Great Sand Dunes National Park by Ryan Wright

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The park contains the tallest sand dunes in North America, rising about 750 feet (230 m) from the floor of the San Luis Valley on the western base of the Sangre de Cristo Range, covering about 19,000 acres (77 km²). They are perhaps 12,000 years old.

The dunes were formed from sand deposits of the Rio Grande and its tributaries, flowing through the San Luis Valley. Over the ages, westerly winds picked up sand particles from the river flood plain. As the wind lost power before crossing the Sangre de Cristo Range, the sand was deposited on the east edge of the valley. This process continues, and the dunes are slowly growing. The wind changes the shape of the dunes daily.

There are several streams flowing on the perimeter of the dunes. The streams erode the edge of the dune field, and sand is carried downstream. The water disappears into the ground, depositing sand on the surface. Winds pick up the deposits of sand, and blow them up onto the dune field once again.

Digging a few inches into the dunes even at their peaks reveals wet sand. If the streams were to dry up, the dunes would disappear; in fact part of the motivation of turning the Monument into a National Park was the extra protection of the water, which Colorado’s cities and agriculture covet. -Wikipedia


magic, hour, hdr, de, range, colorado, sagebrush, christo, sangre, alamosa, sunset, clouds, mountain, national, park, tree, sand, mountains, great, dunes

I grew up in Colorado. Photography is a way of worship for me. I’m a nerd, and I kill it at table tennis. I love craft beer too.

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  • Stephen Norris
    Stephen Norrisover 6 years ago

    Love the light.

  • Gary L   Suddath
    Gary L Suddathover 6 years ago

    stunning vastness and lighting,clouds are dramatic

  • sassyskink
    sassyskinkover 6 years ago

    Great work Ryan. Love the sky here! Fantastic contrast!

  • Peter Harpley
    Peter Harpleyover 6 years ago

    I’m really jealous of genuinely good landscape photographers – such drama warmth and all sorts of other things I could go on about. I’m commenting on this just as an example – thery are all just wonderful. Must save some pennies…!

  • Lisa Hill
    Lisa Hillabout 6 years ago

    this is amazing – what equipment do you use?

  • Ryan Wright
    Ryan Wrightabout 6 years ago

    Thanks Lisa, I use a Canon 30D with the kit lens and the really, cheap (and soft..bah!) 75-300mm, and for software…Lightroom.

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