I've been lucky to visit six continents and work in over fifteen countries during the last twenty-five years in the film industry. From the heat and humidity of India, to the barren landscapes of central China, to the serene calm of an Italian summer and the lapping waves of the Caribbean, I've endeavored to take the road less traveled, eat at the cafés frequented only by locals and walked the streets without a map. I continue to believe that getting lost in a city is the best way to discover it. A regular tourist I am not, if nothing else, my adventures have shown me the world outside the pages of the popular travel guides.
I grew up in the wide-open spaces of the American west where during family camping trips, I fell in love with the night sky. As the rest of the family retired to the security and warmth of the trailer my father towed behind our car, I'd take my sleeping bag and lie down next to the glowing embers of the campfire. Under the stars the cool night air would whisper through the pines and I'd count the satellites as they streaked across the sky. To me, I was connecting with nature, living like the cowboys I watched on TV, shredding my urban confines and enjoying the moment - mosquito bites and all.
Now in my 50's, I live in the large metropolitan city of Los Angeles where I often find myself seeking links to the boy sleeping next to the campfire with my sense of wonder and my relationship to nature, often hard to find. As a marathoner, I get momentary glimpses in the stillness that pervades the streets in my neighborhood during early morning runs, sometimes my only place of solace in a hectic world. These moments I've come to believe are for me – at least until a large delivery truck barrels down the road interrupting my reverie and stagnating the air with diesel fumes.
When the opportunity to work as an artist in residence for Mojave National Preserve presented itself I jumped at the chance. I knew immediately what I wanted to do. With my affinity for the night and the outdoors it had to be "Mojave Moonlight."
The desert can be a lonely yet tranquil place. Some of these captures are from well off the beaten path. Over the course of fifteen nights I would often drive off the pavement, down a dirt road – some not so passable – and park the car just before sunset. Then walk up to three miles into the desert, usually with a mission; cactus or rock formations or dunes or sometimes seeking inspiration in the stillness. I rediscovered the light show in the blanket of the Milky Way - shooting stars and countless satellites accenting all the familiar constellations. As my sole light source, the moon trekked across the vastness of the night sky while a soundtrack of fluttering bats and howling coyotes played masterfully in the diverse landscape. Some mornings as the cold dipped below freezing I felt the Mojave wrap me in its arms and my urban life fade into the background. The crisp air filling my lungs with fresh oxygen, Los Angeles' traffic and stress literally and figuratively miles away.
On several occasions, in the pre-dawn hours, I'd get lost making my way back to the car. My equipment somehow heavier than it was ten hours earlier. I'd pause under the stars, listen to the wind, slow my breath, calm my nerves, and ask, 'was it a right turn at the sagebrush or was it the Joshua tree?' then continue stumbling around in the dark until I'd find my car. Always right where I'd left it – not far from the trailer where that kid used to lie looking at the night sky.