Last weekend, we traded white snow flurries in Colorado for bright white sand dunes, stretching out for miles in New Mexico. While we’re no strangers to sandy Alt Sessions, Ashleigh and Tony’s White Sands engagement session had a particularly otherworldly feel to it.
A mere 70 miles from the Mexico border, the entrance to White Sands looks just like the rest of the shrub-filled desert that surrounds it. But within a few minutes, the yucca and grasses become more and more sparse as the space between them fills with blinding white sand. Until finally, everything you can see, down to the road itself, turns into white, made all the more brilliant by the intense blue sky. The sand is comprised entirely of gypsum, which gives it its unique color and also makes the dunes tolerable to walk on, even on the hottest days. To add to the science fiction feel of the place, it’s surrounded by a government missile test facility, and hiking trails come with a warning: If you see any strange objects, do not touch them as they may still be able to detonate. Combine the remoteness of the dunes with the nearby restricted air space and the result is an eerie but peaceful silence.
And it’s the exact kind of place we love for an Alt Session! When we pitched ideas to Ashleigh and Tony for their Alt Session, we secretly had this one at the very top of our list. So much so that I may or may not have purposely written the description of what we’d do and how amazing it would be to sound better than the other options we pitched. I’m not sure that was necessary, because they were equally as excited to make the trek to this awe-inspiring place.
After getting their National Parks passport stamped at the welcome center, we all made the 8-mile drive out to the Alkali Flats trail, the most remote part of the park accessible by car. We then spent the next few hours hiking up and down the dunes, taking an abundance of photos, watching the sun set and trying to convince them that my cheesy dad jokes are actually funny. (I swear, I’m hilarious!) Then the sun set, but this White Sands engagement wasn’t finished yet! We ran Ashleigh and Tony through their paces as we gave them increasingly complicated tasks so we could concoct the perfect single-exposure, multi-Ashleigh-and-Tony star photo. And, boy, did they deliver!
Ashleigh and Tony, we had such a blast hanging with you two and we love that you were up for anything and everything we asked you to do. Your wedding in April is going to be EPIC!
Location: White Sands National Monument