This past summer, I was on Topsail Beach with my mother, my sister, and my niece. Topsail Beach is on Conception Bay and is a popular spot for beach fires and gazing out at the sheer cliffs of Bell Island. It’s also a magical place for skimming stones because the rocks are remarkably smooth and the water is calm.
For years, I’ve marvelled at these rocks, often pointing out how a lot of them look like planets. People would always sort of agree, but I could tell they were humouring me, as though I were a child with crayon chicken scratches—“Oh wow, you’re right, Geoffrey!” They’d say. “You’re so smart and astute!” But I can read tone. I know when people are humouring me. It happens often enough for me to know.
So I decided to show those naysayers what I meant.
That day on Topsail Beach last summer, I filled an empty Tim Horton’s cup full of stones and took them home.
I then started photographing the stones, cropping them, and placing them on dark backgrounds with layer masks in Photoshop to simulate outer space. I have since done the same thing with rocks found in Gros Morne National Park, Denny’s Pond, along the East Coast Trail, and other random places in Newfoundland. I have since expanded to use other objects as well—apples, oranges, eggs, plants…
I have dozens of these Things That Look Like Planets and have lamenting the fact that they’ve been rotting on my hard drive for months, so here are a few samples.
I want to be a Planet Photographer for NASA when I grow up. How does one get that job?