I was hiking around some of the high dunes, about mid way between the popular summits of High Dune and Star Dunes (the two high points and popular sunset locations). It was already pretty windy--20-30mph with gusts to 40, but manageable, so i pulled out my 24 mm for a test drive. This is a two image stitch. Photo © copyright by Stan Rose.
Shortly after the last shot, I noticed a storm building to the southwest, and the San Luis Valley quickly dissapearing beneath a wall of dust. A few minutes later, and I could see the top of a star dunes on the far southern side of the dune mass being blown off by hellacious winds! It was a microburst from the storms to the Southwest. I knew i had little time to spare, since i was on the exposed crest of the dunes; so I ran like heck down the sandy slope--but not in time, as 50-70 mph winds suddenly blasted me from behind. It felt like I was being clobbered by a large swath of sandpaper! I ducked down behind a dune crest to try to get some shelter. It was impossible to take any photos, but after a few minutes I managed to pull out my camera, crouched real low with my tripod planted in the soft sandy slope, and took this shot looking towards Mosca Pass. Photo © copyright by Stan Rose.
The setting sun blasted through the building storm clouds to the West--a magnificent display during Monsoon Season in the dunes. Photo © copyright by Stan Rose.
Sunset intensifies through a hole in the clouds of a Summer Monsoon, Great Sand Dunes Photo © copyright by Stan Rose.
The microburst kicked up a lot of sand and dust, leaving this surreal scene at sunset that reminded me of the Great Smokies! Photo © copyright by Stan Rose.
A cloud of dust and sand envelopes the Sangre De Cristo Range as the Monsoon buffets the Great Sand Dunes. Photo © copyright by Stan Rose.
A final look as sunset closed and rain started to fall. Photo © copyright by Stan Rose.