White Sands National Park is one of my favorite places on earth. I have been there numerous times since my first visit when I was in grad school at UNM in 1979. The park is a little less than a four hour drive from our current house in Placitas. When my wife and I got our second COVID shot I talked to some of my photography buddies about a short trip down there. A couple weeks later we went down for three days (two nights) in mid-May 2021.
The first afternoon the sky had some clouds which is usually good since most of the time it is just clear blue skies down there. We got some pretty nice images in the late afternoon. Just before the sun dipped below the horizon we saw a huge dust storm coming north up the valley so we started back to the car. The same time as we got to the car the temperature dropped about twenty degrees and the wind hit. Visibility dropped quickly to about a quarter mile or so. Needless to say, we headed back to the motel.
The next morning dawned clear but because we hadn’t called two weeks in advance, we were not able to get into the park before sunrise. The wind storm the night before had wiped away all the footprints on the sand so we got some nice dune shots in the early morning.
After a late breakfast we headed up to the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site which is run by the BLM. The site is about forty miles north of our motel in Alamogordo. Since we were there at mid-day the photography was mediocre but it is a very interesting place to visit. There are over 21,000 petroglyphs at the site and nice views of the valley as well. After shooting there for a while we drove back to White Sands but the clouds had rolled in by mid-afternoon and it was overcast, windy and eventually raining. We adjourned for the day and got an early dinner.
The final morning was clear but the rain from the night before had flattened all the ripples in the dunes pretty much whipping out the photographic opportunities. So we had a fun trip but didn’t get the beautiful sunset shots we were hoping for. I guess that gives me a reason to go back again.