Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley, California, USA by Logan Armbruster

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Picture Story

It was on my first my first trip to the landscape photographer's paradise, a.k.a. Death Valley National Park in California, and I was on the hunt for compelling, slightly abstract images of the famous Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes located within the park. The majority of this morning was spent searching for mid- to wide-angle shots of the dunes - with their sweeping lines as the dunes intersect each other across the dune field. Unfortunately, I could not quite get the shot I had visualized; the dunes are a fickle beast and aligning them to create a pleasing composition can be very challenging at times - especially when they are laden with footprints from previous visitors. Alas, with a few mediocre shots in the can, I decided to pack up and try again later that evening.

It was on the walk back to my car when I noticed the base of a particular dune that had yet to receive any direct sunlight and was getting the slightest amount of reflected light from a nearby dune. It was on this dune that I noticed the characteristic windswept lines in the sand that had yet to be disturbed; and I knew I had found my photo. I spent a few minutes framing up a composition that felt well-balanced in the size and shape of the lines and that was that. Not a technically complicated shot by any means, but as soon as I let go of my expectations and let the shot come to me instead of forcing a shot, I was able to capture something that I was truly satisfied with.


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