If you’ve never been to White Sands National Monument in the gorgeous state of New Mexico in the American Southwest, you have truly missed out on an experience. It’s my favorite of the Southwest’s long list of travel hot spots, better even than the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Carlsbad Caverns, the Valley of Fire and the Las Vegas Strip. This 275-square-mile patch of white gypsum in the desert sent my brain reeling with excitement and possibilities. So when an opportunity came along to produce a photography art book that needed one specific theme, I knew where I wanted it to be: White Sands, New Mexico.
Photographers often find themselves torn between the color version of their edit and a black-and-white conversion of the same shot (you even see photographers post both versions on social media, asking their followers which one they prefer). This is almost certainly indicative of a photographer making the unfortunate mistake of not having a complete vision for a shot up front. While you can convert an image to black and white arbitrarily and find success with it, I find far more consistent results when you set out to shoot monochrome from the start. But where do you start?