How the Desert became My Muse

I’ve decided that every now again I’ll have a blog post that kind of talks about my backstory and my journey to where I am today in regards to photography.  I’m not sure that I’ll have any sort of system to it.  They will appear most likely when it crosses my mind.  This is the first post of that series.

I consider myself a late bloomer – that is, if I’m holding myself to society’s standards of when we’re “supposed” to have things figured out.  It took me seven years to graduate university, not because I failed, but because I was so indecisive about what I wanted to for the rest of my life.

To say photography was always a passion of mine would be a blatant lie.  I landed on photography because I sucked at graphic design and really didn’t feel like changing my major for the third time.  I honestly thought that once I graduated, I probably wouldn’t pick up a camera again, but I could at least say I had some sort of degree.

(Side note:  I’m definitely not a spokesperson for university.  Although I excelled in school, I honestly hated it and wouldn’t think about going back.)

Let’s get back to what we actually came here to talk about, though.  When I was 11, my family decided to take a road trip from our home in San Antonio, TX (go Spurs!) to Las Vegas, NV.  At this point in my life, I hadn’t been any further west than Texas so it goes without saying that I was pretty excited.

Little did I know how much that dry landscape would draw me in.  As we drove along in our 1991 Ford Aerostar van, I noticed myself staring out the window much more than paying attention to Link’s Awakening on my Gameboy.  The landscape drew me in.  How could rocks be so red?  How could something so dry be so beautiful?  I was smitten.

My sister and I at the Painted Desert. (I’m the one on the left. Feel free to chuckle.)

From left to right: Me, my mom, and my sister.  Somewhere in Arizona.  90s style at its finest. 
I wasn’t into photography then, as I said before, so all I have are these tourist-y photos and the memories.  It was probably one of the best trips I had taken up to that point in my life and even now still holds its honor in the top 5 somewhere.  I vowed I would make that trip again when I was a little older.  Little did I know it would be 20 years before I would be on that side of the country again.

Sunrise on our way to Los Angeles through the Mojave Desert.
Fast forward to 2016, when my husband and I decided to venture out into the desert.  After my roller coaster of going through different genres of photography, the desert reminded me why I started out with landscape photography in the first place.  There it was again, just as beautiful as I had remembered.  Just as red, just as dry, but just as diverse.  Mountains, mesas, cacti, palm trees.  How can this all exist in the same place?

Somewhere in California.
I had found my muse.  The one thing that pushed me to make all of my pictures as beautiful as the ones I would take in the desert.  The one thing that made me wonder why I had left landscape photography.

All these years, I thought the beach was where I wanted to be, but when I went back to the landscape that had captivated me so much as a young girl, I realized there was no contest.  Now don’t get me wrong, I still love the beach, but it just doesn’t compare to such a diverse terrain.

Somewhere in Arizona.
Looking back at all of the photos I took from the moving car and during stops, it serves as an inspiration on those days that I don’t feel like photographing anything or just feel stuck creatively.

Zzyzx, California
With that, I encourage you to look around and find the work that inspires you the most.  What do you see that makes you want to get out and create?  Leave comments below and feel free to check out the vlogs I made while I was out there.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s