I’m often asked my favorite place to photograph, and my answer tends to vary by the season. For instance, I’d rather shoot aspens in the fall than in winter and all that. But there are a few places that can stand the seasonal test and still offer an amazing variety of opportunities. White Sands is one such place. When it comes to describing photographic locations, the word “magical” gets bandied about quite a bit. But I can tell you from experience, when you see a sunrise or sunset reflected in the white gypsum dune field “magical” is the first word to come to mind. The white sands actually reflect the color of the sky. If the sky is blue, your shadows are a deep blue. If the sky is pink or yellow with a fiery sunset; well the possibilities are mind boggling.
Of course I’m here to pimp the White Sands/Bosque Workshop this December. Much of the work I see from White Sands are images of agaves. To be clear, the gypsum dunes are agave central, and I have many agave images of my own. But there is much more to shoot at White Sands than agaves.
To me, some of the magic is the way the gysum resembles a white, standing ocean. Of course even that is an illusion, as the waves of gypsum that comprise the dune field actually do move much like an ocean, just a whole lot slower. The Silent Surf was taken with the last vestiges of the fading light of day.
On face value, one might suppose that all the dunes are much the same; kinda like “if you’ve seen one dune, you’ve seen them all” kind of thing. Au contraire, I would respond, and Vortex is a good example of how the dunes landscape can differ from the expected.
Some of my attraction to this location is the amazing interplay of light and shadow that can transcend the golden hours of dawn and sunset. B&W is a fun way to spend those couple of hours before and after the sky puts on its light show.
White Sands is a place that must be experienced to understand the myriad of photographic possibilities. These are just a few.