Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Insider Tips to Photography in Spearfish Canyon

Photo Courtesy Les Heiserman - Path Les Traveled

Photography is a popular interest in a place as beautiful as Spearfish Canyon. With the number of photographers and visitors with cameras flocking to the Canyon, we thought it was only appropriate to get some insider tips from a few local Spearfish photographers. Here is what they had to say:

Dan Contonis

VS - How long have you been interested in photography?

Dan - My interest in photography goes back to when I was ten years old (61 years ago) when I got my first Kodak Duoflex camera.

VS - What type of camera do you use now?

Dan - I use mostly all Pentax equipment and currently have a Pentax K-5 Digital SLR and use predominantly a Tamron 18-250 zoom lens.

VS - What is your favorite subject to shoot?

Dan - Pretty much anything in the Canyon or the Black Hills in general.

VS - Where is your favorite place in Spearfish Canyon?

Dan - My favorite is Roughlock Falls, with Spearfish Falls holding a very close second place.

VS - What is your favorite season in Spearfish Canyon?

Dan - There are two...First is winter because of the effects that can be captured with snow in the pines. Then second, of course, would be fall.

VS - Do you have any insider tips for photographers visiting from out of the area?

Dan - Lighting is an issue in the Canyon, because the only time the sun shines all the way to the creek level is between the hour before and the hour after noon. I, however, have gotten some of my best shots on overcast days when there is no direct sunlight, and in particular, the morning after some precipitation has fallen when the fog hangs in the trees.

Photo Courtesy Dan Contonis

Les Heiserman

VS - How long have you been interested in photography?

Les - I've taken photos for awhile, but they were mostly snapshots. I guess four years ago I got more serious about cameras and composition.

VS - What type of camera do you use?

Les - I have a Canon, with some different lenses. I like landscapes, and my 10-22 lens works pretty good for those.

VS - Where is your favorite place in Spearfish Canyon?

Les - There are so many places in the Canyon, and they change with the time of day and season of the year. One of my favorite spots is a place I call "the bend", that spot in Little Spearfish Canyon, between Spearfish Canyon Lodge and Roughlock Falls where the road makes a bend. There's an old beaver dam there.

VS - What is your favorite season in Spearfish Canyon?

Les - When the snow cools my face when I'm working up a sweat snowshoeing, winter is my favorite season. When the pasque flowers are blooming and get covered by a spring snow, spring is my favorite season. When the sun hits the trees and the smell of pine is in the air, summer is my favorite season. When the wind releases the leaves changing color and they swirl around me, fall is my favorite season.

VS - Do you have any insider tips for photographers visiting from out of the area?

Les - Photographers know the best light is when the sun rises and when the sun sets, but the Canyon changes that. Why not go right now, take your chances, and keep your eyes open!

Photo Courtesy Les Heiserman - Path Les Traveled

Mark Kazmer

VS - How long have you been interested in photography?

Mark - I have loved photography from the time I knew what a camera did. I can remember playing with my brother's Polaroid when I was in kindergarten and taking pictures for show and tell.

VS - What type of camera do you use now?

Mark - I  use a Canon 60d, and I have several Tamron lenses and one Canon macro lens. My favorite lens is the 10-24mm wide angle lens at low angles. It gives any area a whole new perspective.

VS - What is your favorite subject to shoot?

Mark - That's a hard one. I would have to say sunsets, but any interesting landscape or wildlife subject.

VS - Where is your favorite place in Spearfish Canyon?

Mark - I love getting down by the water and trying to capture the tranquility the Creek brings. At the right time, it also acts as a great light reflector.

VS - What is your favorite season in Spearfish Canyon?

Mark - There is NO bad season in Spearfish Canyon - it is a photographer's dream! However, my mom always spoke of the fall colors back home in Massachusetts, so the vivid beauty of a late September weekend in the Canyon is pure heaven to me.

VS - Do you have any insider tips for photographers visiting from out of the area?

