Tuesday, July 4, 2017

06/06/17 Great Sand Dunes National Park

The sand dunes come to life at sunrise on this morning at Great Sand Dunes National Park northeast of Alamosa, CO

On June 6th, I finished up a couple days of photography at Great Sand Dunes National Park outside Alamosa, CO. This was the first stop during my two-week vacation. On June 4th, I made a long drive from Illinois out to Colorado with a couple of vehicle obstacles along the way. Day 1, tested my patience but luckily most of the trip after that first day went without a hitch. With no signs of storm chasing in the cards for the first week of my vacation I decided to venture out to this amazing park en-route to my destination of Page, AZ. This park that I visited in Colorado was quite fun and perfect for landscape photography. During the couple days at the park I was also treated with a couple great sunrises which provided some photogenic scenes to say the least! I spent pretty much all my time at the park hiking and photographing the sand dunes and majestic mountains in the distance as well. It was a fun couple of days at this park and I'm sure I'll come back one day and get even more creative the next time. I shot all these photos with my Canon 5D Mark III and a few lenses including the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 II L lens, Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS lens, and Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.0-5.6 II L IS telephoto-zoom lens. I've added a large assortment of photos from my two days at this national park below:

Entrance to the park...
The drive the previous day took me through Kansas...
 "The mountains are calling"
Sunrise begins providing some great golden-hour photography!
 Some wildlife I found during the morning in the park...
One of my many favorites!
"Not all those who wander are lost"
"Mountain sound"
 A neat black n' white!
"Lying underneath those stormy skies...this could be paradise"
 Planet Tatooine
 "The miles feel like inches when I think of you"
"Such great heights"
"One must let go of one's fear for it takes time and a willing adventurous heart to conquer that highest mountain you've been seeking"
A peaceful morning in the mountains!
"Serpent lines"
"The storm"
Snow-pack  still on the mountain peaks even in June...
"Chase this light with me"
The sand dunes look amazing in black n' white as well!
I found a few deer during the early morning and they really didn't mind that I was getting close and photographing them surprisingly...
It was really neat to see how the light would change on the dunes over a hour or two during the early morning hours once the sun rose above the mountains in the eastern horizon!
Morning sunrise over the mountains!
A photogenic tree in the valley with the dunes as a backdrop!
 "Storm clouds gather over the mountains"
Insane the beauty in this park!
 "Another world"
 This was unique and made for a neat landscape!
Simply amazing colors on this morning!
I escape a storm over the mountains and find some great contrast!
"Desert wind"
The sun is just coming up in this shot providing a nice balance of exposure!
"Golden light"
Quite a view!
The valley gives rise to the tallest sand dunes in the U.S.
Another black n' white!
"Winds of change"
Another deer!
I sure took my fair share of landscapes at this park!
The dunes nestled up against the mountains is quite unique to view!
Pretty amazing!
"The wind blows"
 "Where I find my heaven"
"The dunes"
 The dunes are about to come to life...
 "Just think of the destination, I'll be your transportation"
 Golden-hour at its finest!
"Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith will be made stronger"
Follow the right path...
"Morning light"
"Quick sand"
Climb to new heights!
A landscape around every turn...
Incredible the landscapes you can find in this park!
These dunes are much higher in person...
It's quite neat to see how nature works its magic!
One more black n' white...
 "Running up that hill"
I went for a different look on this one with a blurred foreground...
 "To infinity and beyond"
"Dune peaks"
Nature's work is quite amazing!
"People don't drink the sand because they're thirsty. They drink the sand because they don't know the difference"
Breath-taking hike on this morning with incredible morning light...
Clouds passing over the barren landscape!
I shot quite a few telephoto-shots over the two days...
"Write your hurts in the sand and your blessings in stone"
 "This path leads to your destination"
Beautiful colors!
"Wind-driven landscape"
Love this shot as well!
A landscape photographer's paradise!
Sand pretty much everywhere...
The colors present in the morning seem to be the optimal time to photograph in this park!
A wide-angle shot!
When you eagerly await for that light to arrive...
Rain falls over the mountains!
It was hot, I pity the souls that hike at mid-day...
So many great views and landscapes I found in this national park...
One last photo to finish up a couple days of photography at the park!

That's a wrap on this post. I was quite happy with many of the shots over a couple days I spent hiking in this national park. I'm incredibly blessed to have the opportunities to see so many incredible destinations year after year. Not many people get those opportunities to travel to unique places and parks for long periods of time. I encourage everyone if possible to take some time out of their daily lives every year to get away from the normal day-to-day and be spontaneous. I would later travel to a few locations in Arizona for a few days of photography and I'll be posting those photos in a few future posts.