I can clearly remember my first sand dune experience. I was 7 years old and we stopped at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico while on a trip to visit family in Texas. I don’t recall the July heat but clearly remember the light, the shapes, the endless feeling of the place.
This was my first National Park experience but the die was cast and the parks, especially those with Sand Dunes, would figure prominently in my life.
Later in life, as a musician, I would spend several years and countless hours in dutiful practice, it’s own world of pattern and repetition. White Sands would be the only place I was ever lost in all of my travels, The Great Sand Dunes and Death Valley would join it as a place of personal refuge in times of trouble and confusion. When photographic images became my means of expression it came as no surprise that the pattern and texture of Sand Dunes would figure prominently in my early work and have remained so throughout my career.
There is no place quite like the Dunes. It’s so quiet that you can hear the blood rushing through your veins. Usable light for photographs takes place in a 10 or 15 minute period of time around sunrise and again at sunset with most of the time spent getting to and from your location of interest. I make it policy to spend a few extra minutes after the pictures are made just listening to the quiet and drinking in the light, the lines of a landscape that changes every day. Beyond mere light and form, these places have a visible rhythm.