103119: More From the Quarry

I must admit that I have been captured by the random beauty resulting from the mineral oxidation of shale at my local quarry.

It’s pretty easy to spot the colors amidst the blue grays and blacks of the piles of broken shale.

Generally, the red, orange, and yellow stains clearly stand out. And, like most anything else, some of the stains are pretty ordinary.

But, upon closer inspection and with some discrimination, some of the stains create visual delights!

I keep saying to myself that I’ve found enough and may have played this one out.

But then, as I review some of the recent images, I look out the window, notice that the sun is shining, and I’m out the door for yet another trip to the quarry. We are already in mid Autumn and there will be fewer opportunities before winter sets in.

And, when the colors begin to fade along with the onset of dreary gray winter days, I’ll go back to picking fossils from the other layers where they primarily reside.







I’ll close for today with a shot from my perch in the quarry. Piles of rock everywhere, fall colors and the Eastern Escarpment of the Catskills.

Thanks for the visit.

050417: The New Neighborhood

Having finally settled in at the new studio I had time the other day to take a stroll through the surrounding woods. Plenty to explore this time of year, especially on the forest floor. Many shades of green, muted to vibrant. The walk ended (as most things usually do for me) with a look at some of my transplanted fossils..

For all my friends in the area – We will be celebrating the completion of the studio with an Open House on Saturday, May 20, from 1 pm until 5 pm.The address is 15 Mountain Wood Road in Catskill and all are welcome. So, if you are in the vicinity please join us.

In the meantime please enjoy today’s images:













Enjoy these beautiful Spring days! And thanks for the visit.

030917: Science in America 2017

The know-nothings have won… for now. The soon to be neutered (or dissolved) EPA now no longer refers to “science” on its website. Rather than refer to “science based” standards they now refer to “economically and technologically achievable standards” for their actions. (The new head of EPA, Scott Pruitt, darling of frackers, just today stated that carbon dioxide is not a primary contributor to global warming!)

The know-nothings have also set their sights on NASA, an agency that has “played a leading role in researching climate change and educating the public about it.” The plan is to cut funding for “Earth Science” and anything related to “global warming.”

An then there’s Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State and former head of Exxon, and friend of Vladimir Putin. If they are able to get sanctions lifted on Russia the Exxon-Rosfeft joint venture will proceed – a 500 billion dollar deal for oil exploration in the Arctic.


The list goes on and on. Whether it is the National Park Service or NOAA or many other government agencies, it is clear that the Trump Administration is at war with science and knowledge. Call your members of Congress and let them know your concerns. They need your vote to keep their jobs. Let them know that.

Today’s images are some random fossil images I couldn’t resist taking as I transported my collection to my new soon-to-be-completed studio. The transition is moving slowly but steadily and I look forward to returning to my work without interruption.





I finish today with a couple of images unrelated to the fossils – one an odd outdoor vignette from a neighbor’s property and the other from my endless supply of props (soon to be packed).

Thanks for the visit.

021617: Overlooked


Today’s images come from shooting I did at the Museum of Natural History in Florence. These particular images were originally passed over when I chose my “selects” from this project. This month’s snow and cold allowed me to revisit my photo libraries and “discover” these previously untouched images.


I normally try to avoid the cliche of “pretty flower” images, but these are very different. They are wax botanical models – wax sculptures, if you will – made during the 18th and 19th Centuries at the waxworks of the Imperial & Royal Museum of Physics and Natural History.


They currently reside in the collection of the Florence Museum of Natural History in the Botany Section and overseen by the section head, Dr. Chiara Nepi.


Regular viewers might recall the images I posted this time last year of the collection of fantastical fungi (0310: A Curious Cabinet). Those mushroom sculptures came from that same Botany Section.


Also, within that section resides an amazing collection of seeds and plant specimens, each of which is more visually stimulating than the other. Below are more samples.










My deepest thanks to Dr. Nepi for allowing me the opportunity to explore the objects under her care. She has always been so kind and gracious with her time in allowing me to enter her world.  I am always most grateful.



I’ll finish today with a handful of images from La Specola, another section of the Florence Museum – this time from their Mineralogy collection. I know a bit about fossils and their rock matrices but almost nothing about gems and minerals. I do know, though, that they can be pretty mind blowing and quite something to see!

