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Behind The Photo: Main Street, Buffalo Gap, South Dakota


Behind The Photo: Main Street, Buffalo Gap, South Dakota

A Storm over Main Street.Buffalo Gap, South Dakota, Main Street & 2nd St. The buildinsg from left to right were a grocery store & gas station, middle store was a barber shop and the building on the right was the railroad agent’s building. A local said you can always tell the railroad buildings because they were usually the nicest. Photographed Aug. 1st, 2014.

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.

Main Street Buffalo Gap, South Dakota. Taken just a few minutes after the above photo.

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.