Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

You don’t need an ocean to have sand dunes

with 22 comments

Monahans Sand Dunes and Dark Clouds 9128

The trip that included a hike in Caprock Canyons State Park began with a late-afternoon visit to Monahans Sandhills State Park a few days earlier, on April 12. The sky was heavily overcast and the wind was blowing, but I did what I could, and I’ve long had a fondness for landscapes that are darker above than below.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 7, 2014 at 5:48 AM

22 Responses

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  1. Beautiful, beautiful photo.


    May 7, 2014 at 6:08 AM

  2. Lovely abstraction in nature.


    May 7, 2014 at 6:10 AM

    • In addition to abstract, despite the many ripples in the sand and clouds in the sky I think of this two-tone photograph as minimalist.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 7, 2014 at 6:16 AM

  3. Beautiful shot, Steve.


    May 7, 2014 at 6:12 AM

  4. When I opened your photo, my first thought was, “I have to go there.” Then I wondered, “Where is this?” I’d never heard of the place. Only after I sorted out the details did I sit and soak up the beauty. The sand looks like a matelassé spread has been thrown over the land.

    I’ve been lucky enough to fly above the northwest coast of Africa, where the only things visible from an airplane window are the Sahara Desert and water. Give this photo a counter-clockwise turn, and your image is remarkably similar to that view.


    May 7, 2014 at 6:59 AM

    • For years I’d had the same thought, “I have to go there,” so go there I finally did, and I wasn’t disappointed. The overcast sky on the first of my two ventures into the park even worked in my favor by adding drama to the upper half of the view, as shown here, although it made photographing individual plants harder.

      I hadn’t heard the term matelassé but I guessed its meaning by context and from the fact that matelas is the French word for mattress. Speaking of French and Africa, my sister lived for a couple of years in the 1970s in Ivory Coast. I’m sorry I didn’t take advantage of her stay to visit Africa. I know your African experiences remain vivid these many years later.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 7, 2014 at 7:23 AM

  5. Dunes make me think of Martian sand dunes. They are beautiful.

    Jim in IA

    May 7, 2014 at 7:25 AM

    • They are indeed. If someone would pay my way there, I’d happily take Martian pictures. On the other hand, it’s a lot cheaper, faster, and less dangerous to drive to west Texas, so I think I’ll rescind my fantasy. Speaking of faster, I’ll add that the speed limit on Interstate 10 in west Texas is 80 mph.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 7, 2014 at 7:31 AM

      • 80 eh? My car would object.

        There are proposals for one-way missions to Mars. You could be the official photographer. It could be fun.

        Jim in IA

        May 7, 2014 at 7:40 AM

        • None of my recent cars would object at all to 80 mph, but when I was younger I sometimes drove what I though of as two-speed cars because they had just two speeds: uphill and downhill.

          As for a one-way mission to Mars, I think I’ll decline. Earth needs me more, and I it.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 7, 2014 at 7:47 AM

  6. Beautifully minimalist, and the dark sky really adds some drama.

    Journey Photographic

    May 7, 2014 at 8:27 AM

  7. […] much as I’d gone to Monahans Sandhills State Park on April 12 to see the dunes, I was pleased to find some native plants there, too, even if the wind and the overcast sky made […]

  8. Superb. Amazing.


    May 11, 2014 at 11:20 PM

  9. […] the main thing that drew me back to Monahans Sandhills State Park on the morning of April 13th was the dunes. At first the air was still, but it didn’t take long for the wind to pick up. I hoped the […]

  10. […] to see a couple of examples of saltation, you can check out two recent posts on my other blog: https://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/you-dont-need-an-ocean-to-have-sand-dunes/ […]

  11. The darker hues above definitely catch one’s attention–the effect is destabilizing. Fascinating.

    Susan Scheid

    May 13, 2014 at 8:29 PM

  12. […] textured the sand was then from the way we’d seen it in 2014 when we’d visited on the afternoon of April 12th and the morning of April […]

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