White Sands – Surface Surveys



White Sands National Park – New Mexico, USA

Protected as a US National Monument in 1933 and as a US National Park in 2019.

The largest gypsum dune field in the world, White Sands National Park covers an area of 275 square miles and is comprised entirely of water soluble gypsum crystals. Gypsum does not absorb the sun’s heat. Even on the hottest days, the sands remain cool.

The gypsum in White Sands was laid down 250 million years ago. About 70 million years ago, it was pushed up into a dome shape during the same time the Rocky Mountains formed. This dome caved in 10 million years ago, forming the Tularosa Basin and the white sand dunes of today.

On July 16, 1945 the world’s first atomic bomb was detonated at the Trinity Site in the White Sands Missile Range. Today the bombing range is active and closed to the public 363 days a year.

Restricted Airspace – The airspace over White Sands National Park is restricted from ground to space. LISA WOOD STUDIO is the first to be granted permission from the US Army and an escorted mission to photograph the sands for non­ military or scientific purposes.

White Sands is one of six individual studies in a series of protected desert physiographies titled Surface Surveys.  Each survey embodies the planet’s natural, essential expression, and underscores the ethereal nature of wild lands in our current, anthropocentric age.

The survey is comprised of 35 (28 aerial) photographs captured with medium format Leica camera equipment.