White Sands National Monument

Yucca and White Sands Thunderhead


Periodic trips to Alamogordo, New Mexico are required so we can visit our s-t-u-f-f  tucked away in a dusty storage shed.  Each time we swing open the door, we are a bit surprised at the items we have saved while unable to find some other needed treasures.  When visiting Alamogordo, we get our fill of Mexican food at Margo’s Restaurant and visit White Sands National Monument.

White Sands National Monument

The photos in this blog are from several trips over the years, not just the most recent.  Depending upon the time of the year and the weather, conditions in White Sands vary dramatically.  My clothing will at times require gloves and a down parka or just shorts.

Moon Rise in White Sands

The rules of the park generally require all visitors to be out by sun down.  There are few exceptions, so careful planning is needed to coordinate a moon rise with the demands of the park rangers.  For this photo I had already selected the yucca.  It must be on a hilltop and needs to be seen from a few hundred feet away so a telephoto lens can be used.  The telephoto lens is what makes the moon appear so large.

White Sands Moon Rise


White Sands Monsoon Season

Picnic Lake

Picnic Lake

The picnic tables of White Sands look futuristic with their corrugated metal roof to shelter the tourists from the harsh sun.   I knew this would produce a nice reflection so numerous trips from Ruidoso were made hoping for the right conditions.   Running from one photo vantage point to the other around this shallow pond was a challenge since I could not run the shortest distance as that would cause ripples in the water and reflection.   The above photo was published in New Mexico Magazine February 2015 as a winner in their annual photography contest.

Sailing White Sands


White Sands Thunderhead

Not able to find any adequate foreground I simply took a photo of the monstrous summer rain cloud rising between two dunes.


Winter in the Park

Winter Layers

During this most recent trip to White Sands a lot of rain had been received the prior few days.  The result is pot-marked sand from the rain, not smooth and windblown.  While maybe not as good for photography, it at least does make walking in the dunes easier.


The photographer in White Sands is continually looking for geometric designs, curves and shapes.  When later sorting through the many photos on the computer, I often wonder what the heck I was thinking.  But it is a fun day at the office.

Simple Lines


Fish Bones

White Sands Fall

White Sands Fall

White Sands Fall

Who knew there were cottonwood trees at White Sands?  If you drive the main road and only complete loop, you will never see these.  A bit of hiking is required.   It seemed as if this old cottonwood had blown up with all of the wood limbs laying at its base.  Yet one limb refused to give up.

The above cottonwood tree was one of the ten photos included when I won the grand prize in the 2013 New Mexico Photography Contest.  Click the links below to see other photos in that portfolio. 

My New Mexico Magazine Portfolio


If you are in the southern New Mexico area, you will do well to take the time to explore this National Monument.  You will do even better to not rush your trip.  Take some time and explore at different times of the day.

Next stop is Bosque del Apache bird refuge south of Socorro, NM.


5 thoughts on “White Sands National Monument

  1. Absolutely stunning photos, Harold, and can see why you won first prize. You sure have a good eye but also the patience and persistence to go back time and again at different times of the day and year. It paid off. Thanks for posting. Looking forward to the next one!!

    • That is nice to hear, especially from the couple that made me fly half way around the world for a picture of a cat in Romania 😉 Your photo of the the man rowing the boat in India is another one of my favorites, along with the dark monastery in Romania. You have quite a collection also. Thank YOU for sharing. ANYBODY reading this should go to their site: http://www.vagabonandave.com/ to see some true world travelers. They have been a source of inspiration for some of my travel.

  2. Your photography continues to amaze us!
    Most of us could go on the same hikes, but would not see the the things the way you do.
    We have followed you on your travels the last couple of years and always enjoy your photos and commentary.
    If we ever visit any of the same places you have been, we will
    make sure to document it and send you selfies from each place!!

    • I sincerely appreciate you continuing to follow along. Maybe we could work on designing a very sturdy selfie stick for us aging baby boomers which could be used as a cane, or even a club. Looking forward to your travel photos.

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