Wednesday, March 31, 2010

We live here

This, the edge of the pacific. Because of the international date line, we get our days before a lot of the rest of the world. People living on the North American east coast called that place Dawnland before columbus and christians. Funny how it doesn't take much to change your mind.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Orbit II: tide

The tide is cool. The moon hauls about a zillion tons of water two meters up and down, twice a day, in front of the ruins. All the lives that crust the edge of the sea have learned to live with that. Gravity from a giant satellite slurps back and forth - what else ebbs and flows with it?

Monday, March 22, 2010


Intention, marooned. There's something about small wooden boxes with nothing much between primate inhabitants and the universe. At the ruins I chase mail found in a box by the road, and chase photon messages from far away suns. When to stop chasing and pay attention? Getting stranded is no one but the captain's fault.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gratitude for friends

It’s good to know people who change the way you see the world.

Brighton Bight, Otago

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Eglinton Valley

Glaciers make a lot of sediment. In Fiordland, the mossy forest is quick to grab hold of any useable surface, even vertical 3 billion-year-old gneiss. So imagine the tangle that grows in the gravel braids dumped along the Eglinton River. Someone cleared part of the tangle for cows 100 years ago. This is the edge of a dripping, pixelated Fanghorn by moonlight. Over 770 known short tail bat roost trees exist in this forest, somewhere along Richard's flashlight beam. It's home to both of New Zealand's only native mammal species.

Fiordland, NZ

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Underground Ocean

This is a photo essay from a trip to Morocco in the summer of 2007 made possible by the Watson Fellowship grant. I met a man at the Tucson gem and mineral show selling fossils from the edge of the Sahara. I wanted to see the first step in the chain of buyers and sellers that brought pieces of Africa to the Arizona Desert. I stayed with a prospector for a few weeks, trying to understand what drove him to wander around looking for small bits of petrified animals. For most people, it's the tiny amounts of money. But for some out there, mysterious rocks are their only obsession. Click here for the slideshow, and then find the 'fullscreen' button at the top right to run it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Leggy Weeds

When stoats were brought to New Zealand in 1884, it sounded like a good idea. It always sounds like a good idea. Killing rabbits with guns is expensive. Why not let tiny bloodthirsty intelligent lightning-fast weasels do it for free? Somebody must have forgotten about the vast numbers of naïve flightless birds, but that's by the by. It's turning out to be a lot more expensive to kill the killing machines. Here, a springloaded killing machine in a box full of eggs and meat on an island of birds. The Secretary Island forest is so soggy, my camera had to peek through a smudgy underwater housing. We've decided too late that stoats are the enemy, the thing in the forest that does not belong. The only predator of the predator, humans are doing what we did to cause this mess all over again; gardening. It's a tall order, pulling weeds that can run. Who do we think we are, calling other animals invasive species?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

There's so much water here, the sea isn't even salty.

This is a flooded cirque. From the map, it looks like the sea has risen to fill an ancient glacial landscape. This is a common misconception. After sleeping on a boat in these fiords for the past week, I can tell you what is really going on. So much rain falls here, that the sea can't actually handle all the water flowing out of fiordland. You could sell 500 foot waterfalls for fifty cents each and be a millionaire. There just isn't enough room in the Tasman Sea for all that rain, so it just backs up and fills the Fiords. It's the color of tea. Catching fish from 250 metres below the surface happens 250 meters from shore. A shore you can't even stand on.

Snug Cove, Fiordland, NZ

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