Photographing White Sands, New Mexico

You have to hike a bit to make a photo of the dunes without footprints.

The White Sands National Monument is 300 square miles of a white gypsum dune field located in Southern New Mexico between Las Cruces and Alamogordo.  It is the largest gypsum dune field in the world.  Mary and I have photographed here a half dozen times as her parents live nearby.  Here are a few photos and hints.

Because of family time, we have made due with mid-day shooting here a few times.  Without the nice yellow side lighting of sunrise and sunset, it’s best to think in monotone/black and white.  We are now using Fujifilm cameras converted to infrared light which make great monotone photos.

Moon set over dune
Moon set over dune

Sometimes we plan photos around the rising and setting moon.  This time it was just dumb luck that the moon was in the perfect position here.  It did not last long.

Sometimes, in mid-day it is harder to capture the fine ripples because the sun is right overhead.  Look for dunes that still throw off a bit of shadow and work them wide-to-close up.


Found these cool tracks
Mary in action

Here is Mary’s post about photographing sand a few weeks ago.

Here is our longer post about photographing White Sands National Monument.

Finally, here is our very popular post about HOW to photograph sand.

To see more of (and buy) our photographs, please go to

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