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After a handful of attempts I finally experienced just how fun it is to shoot sand dunes. Sure I had a blast on my previous sessions romping up, down, between, and around these mini-mountains of sand. Everything about those experiences was stimulating to me as a photographer: the way light and shadows played together, textures everywhere, or how cresting a new dune provided completely new angles and worlds of possibilities. But each and every time I walked out of the dune fields knowing my memory cards held nothing which spoke to me on a personal level. The fact is I found photographing dunes to be challenging. So this past December I once again headed into the dunes and, for whatever reason, things just clicked. It turned out to be a highly productive evening and I probably walked out with three images from that afternoon/ night I enjoy.
For this image I decided to stick around after shooting sunset, listening to music, waiting to see what would unfold as night descended. Forty five minutes after sunset I shot the land portion of the image then proceeded to take a series of images of the sky as it further descended into darkness. Those sky shots were pretty decent and may have worked well as an early evening shot. Then, just as I decided it was time to call it a night, a faint ice halo began taking form around the moon, turning what was a rather ordinary night sky into something special. I fired off a dozen or more images catching the interaction of the clouds and the changing intensity of the halo. Capturing a halo which didn’t suffer from wide angle distortion required shooting it straight on and then blended it with the dune shots in post processing.
Feel free to preview a few other images I captured during my trip to Death Valley in my New Releases gallery on my website: