After wrapping a tourism gig in Utah a few weeks ago, I arrived in the Mojave to shoot my next project. My plan was to spend six weeks between Death Valley and the Mexico border camping and occasionally spending the night in a cheap motel, while linking up with friends for climbs and hikes. When I work from the road March through November, that’s how I roll — and I love it.
But within a matter of days, the gig was cancelled, and there were rumblings that all of California would be under a stay at home order. I quickly found a cabin to rent two hours away, but I couldn’t check in for several more days. With constant rain, freezing overnight temps and wind gusts that shook my Jeep, I wasn’t exactly keen on leaving camp, either. I was also starting to get worried about Covid-19, so I knew staying put was my best bet. I had all the supplies I needed, so I just had to be patient. I read, I wrote, I cooked some legit camp grub and I called my mom when I could, but I was going stir crazy. Even though I had hundreds of miles of pristine wilderness around me, I was probably only outside for two hours a day.
On my last day, I noticed a winter storm alert just to my north. Great. Another evening crammed in the backseat under all of my blankets. As the monster cloud moved towards me, I considered shooting it, but before I could even open the door, the freezing rain started. And then it turned into snow. But this wasn’t the kind of half-assed desert snow that melts as soon as it touches the ground. The flakes were huge, and they were sticking to Joshua trees and cacti. The sun came out for a moment, and I ran down the dirt road shooting whatever caught my eye. I was yelling in disbelief, because of all the times I’ve been to the Mojave, I never thought I’d see snow here. Blue hour hit about fifteen minutes later, and I snapped this shot on my long lens. All the rotten weather I endured that week rewarded me with this magical moment, which was the highlight of the month of March for me.
Trying to find the little wins isn’t easy, but they’re there. You just have to look.