120116: Recent Pics

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Several days of much needed rain has kept me inside, leaving shooting plans on hold. I’m never at a loss, though, thanks to a library full of overlooked images.

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In reviewing image folders from the past few months, I came up with this selection – a mixed bag of objects ranging from plant life (above) to three more fossil images (at the end) from Isle La Motte.

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In between are a few local rocks and fossils and this unique artifact (above) – a “smudge pot” holder from a Tuscan vineyard where we dug for fossils on a previous visit. Yeah, most people return from such a trip with objects of beauty. Me – I come back with interesting junk!

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These are the three new images from September’s visit to Isle La Motte.

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I close today with a creekside view of a wonderland created by my good friend, Harry Matthews, the Renaissance Man of High Falls Road!

Thanks for the visit.

111716: Change is Coming

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Well that’s pretty obvious. Who knows how all this change will play out. In the meantime, though, the idea of change is taking on personal significance. After nearly thirteen years I am preparing to move my studio – giving up this wonderful little cabin in the woods for another forest setting. The foundation was just finished and building will begin on my new studio in the woods across from our home.

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It will take months to complete. When done, I’ll have much more space to work in – more than twice what I currently have. Needless to say, the slow migration of supplies and rocks to the new location will upend the current routine and orderliness (?) I currently operate under. So, for the next few months (and hopefully no more), my posts will be a bit more sporadic.

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This week’s images are the result of some of the changes.

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I’ve always maintained that one needn’t go far to find visually interesting opportunities.

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Sometimes a fresh look at out immediate surroundings can open paths to explore.

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In this case today I have focused on the excavated site of the new studio with its uncovered rocks and early stage foundation work.

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These last two are from the evening of the full moon. On top – a moody Autumn evening image along the Hudson. And below – the aforementioned full moon rising over the Rip Van Winkle Bridge.

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I’l be away next week. So please have a happy and warm Thanksgiving holiday whatever you do.

110316: On Edge

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Restless, edgy, anxious – that sums up my feelings lately. I assume that many of you are feeling it too. Will the ugliness and nastiness of this election season end next week or will it continue unabated? Democracy, decency, and the common good are very much at stake. A carnival barker con man has captured the attention of many who hope and wish for a return to the days of Ozzie and Harriet (and worse!). Please vote and vote wisely.

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Fortunately for me, my restlessness is always eased when I get out and walk the surrounding forest and creeks. Today’s images are the result of one of those strolls along Kaaterskill Creek. There are always new things to discover. And Tuesday’s walk was an exceptional one in that regard. The image above was a puzzler to me – a crinoid stem with a curl to it. My thanks to Dr. George McIntosh, Director of Collections at the Rochester Museum and Science Center, who suggested it to be a crinoid subset called Melocrinites. The little “button” below is a crinoid ossicle, a crosscut of a its stem.

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These next three images show a Zoophycos trace fossil, burrowing made by a marine worm. Four hundred million year old designs in nature! Thanks to my friend Dr. Chuck ver Straeten from the NY State Museum in Albany for that information.

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A gastropod followed by a variety of brachiopod bits rounds things out.

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These two are puzzlers to me – nothing I’ve seen before. Any ideas on these two images would be welcome to hear. Please let me know.

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I even managed to find some old graffiti – hard to read. But I was able to read the date as 1879.

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I’ll end with this image of one of the large rock slabs that make up the creek bed. I was struck by the play between the rippled pattern in the rock and the rippled water passing nearby.

Thanks for the visit. Don’t forget to vote.

102716: More Autumn Color

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While I’ve been out trying to capture the last of autumn color I have also run across more lichen. It is everywhere in the forest and therefore an ever present source of images for me.

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Aside from its beauty and variety, I have become intrigued, but confused, as to what exactly it is. Part fungus. Part algae. It’s been a tricky thing for me to grasp. And it turns out that I’m not the only one.

