During our entire stay at Great Sand Dunes National Park we had late-day clouds & sprinkles move in each day. The bad part about that was that the clouds rolled in right around the prime-time for afternoon shadow madness on the dune field. The good part about that was that if the skies cleared just enough to let some sun through, it setup things up for some pretty sunsets.
The first two nights the most spectacular parts of the sunsets were sudden and fleeting, so I simply sat back and enjoyed. On our last night though, things moved more slowly and I was able to capture a quick glimpse of the sunset – complete with a wisp of the rising moon – using the camera on my cell phone.
Come the next morning, a few clouds were still hanging around out to the west, potentially setting things up for an interesting sunrise. Because the park is nestled into the base of the southern end of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, you don’t get a ton of light on the dunes themselves as the sun comes up. It takes about an hour for the sun to get over the peaks to the east and hit the sand, so by that time “golden hour” is over and the light is already getting flat. Maybe these tufts of clouds could help make things more interesting than usual? Hmmmm….
As we were having a quick breakfast and preparing to break camp to return to everyday life, the sun started glinting off of those tufts of clouds creating a little pink in the sky. I used my cell phone camera again for the sake of quickness and commemorated the rosy sky farewell Dunes made for us.
So, until next year (or sooner) Dunes…