It took National Geographic photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols 32 days to photograph the President, a 3200-year-old giant sequoia in Sequoia National Park in California.
Using a rig system of ropes, Nichols and his team raised a camera in increments so that they could take shots of every part of the 247-foot-tall, 27-foot-wide giant, one of the largest trees in the world. The final image is stitched together from 126 individual photos, creating the first picture of the President captured entirely in a single frame. (Click on the image twice to embiggen and get a full measure of BIG.)
At over 3,200 years old, the President has stood witness to millennia of history. We spent quite a bit of time trying to fnd out just what exactly those 3,000 years might have entailed but were hardpressed to find real detail. We found a bit of the story at The Metropolitan Museum’s 2000-1000 BC Timeline:
…and a bit more at the Univerity of Washington’s US History Timeline Before 1600
But it was the British Museum that we found the most illuminating bit of info, in the form a bird, from the late Archaic period, 1000-1500 BC”
A birdstone was used as a weight in an atlatl, or throwing stick. This was a tool in use in much of Meso- and North America, for ‘flick-levering’ a projectile or dart over the shoulder. The earliest evidence for the use of a throwing stick comes from the Upper Palaeolithic, in the Mahgreb, 40,000 years ago. It was still in use among Inuit until well into the twentieth century.The technique of using the forefinger to launch a projectile is still used by the Iroquois in the winter game of snowsnakes, in which weighted projectiles are flicked along a channel in the snow. Players compete for the distance achieved.
The bow is a more recent introduction into North America, perhaps arriving from Asia between one and two thousand years ago.
Seeing where we’ve come from THEN to NOW, that the giant sequoia has witnessed, makes for a serious perspective shift!
Check out more artworks and artifacts from the British Museum’s Native North America collection here.