Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes from Above – Death Valley National Park, CA – Part 6 – 20226 min read time

After spending several hours actually on the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes (see Part 2), I was surprised that our next shooting location was back at these dunes!  This time our instructors were William Neill and Alex Noriega.

Our goal was to get a view of the sand dunes from a different perspective.  This change-up has always been a basic in my photography (See my post Ups & Downs of Photography – Point of View) so I was excited to see what they had in store for us.

We went up a road that climbed a bit into the mountains that surround the dunes.  We then walked a bit farther up to a point that overlooked the dunes.

This was late afternoon so we had a bit of side-light going on.  I set up my tripod and attached my Nikon Z7 with the FTZ plus 1.4X teleconverter and 70-200mm lens and changed the Full Sensor setting in my camera to DX.  This effectually crops the sensor adding 2/3 again to your reach, ie 280mm is equivalent to 420mm.  With that extra bit of zoom, I started looking around.  Although this next image seems like a rather small bunch of sand piles, look closely and you will see tiny people walking about.  Those back dunes are massive.

Massive dunes of Mesquite Flat – Nikon Z7 on DX mode with the FTZ plus 1.4X teleconverter and 70-200mm lens – Converted to B&W

 

Looking through the lens I began to see other intimate landscapes as the sun started throwing some colorful light our way!

Pink-tinged dunes – Nikon Z7 on DX mode with the FTZ plus 1.4X teleconverter and 70-200mm lens

 

I wanted some context so I pulled out my iPhone 12 max Pro for this wide-angle image.

Here the massive dunes look really small! iPhone 12 Max Pro

 

I continued to look around for a cleaner portion of the sand dunes and found this next image.  The people again giving some perspective to how large these dunes are.

Waves of Sand – Nikon Z7 on DX mode with the FTZ plus 1.4X teleconverter and 70-200mm lens

 

As the sun sank toward the ridge behind us I moved the camera around to see other views of the valley before me.  Going vertical with the long telephoto range showed the many layers of ground that make up this diverse environment.

The Many Layers of Death Valley – Nikon Z7 on DX mode with the FTZ plus 1.4X teleconverter and 70-200mm lens

 

The serpentine road coming into the valley kept pulling my attention so I had to make an image.

The road into the Valley – Nikon Z7 on DX mode with the FTZ plus 1.4X teleconverter and 70-200mm lens

 

After the sunset, the sky started to get more and more color so I started including the sky and then the mountains.

With the setting sun to my back – iPhone 12 Max Pro

 

Setting sun lighting up the mountains – iPhone 12 Max Pro

At this time, I noticed two things…the dunes were tinged an even deeper pink, and the western sky was ablaze with color!

Pink Dunes after Sunset – Nikon Z7 on DX mode with the FTZ plus 1.4X teleconverter and 70-200mm lens

 

Panorama of the Sky On Fire! iPhone 12 Max Pro

 

Then as the light dropped, even more, I made one last long exposure to capture the head and tail lights of the cars coming and going from the valley.

Lights through the Desert – Nikon Z7 on DX mode with the FTZ plus 1.4X teleconverter and 70-200mm lens

 

As we drove back toward the resort, I was very happy that we had experienced the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes from this perspective.

I highly recommend getting a higher perspective of any dune field you get the opportunity to shoot as it gives you a totally different feel for them than when you are standing on them!

Click on any image to see a larger version OR visit my gallery to see and purchase prints of these and additional images: Mesquite Flat Dunes Overview

My next post will be on our very early morning visit to Artists’ Drive.

That is all for now.

Lynn

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