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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053118: A Rediscovered Folder

A year ago, as we prepared a party for the opening of my new studio, I threw a few hundred image into a slide show that looped on my computer screen throughout the afternoon.

Yesterday I ran across that folder – hadn’t seen it since then. I took some time to look through it and took a liking to this seemingly unlikely mix. I guess it’s an indication of the things I found interesting at the time – all things natural, I suppose.

Some things local and some things from far away, including “natural” objects from the Natural History Museum in Florence, Italy.

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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.

011818: From the Museums

Snow and cold outside. Another opportunity to dig back into the archives. The last two posts contained images from museums and they obviously contained fossils that were finished to the finest standards – very different from my usual finds. I like the aesthetics of each for different reasons.

So this week I decided to continue an exploration of my museum shoots and see what I might have missed the first time around. Most of today’s images are newly worked and there is much more there to be mined!

Here are five sets of images – three in each – from five different museum collections. The first three images (above) are from the collection of the Paleontological Research Institution in Trumansburg NY.

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The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, New Haven CT

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The New York State Museum, Albany NY

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The Gallery of Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy, Paris, France

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The Natural History Museum of Florence, Florence, Italy

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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.

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.

121516: Year End 2016

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The heat is cranked high in my studio right now. Snow is coming down so thick that it obliterates any view out the windows. And, like a substantial portion of the country, we are bracing for a “deep freeze.” Not unusual, given that its the final days of the year.

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As I normally do at this time, my post includes a selection of images from the entire year past – a sort of review, if you will. In this case they are a variety that reflect on experiences encountered and hints at directions to come.

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The first three images are products of the Maine coast. The shells (above), washed ashore last Summer, made me think of all the many fossils (seen below and 6 to 20 million years old) I encountered earlier at the Museum of Natural History in Florence, Italy.

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Perhaps one of the most exciting experiences of my career was the interaction with that museum and its staff. I could never fully or properly express my gratitude for the opportunity to access many of their vast collections and to meet such an amazing group of dedicated professionals.

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“Captured” is the title of the above image, shot in the storage rooms of the Mammals Section. It is also currently on display for the remainder of the month at the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, NY as part of the 80th Annual Mohawk-Hudson Regional Exhibition.

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From the Ornithology Collection

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Florence street scene (with shrine)

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In the rear of the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence sits this funerary monument of Galileo Galilei. Directly across, on the opposite wall, sits the burial monument of Michelangelo, who died the day that Galileo was born. dsc01037_01print15_lr_12

I have always been fascinated with Galileo and the role he played in both world history and the history of science. This fascination has led to the image above, part of my ongoing  “Galileo” series.

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Fossils and lichen share the spotlight in this image where these deeply grounded objects combine to suggest the astronomical.

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Some fossils.

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Some lichen.                                                                                                                   (currently on view through December at the Woodstock Artist Assocciation and Museum)

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And a trifecta – fossils, lichen, and moss all rolled into one.

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These last two favorites – tree remains.

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With the holidays upon us, I’ll be taking a break and will be back in January. Best wishes to all of you for the upcoming year.

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