If you find inspiration in surreal scenery and alien landscapes, today’s series will blow your mind. Seattle-based Navid Baraty takes us to the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, where he photographed some of the most stunning sand dune landscapes on the planet. You’ll definitely want to add this location to your travel and landscape photography bucket list after seeing his snaps!
Baraty’s visit to the White Sands National Monument is the highlight of his solo 7,200-mile road trip to 13 national parks across the western United States. Looking at the abstract curves and colors of his surreal photos, we can’t help but agree. The sand dunes have a unique and ghostly paleness as they are composed of gypsum and calcium sulfate, unlike most desert sands which are composed of quartz. While gypsum is one of the most common mineral compounds on the planet, it’s rarely seen on the surface since it easily dissolves in water.
For those who are learning about the surreal sand dunes for the first time, Baraty notes that they are pretty popular among tourists for activities like sand surfing and horse riding. It’s also easy to see how the blinding white sand can be disorienting — very dangerous when you add heat exposure and dehydration into the mix. Still, for brave photographers and intrepid travelers, a visit will definitely be one for the books.
As for his own time in the incredible location, Baraty’s description tells us that it was certainly a one-of-a-kind experience.
“Standing atop the white gypsum dunes felt like being adrift on a sea of an alien planet. The look of the white sand changes so much with the varying light and shadow at different times during the day. Much like the waves on a sea, the dunes have a sort of impermanence as they’re constantly swept and sculpted by the desert winds.”
Do check out Navid Baraty’s website and Behance portfolio to see more of his work, and follow him on Instagram for regular updates.