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A recent article in The Atlantic magazine tells an interesting and entertaining story of a scientist, Toby Spribille, who, after years of study, has cast a new light on just exactly what lichen is. It appears now that there are more than two players in this symbiotic relationship.

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Give it a read if you are so interested. If not, I hope you enjoy the samples of lichen, along with the moss, fallen leaves, and fading colors of autumn, that I have for you today.

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Let me close with this final image – three cephalopods peeking out from under a blanket of leaves. I uncovered these fossils a few years ago and always enjoy the occasional visit.

And here is a last minute postscript – This is what we awoke to this morning here in Catskill:

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So much for Autumn color!

102016: A Beautiful Autumn

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Aside from the continuing low water conditions, this Autumn has been beautiful in the Hudson Valley. Cindy and I spent several hours strolling around the grounds of Art Omi, a beautiful sculpture park and arts center located across the river in Ghent, NY. The rolling hills and the lagoon (pictured above) are the perfect settings for a wonderful array of fine sculptures.

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These are two pieces by the sculptor Folkert de Jong.

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And these two by the sculptor Philip Grausman.

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The next day had us visiting our friends, Manny and Marie, and a walk to the long defunct quarry on their property. Low water, once again – the lowest they could remember.

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I came back later to explore the quarry and its surroundings. The forest, for me at least, seems to provide endless visual  opportunities. You don’t know what they might be. But you can always find them!

These are a few from that walk.

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Back at the studio, downed leaves cover the many surrounding piles of fossil rocks. A few peeked through.

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Enjoy the remaining days of Autumn.

101316: Creekside

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Last week I mentioned the “low water” conditions we have been experiencing in the Northeast (nothing compared to the severe drought conditions out west). Close to home, Kaaterskill Creek is at a severe low point, which makes it a fine place to explore. Much that is never accessible now is. What is usually underwater now is either above water or just below, making parts of the creek bed more plainly visible.

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So, above and below the water line, here is some of what I found over several days of exploration.

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There are always fossils to be found down there as well. Above is a mollusk. Below are a couple of brachiopods. All were found in rocks in the creek bed.

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I couldn’t resist adding this one from the side of the creek – tree roots dropping down a rock wall into the ground. This particular portion of root is taller than I am!

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Wrapping up this week’s selection are a pair of images that reflect the transition into Autumn.

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Thanks for the visit.

100616: Chazy Reef 2016

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Just got back from Isle La Motte, Vermont after retrieving my recent show. It’s always a pleasure visiting with all the fine folks at the Isle La Motte Preservation Trust. It’s also a pleasure to take some time sitting on the shore of Lake Champlain, relaxing amid the surrounding beauty

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The water was exceptionally low, something we’ve heard throughout the Northeast for months now. The receding shoreline has exposed usually submerged rocks, giving us a reason to walk the shore and explore.

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Aside from the odd apple tree (an escapee from one of the numerous orchards on the island), we found way too many fossils to even count. What a bonanza!

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Gastropods, cephalopods, and stromatoporoids.

For those unfamiliar, gastropods are the spirally ones, cephalopods are the straight ones, and stromatoporoids are the wavy ones.

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They are all marine invertebrate fossils from the Ordovician Period, roughly 480 million years ago.

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This southern part of the island, a world renowned geological treasure known as the Chazy Fossil Reef, is the world’s oldest ecologically diverse fossil reef.

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Information on the science and history of the Reef can be found at the ILMPT website. The story of the environmental battles that led to the preservation of the reef sites, “The Quarriers: A Conservation Tale,” written by Linda Fitch, can be found here.

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An important part of ILMPT’s mission is public education. Student groups from all over the region make visits to the Goodsell Ridge Preserve, where many fossil outcrops exist. The newly renovated barn, now the Nature Center is a focal point for students, educators, scientists, tourists, and the local population.

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I’ll finish for today with these two images, a sponge above and a gastropod below, new additions to the collection in the Nature Center. Plan a visit if you are in the area.

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Thanks for the visit.