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.

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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.

0331: Natural History

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Today I have more from the Florence Museum of Natural History – mammals, entomology and paleontology in particular.

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Last Fall a friend gave me a couple of hornets’ nests. They had been hanging in her barn for years. She thought I might find them interesting (which I did) and passed them along to me to explore (which I am). These are my first attempts. (Thanks Dorian).

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This last image is a mixed media piece of mine entitled “Primordia.” I have been working on a drawing project for the past nine months or so and this will be the first time one will be displayed. It hangs at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum in the active members show opening this Saturday 4-6 pm.

Thanks as always 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.