Back home I lived and breathed the ocean but there was something about the desert landscapes that attracted me. Miles of dry, cracked soil often meeting almost vertical sand monuments that paint spectacular geological pictures, a layered art piece, millions of years in the making.
So naturally I ended up in Death Valley, it was the middle of summer and the temperatures were at their peak sitting around 44 degrees Celsius or 111 Fahrenheit. Being from a considerably hot climate myself, I hadn't given the extreme heat much thought and that is where my first lesson begun - Ignorance has no place in nature.
To give some perspective, my home in Australia was on the coastline and would be considered tropical by most so It was my first chance to shoot a classic desert scene and I was excited. Even more so i was just stunned by the scenery, as i drove along the striking black road, drifting across a sea of sand I noticed some dunes off in the distance. One of my main goals in photography is to resist the main tourist hot spots and photograph places that aren't pinned on your travel guide. This world is so big and beautiful, its more rewarding when you see it as an individual rather then following the herd (not to take away from the amazing places that people flock to see).
Jumping at the opportunity, I parked my van up on the side of the road, packed a bag with some food and water then took off walking. It seemed to be a couple of miles by foot but nothing out of my comfort zone.
I was walking for some time when i started to realise that the dunes did not seem any closer, but being a stubborn person, I don't like to give up so I kept moving. That couple of miles doubled by the time I got there and by then I was exhausted, hot and with nowhere to escape the sun I decided to take my photo's and get back to the van as soon as i could. However, quicker then i was drinking my water did the heat really catch up to me, while taking photos i gained a headache and unsettled stomach. Knowing very well these were the first signs of heat stroke i packed up and began my long walk back. This is when my next problem arose, the scorched land had blurred the horizon so much that I no longer had a view of the road, not to mention I was trekking on raw earth so there was no trail, no bread crumbs to follow back. About an hour more of walking had past and my physical condition had worsened, I was bordering delirium and all that's left of my water was long gone. Panic is a word that comes to mind when i think about that moment, constant stopping, sitting down and gathering my consciousness was the situation and those taunting thoughts from the dark side of the mind would not leave me alone "if I black out now will I ever wake up".
finally, a shimmer of light bouncing off a lone car traversing the desert caught my eye, I had direction and with it, hope. When adrenaline fails, hope will push you over the line.
I made it to the road and spotted my van about 500m further down, barely making it back I bust my side door open threw the lid off my cooler and dropped my arse into it all whilst trying to get as much water down my throat as possible. As i sat there placing ice cubes over my body to cool down my skin, I realised I had just been dealt with a close call but all I could do was laugh. Laugh at ignorance and just know that i had learnt a valuable lesson - Ignorance has no place in nature.
A picture of me that afternoon, reflecting on the day and being happy to be here.