Photographing somewhere that has been captured beautifully thousands of times presents an interesting challenge. It provides the opportunity to use your eye and try and create something "new." This is part of the creative process that makes photography art. After studying photos of the Great Sand Dunes, I had an idea of what was popular. The photos tend to be long distance shots that highlight the towering snow capped peaks in the background and the expansive dunes. While beautiful, these don't require effort. You can park your car jump out and take a few shots. To really get a true feeling for the essence of a place, you have to "feel the sand between your toes." Make the effort...not only for a good photo, but more importantly, for the experience and connection with a place.
The Great Sand Dunes are a remarkable anomaly. Beneath the 14,000 feet+ snowy alpine peaks of Colorado reside the highest sand dunes in North America. The highest dune raises more than 750 feet from its base. The dunes were formed from deposits left by the Rio Grande River and a giant lake in the San Luis Valley. Over time, the water evaporated and winds picked up the leftover sands and deposited them at the base of the Rockies. A truly unique landscape in our world.