White Sands National Monument: The Land of Gypsum Sand: Captured on Film

by Rachel Staggs
( February 14th, 2013 )

white sands national monument new mexico gypsum sand landscape on film shot on 35mm cross process film

My husband and I made a pit stop at White Sands National Monument while on a road trip from El Paso, Texas to Cloundcroft, New Mexico to visit family.

I had a vision to create a music video shot entirely on 35mm film. It’s widescreen, so you may have to click on the video itself to view it full-screen in another window. (After you press the play button, click on the title in the upper left-hand corner to do this.)

White Sands National Monument is one of the most breathtaking places I’ve ever been. You pay a fee ($6 in 2012) to drive into the park. Tip #1: If you plan on re-visiting within a few days, keep the ticket you get as you drive into the park. It states how many days the entrance fee is good for on the receipt. Somehow I missed this and we paid another fee 2 days later on our drive back to El Paso.

white sands national monument new mexico gypsum sand cloud landscape on filmshot on 35mm cross process film

Tip #2: Bring an umbrella. Especially in Summer months. The only other place I’ve felt the sun so brightly is the Mexican Caribbean.

white sands national monument new mexico gypsum sand cloud landscape on filmshot on 35mm cross process film

Probably obvious, but wear Sunscreen. It’s Tip #3 and I suggest combining it with your favorite skin moisturizer. Alternate between the two. You won’t be sorry and your skin will thank you. It’s very dry.

Tip #4: Purchase water for the excursion before you get to the park. They have some inside the visitor center that isn’t marked up too much, so if you forget, no worries. Just don’t go into the park without water and backup water. I have never been so dehydrated and I had plenty of water. My face turned beet red and we thought for certain I was fried from the sun. Luckily my sunscreen worked and I didn’t get burned. I was so overheated though. It took my face about an hour after our visit to cool off.

white sands national monument new mexico gypsum sand on filmThe sand is actually cool to the touch. Gypsum!

The bathrooms attached to the visitor center were pretty dirty. Tip #5: Bring hand-sanitizer and maybe a travel pack of Clorox wipes. While the soap, paper towels, and toilet paper was stocked for use, the sinks and counter-tops weren’t clean. I had to change clothes in there, so I was glad I had both.

white sands national monument new mexico cross process filmAgain, the film is picking up auras!

Going in August would not be my first choice, but it’s when my family was relaxing in a cabin in Lincoln National Forest. Once we climbed elevation, I was able to enjoy 60-degree days in August.

Have you been to White Sands? What time of year is best to go? Do you have any tips to share?
Leave them in the comments section! Cheers!


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