Sometimes I’m Just Lucky
Every now and again you just luck out. There’s a part of me that wishes Buffalo Gap, South Dakota had slot machines at the local bar when I was there, because I’m sure I’d have hit the jackpot.
After leaving the Badlands Nation Park and driving across a flat section of Western South Dakota known as the “table top”, I pulled into a town I knew nothing about except that it was on my path to Wyoming. When you see a set up like this one, still standing on Main Street in a small town, you need to pull over and get some photos of course.
As I parked I knew I had a few minutes of good light with an amazing backdrop, as storm clouds started to roll my way. Normally I like to shoot some digital shots before I make my way to the 4×5 film camera, but Mother Nature wasn’t giving me any extra time.
Just as I managed to set everything up and metered my exposure for the shot, a giant tanker truck came rumbling down the dirt road. I almost took the shot to get it in before the truck stirred up a bunch of dust, but I still wasn’t completely set up, so it looked like I was going to have to wait for the dust to settle and hope the sun was still out.
Now I’m sure many of you have never been on a movie, or TV set, but a common practice is to have the blacktop watered down. It gives you a darker color street and helps with the look of the video. They usually do this with a tanker truck that has sprinklers on the rear. To my amazement this truck coming by was a county truck spraying water on the road to help keep the dust down in town. I think I may have shouted “Yes!” really loud when I realized what good fortune I had.
The end result is I have one of my all-time favorite photos now and a new favorite town. Buffalo Gap is actually one of the few places I have visited more than once in my 25 years of traveling.
Want to have a copy of Buffalo Gap, South Dakota hanging on your wall? You can help support the Lost Americana project and get a signed print of this photo at the same time. Just follow this link and pick out the size you want.