From the west follow Highway 190 past Stovepipe Wells until you see a sign on the left for Mesquite Flat Dunes. From the east follow Highway 190 past Furnace Creek until you see the sign. Plenty of parking spaces.
Equipment: Nikon D800, 70-200mm Nikkor lens at 110 mm, ISO 100, 1/20 second at f/16
I arrived at Mesquite Flat Dunes in Death Valley National Park well before sunrise. Hiking out onto the dunes for what seemed like 3 hours and 6 miles, in reality took 20-30 minutes and less than a mile before being surrounded by amazing photogenic sand dunes. The quickly changing light as the sun crept closer to the horizon kept me on my toes (and knees) composing and capturing scene after scene.
“Awaiting Sunrise” is an image I had pre-visualized even before arriving in Death Valley. Mystery, intrigue and a sense of being totally alone in a vast desert is what I wanted to experience and convey to my viewers. While never being “totally” alone, I did feel the mystery and intrigue of the sand dunes.
Mesquite Flat Dunes are the best known sand dunes and easiest to access. They are located in central Death Valley near Stovepipe Wells and accessible from Highway 190. Although the highest dune rises only about 100 feet, the dunes actually cover a vast area lending themselves to the feeling of being totally alone.