The most recent Long Now Seminar in San Francisco sounds like it was brilliant. Frans Lanting set out to take photographs of places where the conditions resemble those from key moments in the distant past of the evolution of planet Earth.
From Stewart’s email summary:
On a live volcano in Hawaii he found the naked planet of 4.3 billion years ago — — molten rock flowing, zero life. “Your boots melt. You smell early Earth.” On the western coast of Australia he shot a rare surviving living reef of stromatolites, made of the cyanobacteria who three billion years ago transformed the Earth by filling the atmosphere with oxygen. Lanting took pains to photograph without blue sky in the background, because the sky was not blue until the cyanobacteria had generated a planet’s worth of oxygen.
The photos are absolutely stunning. You can find them here.