This was on of the most surreal experiences of my life. I was in the desert surrounded by white sand. It was freezing out and the wind was gusting upwards of 50 mph creating a sandstorm. The conditions and white sand made it feel like I was in a blizzard surrounded by snow. It was absolutely wild. I could barely see and had trouble standing up at times as I was sandblasted by the wind.
When the wind let up I could see the sun was behind some clouds and would break free for a short time before it went down behind the mountains. I decided to stick it out and see what would happen. The wind started to pick up again and the temperature continued to drop. My eyes and ears were full of sand by this point. At best I figured I’d have 15 minutes of sunlight. My only option was to handhold the camera. There was no way to use a tripod in these conditions. With all the blowing sand there wasn’t much of a chance of getting a sharp picture anyway. In fact the motion is what makes the image compelling.
Just as I anticipated the sun broke free of the clouds but then the wind really picked up. I could hardly see and the sun would disappear and reappear as waves of sand blew through the air. For a few seconds at a time I was able to see well enough to take a picture. After a few minutes I was able to work out a composition that I liked. Now I just needed the sun to reappear. Then it happened. The wind let up and the sun reappeared casting a warm yellow orange light on the white sand. Just as I was starting to take a few images the wind picked up again. I was able to capture Sunset Sandstorm at the moment just before the blowing sand made it impossible to see.