make sure couples are getting the most of their investment in these trips. Unfortunately for us, South Dakota planned a long rainy day for us on day two, so we instead played tourist to some of the other areas of SD, like Mt Rushmore, the City of Deadwood, and Needles Highway! However, day three was absolutely gorgeous, so we reconvened with Diane and Andrew, and met back in Badlands for some different scenery, and prepared for our Starry Night Session that evening! We spent some time on the east side of the park to take advantage of another gorgeous sunset, and then made our way back to Pinnacles Overlook to setup for our dark sky portraits! Andrew snuck in some quick sandwiches for us before twilight was over, and then it was portrait time! We have to say, the entire family was absolutely AMAZING at holding still and bearing the chilly weather that surrounded us quickly! Something that was so special to us, we all got to watch the moonset, not the sunset, but the MOONset. The crescent moon turned into a small red candle flame before it set on the horizon. It was quite a special moment to share with the family, but in a way that’s what these Starry Night Sessions are about; the opportunity to see nature in a different way, a…natural…way, unlike anything near civilization!
This adventure was simply unforgettable, and we can’t thank the Knutson’s enough for taking us with them! Diane does a lot of valuable work for the International Dark Sky Association, helping to protect our nights from light pollution, and we are so happy to have them in our lives and as our clients. We made sure their daughter went home with one of our dark-sky children’s books as well, we’re sure she’ll love the story! Thanks again guys for booking us and for making such a big, positive impact for our 🌎! Cheers to dark, starry nights!!
Tags: badlands national park, international dark sky association, Maternity Session Photographers, milky way galaxy, milky way wedding photographer, national park service, night sky maternity photographer, starry night session