Photo: Tourist overlooking Badwater and the Panamint Mountains at sunrise, Dante’s View, Death Valley National Park, California
It was a long time coming; almost eight full months. As I drove, I kept hearing that old cowboy song reverbarating over and over in my head, “Back in the Saddle Again, Yes I’m back in the Saddle again.” It was a good feeling.
Ever since my accident, falling off that cliff in Death Valley back in late February, I hadn’t yet had the chance to go off and do a real working photo trip. Yes, I made several short ‘single-subject’ trips related to my current book project, and I even took my kids to see the Grand Canyon. But I hadn’t just jumped in my truck and taken off on a multi week, work-related photo shoot. That is, until a couple weeks ago. The kids were back in school, my wife’s big work project had cleared a major hurdle, and my deadline was starting to loom on the horizon.
I bolted over Tioga Pass road to beat a major seasonal storm that would surely close that pass, and started my shoot at Bodie State Historic Park. From there I went to Bishop, in part to hold up in a hotel while the storm passed, and to revisit the Mountain Light Gallery – as per my last post. While in Bishop, I connected up via email with friend and fellow photographer Jim Goldstein, and learned that he was heading to Death Valley, a place that had been on my mind for nearly all of this year. I know being over in the Eastern Sierra, I would be just a hop, skip, and jump away from Death Valley, and gosh if I wasn’t dead set on going back to where I had my accident, and seeing if I couldn’t find my old pair of glasses that I lost during the fall. I also wanted to finish the trip I’d been on back when I had my accident. (OK – I also found a reason or two to go there for my book project.)
I must admit, I had those nervous butterflies in my stomach as I drove toward “the spot”. Not only did I get a good look this time of where it happened, but I found both the bush where I had my midnight campfire, as well as my glasses at the base of a bush along the bottom of the fence.
Photos: The bush and campfire ‘ring’ near where I ‘woke up’ on the desert floor in the middle of the night. The ‘cliff’ and where I parked that night. In the light of day, I figured the total fall was closer to 35′, rather than the 40′ I guestimated looking upwards in the dark desert night.
When I finally got back in my truck and drove out of the park, and I was able to reflect on the shots I’d gotten in the park on this trip, I felt like I’d conquered a quiet little demon. Finally, I was on the road working again, and making new images. My perspective once again renewed; I’m glad to still be here, and so happy to share my images with everyone.
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