My son Elliott and I lie beneath the starry sky on the Alvord Desert Playa, Oregon. In early June 2016 I dragged my son to the...

I'm Happy We Came Here

Alvord Playa, Oregon

My son Elliott and I lie beneath the starry sky on the Alvord Desert Playa, Oregon.

In early June 2016 I dragged my son to the far southeastern corner of Oregon to hang out with some friends in the Alvord Desert. I was a little hesitant to do so because as with most 8 year olds, the idea of hanging out in a flat, dry, hot, and dusty playa with no shade and a bunch of adults wouldn't sound like a ton of fun. But regardless, we packed our sunscreen, hats, and camping gear and made the 7.5 hour drive.

Elliott tends to dislike the drives because he easily gets motion sickness. We rarely go on long trips and this was by far the longest he and I had ever done together. He gave me some attitude about it and he didn't feel well for part of the drive, but it all changed when the land opened up and we traded the billboards and city buildings for rolling hills, small towns, and grazing cattle. He seemed more engaged in the experience and the questions about 'how much longer' became farther and farther apart.

He ended up having more fun than I ever imagined he would. Maybe it was because I let him drive a car for the first time on the 8 mile by 10 mile wide playa of absolutely nothing, maybe it was the open sky, quiet air, and extremely distant hills. Maybe it was the wind that tossed his kite into the air, shooting his slingshot, or the wild horses. Maybe it was drives with friends down four wheel drive roads into distant basins and seeing the beauty of the outdoors in such grand scale. Maybe it was just being in the moment with his dad far away from home and the thrill of adventure. Whatever it was.. Elliott had the time of his life on this trip.

This photo was taken on our first night in the desert. The Alvord Desert is one of the darkest places in the lower portion of the United States. The remoteness of the area combined with a new moon provided unrivaled views of the night sky. As the night wore down, our collective eyes turned upwards and we pondered our place in this universe, or at least I did.

Elliott wanted to lay down but didn't want to lay in the tent alone. So we dragged his sleeping pad and bag out and he fell asleep with this hands behind his head gazing up at the Milky Way. I took the time to lay next to him for a bit while my friend Bruce Couch tripped my shutter.

At 5am, after I had carried him to the tent, Elliott woke up to use the 'bathroom'. The sun hadn't risen and nobody was really up, so he was all alone out there as the land began to wake up in that early blue light. He crawled back into the tent with a little smile on his face. Thinking what most parents probably do when they see that mischievous smile on their kids faces, I asked him "Why are you smiling? What did you do?" His response was "Nothing. I'm just really happy we came here. It's so beautiful."

My heart melted. My eyes welled up. He finally felt a little bit of that inner peace that I feel when I'm out in nature. I reached out and ran my fingers through his hair and responded "Me too, buddy. Me too."

This is the most special photo that I've ever taken. My son and I laying under the Milky Way in a place that we both love, a place where our hearts grew alongside each others, and a place where he finally 'got it'. I'm looking forward to many more moments like this with him. THIS is living. Photo © copyright by TJ Thorne.


Artist Studio Print • Ready to Frame

I'm Happy We Came Here print

As an independent artist, I take immense pride in personally overseeing my entire creative process, from capturing the images to meticulously crafting the final prints. This hands-on approach enables me to present my work in the most authentic and exceptional manner possible, ensuring that each print meets the standards of my artistic vision. By choosing an Artist Studio Print, you not only acquire a piece of art but also invest in the dedication and passion that goes into every photograph that I create.

  • Hand-printed in my studio for utmost attention to detail.
  • Printed on heavy-weight, cotton-based, archival Canson Infinity paper using pigment-based inks.
  • Quickest turn-around time.

Please note that these prints require framing before display. I am happy to work with you on your framing needs. Please contact me to do so. For ready-to-hang options, please consider my Lumachrome Acrylic Face Mounted or Chromaluxe Metal Prints.

Shipping is included to locations within the United States. Please contact me for a shipping quote if you will have your purchase shipped elsewhere. To learn more about my prints, please visit my Prints page.

Need a size that's not listed? Not a problem. Simply contact me for a quote to get started.


Please allow 1-3 weeks for production and delivery.


Select a print size:

Lumachrome Fine Art Prints • Acrylic Face-Mounted and Ready to Hang

Lumachrome Fine Art Prints • Acrylic Face-Mounted and Ready to Hang

Premium Fine Art Lumachrome Prints are the epitome of elegance and quality. By face mounting the print to 1/8" thick scratch-resistant, non-reflective crystal clear acrylic and backing it with a protective surface and a 1.3" rear mounted frame, the print seemingly floats from the wall.

The proprietary Lumachrome process in combination with the acrylic facing gives a depth, dimensionality, and glow to the image which is unmatched and needs to be seen to believed. These pieces are museum quality, absolutely stunning, and truly a collectors piece.

Premium Fine Art Lumachrome Prints are ideal for galleries or private homes and with the proper lighting will take on a luminance that brings the photo to life. While these ready-to-hang pieces offer a modern, sleek, and clean appearance, traditional framing is also available and can be discussed one-on-one to pick the most appropriate frame for your piece.

