The sky in the desert is tricky. At least, that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it. See, out here, it would appear that any red you might be getting at sunrise will come and go long long before the sun peeks out from under it’s warm blanket of the horizon. So when you try to time a shot with the rising sun, by then the sky has gone all blue-like. And if you want the reds, everything else is dark.

As it was the morning I rose with the crickets and ventured into the chilly, 80˚F air to see the sun rise over the white sands of the national monument of the same name (side note: Why’s it called a monument and not a park? Aren’t monuments man-made? Maybe that’s so they can have a missile range next door and no one will complain that they’re shooting in a national park?) Anyway, the shots from before the sun peeked are useless, so I won’t share. That, and you can’t get into WSNM until 7:00am ($3 for 6 days, btw), so those photos are from the side of the road anyway.

Actually, you can get in earlier… for $50 an hour. Well worth it, frankly, if you know exactly where you want to be at sunup.

So here you go, a collection of New Mexican snow photos :)

You may notice that in some of the photos, the white sand has a warm tint to it. In some of the shadows, it’s a bit blue. I chose to NOT correct this, as this was still early morning light, and it did have a slight warmth to it. I “fixed” some shots to make them pure white, and didn’t like where it was going, so put it back. I probably should have carried a grey card out there (which would have made both white balance and exposure a bit easier), but I didn’t. Also, every shot is EV+1 to +2; same as shooting in the snow.

Oh and don’t bother trying to look at exact locations in the GPS data on these; the GPS logger failed here, too. It’s since been reset, and fingers are crossed that I won’t lose any more valuable data points.

I was the first person in the park, which was quite cool. The only car out there—mine. And check out the close-up of the tire-tread. The white sand is so soft and fine, it’s like powdered sugar.

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