Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

When visiting Death Valley National Park, you should not pass the opportunity to walk on the fine sands of the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.

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If you have never been on sand dunes, this experience will project you into all the One Thousand and One Nights tales. By all means, these dunes are not as extended as the African deserts, but they make for quite a scenery to walk around, especially if you time it around either sunset or sunrise.

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One thing to be aware is that they are surrounded by mountains, which makes the effective sunlight period shorter than the day. In other words, sunset arrives earlier, and sunrise later. I took advantage of the latter, so that the morning wake was not terribly early, and that also made for more bearable temperatures to walk around. Also, you will need at least half an hour to scope out the location and decide what you want to frame.

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The scenery will be beautiful but mostly flat-colored, almost dull at the beginning. But as soon as the sun peaks out of the mountains, the whole scenery becomes a dramatic colorful play of light and shadows, revealing the most delicate patterns in the resting sands, giving you an amazing landscape to photograph, but also to enjoy. The shallow light rays mark a very sharp shadow over the edges of the dunes, thus guiding the eye over sinuous lines between light and dark areas far into the distance.

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