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Old Jan 25, 2011, 11:19 PM   #1
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Default Death Valley Dunes

I had tried to convince myself that I would only do one more Death Valley thread, with one or at the most 2 pictures of all of the places we visited on our two day (really only a day and a half) vacation. As usual, I can't make up my mind which ones to leave out, or else I'd talk myself out of posting any of them. So here's one thread devoted to the sand dunes near Stovepipe Wells.

Every desert should have sand dunes, though not many in California actually have them. Death valley has some very pleasant ones, great fun to walk around on. The evening before we stopped to explore the dunes had been windy, enough so that there was a minor sandstorm.



It was enough to erase any footprints that might have been on top of the dunes.



Sand dunes, like many of the places in Death Valley, need time out of the car to experience and a close eye to see things. I suspect that many drive through the park and think it's an empty land. They visit Badwater in the middle of the day, go ho-hum and drive on to Las Vegas without actually looking around themselves. The sand dunes need to be walked in and looked at closely to really appreciate. There's so much varying texture, depending on wind, rain, plants, people and animals.



My footsteps in the sand (yes, I ended up with a huge amount of sand in my sneakers, the sand is definitely deep).



Different shapes and shadows make for lots to look at. The neat thing is that it will always be changing, never staying the same.



Not my tracks, I didn't try to go that far.



There are things that grow on the dunes. Plants will put down roots in the sand, get going and then the wind and rain shifts the sand out from under the roots, often leaving them exposed. Other times the roots will be strong enough to keep the sand in place just under the bush, leaving a bump in the ground while the rest of the sand shifts somewhere else.



I wasn't the only one out on the dunes that afternoon. This is a 2 shot panorama. I don't know if the photographer was trying to photograph that lone tree with the lovely late afternoon light on it or the distant dune.



Finally, my favorite picture from the dunes:



When it's reduced this small you can barely see the animal tracks that are closer to the top, above the human tracks. If you want to see a larger version, you can find it at: http://mtngal.zenfolio.com/img/s1/v21/p612204603.jpg .

Thanks for coming along my dune walk. Don't forget to empty the sand out of your shoes before climbing into your cars to drive back to civilization. I hope that a bit of the strange beauty of this place remains gently in your mind's eye for a while, I know it will be in mine.
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Old Jan 26, 2011, 2:16 AM   #2
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Nice shots, I would love to get to shoot somewhere like this.

The last one is my fave.
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Old Jan 26, 2011, 2:53 AM   #3
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I like 5. Its also made me think about going to our local Dunes here
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Old Jan 26, 2011, 4:45 AM   #4
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Really enjoyed this series. You captured the valley. It's been years since i've been there, but your photos make me want to go again. Thanks for sharing.
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Old Jan 26, 2011, 6:53 AM   #5
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Not sure that Death Valley NP is on my list of places to visit, but your images sure make it seem like a place to consider. Nice images--I like the effect of the shadows on the landscape.
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Old Jan 26, 2011, 9:41 AM   #6
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Mark - you've had some photo opportunities I can only dream about. And I'm sure you've taken pictures of far greater sand dunes than the ones in Death Valley (as beautiful as they are and as much fun as they are, they only cover a relatively small area).

Death Valley isn't a place to casually drive through, it takes some time and effort to see and for it all to sink in. There's far more variety of things to see than those who haven't researched the area realize. We barely scratched the surface in the time we were there, and we were on the go pretty much the whole time. There's not much for night-life (might have been able to try star trails the second night, it was probably clear enough though) in the valley itself. I'll start another thread when I get done with some more pictures, outlining the other sites we visited. My problem is that I want to go back because there's still a lot more to see in the area - maybe in a couple of months we can head back that direction.
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Old Jan 26, 2011, 9:51 AM   #7
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The problem with the places we went to in Egypt, they were too close to civilisation so it wasn't what I would call clean sand but rather mixed with larger particles so lots of different colours. There are some great places that we will hopefully visit one day where it is just like you imaging the deserts of Egypt to be like so they should be great
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Old Jan 26, 2011, 6:34 PM   #8
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Very nice series, Harriet!
#1, 5 and 9 really standout.
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Old Jan 26, 2011, 7:10 PM   #9
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These are very nice pictures....impressive series.

I've never been to Death Valley....but I think I'll put it on my 'bucket' list.
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Old Jan 26, 2011, 7:22 PM   #10
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Wonderful series. Pictures are outstanding.

Death Valley is on my bucket list of National Parks to visit.

I had met a man back here who visits every spring. He said that the desert at that time of year is a spectacular place when the wildflowers bloom.

Lou
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