My Image Reflected in the Eye of a Meadowlark: Badlands National Park

The feature image was a surprise to me. It was not until I started editing the image did I discover that I was reflected in a bird’s eye.

Feature Image Details

I pulled off the side of the road to photograph Prairie Dog colonies near the Prairie Wind Overlook. A curious Meadowlark flew up near the car, perhaps 10 feet away. At first, it was in bright sunlight, not a good spot. I wanted the Meadowlark to hop into the shade and it did.

I already had my longest lens attached. I grabbed a few shots and it flew away. It may have been on the lookout for free peanuts that people toss to the Prairie Dogs.

What Would I Have Done Different?

I always ask myself what I could have done better. In this case, I could have had the car trunk closed to make the reflection better. I might have had brighter clothes on. I zoomed in to about 300mm but I could have come in even tighter. The image shown is cropped heavily, but it works because I have 30 megabytes to work with.

But realistically, I was not attempting to get my image reflected in a Meadowlark’s eye. It just happened.

Here are some more wildlife images from the Badlands, all taken with the 100-400mm lens.

Prairie Dog Badlands


That shot was from Sage Creek Road, through the window of the car, with the window rolled down. If you get out of the car they will be long gone in less than a second.

Bighorn Sheep

I used my 100-400 lens for all the images on this page, a rarity lens for me.

Why? The weight.

I hike a lot and it is not a hiking kind of lens. It weighs over three pounds. If I am hiking more than 1-2 miles round-trip, it sits in the trunk unless I am 100% positive I need it.

At Badlands National Park you can get close to wildlife from the road. If you see something, pull off the road and shoot.


Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

Additional Badlands Articles

  1. Badlands National Park Yellow Mounds Overlook, Big Badlands Overlook
  2. Badlands National Park Pinnacles Overlook: Sunset, Panorama, and Milky Way Images
  3. Badlands National Park – Double Rainbow at Pinnacles Overlook
  4. Badlands National Park – Castle Trail and Notch Trail Images

Please Share!

If you like this article, please share by email or use one of the share buttons beneath the article.

Next Up: Monument Valley

Much more coming: Click to Subscribe by Email.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock