Some are likely from a person living here. Jacket, pillow, satchel, trash bag hanging from the fence, foam pad. Others seem to have been carried or dropped here by the hands of fate. Sears catalogues, wrappers, cans, paper. I look up the wash, and see a path laid out in front of me, cut through thick weeds glowing gold with the setting sun.
On my right the weeds grow thicker, obscuring any view of the earth beneath, and as I make my trek forward, I hear light rustling from hidden creatures. Lizards, mice, rats, I do not know.
To my left I see a steep embankment of dark lava rocks with train tracks on top.
I stay to my path, listening to the breeze as it sighs over the tracks, across the tops of the weeds, and through the chain link fence. I come across a section of downed telephone pole, bathed in sunlight, and I walk along the top of it. The wood cracks and splinters beneath my boots. At the end I hop off and look to my left. Almost hidden beneath the weeds are red and white stripes.
Crouching down, I peer into the bush and find a sun faded American Flag. Taking care not to disturb anything, as is my practice, I raise my camera and take a shot of the flag hiding in shadow. Once I have this shot I pause before walking on. Many great photographers have told me that patience, along with the eye to spot a subject, are the most important skills a photographer can use. As I look around, I take notice of the direction of light.
Sunlight is coming through a chain link fence, casting golden patches of light throughout the wash. In a few minutes, a patch of sunlight will dance across and highlight the hidden flag. As I wait, I notice that directly across from me is another American flag, flapping in the intermittent breeze. I frame it along with the weeds in front of me and add to my collection of photos for the day.
After I finish this shot, I notice that a patch of sunlight is quickly approaching my flag. I frame a few photographs with the Las Vegas skyline behind it. As I shoot I notice a faint light in the distance. At first I believe it's the sun reflecting off of the Trump tower. It gets closer and I realize that it's not a reflection, but the headlight from an approaching train. My heart begins to race.
I'll only have a few moments to get a shot with the flag and the engine of the train up close. I get one with the train coming towards me and shift my position to get it as it's passing. As I dive back into the viewfinder I find a third flag, painted boldly on the side of the oncoming train. My breaths come in short almost panicked bursts as the train passes. I snap an image with both my flag and the painted flag in it.
Once it passes I feel comfortable leaving my flag where I found it. I remain for a while in this place somehow cut off from the stress of life and enjoy the breeze and the day as it winds down to darkness.
I present "Flag." a series made in the span of a sunset.
If ever I get the chance to display this series, I think I'd like the layout to be something like this: