Death Valley, California, USA by Laura Zirino

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Picture Story

I was at a low point in my photography, and feeling depressed in general, when I headed to Death Valley in late December to attend a workshop. The only reason I was attending was that I had missed the deadline to withdraw. I was considering quitting photography because I just didn't feel the joy in creating something any more. Fortunately the workshop instructor believes in letting students go where they feel called, so he encouraged me to go off and shoot the dunes instead of attending one of the field sessions. I headed off in the late afternoon, no expectations. As the light got lower on the dunes, incredible shadows and shapes were created on the dunes.

I took photo after photo, feeling this sense of exhilarating freedom as there was so much to create. I got my photography mojo back that afternoon. This was one of my favorite shots. I isolated this beautiful curve in the dunes to show the flowing shape and texture of the sand. Sand dunes are one of my favorite things to photograph because there is no obvious shot to take, it's all what you can create with what's in front of you. Winter in the Mesquite Flat Dunes is especially great to shoot because the low light makes long shadows and deep colors.

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