White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

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October 26-Nov 1, 2020
$300 deposit
$1395 balance

Explore the white gypsum dunes and photograph the changing hues, shadows, and shapes of this ethereal landscape

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White Sands National Monument Photography Workshop

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  • White Sands National Monument Photography Workshop
  • White Sands blue hour
  • White Sands sunrise


Explore the beautiful, minimalist landscape of New Mexico's White Sands National Monument, a dramatic environment of shifting contrasts, lighting, patterns and textures with a backdrop of the rugged San Andres and Sacramento Mountains.

The white gypsum dunes reflect the colors of the sky, from golden yellow, orange, and red of sunrise and sunset to the pastel pinks and blues of twilight, adding to the ethereal mood of this unique place.

115 mi2 of protected dune fields within the monument is home to numerous plant, animal, and bird species, though yucca is the predominant and iconic plant of the landscape.

Our base will be in Alamogordo, about 30 minutes away. We'll be able to stay after the monument closes on 3 evenings to be sure we catch all of the sunset.

Emphasis during this workshop will be your interpretation of the stark dune environment, using your senses and perceptions to search for simple, elegant compositions using elements to give depth, graphical design, and abstract impressions from broad panoramics to up close macros. We'll discuss in a group and individual one-on-one guidance about using light and shadow to create form, improving composition, setting exposure under difficult lighting conditions, abstract impressions, sensing and perceiving the environment to help find subjects and make meaningful photographs. Each student will also receive a copy of my book The Ecology of Photography.

Our accommodation in Alamogordo will be a shared vacation home. We will cook and share most meals and be able to easily meet to discuss various topics and share image processing workflows and tips.

Arrivals to Alamogordo should be before 5pm on the first day. We will have a group dinner, introductions, orientation, and possibly an evening photo shoot. The closest airport is El Paso, TX (ELP), about 2 hours drive from Alamogordo. It may be possible for you to be picked up in El Paso if you coordinate with me and my arrival. Otherwise you will need to rent a car and drive to Alamogordo. Albuquerque is another fly-in option, and is about a 3.5 hr drive. If you plan to visit other sites in central or northern New Mexico or Arizona, like Chaco Canyon, Shiprock, the Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Sante Fe, etc., then Albuquerque will be a convenient gateway. Near Alamogordo are Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Roswell, and Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

Instruction and image feedback
Transportation on site available (or your own rental car)
Snacks and non-alcoholic refreshments
Most meals (shared in the vacation home)
Admissions and fees
Early entry to White Sands National Monument

Not Included:
Transportation to and from gateway city of Alamogordo, New Mexico (may be arranged from El Paso)
Personal items and expenses
Trip insurance (recommended)
Fees for activities and other expenses not covered in itinerary

A release form, gear list and other information will be mailed to you upon registration.
Registration Policy.

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