Great Sand Dunes National Park….fireworks?!

So about mid August I had the opportunity to visit the incredible place known as Great Sand Dunes National Park.  This crazy place is located south of Denver and just a bit west in the San Luis Valley.  Nestled up against 14k foot mountains, these sand dunes cover 30 sq miles and rise, at the tallest, about 700ft.  Meeting a friend from college the day before we headed out to our date with the dunes.  Arriving later in the afternoon (maybe a bit later than planned), there was only one thing to do…climb the dune, aptly named “High Dune” of course.  Climbing at altitude is one thing, the dunes start at 8500ft, but climbing up a hill of sand AT altitude….exhausting!  That combined with the fact we were a bit late and hustling to make it up for the good light (ok I was trying to make it up for the good light…he was just along for the ride) made for some huffing and puffing.    Arriving at the top there were a few people already collected to watch the sunset and the monsoon storms that had started to pop a bit.  Then, as sunset wore on, blam!….lighting across the valley.   Luckily…right before this trip I had purchased a Lightning Trigger on the oft chance I would have the opportunity to photograph some lightning.  Quite pleased with that decision 🙂   Setting up the camera and composing the trigger did its job, firing the camera when it sensed lightning.  How?  I can only say SCIENCE!  As the sunset wore on the lightning continued across the valley, approximately 50 miles away.  Then another storm to the south of that as well.  What a scene to watch!   As the color started to fade and the storms seemed to start to move around a bit we made the DARK hike back down the dunes, which made for an adventurous hike.  A few light rain drops hit us as we made the bottom and got back to camp.  Checking my camera I found this set of bolts that came down all at once and knew I had something special.
And that was just the first night 🙂
Much thanks!

Lightning across the San Luis valley as seen from Great Sand Dunes National Park
“High Voltage” (unreleased)


7 thoughts on “Great Sand Dunes National Park….fireworks?!

  1. Wow! What a beautiful image. I like the way you’ve kept the dunes dark and blue. It really gives more power to the sliver of orange light and the lightning. The hike up that dune is a killer, for sure!

  2. Wow!

    For a name how about “Creation”

    What brand and model of Lighting Trigger did you use?

    Saving up $ to purchase one of your Landscape prints. They are truly inspirational for lovers of light!

    1. Much thanks Mark! Title I went with is “High Voltage”. I used the lt from Was pretty amazed how well it worked. Look forward to having you on as a Collector! 🙂

  3. Great Aaron!

    What a gift for you to capture this fire flashing through to the dunes.

    The triple-play of lightning feels like a Sky-Trident above the darkening
    blues of the dunes.

    Neptune rose from the sea that night to pay you a well-earned visit.

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