Sand Dune Patterns. Death Valley National Park, California. April 2, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Sand dune patterns following a day of dust storms
Sometimes we flatter ourselves by saying that we make photographs. Indeed, there is truth to that — if there wasn’t something unique in each act of photographic creation everyone would produce photographs of equal interest. However, there is also a distinct element of simply finding things — I like to think of it as hunting. In a location such as the one where I found this subject, there is, for all practical purposes, an infinity of possible subjects — and they are not static, but very much the result to constantly evolving processes of light and wind and erosion and rain and more. We like to tell ourselves that the photographs are out creations, but if we are honest we must admit that there is a great deal in our subjects that is completely beyond our control.
I understand the periodic feeling that “there is nothing to photograph.” However, many times the opposite problem is the challenge — there are so many possible photographs and so many potential ways to approach each subject that it can be overwhelming. During perhaps an hour or a bit more on these dunes I was never without something to photograph, and there were moments the work seemed almost frantic as I spotted some effect of light and hurried to find a way to photograph it during the brief time before it was gone. These patterns were the result of dust storms and high winds over the past 24 hours or more. These conditions had piled sand up near the tops of dunes, and on the leeward side the sand had drifted downward, following patterns that seem more like those of a liquid than a solid. I happened to show up as the low angle evening light briefly passed from left to right across the surface of this texture, and working quickly I was able to make a few exposures before the light faded.
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email
Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.