The rolling, bucolic hills of the Connecticut-New York border are one of my favorite places. The foothills of the Berkshires roll along under the late-autumn reds and browns, the clouds pucker towards rain overhead, and the decrepit skeletons of agriculture linger among the charming homes that now dominate the landscape.
When you’re working with an ultra-high vacuum chamber, there’s no “popping down to the hardware store for a spare part.” Over the years, spares and replacements and antiquated equivalents and almost-still-good parts tend to accumulate in the cabinets of a physics lab. Cabinets start to look like set dressing in a sci-fi movie.
After an enormous Thanksgiving dinner, we stood out in the cold, under the stars, and gazed into infinity at the disk of the Milky Way. The world feels small and calm on a noiseless fall night. I don’t know that I’d ever recognized the galaxy before.
Thanksgiving is around the corner, and New England has equilibrated to early-winter leafless distributions. On a morning coffee-and-breakfast-sandwich run, snow encrusted rocks form the boundaries of a real-world Zen garden.
A friend in northwestern Connecticut had me out to his property to photograph this amazing, craggy, ancient Linden tree. Vines cling to the heavy, sprawling shell of the tree, and it’s not a stretch to imagine fairies flitting between the leaves. Nothing captures fantastical rays of light like f/22 aperture. Every ray and every bent photon is transmogrified into beams and rainbows from the dimension of quantum uncertainty.
Looking south, over the rooftops and streetlights of downtown Berkeley, the high-rise buildings of Oakland and Emeryville are luminescent ghosts in the bay fog. I’ve come back to this photograph again and again—the composition isn’t quite right, the quality is just average, but for some reason I find it inescapable. I can forgive all of its sins (and mine in taking it) for the trajectory of those sodium lamps, arcing gently to the south like some fairy worm.