I hope you agree,








My thanks again to all those kind, thoughtful, and wonderful folks at the Museum whose kindness I could never repay!

And thanks to you for the visit today.

011217: Thin Ice


Before I get to the ice let me remind you of the opening of “Fresh,” an interesting show that I will be a part of. It opens this Saturday (the 14th) at the GCCA Gallery on Main Street in Catskill (5-7pm).Today’s opening image is one of four prints, all part of my “Galileo” series, that will be displayed in the show. All the work shown by all the artists involved has been created since October, thus the name “Fresh.” Please join us if you are in the area. The show will run through February 25.



And now Thin Ice


Last week, on one of the colder days of the year so far, I accompanied my friend, the enormously talented photographer Moshe Katvan on a hunt for rocks – not just any rocks, mind you, but just the right ones necessary for an upcoming shoot of his.


So I took him to a few of my favorite spots to find some variety, one of which is a small dry creek bed that has interesting rocks and some extraordinary fossils.


This particular day it also had pockets of ice where water pooled following the last rain.


In many cases, the ice was paper thin…


…with great details…


…and some wonderful shapes.


Just another example of the wonders of nature…


…and the beauty of it all!




I decided to round out this post with four images from last year’s work I did at La Specola, the Natural History Museum of Florence. I was thinking of delicacy, following the “ice” images, and was drawn to these particular images taken in the Entomology, Enichoderms, and Ornithology Sections.


These proved to be fun to work on and they allowed for experimenting with some new techniques. What a joy it was to have been given such an opportunity.


For those interested, from top to bottom – moth, heliaster, bird eggs, butterflies.


Come say hello on Saturday at GCCA Gallery.

Thanks for the visit.

060216: Coral


Ever since I first began photographing fossils I always particularly enjoyed finding coral fossils. Locally, they are generally 385 million years old (give or take a few million).


The Chazy Reef on Isle La Motte, where I’ll be showing next month, is the oldest known fossil reef in the world at 480 to 500 million years old. They have been around for quite a while.


Today I’ve put together a variety of various coral fossil images, some of my earliest, and all of fossils found locally.


Coral has been on my mind ever since I read yesterday’s newsfeed and found this:



The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on the planet. And 93% of it has been affected by a “massive bleaching “ event. Follow the links for more on the subject.


Put briefly, the rise in ocean temperatures causes the bleaching. As the water continues to warm over time the coral grows ever more fragile and dies off on a massive scale.


By the way, for month after month now, each new month sets the record for all time highest global temperature.


Coral reefs are huge biodiverse ecosystems. They are being affected by ocean acidification brought on by increased carbon dioxide emissions.


The carnival barker/con man Donald Trump thinks that more coal is the answer to our problems. Oil pipelines too.











A reminder to any and all:

The Geology of the Devonian

Opening Reception June 4, 3-5 pm

Erpf Gallery, Rt. 28, Arkville NY


Thanks for the visit.

0114_Old Neighbors, Old Markings


As I began to explain last week, my local quarry has, at least for me, two significant parts to it – the bulk of it is shale that breaks down rather easily (Rarely a fossil here, but great for the colors I’ve been shooting lately). Above that is a ledge of different stone that contains the fossils I find.


Today I have images from each section – starting with some brachiopods found in the ledge and capstone. The first few I find to be rather gnarly. They seem to have a strong look of the primordial while the last two seem to have a bit more grace about them.


All are from the same time period – roughly 385 to 387 million years ago. All are brachiopods – in part or whole.


It is estimated that there were more than 12,000 recognized types, a small number of which still exist today.


Amazing since the earliest brachiopods first appeared over 500 million years ago.




And now, from the other section, here are more images of the riot of color produced by the chemical weathering of the shale.














Thanks for the visit.

I’ll leave you with an image of Christmas 2015 in Catskill NY.



0107: A Fine Find


We had a few uncommonly warm days right before Christmas that got me back to the local quarry. Bonus days as I like to think of them. Even better, I discovered that the quarry owner had recently uncovered a fresh wall of shale – one that was thoroughly stained by various minerals – iron among others.


