The north fork of the Point Reyes peninsula stretches through historic dairy farms and rolling green hills towards Tomales Point. Caught between the Pacific Ocean and Tomales Bay, this spit of land faces across the water towards Bodega Head and the northward marches of the California coast.
On a recent weekday I picked Julian up from school and drove out to Point Reyes. We made the end of the Tomales Point road a few minutes after sunset.
I used my fisheye lens and set my interval timer for fifteen four-minute exposures. My plan was to stack the exposures (the aggregate exposure time was an hour).
I pointed the camera north to maximize the circular effect. I was also going to layer in a light version of the first (and brightest) exposure, so that the Pierce Farm buildings maintained by the National Park Service could be seen in the foreground.
With the camera on autopilot for an hour, Julian and I lay back on the grass downs and traced the star constellations. We saw a couple of shooting stars that are not apparent in the image, and a couple of satellites you can see on the right side.
After a while Julian said, “Dad, I know one of the purposes of the universe.”
“What is it?” I asked eagerly.
“The purpose of the universe is to be mysterious.”
I suppose maybe he is right. Certainly, the more we know about life the more mystery emerges, and this is independent of our empirical understanding of the way things work.