Sea of Sand, White Sands National Monument, New Mexico, United States

Photograph by Nick Zantop


I took this photo while hiking out of the dunefield after spending the night backcountry camping in White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. There are ten primitive backcountry sites in the dunes and on the night I was there, there was only one other site occupied about 1/4 mile away. The temperature at night had fallen into the 60s, making for a pleasant sleep in the tent, but it quickly climbed above 90°F in the morning. White Sands is an incredible place to photograph – it is the world’s largest gypsum sand dunefield, covering 275 square miles of desert. Wind action forms beautiful waves in the sand and while many dunes move very little, some can shift as much as thirty feet in a year.

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