Astrophotography, Colorado, Photography, Travel

Great Sand Dunes National Park

My friend Tom and I spent a few days exploring Great Sand Dunes National Park and the surrounding area back in April. It’s a spectacular valley and we had a great time getting some really good pictures. The trip ended with vomiting at a Walgreen’s.

The first day, we explored the dunes a bit to get situated, drove to Alamosa for some dinner, and then returned for some sunset shooting. Astro shooting turned out to be a bust after clouds arrived.

The next morning, we headed to nearby San Luis Lakes State Park, because I thought it might be a good place to do some night shooting, so we wandered around the lake and made notes of places that seemed like good opportunities at night.

We got lunch in Alamosa and explored the town a bit, then headed back towards the dunes. Just outside the dunes is a two-mile drive up a very rutted road, the bouncy nature of which would ultimately lead to the later Walgreen’s incident. At the top of the road, however, is a parking area which leads to a short trail, leading up to a waterfall in a slot canyon. Being that this was April, the waterfall and most of the river were frozen. It was slippery getting into the slot, but worth the risk for sure.

After a few hours at the hotel editing images and watching TV, we headed back into the park for sunset over the dunes.

Energized by the brilliant sunset, we headed back to the lake at the state park, fired up for the Milky Way to rise in clearer skies.

And rise it did.

As we headed back to the car, I suggested to Tom that we get a few self-portraits with the car and the Milky Way. Despite the fact that it was 2-something-A.M., Tom was game to join me in running laps around the car wearing our headlamps and we ended up with an otherworldly shot that looks like a Dodge magazine ad for aliens.

The Walgreen’s incident will not be pictured, nor described.

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