White Sands National Monument is a little over a 2 hour drive from Bosque del Apache; if you’ve never been I would recommend a visit. I have been there a few times before but have never truly explored it to great lengths. It is best to contact the park before going and apply for an early entry permit. This will allow you to get in early and/or stay late depending on what you sign up for. I love photographing sand dunes; they offer a myriad of patterns and views. And even though White Sands are technically not sand dunes (they are a rare white gypsum) they look exactly the same, except for the color.
Arriving early allows you to hike out to get past all of the footprints that you will see everywhere and I do mean everywhere! If you get there right after a strong wind storm you will most likely see fewer footprints. It is a desert environment and temperatures can drop significantly once the sun is under the horizon, so dress appropriately. It is also very easy to get lost once you head over a few dunes. I recommend bringing a GPS with you and take note of where you park the car.
My friend and I arrived early in the morning, way before sunrise, as he was getting his gear together I couldn’t help but photograph the stars. I did not expect to see so many of them and since I am from New Jersey and never see this many near home I was star struck for sure.
This is a two image composite that I did just for fun as I added one of my photos on the sign in PS. I spent the morning scouting for this evenings sunset. I hope it’s a good one and I get a few pics, if so, I’ll be posting them.