I had never taken photos of sand dunes before Death Valley, but now they’re one of my favorite things to shoot. However, they are very difficult to both navigate and photograph. Every time you think you see a spot in the distance that might offer a good vantage point, your footprints leading to that spot prevent you from being able to return to your original spot that you suddenly realize was far better. Additionally, moving from point A to point B will get you tired enough that you wouldn’t wish to return to point A anyway.
After walking through the dunes on this overcast but hot (85°F) day for about an hour, I was becoming frustrated since I couldn’t find anything decent. I decided to start climbing towards the top of one of the tallest dunes and as I was about halfway there, I stopped briefly. Moments later, the sun peaked out from behind the clouds, casting a nice low angle side light across the dunes. I immediately realized the composition I was looking for was right in front of me.
This ended up being a fun night, despite blowing it during the best sunset of the trip.