Shipping is included to locations within the United States. Please contact me for a shipping quote if you will have your purchase shipped elsewhere. To learn more about my prints, please visit my Prints page.

Need a size that's not listed? Not a problem. Simply contact me for a quote to get started.


Please allow 2-4 weeks for production and delivery.


Select a print size:

Chromaluxe Fine Art Metal Prints • Ready to Hang

Chromaluxe Fine Art Metal Prints • Ready to Hang

If you are looking for a piece that combines durability with a modern and elegant look, I offer Premium Fine Art Metal Prints. Using a state-of-the-art process, the image is infused directly into the surface of specially coated aluminum which creates a scratch and fade resistant piece that is ready to hang without a frame.

Metal prints contain a tremendous amount of depth, detail, and sharpness that will be sure to draw the viewer in. Since the image is fused directly into the aluminum, the resulting piece is scratch and water resistant and will resist fading or yellowing over time while at the same time being easy to clean. These are the ideal for offices and public spaces due to their durability.

Shipping is included to locations within the United States. Please contact me for a shipping quote if you will have your purchase shipped elsewhere. To learn more about my prints, please visit my Prints page.

Need a size that's not listed? Not a problem. Simply contact me for a quote to get started.


Please allow 2-4 weeks for production and delivery.


Select a print size:

Limited Edition Artist Studio Prints • Ready to Frame

As an independent artist, I take immense pride in personally overseeing my entire creative process, from capturing the images to meticulously crafting the final prints. This hands-on approach enables me to present my work in the most authentic and exceptional manner possible, ensuring that each print meets the standards of my artistic vision. By choosing an Artist Studio Print, you not only acquire a piece of art but also invest in the dedication and passion that goes into every photograph that I create.

  • Hand-printed in my studio for utmost attention to detail.
  • Printed on heavy-weight, cotton-based, archival Canson Infinity paper using pigment-based inks.
  • Quickest turn-around time.

Please note that these prints require framing before display. I am happy to work with you on your framing needs. Please contact me to do so. For ready-to-hang options, please consider my Lumachrome Acrylic Face Mounted or Chromaluxe Metal Prints.

Shipping is included to locations within the United States. Please contact me for a shipping quote if you will have your purchase shipped elsewhere. To learn more about my prints, please visit my Prints page.

Need a size that's not listed? Not a problem. Simply contact me for a quote to get started.


Please allow 1-3 weeks for production and delivery.


Select a print size:

Limited Edition Lumachrome Fine Art Prints • Acrylic Face-Mounted and Ready to Hang

Limited Edition Lumachrome Fine Art Prints • Acrylic Face-Mounted and Ready to Hang

Premium Limited Edition Fine Art Lumachrome Prints are the epitome of elegance and quality. By face mounting the print to 1/8" thick scratch-resistant, non-reflective crystal clear acrylic and backing it with a protective surface and a 1.3" rear mounted frame, the print seemingly floats from the wall.

The proprietary Lumachrome process in combination with the acrylic facing gives a depth, dimensionality, and glow to the image which is unmatched and needs to be seen to believed. These pieces are museum quality, absolutely stunning, and truly a collectors piece.

Premium Fine Art Lumachrome Prints are ideal for galleries or private homes and with the proper lighting will take on a luminance that brings the photo to life. While these ready-to-hang pieces offer a modern, sleek, and clean appearance, traditional framing is also available and can be discussed one-on-one to pick the most appropriate frame for your piece.

Shipping is included to locations within the United States. Please contact me for a shipping quote if you will have your purchase shipped elsewhere. To learn more about my prints, please visit my Prints page.

Need a size that's not listed? Not a problem. Simply contact me for a quote to get started.


Please allow 3-4 weeks for production and delivery.


Select a print size:

Limited Edition Chromaluxe Fine Art Metal Prints • Ready to Hang

Limited Edition Chromaluxe Fine Art Metal Prints • Ready to Hang

If you are looking for a piece that combines durability with a modern and elegant look, I offer Premium Limited Edition Fine Art Metal Prints. Using a state-of-the-art process, the image is infused directly into the surface of specially coated aluminum which creates a scratch and fade resistant piece that is ready to hang without a frame.

Metal prints contain a tremendous amount of depth, detail, and sharpness that will be sure to draw the viewer in. Since the image is fused directly into the aluminum, the resulting piece is scratch and water resistant and will resist fading or yellowing over time while at the same time being easy to clean. These are the ideal for offices and public spaces due to their durability.

Shipping is included to locations within the United States. Please contact me for a shipping quote if you will have your purchase shipped elsewhere. To learn more about my prints, please visit my Prints page.

Need a size that's not listed? Not a problem. Simply contact me for a quote to get started.


Please allow 2-3 weeks for production and delivery.


Select a print size:

Shipping is included to locations within the United States. Please contact me for a shipping quote if you will have your purchase shipped elsewhere. To learn more about my Limited Edition Fine Art Prints, please visit my Prints Page

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