California 2nd November, dawn at Mesquite Flat dunes

We had now been away for half our holiday time. I do not like it when you are counting down to the end of the holiday rather than counting up.
It was Sunday and another 5.30am start as we took the car to the 'parking lot' at the Mesquite dunes. It was still dark when we got there and we spent some time bumbling about at the edge of the dunes trying to get our bearings as the sun came up. I set the tripod down to face the Panamint range of hills to our west with the highest point of Telescope Peak rising to over 11,000ft. The storm the previous evening had deposited a layer of snow over the tops, and the peaks looked good against the reddening sky with the sand bleached white by the early dawn light.

In the easterly direction lay the Amargosa range. There was a high dune jutting out in front of the mountains. As I took photographs in this direction a group of about 10 people struck out in front of me and proceeded to ascend the dune and sit around the top to face the sun. Annoying, as they carved footprints across the sand and I had intended to walk towards the dune to capture its sculptured flanks, but I found them useful to give scale in later pictures.

The sun started to sweep across the valley and the tops of the dunes turned golden as the light changed.

We stayed a little while longer to capture some details but by now the light was harsh and the magic was over, so we adjourned back to the car for breakfast and freshly brewed coffee.


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