092216: Goodbye Summer

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Thanks to the world of moss and lichen some otherwise bland looking fossils take on a whole new appearance. Today’s opening image shows a shard of coarse sandstone filled with broken pieces of brachiopods, coral, and other denizens of that inland sea that covered this area 387 million ears ago. Moss has grown thick on parts of the rocks while some strange little (I believe) lichen appear like some bright blue pinheads.

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This extreme close-up gives a better sense of them. If anyone can confirm just what they are I would be grateful to hear back.

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Here are several more images of the moss creeping up on some soon to be covered marine invertebrates.

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Those images got me back into my routine. I haven’t had much time for fresh shooting lately, being sidetracked with other matters. So I continued aiming the camera at other fossils nearby and found my groove again. Here is what was near at hand.

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Goodbye to Summer and all that goes with it, including butterflies.

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I’ll close with these two variations on circles! Above is a nest within a nest. The large one came from a visit last Autumn to Paradox Lake in the Adirondacks. The small one, found by Cindy this Summer, we believe to have come from a ruby-throated hummingbird.

And below – the  second piece of my Galileo series. The first one, which was posted a month ago, is currently on view through this weekend at the Woodstock Artist Assn. and Museum (WAAM).

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Thanks for the visit.

061616: Tools

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Lately, most of my time has been taken up printing and framing for an upcoming show. As a result, my camera has been idle more than usual. But the need to explore with my camera is always there for me. So I had to get in a little shooting time. Subject or concept didn’t really matter. That often gets worked out during the process.

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For whatever reason, an old favorite book came to mind – a book of prints and drawings by Jim Dine. While I have always loved so much about his work I particularly appreciate the subject matter he often chose – common objects – things that he used, things that he lived with, be it a bathrobe or his tools of the trade.

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And that led me to my rock toolbag and this simple little series. Nothing earth shattering, didn’t solve any problems with it, just a simple execise.

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I carry these with me on every foray into the woods, quarries, and creekbeds.

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And, of course, my camera is always with me as well.

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The following images are from the “digital vault” – some of my earlier fossil images –  several of which were uncovered for the first time in almost 400 million years thanks to the hammer and chisels seen above.

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Here’s something I recently dragged out of the woods – 3 views.

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Thanks for the visit.

0407: An Odd Mix

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This time last week I was hurrying to get the blog posted. It was 72 degrees out with a bright sun – easily the best day of this early Spring. The rest of the day was spent at my favorite quarry where I eventually filled the trunk of my car with fossil laden rocks.

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Fresh material to explore and photograph. Material enough, I was sure, to fill several of these posts. Most particularly today’s.

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But two days later, my plans changed when a Spring surprise arrived in the form of six inches of snow. And that pile of rocks sits waiting for me.

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So, in search of a  new topic for today, I decided to browse one of my photo libraries from a few years ago. Often, I can find many images that I had originally passed over (for whatever reason). And, with fresh eyes and a different perspective, they all becomes new material to explore.

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What you see today is this rather odd mix of images that seemed to beckon to me – no criteria other than that.

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This next set of images is from the Florence Museum of Natural History – this time the subject is bones.

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And, finally, a nice piece of news – The image above, which I had shared with you a few weeks ago, has been selected for “Far & Wide”, the 8th Annual Woodstock Regional Exhibition. Entitled “Natural History – Mushrooms,” it was taken at the Botanical Division of the aforementioned museum. Opening and reception is set for May 7 from 4-6 pm.

Thanks for the visit.

0317: Walking around Florence

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The visual delights of Florence are legendary – the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria, etc. The artwork, both inside the many museums and outside in the many piazzas, are certainly an eyeful. But so too is almost every small side street. Graffiti and street art is often clever and thoughtful (There is also, unfortunately, plenty of awful spray paint graffiti).IMG_9372_01_LR_12

Turning a corner might yield the sight of a Renaissance mural juxtaposed against modern life. Peeking in a window near the Duomo shows a workshop where artisans keep up centuries old traditions.

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A stroll through a graveyard (San Miniato al Monte) showed unique headstones…

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…and a most interesting crypt.

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And then there is a very clever artist (or artists) at work who turns simple traffic signs into amusing and sometimes provocative statements…

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…little visual asides that you catch out of the corner of your eye…

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…but linger in your head…

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…along with a smile lingering on your face!

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I had to include some fossils today, so I thought this little selection would work nicely.

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These are gastropods from the fossil collection of the Paleontology section of the Florence Museum of Natural History.

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They relate to an upcoming exhibition that will open at the museum in May. More on that as the date approaches.

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I did manage to take a break from working all of my Florence files to come up with something new at the studio. Ironically, new shooting began with my Moroccan trilobite (above) which I found in a Florence flea market! And, below, something I brought back from a walk in the woods yesterday.

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Thanks for the visit.

0129: Busy Packing

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Today’s opening image is from a small park in Florence, directly across the street from where Cindy and I will be spending the month of February. So I am busy wrapping up loose ends, packing, and studying up on all things related to this newest adventure. I don’t know yet if I will be posting regularly – it will probably be sporadic at best. But I am sure that I will be returning with a trove of images.

