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.

===============

The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, New Haven CT

*****

*****

===============

The New York State Museum, Albany NY

*****

*****

===============

The Gallery of Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy, Paris, France

*****

*****

===============

The Natural History Museum of Florence, Florence, Italy

*****

*****

Thanks for the visit.

110316: On Edge

dsc03611_01_lr_12

Restless, edgy, anxious – that sums up my feelings lately. I assume that many of you are feeling it too. Will the ugliness and nastiness of this election season end next week or will it continue unabated? Democracy, decency, and the common good are very much at stake. A carnival barker con man has captured the attention of many who hope and wish for a return to the days of Ozzie and Harriet (and worse!). Please vote and vote wisely.

dsc03779_01_lr_12

Fortunately for me, my restlessness is always eased when I get out and walk the surrounding forest and creeks. Today’s images are the result of one of those strolls along Kaaterskill Creek. There are always new things to discover. And Tuesday’s walk was an exceptional one in that regard. The image above was a puzzler to me – a crinoid stem with a curl to it. My thanks to Dr. George McIntosh, Director of Collections at the Rochester Museum and Science Center, who suggested it to be a crinoid subset called Melocrinites. The little “button” below is a crinoid ossicle, a crosscut of a its stem.

dsc03632_01_lr_12

_______________

dsc03621_01_lr_12

These next three images show a Zoophycos trace fossil, burrowing made by a marine worm. Four hundred million year old designs in nature! Thanks to my friend Dr. Chuck ver Straeten from the NY State Museum in Albany for that information.

dsc03681_01_lr_12

*****

dsc03792_01_lr_12

_______________

dsc03739_01_lr_12

A gastropod followed by a variety of brachiopod bits rounds things out.

dsc03599_01_lr_12

*****

dsc03663_01_lr_12

*****

dsc03648_01_lr_12

*****

dsc03664_01_lr_12

_______________

dsc03787_01_lr_12

These two are puzzlers to me – nothing I’ve seen before. Any ideas on these two images would be welcome to hear. Please let me know.

dsc03682_01_lr_12

_______________

dsc03760_01_lr_12

I even managed to find some old graffiti – hard to read. But I was able to read the date as 1879.

dsc03689_01_lr_12

I’ll end with this image of one of the large rock slabs that make up the creek bed. I was struck by the play between the rippled pattern in the rock and the rippled water passing nearby.

Thanks for the visit. Don’t forget to vote.

0212: A Museum Experience

IMG_4880_01b_LR_12

I have two groups of new images today. One is part of my ongoing exploration of the marine invertebrate fossils abundant in the immediate area. The other is a bit of rule-breaking – shooting where conditions don’t normally allow. As often can happen when disregarding the rules, interesting visual possibilities arise.

So let’s start with this mix of gastropods, brachiopods and coral:

IMG_4183_01_LR_12

*****

IMG_4297_01_LR_12

*****

IMG_2882_01_LR_12

*****

IMG_4405_01_LR_12

*****

IMG_4350_01_LR_12

_______________

I had a conversation recently with a friend and fellow photographer about what catches one’s eye, that demands you pick up the camera and explore. Oftentimes, it’s not the brilliant or the grandiose that is most compelling, but rather that which is nearby, sometimes even underfoot (That’s how I got started with the fossils – I kept tripping over them!). An inquisitive mind open to one’s surroundings, whatever they might be, can yield up some interesting (and fun) results.

IMG_4738_01_LR_12

In this case, it was time to kill at a museum one day that led to this set of images. Wildlife dioramas, too dimly lit to shoot normally, suggested intentional blurring. Digital screens give immediate feedback. So, each capture can easily suggest the next one and the next one, etc. In my case, this  turns into a kind of intuitive choreography that develops in real time. To me the results in several of these images tend to suggest an almost feral mystery.

IMG_4753_01_LR_12

*****

IMG_4871_deer_01bcrop

*****

IMG_4858_01_LR_12

*****

IMG_4845_01_LR_12

*****

IMG_4835_01_LR_12

*****

IMG_4846_01_LR_12

_______________

I ran across this in an old folder – 1992 – That’s me on set working with the Muppets!

IMG_9502

Thanks for the visit.

0724: More Color From the Quarry

IMG_3352_01_LR_10

The other day, needing to take a break from printing, I visited the neighborhood quarry and once again climbed through the section I was least familiar with. I’ve always avoided that area because so much of the rock was too crumbly, I thought, to find anything of substance there. But then I’m not looking for great scientific discovery. I’m happy to settle for the “visually stimulating.”

