I’ve been thinking about this image lately. Not because of the photo itself, but for the events surrounding my making of it.
My road trip to Mojave was one of the first I took after moving to California. Coming from the midwest, I was, and still am, continually amazed by the landscape here in the west. I’d spent the day driving down empty desert roads, photographing everything I saw, reveling in the experience of it all.
What struck me most is the silence of the desert. It’s hard to explain if you’ve never experienced it, but it’s almost frightening at first. Even living in the suburbs, we’re always surrounded by the constant hum of the city. Out in the desert, it’s so quiet you actually can hear yourself think.
This is one of the last images I took that day, just before sunset. My memory cards were full, the camera batteries were low, I was tired, and really ambivalent about returning home. I decided that at least I’d stay and watch the sun set before getting back on the road.
As I was leaning against the car, staring at the last few rays of light, a pack of coyotes nearby started calling each other. With the way sound carries out there, I’ll never know how close they actually were, and really don’t care. What matters more is just how melodic their calls were, as if I alone was being given a private concert by the pack.
I ended up staying long after those last few rays of light, enjoying my little concert. It made that long trip back I was so dreading much more bearable.
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