The last time we got together for a visit, we were talking about taking pictures at night, in the dark, remember? It's a little ironic that on the very day that post was published, 2 weeks ago today, I was taking pictures in the light. Not just any light, full high noon sunny skies light and throw in a very reflective surface and you have a recipe for disaster.
Bryan Peterson says that you should never take pictures between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. Those hours should be spent poolside with a drink that has an umbrella in it or by taking a nap. The sun is too harsh, wait for golden hour.
Sometimes you have to be a rebel and break those rules. Sorry Bryan. But you see, I had no choice. I was forced into the situation because...
Sand sledding! Yeah, that's a real thing. Apparently it is quite popular. You can tell by the length of the line to rent a saucer (the same ones you use on snow, you can bring your own) and the floor to ceiling stack of the saucers. I only heard about it last summer and knew it was something we were going to do. Hey, anything that gets people, especially kids, out to a National Monument is a good thing, right?
The sand sledding happened at White Sands New Mexico. You know, the place where they detonated the first nuclear bomb? The Trinity Site? The place where the sand is white, compared to the rest of the sand in the entire state, which is brown? (it's gypsum) You can see the white sand from miles away as you near the park. It is located in southern New Mexico, accessible through Alamogordo. It's pretty spectacular.
So, high noon it was because when you have to get 8 people ready to go it takes a while. Even though the best time to photograph at White Sands is when the sun is either rising or setting, I went at noon because this park is about 700 miles from my home and I don't think I could just hop in the car and get there whenever the mood struck me. (they have tours you can sign up for and go at sunrise or sunset with a group to the best spots, this is now on my must photograph list!)
Oh, and it was hot. I'm no stranger to hot because I live in an oven but this was not the hot I'm used to. It was bright and hot. The temperature was about 80 degrees but it was hot. Bring lots of water and sunscreen. Because it's the desert and it's hot.
Taking all the known factors of this photography excursion in consideration before getting there, I decided to use my 24-70mm lens because I knew I wanted a wide angle sometimes and a close up sometimes, because of things like this...
Good thing too because this fella was kinda skittish. I couldn't get too close without him scurrying away. I don't remember the name of this little lizard, it was on a board at the visitor center, but I do know it evolved into a white lizard from a brown lizard for obvious reasons. Pretty cool.
Also, because of the bright sun and reflective surface, I used the lens hood for my lens. ISO was 200, (could have gone to 100) f8, (could have gone to 11 or 14) white balance set to "daylight" , metering set to "evaluative metering", picture style set to "landscape". I was ready.
Seriously, it was SO BRIGHT that I was unable to see the picture in the back of the camera after I took it. I had to have faith the settings were doing a good job, kinda like the old days of film! No preview!
I was pleased with the results when I loaded the pictures into Lightroom. The most editing I did was to straighten some of the shots. I swear, I cannot hold the camera straight! Maybe I should use that level thingy in my camera!
It was a good trip, a good photography learning session. A place I want to return to.
Maybe not at noon.
Did I mention it was hot?