13-14 APRIL: GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK

Great Sand Dunes was a National Monument when I first visited in 2002.  Great Sand Dunes NP, located in Colorado’s San Luis Valley at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, preserves one of the largest and tallest dunes fields in the US.  The weather system which continued to affect northern CO provided for interesting sunset and sunrise light.

Afternoon Storm Clouds. Nikon D300, Nikon 70-200mm, Singh Ray LB Color Combo polarizer, Singh Ray 2-stop split ND, Gitzo tripod, Kirk BH-3 ballhead. (c)Chuck Lockett Photography

The sunrise in particular was fascinating.  Due to the east-west orientation of the dunes, I hoped for good light and clouds on the east facing slopes as the sun rose.

Pre-Dawn Dunes. Nikon D300, Nikon 70-200mm, Singh Ray LB Color Combo polarizer, Gitzo tripod, Kirk BH-3 ballhead. (c)Chuck Lockett Photography

Instead – and I expect due to the cloud cover – the light first hit on the plains to the west and moved eastward to the western end of the dunes.  I’ve only seen this once before – during a sunset over Yellowstone Lake – and I believe to be caused by gaps in clouds above the layer visible from the ground.

Morning Light Over Dunes. Nikon D300, Nikon 70-200mm, Singh Ray LB Color Combo polarizer, Singh Ray 3-stop split ND, Gitzo tripod, Kirk BH-3 ballhead. (c)Chuck Lockett Photography

Morning Light From West. Nikon D300, Nikon 70-200mm, Singh Ray LB Color Combo polarizer, Singh Ray 3-stop split ND, Gitzo tripod, Kirk BH-3 ballhead. (c)Chuck Lockett Photography

Dune photography is fun – the wind and sand patterns offer infinite composition options – for detail, intimate, and grande landscape perspectives.

Dune Detail. Nikon D300, Nikon 28-200mm, Singh Ray LB Color Combo polarizer, Gitzo tripod, Kirk BH-3 ballhead. (c)Chuck Lockett Photography

Dune Patterns. Nikon D300, Nikon 28-200mm, Singh Ray LB Color Combo polarizer, Gitzo tripod, Kirk BH-3 ballhead. (c)Chuck Lockett Photography

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