041918: Return to Mars

I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at images lately (as opposed to making new ones). Again and again, I find my way back to NASA‘s amazing online libraries of Mars images. Today’s images come from the Mars Curiosity Rover (the first three), and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

As a young boy I dreamed about adventures in space. Tom Swift Jr., Tom Corbett Space Cadets, Rocky Jones Space Ranger – they were constant companions in my imagination.

Mars has been the focus of imaginative fiction for well over a hundred years (See kirkusreviews). These days, as so much science fiction has become science fact, we think “when” rather than “if” regarding any visits.

Now we can see it with the clarity of a view out our windows. And, despite its apparent lifelessness, there is a beauty and sense of natural balance that we see on our own pale blue dot!

I hope you might enjoy these enhanced color images. If any of you are curious I’d be happy to provide information about any particular image.

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Thanks for the visit.

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020818: Stranger Things (Rock Version)

While putting images together for an upcoming project I ran across the opening image of plant fossils that seems to have an almost calligraphic feel to it – a sort of written signage from Nature itself! All of today’s images come from days of shooting several years ago during the summer following Hurricane Irene. The tumult from the flooding tore apart Schoharie Creek and uncovered many amazing things. Some of the images are plant fossils (with a few marine invertebrates if you look closely), some are very strange looking rocks and markings, and some are a total mystery to me.

Funny how so many of these images seem more alien than all of last week’s post – seemingly earthlike landscapes of Mars!

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Thanks for the visit.

 

111617: Moss

This little sprig of moss snaking its way across a fossil cephalopod gave me the idea for this week’s post. I’ve been leaf blowing lately here in the woods, hoping to keep my fossils from disappearing from view. And, in doing so, I noticed how so much moss has already covered the surfaces of many rocks. The vibrant greens draw the eye.

The more I looked the more I appreciated the juxtaposition between the moss and the fossils themselves. Exploring that became my focus this week.

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Thanks for the visit.

100517: Circles and Arcs

I geeked out again this week on NASA’s Cassini website and found myself mesmerized by the amazing images of Saturn and its moons. Those images triggered a response in kind thanks to my pile of props – junk of all kinds, especially circular metal objects. That led me to today’s exercise – an attempt to explore some simple shapes.

Two of Saturn’s moons – Titan and Diane.

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Titan passing in front of Saturn’s rings.

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Saturn’s two largest moons – Titan and Rhea.

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Another view of Titan passing across the face of Saturn.

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The moon Enceladus appears before Saturn’s rings while the larger moon Titan looms in the distance.

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The North Pole of Saturn

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Clouds forming over Saturn.

These and many other beautiful images may be found at the NASA Cassini website:

Goodbye to the Dark Side

Thanks for the visit.

062917: Back to Fossils

A surprise, last minute trip to Cape Cod pulled me away from the blog last week. Between that and my last two bw posts of NYC I found myself missing my fossils! So I decided to return today with a full body of fossil images. They seem to be gaining more drama lately.

For those of you unfamiliar with these 387 million year old former denizens of my neighborhood I’ll attempt to provide identification (as best I can). Above are several types of coral accompanied by an impression of a trilobite pygidium (center left).

Not exactly sure what this is. The pattern suggests to me some form of coral.

Coral.

Cephalopods. I count at least four in this cluster.

One lone cephalopod.

An interesting mix – resting atop a brachiopod is part of the head (cephalon) and eye of a trilobite. That long dark cylinder I believe might be a small crinoid stem.

I can only think this is a slice of a brachiopod.

Sitting atop a bed of coral is a small rock loaded with crinoid ossicles (the round things). They essentially stacked to form the stem of the crinoid.

Brachiopods

Another brachiopod with some coral in the upper left.

Yet another brachiopod! Actually, there were some 12,000 or more various types.

And these (yes, brachiopods also) are different – they are the only fossils in this post not from the Catskill area. I dug them up several years ago while on a trip to Nashville.

A mess of fossils sitting out on an old table.

And, last but certainly not least, are a group of tentaculites, something I seldom find around here. I came across these along Kaaterskill Creek. I particularly love this one as it reminds me of an old retro sci-fi rocket ship! Fossils and rocket ships put a smile on my face!!

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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,

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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.