City of Angels, Valley of Death

Andrew Shepherd


Photographer Andrew Shepherd recounts a furious forty-eight hour ride from the City of Angels through the Valley of Death.

I had been asleep for only a few short hours, when a nearby coyote belted out a howl to its
pack across our campground. I sat up in the bed of our truck and went still, waiting . After a few moments had passed, I laid back down and took in the spectacle of the galaxy displayed directly above me. There was no moon, no city lights and nothing to distract me from the wonder of the cosmos above. It was in these moments that I began to process everything that had happened during the previous forty-eight hours.

The one hour of sleep I was currently running on. The hundreds of miles we had driven over the
barren stretches of Eastern California. The promise of sights to be seen in Los Angeles the
following day. Even as I write, Death Valley still haunts me; the barren nature of such a place impossible to fully describe. Unsettling, yet exhilarating. Certainly not a place many could survive for more than a few days.

But this devastating desert was only a temporary relief from the incessant dampness of the Pacific Northwest I return to now, brandishing our skin and spirits with over one-hundred degree heat relentlessly pouring from cloudless skies. A little rain right about now doesn’t sound so bad after all.

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