This year, as we left El Paso and made our way towards Flagstaff, Arizona, we finally decided to stop at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. For the last three years, we’ve been talking about checking this place out. A few weeks earlier, we had finally visited Marfa and Big Bend. Inspired by how awesome that little side trip was, we were psyched to make this detour to White Sands. Can’t believe it took us this long to come here! White Sands National Monument is incredible. We just got married last October, and it poured rain all day on the wedding. So we didn’t really have any photos of us outside. When we hit the road again we took our wedding clothes with us, determined to get some photos somewhere beautiful on our travels. White Sands was the perfect place.
We rolled in about an hour before sunset. Just entering the dunes on the one-way loop road is pretty spectacular. But the real jaw-dropper comes when you hike up and over the first dune, leaving the road, and seemingly the whole world, behind. After we parked, we ran back to the Airstream and hastily changed into our wedding clothes, packed up the camera bag, grabbed a couple beers, and set out to find our own little patch of dunes to enjoy the sunset from.
When you crest that first dune, it’s like being transported to another planet. All of a sudden all you see in any direction are rolling hills of fine white sand, with distant mountain ranges in the background. Even though it’s a touristy spot and we saw lots of families at the parking area and scattered on the tops of dunes, it only took a short hike to leave all that behind and feel totally isolated out there. Perfect for a photo shoot.
I started off taking pictures of Gabi (and Aiko), then Gabi took some shots of me, and then we even set up a tripod and snagged a few of the two of us together. Gabi definitely was the one to be photographing though. Seriously, how good does that white dress look in these white dunes?! So dreamy. We only had about an hour out there before the sun and good light was gone, but it was one of the best hours we’ve ever enjoyed these last three years on the road. Next time we come back, we’re definitely getting a permit to camp in the back country among the dunes. 100% check out White Sands if you’re ever remotely in the area. And if anybody reading this ever wants their own adventure session out there, hit us up! We’re looking for any excuse to go back.
Want to see more southwest desert sessions? Check out this Moab Van Life Adventure Session
White Sands National Monument: Elopement Style Adventure Session
The Foxes are Brandon and Gabi Fox, an adventurous husband and wife wedding and elopement photography team living full-time in their DIY renovated 1972 Airstream. They are loosely based in the Pacific Northwest, but travel for work and play throughout the western states. Their work is best described as candid photography that captures couples as they are, where they are, blending images of love and natural beauty in the great outdoors.