0701: Enjoy the Holiday Weekend

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I’m a day early with this post. The holiday weekend is just about upon us. I hope you have a safe and happy Fourth. Today’s opener you might remember from a few years ago when a group of photographer friends gathered to shoot the annual Saugerties parade (and turned it into a bang-up show the following year). It was especially appropriate to show it again as it was just chosen for a show entitled “War and Peace” at the Darkroom Gallery in Essex Junction, Vermont, opening July 23.

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The other day I paid a visit to the Thomas Cole home (National Historic Site) to see a friend. It’s a great place to visit, directly across the Hudson from Olana, home of Frederick Church, once a student of Cole’s. The earliest art movement in American history, the Hudson River School, was born here. And its legacy remains.

Cole was buried just down the road at the Thompson Street Cemetery, a site I have been curious about for a long time. And so, fresh from conversation about Mr. Cole,  I decided to pay a visit to the cemetery. Rain forced me to eventually leave, but not before this little adventure yielded some interesting results

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Most of the headstones I saw ran from 1850 to 1900. And many of them were in various stages of disrepair. In fact, more than a few are just neatly piled pieces.

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I have often found that trees in cemeteries can have a particularly stately, almost regal, quality. This one is a perfect example. I suppose what impresses me most is that, left undisturbed, they completely rule. Nothing stands in their way. Witness the two small headstones (above) being shoved around by the massive roots. Or the reverse side (below) literally swallowing a large stone.

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By the way, I never did find Cole’s grave. I know it’s there  – another good reason to return.

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I’m still breaking rocks from my last quarry visit. These first two show broken pieces on my rock breaking surface (a bigger rock)!

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Driving back to the studio i passed the neighboring beaver pond – flush with water lilies.

All in all a pretty good day.

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I’ll leave you with one last image from the cemetery – one that sticks in the mind.

Thanks for the visit.

The Gilboa Forest

My good friend, Ms Linda VanAller Hernick from the New York State Museum, and her associates, are in the spotlight and part of the cover story of the March issue of Nature Magazine entitled “The Lost World.” It was their work that has led to the discovery of the floor of the world’s oldest forest. Personally for Linda “This is the culmination of a lifelong interest” as she told Paul Grondahl of the Albany Times-Union. It’s a fascinating story involving a number of scientists working together over a considerable period of time and well worth a read. I can’t do it justice so please go to any of the following links to learn more:

Albany Times-Union –  A land lost to time is big find for museum


And, of course, Nature Magazine, on the newsstands now.
I met Linda while I was working on a project involving the relationship between the Hudson River School painters of the 1800s and the “gentleman geologists” of the day. I had already photographed fossils from the “box of rocks”, as it is known, in the possession of Cedar Grove, the Thomas Cole National Historical Site. Along with a series of Catskill landscapes, taken in areas explored by the likes of Thomas Cole, Asher Durand, Frederic Church, etc., I needed to round out the project.
Linda opened up the NYSM fossil collection to me and allowed me to photograph numerous, rare plant fossils. These beautiful, delicate fossil images became, to me, the anchor that pulled my project together. In fact, the picture above of a plant fossil (Archaeopteris) needed a background to set it off. We used one of the Gilboa tree stumps for that purpose!
What follows are images that could only have been made with Linda’s assistance and expertise:
Congratulations once again to all involved. For fossil nerds like me it’s an exciting story.
Since I brought up the Thomas Cole “box of rocks” here are a few images from that endeavor:
One final note – Last week’s post contained a cephalopod image of mine about which a scientific question was asked. My explanation fell short. So, as I often do, I turned to my good friend, Dr. Chuck ver Straeten, for a full explanation and I want to thank him for that.
Thank you for the visit. More images at www.artmurphy.com
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