Yuccas in White Sands

Image © 2017/Denise Ippolito Photography ~ First light

So, remember I told you to be sure to bring a GPS to White Sands when visiting. Well, I took my own advice and bought a brand new GPS just before going. After all I had been there before and I knew first hand how difficult it was to find my way back to the car, especially when I got turned around and absorbed in my photography.

Ok, it was late and the ranger drove around telling everyone on a megaphone that it was time to leave but because we had a permit that allowed us to stay late we didn’t leave we just kept photographing. I was there with a friend. BTW we were both dressed for the cold weather and we had plenty of water.

After we were done photographing and the light had faded we started to head back to our car. My friend and I both agreed we needed to turn left, but my GPS said that our car (which I pinned) was to the right so we headed right. After about a half an hour we were not 100% sure that we were heading in the right direction. Long story short–the GPS was incorrect. Apparently there was not much of a signal and the GPS didn’t get it right. Before you ask, it was fully charged… so much for bringing a GPS!

The Soaptree Yuccas were one of the reasons I wanted to come to White Sands. I liked the idea of the sand dunes and the lines of the dunes leading up to the yuccas. I wanted to capture a wider angle view of the dunes with the plants as accents. However, with so many footprints, my compositions needed to be altered in the field. I had to move around looking for clean sand or at least enough clean sand to compose my images. My super wide angle shots were soon modified by necessity. My favorite shot and one that I wanted more of was the vertical image above–with only animal footprints in the foreground.

My friend and I decided to move our position and go closer to the “vegetation area” of the park and look for yuccas that were interesting or had backgrounds that we could work with. At first every plant that we found was plagued with footprints or was broken or nasty. We continued on, not giving up. Then we hit on an area that had so many yuccas with interesting lines and shapes; we began to get excited about the shots. The sun started to go down and we (even though we had no clouds to speak of) began to get some nice color. It turned out to be lots of fun, running from one yucca to the next before the sun went all the way down- looking for that one shot that would make us smile inside.

The lesson here is to be flexible. I had a certain image in mind and it wasn’t working out, so I changed things up and just concentrated on photographing the yuccas. At the end of the day I was pleased to have been able to extract a few that I liked and to have pushed myself as a photographer. Forcing yourself to see scenes differently will always help you grow as a photographer, so challenge yourself the next time you find yourself in a situation where things are not working out as planned.

Image © 2017/Denise Ippolito Photography

Image © 2017/Denise Ippolito Photography

Image © 2017/Denise Ippolito Photography

Image © 2017/Denise Ippolito Photography

Image © 2017/Denise Ippolito Photography

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18 Responses

  1. Keith Carver says:

    These are wonderful images of the soaptree yuccas, lovely light and well worth staying late at White Sands. Kudos! (As usual!)

    Thanks Keith, much appreciated!

  2. Sharon Hallowell says:

    I like them all, but my fav is the 5th one down, a vertical with 2 Yuccas and the violet sky! Leave it to you to find beauty in “Yuck”as!

    Hi Sharon, too funny! Thank you for your kind words.

  3. Tom Rostron says:

    Wow theses are beautiful Denise. Can’t wait to shoot Death Valley with you.

    Hi Tom, it will be nice spending time with you again Tom!

  4. Michael Zajac says:

    Wow! I need to go next time! Love the evening colors.

    You should have come, it was fun!

  5. The White Sands park is an incredible place to go. Your shots are beautiful with all the yuccas.

    Thank you so much Deb, it is always nice to hear from my Texas cousin!!

  6. Wonderful images. I have been there on last year just to see this place.

    I will plan for this trip soon so that I can stay late and probably for the whole night as well.

    Thanks for sharing them

    Hi Krishna, Thank you and I am glad that you like the pics. It is a huge place, be sure to have plenty of water with you.

  7. Joanne Wuori says:

    These are beautiful—the light on the dunes and in the sky.
    I am glad you found your way out. It is so easy to get lost!
    Don and I were glad to see you at the crane pool at Bosque-

    Hi Joanne, It was nice to run into you both at Bosque. I always like staying in touch with like-minded people!

  8. Nancy Bell says:

    Creativity is your specialty…and you always find the creative and beautiful solution. These are terrific!

    BTW, I bought some Dickies clothing that you suggested earlier this month and I’m very happy with them.

    Thanks so much Nancy! I do like the quality and price of Dickies brand work clothes!

  9. Liz Lauer says:

    Lovely Denise. Makes me want to go in spite of the challenges.

    Thanks so much Liz, I appreciate it.

  10. Ed Matney says:

    I used an iPhone app; MotionX-GPS which draws your path on a map so you can retrace your steps later. It worked perfectly for me at White Sands last summer. Great shots!

    Sounds like a good idea! Thanks for sharing Ed.

  11. Ron May says:

    Neat shots. Hard to pick a favourite. 🙂

    Glad you made it out safely.

    Hi Ron, me too, but we were never in any real danger…

  12. Tony Botelho says:

    Beautiful photography…as always!
    I have been sent by my GPS several times too many in the wrong direction. I agree with Ed using my iPhone is much better.
    I remember my wife saying at White Sands “where’s the water”? Being from the Ocean State Rhode Island I could see her point. I guess technically its gypsum and not sand.
    Thank you for sharing these great photographs.

    Thanks Tony, I appreciate your sharing your thoughts. Here is my previous post regarding White Sands being gypsum. http://deniseippolito.com/blog/2017/11/24/early-morning-starry-sky-white-sands/

  13. Rona Schwarz says:

    These are gorgeous, Denise! IMO, the beautiful pastel skies really makes these images special especially when paired with the intricate simple designs and shapes of the yuccas.

    Hi Rona, thank you so much. I appreciate your kind words.

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