After Big Sur (see previous post), we went to Death Valley National Park. Devotees of the Star Wars movies will know that this park serves as the backdrop for several movies in the series. The Mesquite Flat Dunes in particular were used, perhaps more than once. But, I will leave it up to you to figure out which parts of which movies were filmed there.
The best times to photograph the dunes are sunrise and sunset. We missed the sunset, but the following day we got up early to be sure to arrive at the dunes for sunrise. The dunes were dark and bland at first, but when the first rays of the sun struck them, the sight was amazing:
(Click on each picture to view it in full size)
Following are closer looks of the dunes, as I combined walking toward them and using a telephoto lens.
You may wonder why the light varied in brightness. The day we were in the park, the sky was cloudy and the sun had trouble peeping out from behind the clouds you see in some of the photos. The vibrant shots were taken with lots of sun and only a few clouds.
Most people have heard that Death Valley is an arid desert with very little rainfall. Well, that night it rained and it pounded for a few hours on the roof of our cabin at Furnace Creek.