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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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White Stuff: 1960

White Stuff: 1960

I don't know who or where this is. At first I thought it was snow but my brother argued it's sand. The date of the slide is May but it may have been taken earlier in the year to fit in with my snow theory. 35mm Kodachrome slide. View full size.

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White Sands

Could this be the white sands at Monahans Park in Texas or the White Sands National Monument?

This is it

There aren't any other slides that seem to relate to this one, hence my confusion. Taking another look at it, it does start to look like sand to me, although in California there can be snow and yet be hot enough to wear rather light clothing.

South of Point Mugu, California

Specifically, at the south end of what is now Thornhill Broome State beach. The dune was larger then; it was mined in the late 50s through the early 60s. (Everything was larger in the past, wasn't it?) Next time I'm over that way, I'll attempt to replicate the shot.

I've got it!

Cream cheese frosting on the world's largest lava cake. Mmmm.

Source of the image.

Where did this image come from? Evidently not from a source that can be tracked. A garage sale pick up?

Another possibility


It's not salt

Compare with this photo of the salt works just north of Pondicherry, India.

The Shadows Know

His shadow is way too short to be in the wintertime at such a northern place where this much snow would have been. In the northern winter the sun is really low even at midday, so the shadows are really long, even though there is a downhill where the shadow is.

Besides there is green grass growing on the top of the dune and "white" isn't nearly white enough to be snow. Believe me, we have the stuff half a year.

Here is one of my winterpics for comparison:

I Too Vote Sand

I live in New Mexico about 70 miles from the White Sands National Monument and have visited there many times. The sand there is fluffy and not packed at all, in fact, the dunes are still moving and hard to walk on. If it were snow, the hills in the background would probably be completely covered. Also, the boy is not dressed in any way appropriately to be playing in snow, but here in New Mexico, many do dress in long sleeved shirts to protect themselves from the sun. One more thing, at the left hand side of the picture, there is grass growing, it does look exactly like that at the WSNM, but the grass would be covered completely by snow.

Tony W.: W for Watson?

Question Doctor Watson: does the slide come from a collection that might give any clue?

Not Snow

Vanilla ice cream maybe?

Angle of repose

The angle of repose for dry sand is about 30 degrees. If we had a better look at any footprints that would probably cinch it as in dry sand, unlike snow, they'd mostly quickly fill back in.

Snow methinks

Having worked at White Sands for several years I do not think this is where this is. At WSNM it is actually gypsum and not sand and it is very hard and packed. I believe it could be snow and the snow would be melted on the rocks because they are dark and would be warmer thus melting the snow.

Add one tablespoon-full.

It's neither snow nor sand.
It's sugar.
Or maybe salt.
Or perhaps flour.

Central Coast?

Looks a lot like the dunes on the Central California Coast namely Guadalupe. I have been to White Sands but don't remember the greenery.

Don't try to confuse me

I don't care what the rest of you say, it looks like snow.

Me Too

Put my vote in for White Sands, NM. This looks like the road side on the old tourist route through the monument.

I Vote Sand

As a life-long Michigander, I know both snow and sand dunes. This is most certainly sand. You can tell by the way the sand is parted at is feet. Also, if he were sitting in snow, his knees would have sunken lower. Plus, snow is cold and he's not wearing any gloves!

Looks like sand to me

White Sands, New Mexico or Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado. The whiteness seems to be like White Sands.

Yes, Sand.

Somewhere in the shoeboxes is a faded Ektachrome of that same pile o'sand, taken on our journey from California to Ioway.

Should be dressed for desert

Looks like White Sands N.P. in New Mexico. I was there back in '64 when I was 12yo. An impressive sandbox.

I vote sand

I don't know anything about sand but as a lifelong Western/Northern Canadian I know snow, and that is not snow.

For one thing, if it is snow it would have to be near or at the freezing point, given your brother's clothing choices and the living, healthy mosses and grasses on the peak above. Snow near the freezing point is coarse, uneven, and watery, and because of that it twinkles in bright sunlight and is semi-translucent. This covering is dull, fine-textured, and opaque.

For another, it's unlikely that snow would be found in large quantities at the bottom of a hill but not at the top. That's something I'd expect of drifting sand, not snow.

[Why is the title of your comment "I vote snow"? - Dave]

[Good question: because I messed up. - Charlene.]


Reminds me of White Sands, New Mexico. Is this a possibility?

I Vote Sand

It looks a bit warm to me, and the boy does not look as though he is dressed for snow.

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