Coral Pink Sand Dunes in Utah

If you are going to Zion National Park, a great place to stop along the way is Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Utah where you can explore acres of colourful dunes. The dunes are surrounded by red sandstone cliffs making for some colourful photography if you also get blue skies.

When I first arrived the sky was mostly white so I eliminated it from the image below and hoped for a better sky the next day.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Utah
Please click the images to view larger versions.

I have to admit part of the reason for stopping there was for a special treat for my old beagle Oscar who loves sand. When he was a pup he would turn crazy dog every time I took him to the beach. On this trip he has enjoyed the red sand beaches of Prince Edward Island, the white sand along the gulf coast, the white gypsum at White Sands National Monument, and now the coral pink sand from Utah. While he is too old now to walk up on the dunes, he enjoyed the coral sand right behind our campsite in the park.

The next day I still didn’t get the blue sky I hoped for, but at least there were some dramatic clouds.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Utah

The dunes are created when high winds are funnelled through a notch in the cliffs carrying grains of sand from the eroding sandstone and depositing them in the dunes. The Vermillion Cliffs behind the dunes provide an interesting contrast in texture for the images.

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  1. says

    Very nice. I especially like the contrast in textures, the shadows and the color. Great capture. Sorry you didn’t get the blue skies you were looking for. I was in DC coincidentally during the cherry blossoms this spring (they were early), and the sky was overcast and it drizzled a few times as I was running and gunning (on a business trip and stealing a few moments). I was depressed, but I encountered another photographer and, to make casual conversation, I cursed the bad light. He, very matter-of-fact, said (without moving his eye from the viewfinder), “It’s like one big softbox.” So I changed my perspective (and my attitude) and got some nice shots of individual soft blooms against the raggedness of the old cherry tree trunks.

    Sounds like you were able to do the same by just not using the sky in that shot. And I like the end result. Congrats.

    • says

      Hi Steve, I’m glad your cherry blossom experience ended up being a good one. I find that overcast days are particularly good for flower photography to get that nice soft diffusion with no shadows at all. Shadows are great when you have texture or angles, but I do like the effect of diffused light. I hardly ever wish for a blue sky day except when I was at coral sands and in red rock country – the contrast of the blue with the oranges and reds is great. Thank you so much for your comments.

    • says

      Hi Alexandra, Sand dunes are so much fun! I really like the white sand dunes at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico and the sand dunes in Oregon. I think those are also a national monument or national recreation area. They are really hard to walk in though but I guess it makes for good exercise. Thanks for your visit and comments.

    • says

      Hi Alan, you should visit – it is a really cool and unique looking landscape. They also have great campsites in the park if you like camping. Thank you for the compliment 😉

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