Lots and lots of waiting to get there

Value, like beauty and most other things, is relative to the recipient. What I think of as valuable might simply cost too much to you or require too much effort. Expenditures are a fact of life if you are going to travel anywhere and my travel to New Mexico was no cheap trip. Sure, it could have been cheaper if I lived closer and could have driven and stayed with relatives, etc. However, staying with relatives has its own requirements. 🙂

Overall, here is what it cost me to go, my travel time, and also some techy stuff to go with it so that you can see what I shot while I was there.

Costs (USD): (1/2 = half of total cost.)

  • Plane ticket – American Airlines : $505
  • Rental Car (1/2) – $90
  • Motel – White Sands Motel: $179 including taxes and fees (4 nights)
  • Early access to park 1 hour before opening for 3 days. $75 (1/2)
  • Food & misc: $145
  • Gasoline: $26
  • Total: $1,020
  • Cost/day of shooting (3.5 days): $292
  • Number of shots: 1,776. Cost/shot: $0.58

Time & Distance
Distance: 1,725 miles. Charlotte, NC -> Alamogordo, NM. No direct flights from Charlotte to El Paso. Had 2+ hour layovers in Dallas, TX each way. Drive time from El Paso, TX to Alamogordo, NM 1.5 hours.

  • Travel to: Left home at 9:00 AM EST, arrived at motel at 11:00 PM EST 14 hours (flight delays).
  • Travel from: Left hotel at 12:30 PM EST, arrived home at 12:30 AM EST (12 hours).


  • Nikon D2x:674 shots
  • Nikon D300: 1102 shots
  • 11-18 mm : 171 shots
  • 50 mm: 1129 shots
  • 55-200 mm : 472

Quite honestly, it was a fantastic experience. While there, Kate met one of the locals who told her about some photography off the beaten path. He told of waterfalls and slot canyons. We didn’t have time to visit them because we found out on the evening of our last full day. However, it just gives me a reason to return. Regarding the food, it was pretty cheap. For the most part, we ate light lunches and had a few meals at a local Mexican restaurant called Margo’s, which was really tasty. On the average, our meals there cost about $20 combined, including tip!
Subtle light

I have grown quite fond of my 50mm lens. As you can see, I shot most (62%) of the pictures with it. Quite frankly, it has now become my favorite lens. Sure, I had to do lots of manual zooming, BKA,(Better Known As) walking, but it was great fun.

For my next trip, I’m thinking Zion/North Rim of Grand Canyon. I’ve heard many good things about the North Rim. The great majority of the pictures that you see are taken from the south side of the canyon. The north rim is closed for most of the year due to snow. It’s open from about April until mid-late September. I’ll just have to see. I have to work around our vacation schedule, Tony’s basketball schedule, and my own work schedule. Then there’s the $$$. These trips ain’t cheap, but they are priceless!

Emotional Detachment
Photographer compatibility