091318: Nature!

A few years ago, our neighbors, Dorian and Jim, gave to me two rather large hornet nests. They had been hanging in their barn for years and thought they might be good subjects for me – a very kind gesture that I much appreciated.

Over time I photographed them enough (on the outside) and finally decided to take a look inside. These first five images were taken as I slowly broke the nests down to the honeycomb.

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Fascinating structures they are! The hexagonal pattern that defines the honeycomb is a pattern found throughout nature (See “Why Nature Prefers Hexagons.”). And it has been around for a long time.

The image above is not an old or even fossilized honeycomb. It is, rather, a favosite, more commonly known as honeycomb coral. This fossil coral is approximately 387 million years old (during the Devonian Period) and was something I dug up locally.

Brachiopod and Mollusc

“Geometry in nature” seems to be a good segue into more of nature’s designs – an image sampler of fossils, all locally founded and all as old as the honeycomb coral.

Brachiopod

Cephalopods and Brachiopods

Gastropod

Brachiopods

Tabulate Coral

I’m closing today with three mixed media drawings. I had trilobites on my mind so I created some generic versions  – each one app. 36″ x 48″.

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Thanks for the visit.

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062818: Afternoon Light

Like everything else outside my studio, my deck (where I often photograph) and its railing is always covered with fossil rocks. I try to keep new finds and old favorites close and in view. Different times of day, different weather conditions, even different seasons seem to imbue each fossil with “different personalities!”

Late afternoon sun was the trigger for this week’s images. A hard, warm light catches the deck and rakes across the rocks, providing definition and a little drama.

Once again, these are all Devonian Period marine invertebrates (app. 387 million years old), all found within a few miles from my studio! As if just living here in the upper Hudson Valley isn’t enough!

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I’ve been busy in several directions lately. So I thought I’d include a couple of mixed media pieces from the week past.

Thanks for the visit.

051018: #300

I just discovered the other day that today’s post is my 300th. I hadn’t been counting so it caught me somewhat by surprise. It seems obvious that I like creating this (mostly) weekly exercise. And I do. It has served me well – helping to keep a creative flow through all of the seemingly endless distractions we all experience. Let me take a moment to thank you for your many kind responses over years.

New images and reconfigured images are mixed together in this post. I hope you enjoy them.

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Just recently, LeScienze, the Italian edition of Scientific American, ran an article on their website that was taken from a recent post of mine. Six images of museum crinoids, some of my favorites. All done with fully proper request and reply – not something that always happens in the “free” world of the internet! So, my great thanks to Ms Priscilla Di Thiene for the interest. It is always an honor to have my work displayed on your site.

http://www.lescienze.it/news/2018/04/27/foto/crinoidi_art_murphy-3932586/1/#1

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.

110217: A Good Autumn Day

I managed to spend some time this week back at my favorite quarry. I hadn’t been there in quite a while, so it was fun to dig around on familiar ground. Even though it might be familiar ground, that’s not to say that there are no surprises to be had. No new earth-shattering specimens perhaps but always a few that reach out of the rocks to create a little story of their own.

These two images of cephalopods were enough to already call it a good day. But there was more.

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The other reason for calling it a good day – the view from up top looking across at the eastern escarpment of the Catskills on a beautiful autumn day.

The remaining images are fossils from this quarry trip mixed in with the many piled up outside my studio (many of which came out of that same quarry).

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Thanks for the visit.

 

 

 

 

 

072017: In The Beginning

Today’s opener is one of my very first fossil images, shot way before I ever considered any possibilities of obsession! I had just finished my previous project, the black and white urban landscapes that appeared here a few weeks ago. That one was shot with a 4×5 view camera. So I thought it only made sense that the fossils would be dealt with similarly.

Was I ever wrong! It was such a painstakingly slow, deliberate, and cumbersome process. Had I continued that way, I can assure you, my fossil obsession would never had occurred.

And that would have been a shame. These fascinating, ancient objects have become vehicles for many wonderful experiences. It’s been more that ten years since I took that first picture.

During that time, the images have been shown in galleries and museums here and abroad. Cindy and I have met some of the nicest and most interesting people imaginable. And our opportunities to learn and grow have been deeply enhanced.

All thanks to these remnants of life from hundreds of millions of years ago!

The rest of today’s images are some of my earliest work, all shot digitally and reworked this past week.

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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.