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An intimate landscape photography of evening light hitting windy sand dunes at the Great Sandhills in Saskatchewan

Shaped – 2020

Saskatchewan is home to a diverse prairie landscape. Contrary to popular stereotypes that would indicate it is just flat, there is a lot to see across this Canadian province. This is very true when you venture into the southwest. Home to Cypress Hills, Grasslands National Park, and the Great Sandhills; this corner of Saskatchewan is home to some great photographic potential. I had visited the Great Sandhills in 2018 with a friend and was struck by its rugged beauty. In places, sand stretched out to the horizon; it felt nothing like the Saskatchewan I knew. At the time, though, I had a very different photographic approach. Focusing on wide scenics, I didn’t even have a telephoto lens in my bag.

That mindset has shifted recently to a focus on smaller, more intimate landscapes, so I determined to head back to this nature preserve with a different perspective. I was curious if I could make a compelling image that could show the world this “flat” prairie province in a very unique way. So, in May of 2020, I planned a weekend trip out this way and was met with some incredibly windy conditions. At first, I lamented my bad luck after getting sandblasted relentlessly for hours on end. But, it dawned on me that this same wind could help to create a unique photograph. So, for sunset, I found a ridge that looked down on the dunes and attached my telephoto lens to my camera. I stood watching the wind kick sand up as the evening light hit it, amazed that such a place existed only 4 hours from home.

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