IMG_3353_01_LR_10

In that sense it doesn’t disappoint. The fragility has its own appeal. And the colors are amazing! Picture 1 at the top of this post shows a brachiopod in rock, all of which has been affected by iron oxidization. Picture 2 (above) shows the result of the slightest disturbance in the rock as it quite literally falls apart. Needless to say, with such fragility, all these images were taken on site.

IMG_3343_01_LR_10

Thin layers filled with various small brachiopods cut through this section of the quarry. According to my friend, Dr. Chuck Ver Straeten from the New York State Museum’s Geology Division, these layers appear every six feet or so, suggesting a regularity of geologic activity over a certain period of time. (I hope that is an accurate interpretation of what I was told – most of this stuff is still a mystery to me, I must confess!).

IMG_3378_01_LR_10

Whatever the cause I’m delighted to have the open-ended opportunity to explore this area.

IMG_3384_01_LR_10

*****

IMG_3362_01_LR_10

*****

IMG_3434_01_LR_10

Even when drained of color the fossils here seem to have a unique character.

IMG_3484_01_LR_10

_______________

IMG_3416_01_LR_12

And then, of course, there is abundant color – no fossils – just a riot of color. The picture above shows the current quarry floor. Scale top to bottom is approximately six feet.

IMG_3392_01_LR_10

*****

IMG_3462_01_LR_10

*****

IMG_3464_01_LR_10*****

IMG_3463_01_LR_10

 *****

IMG_3439_01_LR_12

This final quarry image – looking like a lightening bolt from a dark and oppressive sky – seems to echo some of the new work I will be showing at my upcoming show in Beacon on August 9. For all my friends in NYC, get out of the city for a day, visit the many galleries in Beacon (including DIA), and join me for the opening that evening from 6-9 pm.

Beacon Artist Union, 506 Main Street, Beacon, NY

And with that I’ll end today’s post with another image from that upcoming show.

IMG_0744_01_LR_12

 Thanks for the visit.

032913 – Back to Normal

IMG_8825_01_LR_12Well, as “normal” as it gets around here! The past couple of days have been hinting “Spring” but the occasional snow shower seems to still lurk in the background.

IMG_8776_01_LR_12Starting to see the world come alive finally. Beavers are ramping up. Long, long “v” formations of geese fill the sky heading north. And I head down the road to one of my favorite sites – a local dry stream bed that I have written about in the past.

I finally got in a good day of climbing and digging, lifting more than I should, all in the attempt to find and photograph more fossils. As much as I enjoy exploring and shooting in the back rooms of major collections, it simply does not compare to finding these ancient objects out in nature, never having been seen before by anyone. The sore back and cracked fingertips (the normal to which I referred) are a small price to pay.

IMG_8955_01_LR_12A rather large stone sitting upright was the first object of interest I saw as I began my slow walk. All those squiggles are various parts/impressions of brachiopods. Too big to drag back to the studio so I’ll have to make more visits to see it in different light.

_______________

These next three each came from small rock fragments.

IMG_8956_01_LR_10 IMG_8914_01_LR_12 IMG_8845_01_LR_10And the following two are part of a very large rock I worked on several years ago. I had completely forgotten about until I stumbled across it once again.

IMG_8841_01_LR_10 IMG_8837_01_LR_10_______________

My good friend, Dr. Chuck ver Straeten, a sedimentary geologist at the New York State Museum (and a killer on trombone), once tipped me off to the possibility of finding fossil rock in those endless lines of stone fences throughout the area. One such fence, seen below, comes to an end at this dry bed deep in the woods. It just seemed to beckon!

IMG_8807_01_LR_10This one happens to have two rather large pieces of sandstone that provided this next series of fossils. Since these images, quite literally, just scratched the surface of these rocks, I’m sure they will provide many more interesting hours.

IMG_8943_01_LR_10 IMG_8905_01_LR_10 IMG_8890_01_LR_10 IMG_8937_01_LR_10 IMG_8907_01_LR_10 IMG_8834_01_LR_10_______________

A good day, all in all. I even managed to find this on the way home.

