I recently returned from a unique photography shoot at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. I had seen photographs of the park before and I was enthusiastic about capturing pretty pictures of white dunes set against blue skies. I didn't know that White Sands would turn out to be astonishingly beautiful, or that this desert location would feel more like an oasis. When I hiked in the park, the dunes resembled a glistening sea of white waves stretching to the San Andres Mountain range on the horizon. Every view of the dunes was an artist's landscape of shape, shadow and line, changing constantly with the light.
Sunset at White Sands. I love the repeating wave patterns in the sand and in the clouds.
Moonset over wind-rippled sand dunes. Desert animals leave faint trails from their nocturnal wanderings .
A desert sunrise tints the clouds delicate shades of pink.
White Sands at dawn.
Soapstone yuccas warm to early morning light. The dunes and the San Andres Mountains behind them are tinted pink at sunrise.
Additional information about the White Sands photography shoot:
I visited White Sands at the end of May, 2015, for a full moon photography workshop with professional photographers Don Smith and Gary Hart. We were on the dunes before sunrise to hike to our own locations and off by 7:00 am when the light became harsh. Hiking into the big dune field at White Sands has its risks because it's easy to become disoriented once you're out of sight of the parking lot. We were able to avoid getting lost by using a GPS phone app, http://MotionX-GPS that tracked our steps and served as our guides back to the car. We also carried a compass, emergency blanket, food, whistle, fully charged cellphone, headlamp and water, just in case. Although foxes, badgers, black widow spiders and rattlesnakes are plentiful among the wildlife residents of White Sands, I only encountered plucky, black stinkbugs and small, white lizards who traversed the dunes leaving wonderfully delicate trails behind them.
To learn more about White Sands National Monument, go to http://www.nps.gov/whsa/index.htm