Apr 27, 2008

palisade at skaftafell


the ground at skaftajokull was hard at 8am on the second day, and the water from brushing my teeth congealed and froze in just a few minutes. the sky was bright, but the sun hadn't yet come over the moraine in whose shadow we'd made camp the night before. though the night had been filled with gusts of wind coming off the glacier, as with almost every other morning there was little wind and barely any sound. i pulled the groundpad a little ways out of the tent and lay there in my sleeping bag looking up at a cloudless sky rimmed by brown and white peaks for an hour before rustlings in the other tent got me moving.

after breakfast and breaking camp, we brought the gigapan up to the top of a nearby hill and took a 360-degree panorama (which turned out to be all wiggly), then crossed into one of the gullies to make sculpture #1. partway down and in the middle of the gully, a large, smooth, ovoid boulder sat perched on its narrow end amid an expanse of unconsolidated gravel and gray volcanic mud. the sun had just come over the edge of the gully and we sat on the western wall soaking up the light for a while before starting to build a jagged wall of snow around the boulder. truth be told, there wasn't much consideration at the time; after the fact, it seems a logical inversion to set a palisade of craggy snow around a smooth stone boulder in an landscape of jagged rocks nestled amid soft spreads of snow.

we shot a few minutes of footage of suitman coming over the lip of the gully and finding the ring of snow. he comes slipping and sliding down the gully wall and examines the ring, then completes it and strikes out on foot across a rocky plateau. as we filmed that last part, a small cluster of sightseers appeared, considered us (one person in a big blue suit, another carrying lots of camera equipment, a large shovel, and an ice axe), and turned tail.

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