IMG_8879_01_LR_10

Thank you as always for visiting this site. More images at www.artmurphy.com

Subscribe at my homepage  https://artandfossils.wordpress.com

Final Thoughts – 2012

IMG_8154_02_LR_10Back in time from holiday travels to wrap up this blog for 2012. Two recent snowfalls have covered much of the Northeast with a blanket of snow (a return to a more normal winter perhaps?). It is a reminder that indoor projects will be more likely for me into the near future – there’s no upside that I can imagine to hike for fossils in snow!

img_2938_01_lr_12Fourth of July Parade, Saugerties, NY

But, before I get to them, on this last day of the year I would like to offer you my very best wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year! According to my WordPress “annual report” (a great little statistics feature), this past year viewers came from seventy one countries around the world. So, whatever the time zone, have a safe and happy holiday.

img_8107_01_lr_wpDevonian Drawer: The Fool

I took some time earlier to scroll through this past year’s postings. There were 46 in all with a total number of images approaching 600! For me, so many of them fall down the “memory hole” once I’m on to the next week’s subject that it’s important to step back and review. You know – see where you’ve been – see where you’re heading. A nod to yesterday and an embrace of tomorrow.

So, here are some images from the past year that jumped out at me for a second view – not the best, not the worst, just some that hit a personal chord that I’d like to share one more time.

img_8015_02_lr_wpDevonian Drawer: Buddha with Crinoids

_______________

img_1064_01e_lr_12Gilboa Tree: Espermatopteris

_______________

img_5543_01_lr_10Trilobite Pygidium, Ithaca, NY

_______________

img_8967_01a_lr_10Brachiopod, Florence Museum of Natural History

_______________

img_9439_01a_lr_wpDevonian Drawer: Brachiopod

_______________

img_5250_01_lr_12Crinoid, Paleontological Research Institution

_______________

img_0097_01_lr_wpRock, Kaaterskill Creek

_______________

img_6372dark_01_lr_10Altamont Fairgrounds, Altamont, NY

_______________

mg_0969_01_lr_12Eiffel Tower, Paris

_______________

Thank you as always for visiting. More images at www.artmurphy.com

Subscribe at my homepage  https://artandfossils.wordpress.com

Ausable Chasm

Driving down the west side of Lake Champlain we ran across a place called “Ausable Chasm.” I had spotted their brochure in  a local diner, on the rack that advertises the nearest Putt-Putt, Zoom Flume, and all other attractions designed to entertain the American Family on Summer vacation. Usually, I drive right past such places, more than happy to avoid the lines, the bored kids wishing they were home with their xbox, the deep fried objects vaguely resembling food, the… you get the picture, I’m sure.

But I learned a long time ago that “tourist sites” exist for a variety of reasons (commercial opportunities often high on that list). Most important among them is the idea that there is often something very cool there to witness or experience. Well, Ausable Chasm , it turns out, is that very place. We did have some things in our favor. It was a beautiful day for a hike. Schools had not yet let out for the Summer. Best of all, Ausable Chasm tells a fascinating story of geologic history.

Thankfully, stepping on to the first trail erased any notions of “tourist hell!”  In fact, the next two plus hours were filled with wonder and amazement. First discovered in 1765, this sandstone gorge was formed nearly 500 million years ago during the Cambrian Period and claims to be one of the oldest attractions in the country. Walkways rim the Chasm, dropping down to various levels throughout its length, offering views experienced by visitors for the past one hundred forty years.

“Seneca Ray” Stoddard (whose stereoscopic views of Ausable Chasm I present here) photographed the Adirondacks during the latter part of the 1800s. While his work exposed the Adirondacks to a post – Civil War audience eager to travel, he is perhaps best remembered for his documentation of unregulated mining and logging devastation. That work led to the 1892 “Forever Wild” clause in the New York State Constitution. Two exhibits of his work are currently on view at the New York State Museum in Albany, NY. and the Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls, NY.

I discovered “Seneca Ray” after our trip, and only then did I begin to match the images. In my follow up research I also discovered an 1888 catalog Stoddard shot for the Ausable folks – an interesting travelog from another time. It is downloadable as a PDF here.

Equal to the spectacle of a carved out canyon are the wonderful patterns that the rock creates. Between the layers of sediment, chemical reactions in the sandstone from age and leaching, and the strange fracturing, you’d think that someone took paint and a broad brush to the chasm walls! I’ll end this week with images from the “painted” walls interspersed with a few more views of the Chasm.

Subscribe at my homepage https://artandfossils.wordpress.com

Thank you as always for visiting. More images at www.artmurphy.com

Thanks again for the visit.