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Old Mar 21, 2011, 2:56 AM   #1
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Default Alamogordo, New Mexico and White Sands National Monument

Spent Thursday evening, Friday and Saturday shooting in the New Mexico area of Alamogordo and the White Sands National Monument with other members of a local photography club. Took my E5 and full the complement of lenses, 8mm fisheye, 12-60 and 50-200 SWD's, 9-18 superwide and 50mm f2 macro.

One thing that worked against us was.....Spring Break. There were thousands upon thousands of students out there looking for the next clean dune to break down, making the process of shooting any clean dunes virtually impossible, especially the larger dunes towards the back of the park with no plant life. As I reviewed many of my images, most were either full of spoiled images from walked on dunes or had small disturbed areas that sort-of ruined the image for me, like this one..



The above file is one of 70 images I cherry-picked from the group I shot as I need to pick out 5 to submit to the club president for inclusion in a slide show. If you've got a minute, give me an idea of which ones you might include in the 5...

http://gmchappell.smugmug.com/Travel...23245350_daqMt

In addition to White Sands, I also visited a park in a canyon that was once a ranch and an ancient indian petrogyth site.

As you come down from Cloudcroft, a ski resort in the mountains above Alamogordo, this scene presents itself. I shot this with the 50-200 SWD and the EC20 teleconverter at 400mm. White Sands from this point is 25 miles away and you can see a sandstorm is in progress..



First light in the desert..



An hour or two later in full morning light...



This was one of my better attempts to hide the marked-up larger dunes..



One of my favorite black & white conversions..



Last daylight along the edges of the dune and plant life..



With the clean, wide expanses very limited, i concentrated on smaller areas with varying light and shadows..





We did happen on a rather large, untouched area our last day and took advantage.





You could shoot countless subjects like this the first couple of hours in the morning or last couple of hours in the evening when the light is really, really nice out there, assuming you can find subjects untouched by human feet..


Last edited by Greg Chappell; Mar 21, 2011 at 4:04 AM.
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Old Mar 21, 2011, 6:24 AM   #2
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Hi Greg,

Thanks for opening my eyes to a world I've never seen before.

Your images are a wonderful travelogue.

BTW, I voted for my favorite 5.

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Old Mar 21, 2011, 8:00 AM   #3
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Thanks for a great series, Greg. Does Fort Bliss not use White Sands as a missile range anymore? For that matter, Does Fort Bliss even exist anymore?
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Old Mar 21, 2011, 8:23 AM   #4
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"..........as I need to pick out 5 to submit to the club president for inclusion in a slide show. If you've got a minute, give me an idea of which ones you might include in the 5..."

Great series Greg. I scanned your SmugMug gallery, just trying to see which ones first caught my eyes on the pages. these are the ones that caught my eyes the quickest:
P3195748 P3195731 P3195694 P3195719 P3185557 P3195661 P3175341 P3165160 P3175270
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Old Mar 21, 2011, 8:25 AM   #5
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Great series, very inspiring!
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Old Mar 21, 2011, 8:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Chappell View Post
One thing that worked against us was.....Spring Break. There were thousands upon thousands of students out there looking for the next clean dune to break down, making the process of shooting any clean dunes virtually impossible, especially the larger dunes towards the back of the park with no plant life.
I really like these but #3 and #9 are my favorites - to me they really capture the mood of the place. Next time tell the spring break kids to go to Lake Havasu - that's the spring break mecca for the southwest. Human footprints will disappear eventually; at least they weren't riding around on dune buggies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Chappell View Post

You could shoot countless subjects like this the first couple of hours in the morning or last couple of hours in the evening when the light is really, really nice out there, assuming you can find subjects untouched by human feet..
Yeah, when I lived in the southwest I rarely took an outdoor photo at any times except what you said. With 6000 footcandles in the middle of the day, even defaulting the contrast on the camera to -2 didn't help much.

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Originally Posted by gjtoth View Post
Thanks for a great series, Greg. Does Fort Bliss not use White Sands as a missile range anymore? For that matter, Does Fort Bliss even exist anymore?
I'm more surprised that it's safe to be around there because of radiation from the Trinity test. I guess 6 decades allowed enough decay for the danger to be gone. (After the blast, J. Robert Oppenheimer quoted the Bhagavad Gita: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds".)

Ted

Last edited by tkurkowski; Mar 21, 2011 at 8:34 AM.
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Old Mar 21, 2011, 10:35 AM   #7
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One additional note. I was out on the sand changing lenses ALOT, and you can see in some of the images there's plenty of sand in the air you can see. I was using a backpack to make totting all of the lenses I was carrying easier, putting it down in the sand to open and change lenses, then closing it and dusting off the sand before putting it back on and failed to see any problems with dust spots in the files I have worked so far, and it it's going to happen ANYWHERE, it's going to be there!
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Old Mar 21, 2011, 10:41 AM   #8
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All very good, can't pick just one but I really liked the one you mentioned as one of your favorite conversions, very nice.
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Old Mar 21, 2011, 10:53 AM   #9
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Greg,

great shots. really love 9,10,12 here and for those that didnt visit the gallery, do so, some really great stuff there that didnt make it in the post. i just love the textures on these dunes and they work well in mono to emphasize the texture as well as in color to get the contrast of the sand and sky

as for my 5 i would choose (hard to choose, loved the gallery)

p3195725, p3175341, p3195738, p3195653, p3175199
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Old Mar 21, 2011, 11:53 AM   #10
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Pick five huh...simple...!!?

I'm jealous really, that's the type of enviroment I love. Camping and shooting. Prolly a little cool for the camping though

Tough task to chose 5 they're all very good. From these I'd go:
#2, I'm a sucker for this type of shot, love the blue ranges in the early morning.
#4, #7 & #8 are ageless. They could have been any desert at anytime in history.
Then the last shot for composition and a touch of colour showing how pretty and harsh the desert can be.


Now you've got me dreaming of the Nambia dunes at sunset (My bucket list).....I have this friend in SA who likes to go there..........
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