|Split Rock and Starry Sky, Isle of Mull|
(one exposure of 90 minutes)
“We should not regard the courses and revolutions of the heavenly bodies as the operations of some deity who dutifully performs these functions…we must consider that it is the task of natural science to determine with precision the causes of the most important phenomena and that our happiness is bound up with understanding of the nature of celestial phenomena.”
Epicurus (741-271 BC) in a letter to Herodotus
(translated by George K. Strodach).
There are some places on earth that we travel to just once, and some places we return to again and again. In many cases, the destinations that require our repeated attention may be grand, celebrated cities, landscapes, forests or wildernesses, but sometimes there are small features, little crumbs of interest that ask to be tasted again and again.
I have a fascination with this rock. It brings to life so many things I’m interested in – the permanence of nature, the wearing effect of time on the geological elements. It’s a huge natural monument, about 12 feet tall and split right down the middle as if some giant had pounded it onto the ground in order to split it and search for fossils.
|Split rock in silhouette: a trial photo I took to get the right composition |
for my Starry Sky picture (though I quite like this one in its own right).
"Sometimes people say that staring at the night’s sky makes them realise their insignificance against the vastness of the universe, but this experience had the opposite effect as I realised that I was held, transfixed within a system of working nature more magnificent than I could possibly comprehend."
I’ve been trying to do something photographically interesting with it for years. I found it impossible to escape the famous split rock photograph of the late Galen Rowell (see below), but also I wondered if there’s something else I could add.
|Galen Rowell's classic photo of a split|
rock and a cloud.
|Wenzel Hablik, Starry Sky, an attempt (1909)|
I took just one, 90-minute exposure, between about 11pm and 1:30am, spending most of that time lying on the beach watching the shooting stars in the sky.
Sometimes people say that staring at the night’s sky makes them realise their insignificance against the vastness, but this experience had the opposite effect as I realised that I was held, transfixed within a system of working nature more magnificent than I could possibly comprehend.