Great Sand Dunes

Dudes, it’s been awhile.

I’m not sure why, but for whatever reason, I’ve been feeling a little bleh about photography. I’m in that stage (please, God, let it just be a stage) where every picture I take looks really boring and so inadequate compared to what I saw. I go through my pictures right away, sort and process them, but writing a blog about them feels like a waste of time, akin to posting pictures of the sandwich I just made on Facebook.

But I’m determined to get the pictures I took up, at the very least because those places deserve some adoration. And probably because I’m feeling like life is passing by way too fast these days, and I’d like proof that all my days were not wasted watching Top Ten Creepy Videos on YouTube or trying to improve my score on Lumosity.

So, without further ado,


We visited the Dunes in November 2018 as part of a big Colorado-New Mexico Thanksgiving trip. We arrived late in the day, so the light was dramatic, creating long and stark shadows. The dunes are all the more impressive because of the mountains in the background.


But either it’s my general bleh-ness about my photography these days or there are only so many pictures you can take of sand dunes before it starts to seem very repetitive.  Black and white does help a bit, I think.


Perhaps what I’m frustrated about these days is how subjective photography is. Example: the following two pictures are quite similar. I prefer the first one; Bob prefers the second. He says there’s too much black in the first one, but that’s exactly why I prefer it.


I love that people have different aesthetics, but it’s REALLY hard to know where you’re at artistically when your own opinion is so different from another’s.  Is there anything objectively better about one picture above or the other? Is there anything objectively worthwhile in either? A girl like me, who lives in her head most of the time, is driven mad by the ambiguity.

Perhaps that’s because I am too dependent on feedback. I like to be graded. I’m just like Lisa Simpson that way. Bob plays this clip of her for me all the time.


These pictures don’t really capture the GREAT in GREAT SAND DUNES, but hopefully the panorama below will give you some sense of their immensity.


And yet none of it compares at all to first-hand experience. Perhaps that’s where my perpetual disappointment lies. Let’s hope it’s just a funk.


4 thoughts on “Great Sand Dunes

  1. While I like all these pictures, I think my favorite is the one with “too much black”. I don’t know why, but I REALLY like it. Also everything you said about photography can apply to writing. I think you nailed it.

  2. Sorry to hear you’re in a funk. I’m being sincere when I say that the B&W images remind me of Ansel Adams.
    My attitude is that photos and paintings capture an interpretation of the actual scene. They can’t capture the entire sensory impact of the event of being there. That’s a combination of sight, smell, hearing (including silence), temperature, weather, etc. Seeing a photo of something that you’ve experienced is different from someone else seeing it as a photograph. You remember the entire experience and feel the lack of everything but the visual. Other people see the photograph only as a visual experience and evaluate/enjoy it for what it is.
    I’m moved by the photographs and get a real sense of the dunes. It’s not as complete as if I were there but it is all that the single sense of sight can experience. It is difficult for an artist to detach themselves from the total experience and view the work as a separate thing but they have or they’ll have the feeling you do. It’s like editing your own writing, you have to read it as if someone else wrote it.

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