Sand Mountain soon after sunrise, finally catching the winter morning light.

The first stop on Toni and my journey through the States recently was Fallon, Nevada. Fallon is a sleepy little flyspeck of a town that is known (at least locally) as the Oasis of Nevada. I was a bit skeptical of this label (it is in the middle of the desert in Nevada after all) until I viewed the area on Google Maps and saw that indeed, it was a green dot on a largely brown satellite image. Pretty cool being able to look something like that up and actually see the reason for the moniker. Fallon is also located on US Route 50, also known as “The Loneliest Highway.” Driving the 20 miles or so to Sand mountain from NAS Fallon really bore that out… nothing but bluffs, desert scrub, salt flats and eventually, an enormous pile of sand. I am fairly familiar with this sort of sand formation from my times visiting Great Sand Dune National Monument in southern Colorado, but it still strikes me as funny that such a large quantity of sand could collect like that and have very little evidence of the same sand elsewhere. Just a huge set of dunes in the middle of arid plains. Weird.

I eventually visited the dunes on three separate occasions, once mid-morning, once at sunrise and once at sunset. These particular dunes aren’t really all that well positioned to catch the rays of the sun all that well at sunrise and sunset (sunset was actually a bit better, but the weather wasn’t all that conducive to good lighting), but the times leading up to sunset and the mid morning shots turned out well I think. The weather was pretty cold (a bit below freezing, but nothing I haven’t worked in before) and on the first visit, there was some great fog and haze in the area closer to Fallon leaving some awesome hoar frost in it’s wake. I dragged my 5D, 16-35L, 24-70L, right angle finder and big tripod out for the party and had a wonderful time playing around in the sand and winter sun!

Here are some of my favorites from the times I visited and some areas on the drive to/from Sand Mountain. I have some HDR renderings that I’m working on slowly but surely, so keep an eye out for those showing up soon.