As the cold air invaded Alabama, and as the college students fled our small Alabama town, Ethan and I found ourselves longing for a warmer, wilder December. Our destination was unquestionable – the cactus-dotted Mojave Desert bristling with Joshua trees. We filled my car to bursting and headed west, chasing the setting sun.
After a few nights on the road and a couple more wrong turns, we arrived at a star-lit cabin in the desert. Surrounded by red mountains and vast plateaus, we made a home in the San Bernardino Valley, basking in all it had to offer.
One could spend forever climbing the rocks and exploring the infinite shacks speckling the desert, but Ethan and I found solace in our bungalow. The first morning left us breathless. The waking sun doused the cabin floor with light. It spread like the rising tide until the whole room was painted yellow. Rubbing our eyes, we wandered out the door and felt the fire for ourselves. We couldn’t say a word. I think we were both scared of losing the moment or forgetting how incredible – how almost frightening – it felt to shrink beneath that endless sky.
PHOTOGRAPHY: ETHAN GULLEY | ESSAY: CLAIRE WALTER
Creating narratives through photography and design, Ethan Gulley is a natural storyteller. Claire Walter, a writer and fellow creative from The South intertwines her words with Ethan's visuals to tell a joint narrative.