Just add Water.


Just Add Water.

To the viewer it may seem that I just wander around with a big camera taking pictures (my wife's words).  But behind the image/s there is always a story of how each image, or an entire project, came about.  

The idea of Fridays Rainshadow came about completely by chance after a mountain drive and rediscovering a film camera  I had not used for 15 years. After what could be described as a desert epiphany, I began to research the Mojave Desert and discovered all kinds of interesting places, and areas I wanted to visit. As the project grew, so did my research and knowledge about this unique area.

As I told the tax man, as part of my research I was intrigued to watch, Just Add Water. A delightful film set in Trona, a place located in the Searles Valley in the greater Mojave area, on the fringes of Death Valley. Having been to Trona several times in the past, usually on my way back from Death Valley, I knew it only as a place you drove through, or stopped for gas. So I was interested to see how the film depicted the area. My memories of Trona were all but forgotten before watching the film, but before the end I was all set on making the 3 hour drive out there a few days later. 

What I couldn't get out of my mind was how badly the town of Trona was depicted. Surely the place could not be as bad as it looked in the movie. I certainly did not remember it being that bad... Well my friends, maybe a year of covid changed things, but,  I can say without a long afternoon shadow of a doubt, that Trona is actually worse than you can imagine. This place makes the Salton Sea look like it did before the flood (you might have to research that). 

I have always been fascinated by these places. But it does not come without an air of sadness that people choose, or have no choice, to live this way. Its so different from anything I know. But looking past the car wrecks and burnt out houses, the people I met were happy, content and loved living there. 

As the light faded and I hit the road, I saw the surrounding Death Valley in all its glory. And then I realized why you would choose to live there....



More dawn raids..


Another cold dawn raid in the desert, although caught slightly off guard by the clocks going forward (who knew). 
I often get fooled into thinking that setting out early in the AM means there will be no one around, but I couldn't be more wrong. 'What on earth are they doing over there!' I ask myself, but of course they probably say the same of me. Apparently everyone likes a burger at four in the morning...

I had intended to check out the scrap yard below after capturing part of it in my profiterole vision last week. Unsure what I would find, I was  pleasantly surprised to find a joyous scene behind the big fence.  Struggling to get some height,  the owner very kindly let me stand on his forklift (his idea, not mine..) Thankfully no bones were broken, but I did rip a hole in my Abecrombie and Fitch jacket of 20 years, which was annoying...


Places strange and quite.


The diversity of the Mojave continues to inspire me, this time heading east.



When I first started photographing the desert I often wondered why people would live out there. 

There you are driving along a dusty road with nothing but the odd Tumble Weed crossing your path. In the distance you see some kind of homestead with a rusty truck parked out front and perhaps a small water tank and a scabby dog. As you draw closer its still difficult to tell if someone actually lives there. Is is abandoned? is it accessible? Is it dangerous? (see dog) And then you see the signs. Any kind of Keep Out signage and I just keep going. I have no desire to trespass on someones property, even in the middle of nowhere. But that's not to say I won't peek through the fence. This particular homestead was interesting due to the threats of being shot (which of course is not legal in the state of California and I am certainly no threat.). But just looking got me chased down as I left in my little car. 

I should add that I would not blame anyone for questioning me. I mean a 6'1 baldy white man with a big camera in the middle of nowhere is not something you see everyday.. But its always the same:

Angry Person:

 "What the @<)%^& are you doing on my property"  etc, etc. (not on property)

Me (sounding like Hugh Grant): 

"Well hello. I'm just doing a few photographs out here in the desert"

Not so Angry Person:

"What for?"


"Well we don't have anything like this in England where we are from.... "

Friendly Person:

"Oh, I'm sorry about that. You have a nice day..."

Thankfully no one shot and I went on my merry way.

                                                            STAY OUT STAY ALIVE



The Long Road...


Mojave. January 2021
 I spoke with my best old friend this week who has been documenting our home town for many years. We began our photography journey together, both just 'strange' young boys with cameras exploring back streets and the oddities a small town brings. We both applied for the same college, that extra A Level got me in, but sadly my friend was left to continue his hometown quest while I took to the northern coast and beyond...

                                                                                Paul Reid. Cumbria, 2021

After a little reminiscing my good friend told me he was pretty much done with his project which spans more than 25 years.  I think if I had stayed I would probably of done the same thing...



 Another fine morning in the Rainshadow finding hidden things past forgotten. 

Sometimes there's just too much to photograph...