Author:mikal

A man in a welding helmet, heavy brown welders jacket and gloves stands on a ladder leaning against the US – Mexico border fence. He is welding a 2-foot long piece of heavy angle iron horizontally between several of the vertical steel posts in the fence. Sparks and smoke are flying from the welding rods. To the left is a flatbed pick up with a blue welding generator, spools of welding cable and a work vice on the back.

Mending Wall

Sorry not sorry to Robert Frost.

Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.

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The U.S.-Mexico border fence, built of rows of 30' tall, 6" x 6" square steel tubing set into concrete 4" apart. The posts are out of focus, but the scenery behind them is sharp. A man wearing dark clothing and a neck gaiter to hide his face leads a group of people through the bushes toward the fence. He is holding a radio.

The Portal

A young mother, arms loaded with a bag and coats steps through, child close on her heels. The child stumbles on the rough ground, falls. The coyote momentarily steps through the fence and into the United States to assist the child, then darts back. The mother and child join the rest of the group, already walking toward the Lukeville, AZ Point of Entry to present themselves to immigration authorities. 

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The 30' rusty steel U.S.-Mexico border fence towers above a group of over 200 migrants at night. The people are illuminated by the headlights of a Border Patrol pickup truck out of the frame.

Christmas at the wall

They come from any country you can name to seek asylum and a better life in the United States. Wherever they began, their last stop before the U.S. is Sonoyta, a medium sized town across the border from the Lukeville, Arizona Port of Entry (POE). Once there, unable to enter the U.S. legally through the POE to request asylum, they will pay a coyote thousands of dollars to get them across. Once on U.S. soil, they will turn themselves in to the first Border Patrol officials they encounter.

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A blue plastic milk crate, turned upside down, with two dark rocks atop. Inside the crate are white plastic water jugs, obviously torn open and empty. The crate is sitting on stony ground, with desert vegetation in the background. There is also a rumpled white Red Cross blanket lying on the ground in the background.

Water drop

No people have walked this way for a while.

The six water bottles, empty now, under an overturned milk crate, were left here full about eight months ago on a similar supply trip. In the intervening hot season, the bottles degraded in the withering Sonoran desert sun, becoming brittle, crackling into pieces when we lift the crate.

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A small sapling that has fallen over after being chewed through by a beaver.

Beaver Survey

Imagine having magical watershed restoration gnomes who come out every night and work tirelessly to stabilize eroding river banks, trap silt, clarify water, slow down runoff so it can recharge the water table and repair damaged habitat for every other creature that depends on desert rivers.

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A close up view of a blue shipping container stacked on top of a yellow one, mimicking the colors of the Ukrainian flag. On the yellow container is a hand-lettered sign that says "Ukrainians for border justice!"

Border Justice Ukraine to Huachuca

As Ukrainians during this genocide, we tend to notice blue and yellow everywhere. While walking along the containers of this wall, I noticed how these two containers looked like our people’s resistance flag. This seemed like a good place to hang a sign about Ukrainian solidarity with border struggles.

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Sprites or sprite lightning. Several red bursts, like small fireworks, appear in the night sky.

Sprite Chasing!

Sprites are a form of electrical discharge that happens above certain types of lightning. They were only discovered in the ‘90s when they were caught on high speed film. Now, modern super sensitive camera sensors make capturing them much easier. But it’s still tricky and despite my best efforts, I’d never been able to catch one.

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A dark sky with fireworks exploding close up, giving off smoke and sending green and red streamers out from the center of the explosion.

My aerial fireworks footage featured on Adult Swim

A few years ago I flew my drone through the July 4th fireworks display over the Benbow Golf Course in Humboldt County just for fun. I edited the best bits together, put it on my Vimeo page and forgot about it until I got a request from the Adult Swim producers to use about 20 seconds of it for an upcoming show.

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