white sands national monument revisited in november 2010              

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White Sands National Monument, close to Alamogordo, New Mexico, is a great place for photography because of the utter simplicity of design elements, consisting of wind-sculpted sand, and desert plants in unique New Mexico light, especially in late afternoon.  When deep blue shadows emerge near sunset it is a magical place.  

And, any camera will do well here.  Most of the images below were taken by a Canon Powershot point & shoot G series digital camera. I remain so impressed by digital cameras' ability in low light situations.        

longtime friends of mine Charles & Maggie - who I first met in Atlanta years ago - retired to the miniscule town of Tularosa, which is located only a 30 minute drive from White Sands.  The photos below came from my visits there since 2006.  I hope to visit there again in spring 2020.    

November 2006 

cottonwood tree in the dunes yucca plant cottonwood bonsai    
  shifting sands bury a desert plant   iceberg in New Mexico when the eagle flies
'Let's see, I think we parked over there' Carlos of the desert evening approaches blue shadows emerge  
  sand dunes & the mesas at Alamogordo evening at white sands sunset  

Feb. 09 visit

   
    day's end  

May 2013 visit 

the mesa at Alamogordo visitor center    
    parabolic dunes yucca in bloom rental car
old footsteps and the wind   red, white and blue for memorial day  
  creature tracks must be Friday   sand verbena 
bleached earless lizard the dunes parabolic-ness and sinuosity  

In October 2016 my brother and three sisters and I gathered for a reunion to celebrate a milestone birthday for Don, in Las Cruces.  A few days later I drove to stay four nights in Tularosa, where my long-time friends Chas & Maggie live.     

On the first of two visits  to White Sands, I arrived just before sunset & drove to the furthest point in, where there is almost no vegetation.  I took the Alkali Flat trail and sought out the highest dunes.   

visitor center in the dunes in late evening light   shadows  dominate the scenery
  wind-blown sand textures   the wind weaves these intricate patterns
a fabulous landscape at sunset sunset's golden glow yucca plant    

Returning a few days later in the afternoon, I drove to an area not so far in, where there is more vegetation.  By the way these dunes are made of gypsum, not sand.  Gypsum is much heavier than sand so these dunes change shape over long time periods.       

looking northwest barren cottonwood interesting light 
  late afternoon sun  skunkbrush, see note below main road in &  out

The Monument brochure states that a few shrubs like skunkbrush sumac have dense, deep roots that form a pedestal which remains long after the rest of the dune has been pushed along by the wind, and Kit foxes and other animals find refuge here from high winds.

I left White Sands before sunset to have a look at the distant mesa and canyon topography located south of Alamagordo.     

looking east to mesas/canyons  
  Dog Canyon area sunset in Alamogordo

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