Photographing White Sands, New Mexico


You have to hike a bit to make a photo of the dunes without footprints.

The White Sands National Monument is 300 square miles of a white gypsum dune field located in Southern New Mexico between Las Cruces and Alamogordo.  It is the largest gypsum dune field in the world.  Mary and I have photographed here a half dozen times as her parents live nearby.  Here are a few photos and hints. Continue reading


Photographing Natural Abstracts – Sand Dunes

Sand Dune Abstract

Sand Dune Abstract

Last week Peter wrote about his favorite dune.  To be honest, I just don’t get it.  But it really doesn’t matter, we all have our “things”.  For me, I can spend hours in the sand looking for abstract patterns and shapes. Continue reading

My favorite dune in Death Valley

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When we photograph sand dunes in Death Valley, Mary and I like to park at the Stovepipe Wells monument parking area and walk into the low dune field just north.  This is a couple of miles north of the larger Mesquite dunes.  There is a beautiful C-shaped dune about 10 o’clock west from this parking area that has captivated me for years.  For the third time, I made the long hike to go photograph it.  Here is what I saw. Continue reading

Photographing the Oceano Sand Dunes Near Pismo Beach

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The Oceano sand dunes have been a destination for photographers for many years.  Edward Weston and Ansel Adams were two of the first great photographers to recognize the beauty of this area.  The dunes are part of a CA State Park that includes an area for hiking and walking and another one for driving off-road vehicles.  Here is what you might see. Continue reading

Photographing the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico

White Sands Sunset February 4, 2012 (High Dynamic Range Composite)

The White Sands National Monument is a 300 square mile white gypsum dune field located in Southern New Mexico between Las Cruces and Alamogordo.  It is the largest gypsum dune field in the world.  It is the result of an ancient lake that dried up millions of years ago leaving the mineral deposits behind.  There are three types of dunes here – dome, parabolic, and transverse-barchan.  Each looks and feels different as you walk on them.  Consult the park map for the different fields.  Here are a few key shots to get while you are visiting. Continue reading

A Weekend in Death Valley National Park

Badwater Sunrise Reflection

We have been to Death Valley, CA the last two Decembers and plan to go again this year, weather and schedule permitting.  The trips were very different, both for how the Valley looked, but also how we planned and approached the trip and how our photography skills changed from 2009 to 2010.

Death Valley is a place of extremes.  It is the largest National Park in the contiguous United States.  It includes Badwater Basin, at 282 feet below sea level, the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere.  It is the hottest place in  the USA with summer temperatures reaching 120 degrees.  Many sites in Death Valley invoke evil or the devil:  Dantes View, Devil’s Golf Course, Badwater, Devil’s Cornfield, and Furnace Creek to name a few. Continue reading