Floating Stones

Floating Stones

Arriving at Nova Scotia's granite barrens is like landing on another planet. While much of the province is thick with forests, the granite barrens are scoured of vegetation by constant heavy winds, salt spray, and occasional hurricanes. All that remains are the lands's bones, an otherworldly landscape of ancient stone. 

The wind gets in your face on the barrens, its salty breath howling in your ear. Windless days are so rare they arrive with an almost supernatural presence. These calm days, or more likely hours, are when I choose to make photographs here—many times I leave at dusk with a wind-rattled tripod but no new photographs.

It's always worth waiting when the calm moments finally arrive. By taking away the wind, which is the granite barren’s dominant element, something unearthly is revealed: a world where stones float and skies can be stepped in.

The granite barrens teach a sound lesson in permanence. When I began photographing here the solid granite landscape appeared unchangeable by any human reckoning. What could possibly disrupt granite boulders weighing many tons? Then Hurricane Noel hit Nova Scotia’s south shore in November 2007, and the barrens were forever changed. Huge boulders, many known to me as individual characters, were tossed about like marbles by giant waves. A stone landscape was remade in hours.