Good Friday in Death Valley: “So this is what quiet sounds like.”

Updated: Jan 20


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Armed with our equipment (me: Fuji X-T1, Ricoh GR / Belle: Panasonic LX3), Belle and I set out for a one-and-a-half day journey to Death Valley, setting out on Maundy-Thursday and returning to Pasadena at midnight on Good Friday. What impressed us most about the trip were the sheer contrasts of life and death. So much death, in the form of inert material: rocks, sand, salt (yes, salt), fallow soil, unforgiving weather, dead or dying bushes and trees; and yet so much life. What had been hiding for a decade just beneath the surface of all that death was now popping out all over the place in a riot of color and life. And then there were the contrasts of dark and light, smooth and rough, high and low… The contrasts took your breath away, kind of like the contrast of “Good Friday” and all the death that that “good” entails.

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I leave you with the quote that pretty much summed up the trip, uttered by Belle as we sat on the sand dunes of the Mesquite Flat, both of us mesmerized by the scene unfolding in real time all around us. We’d just arrived a couple of hours before as the sun was setting, and our blood pressure was already slowing down. We were on the farthest dune from the parking lot, probably a mile away from the road, the shadows all retreating, the ebbing traces of light still dancing in the air, sitting quietly. Then she said, as she stared out at everything, “So this is what quiet sounds like.”


And this is what it looks like:

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