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Friday, July 29, 2011

Road Trip, Day 9; White Sands Nat'l Monument & More

I'd pre-planned our stop at White Sands Nat'l Monument for a day (May 16th) and time when the nearly-full moon and the sun would both be up low over the horizon, so I could get sunset and moonrise shots. A lot of factors could have destroyed the idea. I was ready to deal with that if anything happened, but it seems the universe blessed our trip.

On our way to Alamogordo, NM, we passed what looked like a sleeping stegosaurus (click to see more detail. The head is to the right.) We also passed the world's largest pistachio nut statue. What a country, this America!

We got into Alamogordo hours before sunset, so we caught up on laundry, swam in the pool and lounged in the hot tub for a while first (both were right across from our room.) It was another good time of doing very little. By this time, we were sold on the value and amenities of the Holiday Inn Express. A full, hot breakfast beats the continental job any day.

Once at White Sands, eagle-eyed Charles immediately picked out the only, little black dot in the landscape (and promptly named him "Beetly.")

There were people up on the dunes all around, but we found one in a deserted enough area that I could get my shots without human interference. Regardless, this lone figure walking in the distance across the vastness of the landscape inspired me to take a shot.

White Sands is tucked between a couple of mountain ranges; the San Andres (seen here,) and the Sierra Blancas (which we'd been through on the way in, stopping at the Hubbard Museum of the American West.)

Charles and I at White Sands.

I liked the gradations of the sky vs. those of the dunes here.

As the sun started setting I started snapping like a fiend. It was difficult to catch the effects of sunset accurately, despite my multiple, rapid-fire changes to my camera's white balance settings.

It was cool the way the gypsum granules sparkled. Click on this shot to see what I mean.

Charles at White Sands. This photo took 1st place, journeyman and journalism category, in a recent Slidell Photography Club contest.

Focused as I was on the sunset, soon Charles pointed out the moon, rising on the other side of the sky.

Shooting the moonrise was much easier. I was glad for the slight clouds, and for the way the sunset painted them pink. "Daily Nature Photo" on The Nature Conservancy's website, Jun. 24, 2011.

On our way out Charles spotted Beetly again. He was nestled into the sand, snuggling in for the night.

White Sands Nat'l Monument was immensely cool and it would've been nice to have been able to spend more time exploring. Despite Charles offering to stay longer, to get up in the morning to come back, we had other stops planned on our route home, until...

Next post; A change of plans.

In more recent art news, yesterday I found out that my Horseshoe Bend photo won Momentum magazine's freshwater photography contest. It will appear in the magazine (of which I'll get a few copies,) and I also get a hardcover book of aerial photos. Yay! :)

19 comments:

Sphinx Ink said...

Love the White Sands pix! Fab-u-lous!

Lana Gramlich said...

Sphinx Ink; Thanks. I would definitely go back to White Sands someday. It was very lovely!

NancyU said...

The white sand against the moon rising is very cool.Nice Photography. Congratulations on the awards.

Lana Gramlich said...

Nancy; Thank you kindly. :)

timethief said...

Fabulous photos. The colors are so delicious. So glad you are having such a great time.

Love,
TiTi

Lana Gramlich said...

TT; Yes, it was a lot of fun--we SO needed a vacation!

Michelle Basic Hendry said...

Amazing photos - really amazing... And it's getting difficult to keep up with all of the awards!! Well done!!

Lana Gramlich said...

Thanks, Michelle. :)

Travis Erwin said...

I've been there and it's almost eerie how it contrasts with the surrounding area.

Lana Gramlich said...

Travis; Yes--I wasn't expecting that! It was really cool.

Chrissy said...

Superb images Lana and that one of Charles is wonderful :)

Lana Gramlich said...

Thanks, Chrissy. It was a great place!

Travis Cody said...

I know exactly what you mean about Holiday Inn Express...great place to stay.

I'm not really a fan of that kind of desert, but you made it interesting with your perspective on sunset and moonrise.

Lana Gramlich said...

Travis; Thanks. I had to be there just for those (sunset and moonrise.) It was so lovely!

Larry said...

I like the background of the sands for the photos-Something I don't see often-especially like the shadows and little critter shots.

eileeninmd said...

What a cool place, I love the photos, Lana. I have a few favorite, the first shots of the beetle and tracks in the sand, and the shadow shot and the last one one is just gorgeous. Fantastic photos.

Lana Gramlich said...

Larry; Thanks! I appreciate the input. It was a really cool place to visit. :)

eileeninmd; It was awesome. Thanks for your kind comment!

Valerie said...

congrats on the first place award. that is a great photo.

Lana Gramlich said...

Thanks, Valerie! :)

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