Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

On my nighttime drive from Bryce Canyon to Page, Arizona I passed a sign to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. It was an intriguing name but it was dark and I needed to get to my destination. After a couple of days at Page, visiting Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend, it was time to move on. I had a day of travel scheduled for the following day and wanted to spend a little time in Zion when I passed thru there. My original plan was to shoot sunrise at Horseshoe Bend but the previous sunrise was uninspiring and the clear skies meant a repeat. I pulled out my photography guide and almost immediately saw Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. It was a good hour to hour in a half drive from Page but the sun rises late during the winter so I had plenty of time. Besides, I would be able to knock off a chunk of miles early giving me a little more time in Zion, so that became my plan.

As I approached the park in the dim light of pre-dawn, it became clear there was alot more snow on the ground that where I'd come from. I got rather disappointed that the dunes would be covered with snow as well. So disappointed in fact that when I pulled into the parking lot I decided to have some breakfast before taking a look.

Well one rule of being a photographer is food can always wait. When I finally did check I found the dunes 90% clear of snow and a beautiful sunrise before my eyes. Hurridly, I grabbed my equipment and went out into the dunes but I missed the best light, darn. If only I checked before breakfast, if only.

Oh well all was not lost. The early morning clouds were giving way to the first rays of sun shining across the landscape. I was quite intrigued by the patterns the hanging bushes were making in the sand. A light breeze was blowing and these natural artsts were going about their work. The petterns were constantly evolving and changing. I made a number of images with the same composition and when reviewing them in my computer noticed how patterns changed from one frame to the next. Pretty neat.

The other thing I realized after returning to the car was the two seperate areas of the park. While out on the dunes I noticed remnants of tire tracks all over the place. Turns out there are two sections of the park, an OHV section and a conservation section. I had stopped in the OHV section. Had I known this I would certainly have gone over to the conservation section where vehicle tracks would not have been a problem. Next time.

It was well worth the stop and is likely to be a future stop on future travels.


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