The Valley of Fire, NV, 2017


Friends often tease me when I visit Las Vegas because my biggest goal is to leave the city as fast as possible and roam the landscape nearby. The area surrounded Lake Mead has some of the most stunning rock forms that I’ve encountered. I was so captivated by the Lake Mead landscape that it took me years go to The Valley of Fire.

The Valley of Fire, so-named because of the bright orange/red rocks that inhabit it resemble a flame, is as gorgeous as Lake Mead’s landscape, and it’s more popular, which makes shooting there more difficult. But The Valley of Fire does share a problem with the other areas around Vegas; there’s almost too much to photograph. Everything that the eye falls upon is exciting, and it’s easy to become overstimulated. Distilling the forms to their essences, getting the light right, and capturing the emotion is hard in areas like this because there are so many shapes to work with, and they overlap over and into each other. I find that I need to walk around quietly until I can become receptive, and the stone begins to speak to me. In these moments of solitude and meditation, my best images are made.

The Valley of Fire, NV, 2017 is an image that came after sauntering silently around, listening. Honeycombing, known as tafoni, is inlaid throughout the dunes, resembling lace. The shapes remind me of old bones that are piled upon each other and have somehow learned to stand vertically. This quality of the rocks impersonating bones is what keeps me returning there to photograph.