During the new moon in June, I had the fortunate opportunity to travel to Alamosa, Colorado to go on a sunset, night, and sunrise shoot at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The trip was hosted by National Park Trips Media and we had Tamron instructors who led the workshop. It was an unforgettable experience and one that has forever hooked me on to astrophotography. I have a deep love for National Parks, but have never ventured into one at night, so it was a real treat to be with a group and have that experience.
It was a whirlwind adventurous trip. The first adventure came when I had to step foot onto an 8-passenger plane for a 1-hour flight from Denver to Alamosa. I was petrified. And apparently, my face doesn’t hide emotion very well. Two other women on the flight were trying to reassure me that everything would be alright. One even gave me a calming stone to hold during the flight. I don’t do well with any plane turbulence and so traveling over the Rockies on a tiny plane, turned out to be a terrifying experience. I made quick mental notes that a 4-hour drive would be easier to endure than doing this type of flight in the future. Once we landed though, I was very grateful and relieved. I gave myself an extra night before the shoot to rest up and get ready for a long day.
The next day, I met the group in the late afternoon for some instruction and guidance about the shoot. We ate dinner and then separated into different vans and off we went. During the day we had some heavy cloud coverage, so we were a bit concerned whether it would clear up by evening. As we were driving and it started getting later in the day, we still had some clouds, but there were some breaks in them, so we stopped off on the side of the road before we arrived to the dunes, to get some sunset shots. Then we popped back in and set off for the dunes. We arrived and took some shots with the remaining light. After the light was gone, we left and went to another spot and got out to walk into the dunes.
We walked a bit and then all of us lined up to get set up. We experimented with some light painting on some of the dunes, which was the first time I had taken shots with that technique. It was really my first time doing anything with long exposures. I loved it. I loved the light that was captured on the dunes at the same time as being able to capture the night stars. Then as it got later, we went out to capture the Milky Way. There were still some clouds to contend with that never went away completely, but it was still amazing to be able to capture it. I can’t wait to try more astrophotography and hopefully I can do so at another National Park. Until then, I hope you enjoy these images!