High Winds on the Dunes

I returned to Death Valley National Park in early March and was fortunate to be there in a high wind event. It was amazing and exhilarating to be on the sand dunes. In many places the sand was blowing up the side of the dune like an upward flowing river and over the crest like a waterfall.

In this backlit photo, a photographer is standing at the top of a small dune. The sun, just rising from behind a mountain, casts the photographer’s shadow down the dune. The “tidal wave of sand” in the second photo was the main thing drawing my attention and also that of the person on the dune.

High Winds on the Dunes

The photo below is a panoramic stitch of 3 photos. I had not planned on creating a panorama while in the field. But there were two distinct areas of focus; the photographer on the dune and the tremendous “tidal wave of sand” to his left. I realized at home I had the pieces and let Lightroom do it’s magic to put it together.

High Winds on the Dunes – Panorama

When the wind whips across the dunes, most of the blowing sand hugs the ground as you can see in the photos below. If you stay standing the blowing sand is not so bad. Regardless, we were wore goggles and a mask to protect our face.

A Blast of Wind
By Wind and Sand
Turbulence – Sand blows up, over and down the ridge, converging and colliding.
Windswept Dune – Wind blows horizontally across this formation.

As the morning progressed the wind calmed some while a small group climbed a large dune.

Upward March
Fresh Sand Ripples

On the previous evening the wind was also blowing. When I walked away from my tripod for a moment, the wind blew it over. Luckily another photographer was close enough to catch it before it hit the ground.

The Evening Before

To see more from this collection click here.