0521: Color

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It must be the effect of Spring on me this year – the riot of color, its richness and variety – that brought on this change. I often like to deal with warm, muted colors or even, more simply, black and white. But this week’s images, aided in a few cases by some interesting backgrounds, seem to embrace the color present.

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Favorite fossils I have found (two of many many). Above, the rock holds impressions of a gastropod and a crinoid stem. Below is a solid piece of honeycomb coral. Both are roughly 385 million years ago. They each sit on darkslides from an old wooden 8×10 film holder – a near fossil in the eyes of many!

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This being the start of the Memorial Day Weekend, I wish you all a safe and relaxing holiday weekend. Pause, at least for a moment, to consider the meaning and intention of Memorial Day. It is to honor those who have served – not the policymakers but rather those who face the consequences of policy.

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I leave you with probably one of my last film images from my old beaten up view camera – a memorable Memorial Day celebration twelve years ago with dear friends.

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Thanks for the visit.

0514: Backgrounds

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I’m always looking for different backgrounds to match up with the fossils I find. Sometimes it’s a rock background. Sometimes it’s a rusty metal plate. Today it’s the cover of an antique tin box. This first group of images show some of that exploration.

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This gastropod has become a recent favorite of mine. It’s shape seems to be so particularly appealing as a design object as well as an element of deep time. In the image below it’s a Devonian bindi on the head of Ganesh.

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And what’s left for today is a small assortment from recently travelled paths:

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Quarry Wall

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At the Car Wash

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Mall Skylights

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Fisher Center Interior

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Leger’s Cornet

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All those recent cornet images had me thinking about an earlier project I did at the old, crumbling Burden Iron Works, with all its pipes and Rube Goldberg-esque machinery. So here are a couple from that structure that is no longer. It was torn down several years ago.

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Thanks for the visit.

0507: Phacops rana

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This little guy is an impression of the head and eyes of a species of trilobite, called Phacops rana, that lived during the middle Devonian period (approximately 387 million years ago). Phacops rana was a critical element in the research of Dr. Niles Eldredge that led to the formulation of the theory of “Punctuated Equilibrium” in a landmark paper he published with Stephen Jay Gould in 1972. For the past two weeks it has figured into much conversation I have been able to share in, although “listen in” might be more appropriate.

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I have had the honor and pleasure of spending time with Niles and my dear friend Dr. Stefano Dominici from the University of Florence and the Florence Natural History Museum. Working together on a project took us to a small quarry in the Hamilton Group in central New York where Niles did early research. It was no surprise then that Niles found the pick of the day – the phacops shown above – without hardly looking! (The Master showed us how!!)

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He is also the proud owner of an incredible collection of cornets, some of which appeared last week. more of which I bring you today – interspersed with the other finds from our trip to the quarry.

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The conversations ranged from evolution to jazz, Darwin to big bands, good food and wine…and, of course, phacops rana. I look forward to our next encounter.

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Thanks for the visit.

0430: Two Collections

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I’ve mixed up two sets of images this week, both from the past week’s wanderings. The first consists of some latest fossil finds.

 

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The second is from a collection of cornets – marvelous metal designs – that I had the pleasure and privilege to explore. I’ll have more on the subject next week. For now, enjoy the pics.

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Thank you for the visit.

0423: Spring Cleaning

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Spring cleaning has found its way outside for me this past week. The good weather had me moving piles of fossil-laden rocks from one place to another in an attempt to generally clean up my working areas. And that gave me the opportunity to rediscover and reacquaint myself with past finds – and create a long new list of images awaiting. The quarry is spilling over with fossils so I add them to that list.

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And yet I found some time to drift back into my Italy library. A friend from Florence arrives today for a visit, so I threw together an odd mix of mostly street shots of that city. The image at the top is a Florence Shop Window. And the one above is a Grafitti/Madonna street scene.

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Sign at Church Entrance

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Florence Flag Fresco

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Stick Figure Madonna

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Florence Antique Shop

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 Florence Street Scene

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Speaking of Italy – As I was cleaning out boxes in my studio I ran across this old Dubonnet tin that I had packed away. I had forgotten its contents – my fossil stash from Tuscany. What a happy surprise!.

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I’ll finish this post with a selection of latest images – some different approaches to my new finds from the field. All but the first image are Devonian fossils. (The first is a quarry rock that captured my attention and seemed to fit comfortably into an old bird’s nest.)

Enjoy the rest.

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I’ll be off on a little adventure for the next couple of weeks and that may upset my regular schedule. Hopefully I’ll be back soon with some good images.Thank you for the visit.

0416: Too Nice to Be Inside

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Today I have three groups of fresh images – all thanks to the onset of Spring. It’s just too beautiful to sit here writing so I’ll be brief. The first group are snail shaped fossils found at the quarry this past week. They are generally much harder to find up there (compared with brachiopods – they’re next). So my season of digging and hunting for fossils has begun on a good note!

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Next are the brachiopods – again, all (and many more) from the same two visits. It’s easy to forget that all of these squiggly little things, these marine invertebrate life forms lived right here nearly 400 million years ago!

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And there was plenty of time to reacquaint with the neighboring woods.

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Finally, a reminder – my current show at the Marist College Art Gallery will remain up until Saturday April 25th. If you should find yourself in the Poughkeepsie area please come by. It’s a beautiful show in a terrific space. (The above image courtesy of my dearest friends at Katvan Studio).

Thanks for today’s visit.

0409: Leaving Winter Behind

IMG_8175_01_LR_12Spring seems to be something of a tease here in upstate NY these days. One day the sun comes out and the temperature beckons us to partake. The next day overcast with chance of evening snow showers. All this will pass soon and when it does the whole world will blossom.

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This past week I caught a bit of both – the dying gasps of winter and the final disappearance of snow and ice – and on the following day a sunny, warm and successful first trip to my favorite quarry.

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These first few images come from the neighboring beaver pond, still with the last remains of its icy cover. What the pictures don’t reflect were the sounds that filled the air – from peepers to scores of ducklings – alerting us to the fullness of the season about to unveil itself.

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The following day, rather than being cold and rainy, was a nearly perfect Spring day. And no better way to spend it than climbing around the hilltop quarry just down the road. Jacket cast aside, hammer and chisel in hand, it felt great to once again climb through the woods to one of my favorite fossil sites.

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It was a good haul for the first trip of the year. These images came from the rocks I filled the back of the car with. In many cases the fossils shown here were not visible at first. Rather, they were buried within the rocks, waiting for the hammer crack that freed them from four hundred million years of darkness.

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This last one comes from an area in the quarry that is much more “shale-y”, rock that is much more easily crushed into gravel for fill and driveways. It’s also where various chemical processes have played interesting color games. This particular rock bears the imprint of a gastropod. I believe the gastropod that sits on the rock (on the left) is the one that left the imprint.

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That day had enough time left for me to reach for a prop that had been waiting patiently on a studio shelf. Many more good days ahead to play with this one.

For now, though, I formally say goodbye to winter and the last of the snow that made my driveway impassable for months.

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Thanks for the visit.