You expect to see dunes in a desert, and Death Valley is the closest thing to a desert that I've every visited. Mesquite Dunes are at the northen end of Death Valley, about 30 minutes from Furnace Creek. The dunes are very conspicuous, the golden sand standing out amidst the sea of rock and sandstone. The place was heaving with RVs and tourists, meaning the ideal of photographing a section of footprint-free dune was extremely difficult. The National Park service advises those seeking dunes undisturbed by the hand (or feet) of man, should head out to the eastern side of the dunes where the casual visitor rarely goes. Unfiortunately the biggest and best dunes are the ones in the middle, and with the sun setting to the west, you really want to be either around the middle, or towards the western edge of the dunes. Even so, for this image, I headed out for the 30 minute walk into the dunes expecting to have to keep veering east to avoid footprints. In the end I wandered a long way over to the east and snapped this composition which was the closest I could get to a curvaceous dune edge. At the time I didn't really notice that the hills in the background had taken on a magenta hue, catching the last rays of the setting sun, I was paying to much attention to the foreground. There was a fair breeze that evening, and the camera soon attracted a covering of light dust whcih made me very nervous about changing lenses, which I did several times. This shot was taken with a 135mm F2L lens on my Canon 5D MkII.
Later in our road trip we encounted other dune systems which we'd never heard of, particularly as we crossed the Mojave desert where we drove past two systems, one of which was huge, about twice the size of Mesquite Dunes, and only accesible via dirt track. I guess Mesquite gets all the attention because it is close to the centre of Death Valley, and is accessible from the car park on the main route. The other dune systems seemed a better option for the photogrpaher though, given that they seemed devoid of other people.