071218: Back to the Library

Once again I’ve been diving into my library of images from my shooting at the various divisions of the Florence Museum of Natural History. Today’s images are some of the more interesting and odder outtakes from a variety of its collections – Mammals, Reptiles, Entomology, Echinoderms, Paleontology, and Botanica.

So, from whale bones and reptiles to butterflies and fossils (and much in between):

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These last two images need a bit of explanation. Gorgonocephalus agassizi, otherwise known as underwater “basket stars,” remind me of Medusa, the Greek mythological monster with snakes instead of hair. Interesting enough, as the image above shows. The second basket star (below), found off Cape Cod in 1888, seemed to call out for a different treatment.

There are some Photoshop “tricks” that can easily become rather “gimmicky” and wise to avoid using. But sometimes a particular image just lends itself to the gimmick. And, used carefully and judiciously, it can provide some very interesting results. In this case, the horizontal flop gave me something natural as well as unnatural, an eye-catching symmetry from meandering randomness! More on this “trick” next week.

Thanks for the visit.

012518: A Bit of Color

We all deal in different ways with the cold, gray winter days that the season often provides. Some sit under heat lamps to mimic the otherwise missing rays of the sun. Some seek out professional help to combat S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder). Some simply sleep until Spring (like the bear that lives in the woods behind my studio!).

On the other hand, I try to engage color – the brighter and bolder the better! And this week I found it in butterflies. Today’s images come from a couple of sessions I had at La Specola, a division of the Natural History Museum of Florence. Again, like last week’s post, revisiting that photo library gave me new, previously overlooked, opportunities for exploration.

I don’t know if there is cause and effect at work here. I must say that the colors not only brightened my day but the sky just cleared this morning, the sun is shining, and the snow has gone away!

Neat trick if that’s all that is involved! I hope these images brighten your day.

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Thanks for the visit.

011217: Thin Ice

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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.

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And now Thin Ice

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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.

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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.

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

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In many cases, the ice was paper thin…

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…with great details…

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…and some wonderful shapes.

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Just another example of the wonders of nature…

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…and the beauty of it all!

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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.

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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.

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

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Come say hello on Saturday at GCCA Gallery.

Thanks for the visit.

0218: Notes From Florence – Nature’s Designs

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Amazing design is everywhere in this fine city, from buildings to manhole covers. Thanks to the folks at the Museum of Natural History, though, I have been able to explore design of a different kind – that of the natural world.

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Back home I explore the natural world in the rocks and fossils around me, the mushrooms (lately), plants, etc. But here I’ve had the most fortunate experience of exploring some of the museum’s aged and treasured collections.

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Of course, I begin with fossils.This one below is an interior section of a sea urchin dating back to the Miocene Epoch some fifteen million years.

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And next, a contemporary sea urchin in close-up.

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From the same collection (echinoderms) come the following two Heliasters, more commonly known as sea stars.

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Next, from the Reptile collection is a detail of a chameleon.

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And from the Entomology collection come the following three images, starting with a mantis

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…followed by a beetle

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…and ending with butterflies.

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I could go on and on with wonders from the museum but I must continue with some of the sights in the streets.

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Seems like turning every corner in Florence brings you to interesting and unusual street art. I hope you like some of these examples.

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And, finally, after walking and walking and walking (this city is all about walking) a relaxing break in a local park provided me with this view. Gray, moody skies dominate Florence this time of year (always so much more interesting for shooting, I think).

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Thanks for the visit.

0211: Notes From Florence

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Ten days into our thirty day stay in Florence and I’m beginning to think it’s not enough time to explore everything on my list. Thanks to my very dear friends at the Museum of Natural History I have been able to immerse myself in the natural sciences…

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…already shooting fossils (from the Paleontological Section)…

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…butterflies and beetles (from the Entomology Department)…

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artifacts from James Cook’s third and final voyage through the Pacific (from the Anthropology Section), and a host of others soon to be addressed.

This is just a quick, early edit. In the meantime, though, here are some shots from the street – not the usual travel photos! Some of my favorite street art exists in Italy. And Florence has plenty of wonderful examples:

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And finally, a couple more from the street. The first is a boy in the local park returning from the latest Star Wars Movie.

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Our evenings are not complete until our after dinner stroll for gelato when we pass under the watchful eye of Dante, standing over Piazza Santa Croce.

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Thanks for the visit.

More to come!