Partly Cloudy

Sometimes enveloping the high ground, sometimes receeding into the valleys: clouds ebb and flow over the Hehuan Mountain highlands.

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Underbelly

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Personal Space

Taiwan, November 2023.

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Aurora

Solar forecasts indicated the aurora might be visible as far south as California. I was skeptical. Despite growing up in Alaska, I'd only seen the aurora once, and that was an half-hearted showing: just a patch of dim red sky pulsing slowly.

But it was worth a try, so I arrived on Limantour Beach at sunset and set out to the west. For two hours I walked, the ocean quiet, the crescent moon setting. Maybe the sky to the north was brighter than normal? I wasn't sure. More walking, past the pine silhouettes, almost at the exit. And there it was! Dancing slowly upwards, into the stars. The aurora was too faint for color vision, so this is a faithful depiction of my view.

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My camera had no limitations on seeing color. These are too good to keep unpublished, even if they are outside my normal editing standard (memory of perception).

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Swimming Snake

Snakes can swim! With the same slither as on soil.

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Back Online

Welcome to version 3 of my website! Websites have finally, finally gotten the layout tools I've desired for years.† I wrote a custom theme for a new Ghost backend to use them here. I'm also able to present my photographs in high quality, with scaling resolution (up to 8k!) and P3 color gamut. Click any photo to see it alone in a lightbox.

I ported most of the blog posts from version 2. The exhibitions and slideshow-style posts will require even more custom code, so they are postponed for now.

†A technical overview of web layout history, and why CSS grid is so welcome for two dimensional layout: Floats, Flexbox, Grid? The progression of CSS layouts

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On the Watchtower

What better place for me to watch the many admirers from?

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Lundy Aspen

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Chisos Mountains, Winter

“‘O where are you going?’ said reader to rider,
‘That valley is fatal when furnaces burn.
Yonder’s the midden whose odors will madden,
That gap is the grave where the tall return.’

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‘O do you imagine,’ said fearer to farer,
‘That dusk will delay on your path to the pass?
Your diligent looking discover the lacking,
Your footsteps feel from granite to grass?’

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‘O what was that bird?’ said horror to hearer,
‘Did you see that shape in the twisted trees?
Behind you swiftly the figure comes softly,
The spot on your skin is a shocking disease.’

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‘Out of this house,’ said rider to reader,
‘Yours never will,’ said farer to fearer,
‘They’re looking for you,’ said hearer to horror,
As he left them there, as he left them there.”
—W. H. Auden

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Rainbow Lorikeets

I’d always thought the colorful plumage was purely ornamental, but in these blackbean trees it doubles as camouflage.

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Kotor Noir

The old city of Kotor, Montenegro, on a November night. After hours, and after tourist season. There was nobody else walking the streets, and no businesses open. Like exploring a movie set after the shooting has been completed–there were scripts, stories, characters here. What? Who? Why?

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November in Muir Woods

Winter’s brush only crimps the color palette in the redwood grove.

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Blue, White, Black: Surrealism on Mauna Loa

Camping overnight at the trailhead did not sufficiently acclimate me for this hike’s altitude, so my progress is slow and patient. Much of the trail follows the hardened pahoehoe lava flows gently upwards, its surface as smooth as a paved nature walk. The lava is everywhere, and everywhere is lava. Only snow and the gasping thin sky overhead break its flows.

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Four kilometers up and the remaining winter snow, which started as occasional patches, is forming large drifts. I haven’t seen a plant or animal all day.

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At the summit crater, the mountain expands away, level in all directions. The dried surface is only as old as I am. It resembles an abandoned parking lot in a forsaken city: roughly textured, glimmering black, carelessly crumpled and folded. Underfoot it crunches like crusted snow.

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No other hikers are staying at the summit cabin. I am alone in this wasteland palace in the clouds.

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Color on Glass and Metal

I have gotten comments* with a common theme: “John, these pictures are great, but sometimes I can still tell what they’re of. You should kick up the abstraction levels until I have no idea what I’m looking at.” Wandering around Brussels at night, with its quantities of colored lighting and reflective surfaces sufficient to make a nineties computer game blush, I found the perfect place to satisfy this request.

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*not really

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