Great San Dunes National Park and Preserve

Great San Dunes National Park and Preserve was a lesson in patience, practicality of night shooting and the quiet wonder of nighttime in a national park.

Traveling from Mesa Verde National Park, I knew that my planned adventure to reach the Great San Dunes National Park and Preserve for night shots would be a MAJOR ask on myself. In addition, due to less than quick service at a Starbucks and Sonic in Alamosa, I arrived at the park MUCH later than expected.

As it was night, the park was open for 24 hour access. I drove a small ways and followed the signs to the sand dunes. Now, other friends had warned me about the likelihood of getting lost in the dunes, as everywhere looks the same at night. Luckily, I heeded their warnings and stayed extremely close to one of the walkway entrances to the area.

I quickly set up my tripod and started taking photos. The luminous moon shined bright behind me, as I focused my camera on the dunes.

I realized – quickly – that I was completely out of my element in night photography. As such, I vowed to learn my camera’s night controls. In short, the vision and idea I had in my head did not convey in my nighttime shooting skill level. Later, I learned focus peaking and the night shooting modes. But for then, I just went with what I could.

As the coyotes howled in the distance, I fell even more in love with the nighttime nature of the world.

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Great San Dunes National Park and Preserve

11999 State Highway 150
Mosca, Colorado 81146
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