When I visited White Sands National Monument early last December, in the few hours I was there, I was fortunate to have very unsettled skies that produced a variety of light and color to complement the incredible canvas of the sand itself. This image is probably the best illustration of the conditions. I had hiked westward across the dunes to reach the flats that separate the dunes from the San Andres Mountains and Lake Lucero, the source of the fine, white sand. As I started to head back, I stopped periodically to view the changing conditions as the sun lowered in the sky and the rapidly moving clouds created ever changing patterns of light.
The image shown here effectively distills what I witnessed into a single frame. The sunlight passing through the different types of clouds, with their varying thicknesses and compositions, at different elevations, gave the light an almost mystical effect. The layers of the dunes in the foreground and the San Andres range in the background added great depth to the horizon. The fact the the foreground dunes were “illuminated” made the image even more compelling. This is my favorite image from the afternoon. It has a lot of nuance and texture that I particularly like, from the light and the contrasts to details such as the ribbon-like patterns in the dunes. Enjoy!
- Canon EOS 5D Mk. III
- Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
- 70mm, f/16, ISO 100, 1/30 sec., circular polarizing filter
- Tripod and cable release employed