ThE Traveler: Evan Pak of Northfield.

The scene: Rocky peaks, sandy dunes, soft clouds — and one human reveler — come together at the Mesquite Flat Dunes in California’s Death Valley National Park.

Inspiration: “I had dreamed about taking pictures [at Death Valley] for years since I read about it in a photography magazine, and it certainly didn’t disappoint,” Pak wrote in an e-mail. A St. Olaf Collage student who is majoring in environmental studies, Pak continued, “The park’s landscape is just breathtaking, and I would love to see it more widely appreciated. Our national parks are one of our country’s greatest treasures, and Death Valley is one of the greatest.”

How I got this shot: “I was quite far away from the subjects, so I climbed one of the dunes and zoomed in, which also compressed the scene, making the dunes and mountains appear closer. That effect, combined with the clouds lying on the side of the mountain and the person for scale, easily made this my favorite photo from that trip. I find that it can be quite difficult to really capture the awe of being in a place this spectacular, but I think that this is the best I’ve ever managed,” Pak wrote. He used a Canon 50D with a 75-300mm lens.

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