Mark - There are plenty of good shots from your car, but pull over, get out, and get on a trail. From about 2pm to 4pm on any given September afternoon, you can get some amazing lighting. If you are shooting the colors at that time, I have had surprising success using settings I would normally use for sporting events. But the best tip I can give is keep moving. I have taken a shot and then moved five feet to the left or right and taken a shot that ended up ten times better than the first one. Fairly ordinary advice, but I have never been in an area that it pertained to more. Grab your camera and head to the Canyon - it's a phenomenal canvas for any photographer.

Photo Courtesy Mark Kazmer

Thanks to these local photographers for the insider tips! Don't forget your camera when you plan your trip to Spearfish Canyon.

- Cortney Slaight of Visit Spearfish, Inc.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Camping Adventures Around Spearfish

Camping season is now well underway! Regardless of what kind of experience you are looking for, Spearfish has no shortage of campgrounds to explore all summer long. Grab your sleeping bags, fishing poles, and swimming suits and choose the perfect campground for you!

Chris' Camp
Chris' offers a full service campground including tent and RV sites, as well as cabin camping. This campground is great for the whole family! With not only providing campsites, but also a petting zoo, THREE heated pools, rec room, basketball area, and playground. NO mosquitos!!

The campground has been family owned and operated and providing personalized service for 30 years. Guests have the comfort of being close to town, but also in close driving distance to many big attractions.

Other amenities include: campground store, picnic pavilion, free wireless internet access, laundry, and recreation room.

Photos courtesy of Chris' Camp

Elkhorn Ridge RV Resort & Golf Club
This upscale resort is perfect for any occasion! The recent addition of an event center is great for family reunions, weddings, receptions, retreats, and corporate events. Elkhorn Ridge offers fully furnished cabins as well as RV and tent spaces. The development is located on the 5000 acre historic Frawley Ranch. There are buffalo herds as well as historic tours; great for all the traveling history buffs!

You will never have to leave as the resort offers an outdoor pool, two hot tubs, tennis and basketball courts, and horseshoe pits. The entire resort is paved so don't forget your bikes! Campers can also enjoy breakfast or lunch at the Corner Cafe, shop at the grocery store, buy gifts, or purchase alcoholic beverages at the liquor store.

Other amenities include: 9-hole championship golf course, dog park, free wi-fi, cable television, three shower houses, two laundry facilities, and fire pits.

Photos courtesy of Elkhorn Ridge RV Resort

Iron Creek Lake Campground
Here, you get the luxury of camping in peace and quiet right on the lakefront. Campers can enjoy campfires or even a picnic right on the beach. Both RV and tent sites have the option for electricity, and there is a store/cafe right on site! Guests also have the option to stay in one of the twelve rustic cabins.

At Iron Creek, guests get the chance to go hiking, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boating, and more; a great opportunity for the outdoor enthusiasts! There is a trail circling the lake that is about one mile in length. Dogs are welcome, but make sure to bring a leash!

A Random Header Image
Photos courtesy of Iron Creek Lake Store & Campground

Spearfish City Campground
The Spearfish City Campground is centrally located and within walking distance from downtown Spearfish and other city attractions! There are 62 sites that you may reserve, open all year round with full hook up sites available.

Enjoy the beautiful shaded area, or wander down to Spearfish Creek, one of the best trout fishing streams in the Black Hills. Take a walk or bike down the 5.3-mile Spearfish Recreation Trail that runs along the campground, or have a family get together under the large sheltered picnic area. Also, located right next to the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery, the whole family is certain to have a good time!

Other amenities include: restrooms, showers, pop and ice machines, pay phone, internet access, picnic tables, grills, and sewer dump station.

Photos courtesy of Spearfish Parks & Recreation

Spearfish KOA Campground
"All camping styles" is this campground's motto. A family friendly establishment, Spearfish KOA Campground is close to all the activities an outdoorsman needs including golfing, hiking, biking, and trout fishing.

Spearfish KOA offers 50 pull thru camping sites, a pavilion and meeting room, as well as delicious homemade food on site! You can satisfy your sweet tooth with all you can eat ice cream and fresh homemade cinnamon rolls all summer long! This is a great place to bring friends as there is a swimming pool. It is also a rubber-stamp and scrapbook haven!

Other amenities include: tour shuttle, snack bar, wi-fi, and cable television.

Photos courtesy of Spearfish KOA

- Erin Budmayr of Visit Spearfish, Inc.