There Are Places in the World...

That defy even the most vivid imaginations. Places that are the things of dreams and fantasy. Places that have to be seen to be believed.

White Sands National Park is one of those places. It's unlike any other place in the world I've ever been. It's unlike any National Park, either. Even Joshua Tree National Park, with its surreal, doctor Seuss looking trees, doesn't come close to the dreamscape that is White Sands.

Interdune Boardwalk

Among the best photography locations within the park is the Interdune Boardwalk, offering a panoramic view of the vast gypsum dune field against the backdrop of the San Andres and Sacramento Mountains. It's the perfect place to capture sunrise and sunset because it doesn't require a lot of hiking or preparation to get it, so you're not hiking around in darkness before sunrise or after sunset.

Sunset as seen from the Interdune Boardwalk. Surprisingly, this photograph isn't even that edited; the sunsets can really be that spectacular at White Sands National Park.

Dune Life Nature Trail

The Dune Life Nature Trail provides intimate glimpses into the park's diverse flora and fauna, ideal for capturing plants and flowers against the backdrop of white dunes. Also ideal for macro photographers.

Alkali Flats

Photography at Alkali Flats in White Sands National Park presents an unparalleled opportunity to capture the ethereal beauty of the gypsum dunes at their most dramatic. As the largest dunefield of its kind in the world, Alkali Flats offers an expansive canvas for photographers to explore. The shifting sands create a dynamic landscape of rippling textures and undulating forms, especially striking during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset. The interplay of light and shadow accentuates the stark contrast between the gleaming white dunes and the deep blue skies, providing photographers with endless possibilities for captivating compositions. Whether capturing the delicate details of wind-sculpted patterns or the vastness of the desert expanse, Alkali Flats promises to leave photographers awe-inspired by its natural beauty. It's a 5 mile round trip hike and can be absolutely grueling in the summer heat; walking across that soft sand in the heat, with the sun reflecting off of it directly into your face, can be downright nightmarish. Bring lots of water.

Tips and Tricks

White Sands National Park is a great place to explore shadow and light. It's also a great place to explore ultra low-contrast and high key landscape photography, in addition to high contrast, chiaroscuro. White Sands National Park provides an excellent opportunity to explore both light and texture.

One trick I like to use at White Sands National Park is to set my white balance to the dunes. This makes post processing easier and since the dunes are so brilliantly white, it is pretty accurate to real life, as well.