Standing at the top of the Mesquite Dunes in Death Valley while the sun rose in the early morning was a tremendous sight. The wind the night before smoothed the dunes so that they looked completely unspoiled. The air was still warm from the night before – temperatures dropped down to a ‘brisk’ 96 degrees overnight so it was probably broaching a 100 at this point. I was sweating profusely from the climb to the top – it may not look like much but climbing the dunes is a struggle as the sand slides from under your feet. Often you take two steps forward just to fall three steps further back.
Ultimately, I made it to the top. I framed this shot with the dune hitting the lower left corner but with it leading the eye out towards the sun before turning back towards the mountains and smaller dunes in the distance. As the sun crested above the mountains I opened up the aperture to make sure I was able to see the burst of the sun and its rays streaming into the frame as well. Death Valley is a fun place to photograph and I certainly had more luck this time through with the dunes than I did on my trip in early 2014.