Under the Desert Sun: Journey through the California Desert


This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). Read our other articles on the National Geographic Voices blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow Photographers all around the world.

Text and photos by Krista Schlyer, Fellow at the International League of Conservation Photographers.

I wake this morning to the smell of rain. A desert long-denied, in the throes of an historic drought, was breathing its creosote-scented sigh of relief. In the eastern United States, where I live, rain doesn’t provoke an olfactory response. It is just wet, sometimes noisy, sometimes quiet. But in the desert it’s rare and memorable, and always accompanied by desert plants’ rendition of the Ode to Joy. Once you smell desert rain you never forget it. And for me it is more than enough motivation to face a 4 am wake-up call and a battering cold morning wind.

I drive to a ridgeline that overlooks a vast valley formed by the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada, the Tehachapi and El Paso mountains. I’m here for one reason–tortoises.

Desert tortoise with desert dandelion.

My photography project is broader than that, much, much broader. Over about 18 days I’m —> Read More Here


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