Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado – Part 2: Color

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Sangre de Cristo & Sand Dunes – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

Part 1 – Monochrome

The Great Sand Dunes National Park lends itself well to black-and-white photography because of the highlight-and-shadow play that is so prevalent, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good place for color pictures. While I definitely came away with more monochrome images, a couple of my favorite pictures are in color. I imagine that autumn would be especially nice for color photography at this location, and perhaps late-spring or early summer when there is an abundance of fresh green. Late summer features a lot of brown, tan, and yellow, which can still be alright.

All of the photographs in this article are straight-out-of-camera JPEGs captured using my Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon 60mm f/2.4 Macro lens attached to the front. I used my Kodachrome II film simulation recipe for most of them. Enjoy!

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Sand Beneath The Peak – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Adversity Alone – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Long Walk Back – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Sand In My Boot – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Approaching The Dunes – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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From Dust To Dust – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Sandal – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Torrid Terrain – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado – Part 1: Monochrome

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Great Sand Dunes Sign – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

In July my family and I visited the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve near Alamosa, Colorado. This national park features the tallest sand dunes in North America. The towering Sangre de Cristo Mountains loom in the background. It’s an impressive and unusual landscape!

During wetter months the Medano Creek flows beneath the sand dunes, and in order to get to the dunes one must get their feet wet. We were there during a dry month and there was no water in the wide creek bed. Unsurprisingly, a visit to the sand dunes requires a significant amount of walking on sand, which means that it takes more effort and more time to get from one point to another. It’s no walk in the park, and it’s best to come prepared with plenty of water and ready for the hike.

While we were there, once on the dunes, the wind was blustery and it kicked up the sand quite fiercely. It pelted our legs and would occasionally blow in our faces and get into our eyes. It was more of an issue for the kids since they’re shorter. It was not a fun experience, so we did not stay on the dunes for very long.

The place offers amazing photographic opportunities. If you like working with shadows and highlights and abstract shapes, this is the place for you! The Great Sand Dunes National Park is one of those special landscapes where it’s difficult to come away with bad pictures. I had with me a Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon 60mm f/2.4 Macro lens attached to the front. The X-Pro2 is weather sealed, but the lens is not. Thankfully I did not get dust on the sensor. I would strongly recommend not changing lenses while at the dunes, as you’re just asking for trouble by doing so.

We were only at the sand dunes for a couple of hours. It would have been great if we could have stayed longer. I think that a sunrise hike to the top would have been epic, but time just didn’t allow for it. Even so, we were glad for the opportunity that we did have. I’m happy with the photographs and memories that I came away with.

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Great Sand Dunes – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Mountains & Sand Across The Valley – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Mountain of Sand – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Stroller Alone – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Sand & Sangre de Cristo – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Running In The Sand – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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It’s A Long Ways To The Top – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Mountain, Sand & Sky – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Sand & Sierra Sky – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Improbability – Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO

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Sand Walkers – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Passerby – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Silver Sand – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Sandal In The Sand – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

Part 2 – Color