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strom over the South Dakota Prarrie
strom over the South Dakota PrarrieSubmitted by Joel Schwader / UGC

Jan. 9

Congratulations to Joel Schwader of Rapid City, S.D., who captured the top-rated image in this week’s It’s A Snap travel photo contest. The photo shows an approaching thunderstorm near the small town of New Underwood, about 15 miles east of Rapid City.

Schwader and his son were out taking photos early one morning when he saw the storm approaching. “I thought, ‘Boy, this will make a nice picture,’” he said. “There’s nothing better than sitting out on a prairie and watching a thunderstorm come in. It’s just an incredible experience.”

He said the temperature was in the 80s when he saw the storm moving, but it cooled off quickly. “Within 20 minutes, it must’ve dropped 10 or 15 degrees.”

Schwader travels around the state and takes photographs often, hoping to “keep it alive and let people know that it’s here.”

South Dakota is one of the worst states in the nation for wages “and just about everything,” Schwader said. “But if you want to come see the way things used to be — the rolling hills, the prairies — all of that is still here in South Dakota, and a lot of it is untouched.”