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Hi, I'm Tamera, a professional wedding, portrait and boudoir photographer in Colorado Springs. But this blog isn't about my professional work; no, it's a daily love note to my beautiful city, where I've lived for most of my life. I love it here and I hope you enjoy seeing Colorado Springs through my eyes and lens!

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06 March 2009

Great Sand Dunes National Park


Yesterday Pat and I went on a road trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park. We have been meaning to go there for ages. Pat had visited there once when he was a little kid, and I went there with my brother about 15 years ago, so it had been a really long time for both of us.

It takes about two hours to drive there from Colorado Springs. As we drove south on I-25 we noticed how extremely windy it was. The Sand Dunes are pretty far away though, so we figured that the weather patterns would be different in the San Luis Valley. Wrong! If anything, it was far worse! Nevertheless, we were very excited as we neared the park, even though there was a rather ominous cloud of dust visible over it from miles and miles away. As we pulled into the parking lot I made the decision to leave my expensive pro camera in the car because of the high winds and sand (sand will KILL your camera). Instead, I brought my trusty little point and shoot and, rather absurdly, my purse -- thinking if things got to be too extreme for the camera I could put it in the purse.

And so we strode out onto the dunes and were hit with gale force winds and stinging sand in our faces. It was insane! We could barely see where we were going, it was just like standing in a blizzard. I caught a glimpse of some dead wood in the sand to my left, with dunes drifting over it, and it looked like it would make a decent photo. Pat and I trudged over the dunes, sand pounding our faces, and I tried to get a shot of it. I was literally shooting blind, right into the wind and the flying sand. After a minute of this I simply turned my back to the wind and Pat followed suit. I thought maybe it would let up for a few seconds and I could quickly turn around and get my shot, so I stood there waiting. But the wind didn't stop, so I rather foolishly turned around and made a few more attempts to get some pretty pictures (the things I do for my blog!). Pat and I were getting sandblasted, it was crazy! After a few more seconds of this I turned tail and ran back to the car.

The whole thing was extremely hilarious. For one thing, I was standing in the middle of a violent sandstorm with my purse, as if I was planning on going shopping or something. Pat had the hood up on his jacket, so he looked like Obi Wan Kenobi standing in the wastelands of Tatooine (or the Unabomber, you decide). When we got back to the car I found that I had sand in my ears, stuck to my lipstick, in my hair (where it stayed all day), in my pockets, the cuffs of my jeans, and inside my shoes. Later in the day I went to Starbucks and pulled out my wallet to pay, and there was sand inside my wallet -- I checked my purse and it was full of sand too. Crazy!

We had a blast (no pun intended). We finally got to visit the Sand Dunes even though we could barely see anything! We got to explore Alamosa, a small college town nearby, as well as some of the tiny rural towns in the San Luis Valley. We visited an alligator farm (more on that later), and I got some cool photos of this and that.

The photo above was strongly manipulated in Photoshop to bring out the contrast -- the conditions made it impossible to get a decent exposure. The white area of the sky directly above the dunes is not clouds. That's flying sand. When we got home we immediately checked the weather report. It turns out the winds in the San Luis Valley were 35-40mph all day. No wonder we were getting sandblasted! (Looking on the bright side, we had the entire place to ourselves!)

More photos to come over the next few days.

8 comments:

Snapper said...

Beautiful. I really enjoy your blog. Cheers!

Charlotte Geary said...

Wow, girl, that is crazy awesome. Did you take any video, by any chance?

Lisa Wilson said...

I love the Sand Dunes! I've been there many, many times, starting back when I was a baby. I haven't been to the alligator farm, though.

bfarr said...

Nice shot. I like reading your blog. We lived in the springs many moons ago. Always loved it there

Babooshka said...

So interesting and fanatstic image.

jules said...

This is on my list of places to see in Colorado, along with the Mining Museum below. My list seems to grow and grow thanks to you Colorado Photo bloggers'. Great dedication in bringing us this shot (and others), fabulous.

Saretta said...

Sounds like you had fun, against the elements! I love this photo. Kind of looks like a naked woman reclining...well, to me anyway! LOL!

Charlotte Geary said...

What a gorgeous photo... I came back to look at it again. :)