Death Valley – Mesquite Flats Dunes


The dunes were probably my favorite location for the trip.

However, I got off to a rough start.  It was 5:30 a.m.  It was still dark.  I asked the instructor which lens would work best.  He gave the right answer but it was not the one I wanted to hear.  He said that whatever lens you leave in the car will be the one you want in the field.  Ok.  I get it.  But I had just bought the camera the week before the trip and I was not going to change lenses in the middle of a sand dune.  The sand was finely textured enough that any breeze at all would have it swirling in all directions.

So I chose the 24-70mm and trudged into the dunes.  And sure enough, once I had convinced myself to climb up the large dune in front of me, I found that I was too far away from the dunes in the back that I wanted a picture of.  Oh well.  I had to make the best of it so I shot at the 70mm end of the lens.

When I got the images on the computer, I was pleasantly surprised.  I liked quite a few of them.

The warm morning light was just wonderful.  The dunes have some great shapes.  And I was able to get some B&W images.  A great morning!

In fact, we enjoyed the dunes enough that Annette and I decided to go back to the dunes by ourselves on Saturday morning after the workshop had finished.  That time I took the 70-200mm lens and felt I was too close.  Oh, well!

In this first image, notice the little speck of a person and try to comprehend the size of the dunes.  Also, notice how the long shadows caress the dunes.


This next image is a picture of Annette.  No, really!  That is Annette in the lower right.  The only reason that I know this is because I was there.


On this next image, I cropped a little too close at the top.  Unfortunately, the crop was done in camera.  But I love the shadows in this image.  I like how they gently break over the round edge and deepen into  a pool.

I like to shoot perpendicular to the direction of the light, as I did in this next image.  It allows the shadows to define the shape and form of the object.  I like how the edge of the shadow goes from a blending into a sharp edge.


Notice the shadows and the softly flowing S curves in this black and white image of the dunes.


On this trip I started looking for black and white images and I am always open to abstract images and this next image is a combination of both.
Desert Track Abstract
On one of the hillocks as you enter the dunes, there is a tree with lots of character.  It was too dark on the way in to the dunes to see enough to compose a shot.  I was glad I was able to get this on the way out.  The photographer in the image was a fellow student.