The Light, The Dark, The In Between

Night #1 – Grand Island’s divine character immediately overwhelms, like I have to confront everything all at once or feel like a fraud in the presence of this place. Rounding the bend into 2′-3′ waves, a waxing gibbous rises. Hello. My moon, my light, my guide through the night, hours of dark paddling ahead. Two Hearted? Check.

single exposure, 30-second shutter, moonset over Lake Superior

To kayak the island’s circumference in solitude is to surrender. Summer nights never totally darken and the beating light of midday can be evaded by swimming into a cave or crawling into a crack. Sleep becomes something that happens when it happens. Exploration and photography and food and drink are just as likely to occur at 4 AM as 4 PM. Kairos time becomes the only time.

shutter speed 2 seconds
shutter speed 1/2 second
shutter speed 1/4 second
shutter speed 1/15 second
shutter speed 1/500 second, whirligig beetles

Night #2 – I approach the cavern sometime after moonset with a headlight that can’t be trusted, disappearing into the full acoustic spectrum of a subterranean sea, pushing deeper into the crack that keeps going, waves sucking and surging from knees to chest to head to heart. It’s a photographic disaster, but notions of failure and success seem unimportant when spending time at what feels like the center of the earth, a meeting of chaos and calm.

15-image composite, 50mm lens

Night #3 – Lying too close to water’s edge with building seas, knowing better but doing so anyway, hoping that the full moon might rise from behind a cliff and smother me … if only for a moment. But it doesn’t. At nautical twilight a rogue wave washes over me and I scatter with countless other spiders, insects, frogs and moths in that fine line between aquatic and terrestrial space.

20-image blend, 100mm macro lens