Sunrise in Death Valley is one of my favorite experiences. This is one of many images I made during a particularly cinematic sunrise this past spring. The way the sun paints the fresh dunes in golden light after a windy night erases all the footprints from the day before is the quintessential symbol of the dawning of a new day, ripe with opportunities.
The night before, I'd arrived in the park just after sunset and set up camp alone in the desert beneath the banner of vivid stars overhead, as a warm spring breeze wafted scents of desert air through my campsite. I awoke early in the predawn light and was on my way to the dunes within 5 minutes. Arriving in plenty of time for sunrise, I hiked out across the sand and set up my tripod in the spot I'd scouted the the night before. Then I waited for the show to begin.