Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Great Sand Dunes: Sunrise

I set my iPhone alarm for 4:30 Sunday morning so I could go back out to the park one more time to shoot the sunrise.  The looming Sangre de Cristo Mountains blocked the view to the east sufficiently that I really wasn't quite sure exactly where the sun would first breach the peaks, and where it would cast its light when it did.  So I just returned to the dunefield parking lot, set up shot and waited.  And I wasn't the only one.

Blues were the first colors to dominate the scene, between the clear sky and the reflective creek.

The magic really began to happen when the sun got high enough to fully illuminate the dunes, but was still low enough to cast dramatic shadows.
When you get moments like this, you just shoot and hope you can come somewhere close to capturing with your camera what your eyes are taking in.

I'll admit that I expected a sandcrawler to come over the horizon at some point.

Unlike Saturday, this morning had stretches of almost perfect calm.  The corresponding silence served to reinforce the desolateness of the landscape.

A lone figure would periodically appear and disappear in the dunefield, likely feeling completely alone with no idea someone a quarter of a mile away was taking his picture.

 Speaking of pictures, I'll bet he got some terrific ones.

There was interesting texture everywhere you looked -- from the grainy dunes to the shimmering creek to the cracked and frozen shoreline.

As the sun rose swiftly in the sky, the shadows faded just as quickly and the scene soon started to wash out.

A final stop at a pullout south of the park, and a final shot of a truly unique landscape.  Already looking forward to a return trip and a hike deeper into the dunes when there's more time and less wind!

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