The variety of patterns and color combinations brought me back for several days of shooting. As grateful as I was to have those warm days it needs to be mentioned that, during that brief period, there were times when the temperature at the North Pole was higher than the temperature in parts of Texas! And, while I was able to take advantage of the circumstances, those circumstances were were not something to be happy about.


In this part of the quarry the rocks break apart easily, often crumbling in your hands as you pick them up. Exposure to the elements further speeds their breakup.


More precisely, as I am just now researching, oxidation is a type of chemical weathering that weakens and causes the subsequent disintegrating of rock:

Oxidation is the reaction of rock minerals with oxygen, thus changing the mineral composition of the rock. When minerals in rock oxidize, they become less resistant to weathering. Iron, a commonly known mineral, becomes red or rust colored when oxidized.


Eventually it all  becomes crushed shale, good for driveways and construction fill. The color just gets broken into the mix and disappears into the gray/black pile. But until that happens…






Rarely do I ever find fossils in this rock. So it was a nice surprise to run across this group of crinoid stem segments.


Each are an inch to two inches long. The individual rocks were found very close together.


Of course I went back several times to search the same area but no more were to be found.






Winter did finally arrive and it seemed like all color had completely vanished. Color may have left but interesting forms and shapes continue to appear. These two images are taken from my tire tracks in the driveway.


Thanks for the visit.



1015: Bits of Autumn


I couldn’t start this week’s post without a nod to the autumn colors, sometimes vibrant, sometimes soft. It is a riot of color outside my studio right now – there for all too short a time.


As you know, I’ve been preoccupied with color lately, particularly as related to the rocks of coastal Maine.


Here is the latest group of images from that library.




***** IMG_2762_01_LR_12








I did manage to take advantage of the good weather and beautiful scenery with, among other activities, a trip to the local quarry. I hadn’t been there since early Spring and I was anxious to crack some rocks! Ii’s great therapy actually – and there is often a little prize to be found.


These are a few of the “prizes” from that trip.


More to come.



I had to throw this last image in. I just got back from a visit with a friend and neighbor. Gary  has a farm down the road where he grows mushrooms (and sells to many of the finer restaurants in the area).  I have wanted to spend time there shooting the various, exotic mushrooms and today was the day. So, this is the first one I saw when I opened my library. There will be a fresh batch of mushrooms waiting in next week’s installment.


Thanks for the visit.

1008: Rocks and More


Today I begin with an image I have shown previously. It’s always been a favorite of mine. I’m pleased to say that a large print of it will appear in a pop-up show this Friday, October 10, in the Towbin Museum Wing of the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum. The opening (6pm-8pm) will coincide with the Preview Party for this year’s Benefit Auction. The show will remain up through the final day of auction on the 17th.

In a related matter there will be a panel discussion on the following Friday (October 16, 7pm) entitled Connections: Enduring Themes in the Art of the Hudson Valley Region. Panel members will include Daniel Belasco (Curator of the Samuel Dorsky Museum), Jason Rosenfeld (Co-creator of “River Crossings” and Distinguished Chair and Professor of Art History Marymount Manhattan College) and Norm Magnusson (artist and independent curator).



I continue to work on my files from Maine. I’m beginning to think that I could spend endless amounts of time exploring the coastal rocks up there.














Another set of rocks appear in these two images. Pretty interesting landscapes in fact. Turns out they are both images from Mars. I’ve been spending some time lately browsing the various NASA libraries – another variation on what I’m finding endlessly fascinating these days.


In many cases, image files of considerable size can be downloaded and examined more closely. The next image, color enhanced, comes from a recently released composite picture of Pluto taken by the New Horizons spacecraft. More amazing things thanks to the scientists at NASA.Pluto_crop a_LR_12



Back to earth once again, puttering around the studio led to these recent images. First, a fuzzy visitor making its way around fossil coral.


I also brought out my old (Devonian) Drawer. It’s been hiding on a shelf somewhere so I thought I’d put it to use once again. The first image contains a few objects that were part of an exercise that eventually led to the image below – containing a rather large cephalopod, a 387 million year old marine invertebrate that I popped out of a rock a few years ago.




Thanks for the visit.