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One of the things I am wrapping up is the further breakdown of the rock from the stone fence that I displayed last week. As I expected, there was much more to it once I broke it down further. Picture 3 (below) is of a gastropod I very carefully uncovered. It is two inches in diameter and was originally covered by a segment of rock (the area upper-left in blue). Picture 2 (above) shows the impression of the gastropod that I peeled away.

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And here are a couple more views. I can often be “all thumbs” when I try to extract something of such interest. But this time patience ruled the day and I had something particularly good to show for it!

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As I said, these coarse sandstones are often full of interesting fossils. And this one did not let me down.

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We managed a quick visit to NYC to see some museum shows that will be down by the time we get back. A great surprise was our first visit to the new Whitney Museum. It was an absolute delight. The architecture is spectacular and gives many opportunities to uniquely display large works and also give museum visitors wonderful views of the city.

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I had forgotten that so many of my very favorite works of art are part of their permanent collection. So it was like visiting old friends to see the likes of Philip Guston, George Tooker, and Arshile Gorky at their very best.

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This painting, “The Artist and His Mother” by Gorky always brings tears to my eyes – as sensitive as any painting I know! If you haven’t visited the new Whitney Museum yet please try to find the time.

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I’ll leave you with a view of Ponte Vecchio taken on our last trip to Florence. Thanks for the visit. I’ll try to be back soon.

0625: Busy Days

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These days I always have more than enough to do in the studio. It’s a joy and a blessing to spend my days this way. And I am happily engaged. The return to drawing is providing  more and more thoughts and ideas – new things to try – different approaches to familiar landscapes, if you will.

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It will ebb and flow in its usual way. For now, though, it’s proving to be stimulating – a great start to Summer.

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Yesterday morning delivered a bright sun and a cool breeze, And it made me think about the neighboring quarry. In the past, weekly visits were often †he norm. But lately, like I said, I’ve been busy. I’ve only been up there a few times since Winter’s passing. I was overdue for a visit. So I went. Everything else could wait. The picture above shows only a small number of the rocks that came back with me – plenty of discoveries to come. For now, here are a few early ones:

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I’ll leave you today with something completely different – from another series I am working on.

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Thanks for the visit.

 

0507: Phacops rana

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This little guy is an impression of the head and eyes of a species of trilobite, called Phacops rana, that lived during the middle Devonian period (approximately 387 million years ago). Phacops rana was a critical element in the research of Dr. Niles Eldredge that led to the formulation of the theory of “Punctuated Equilibrium” in a landmark paper he published with Stephen Jay Gould in 1972. For the past two weeks it has figured into much conversation I have been able to share in, although “listen in” might be more appropriate.

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I have had the honor and pleasure of spending time with Niles and my dear friend Dr. Stefano Dominici from the University of Florence and the Florence Natural History Museum. Working together on a project took us to a small quarry in the Hamilton Group in central New York where Niles did early research. It was no surprise then that Niles found the pick of the day – the phacops shown above – without hardly looking! (The Master showed us how!!)

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He is also the proud owner of an incredible collection of cornets, some of which appeared last week. more of which I bring you today – interspersed with the other finds from our trip to the quarry.

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The conversations ranged from evolution to jazz, Darwin to big bands, good food and wine…and, of course, phacops rana. I look forward to our next encounter.

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Thanks for the visit.

0430: Two Collections

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I’ve mixed up two sets of images this week, both from the past week’s wanderings. The first consists of some latest fossil finds.

 

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The second is from a collection of cornets – marvelous metal designs – that I had the pleasure and privilege to explore. I’ll have more on the subject next week. For now, enjoy the pics.

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Thank you for the visit.

0305: Ice

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Ice, not snow, has been the bane of my existence this Winter. The thick ice that blanketed my driveway at the beginning of the season will finally leave when Spring gets here. So, like most all of my neighbors, the thought of 40 degree weather gives us hope.

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It was ironic, then, that another encounter with ice should leave me positively elated. Last weekend, friends of ours (Pat and John), who live right on the Hudson River, invited a small group over to experience the ice on the river and share the strange magic of a walk out onto the Hudson. The day was beautiful. No wind. The sun was bright. And two feet thick ice was the “ground.”

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Most of the ice was covered by 4-6 inches of snow. There were areas, though, where the wind cleared off the snow and other areas where irregularities created uneven surfaces that allowed the ice to bubble up, thus providing me with the best surprise of the day.

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Looking into these clear spots was like viewing a cats eye marble – fascinating patterns under the surface. Like the old adage about how every cloud has a silver lining, the thick ice of the Hudson held much beauty and surprise as well as some quiet, solemn moments in nature.

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Last week, I chose to explore outtakes from my visit to the Yale Peabody Museum. And I was surprised that so many fine images went unnoticed through the first round of selections. Since the snow has prevented me from producing fresh, new fossil images I decided to look through the library for other museum experiences. I’m happy to have rediscovered the work I did at the Museum of the Earth (the Paleontological Research Institution). So today I have some fresh outtakes from that experience.

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One last note about the Hudson River experience. I was so excited by my discoveries that I went back out there the following day. Gone was the tranquil warmth and quiet solitude – replaced by winds that blew so hard I could barely stand in place. Sometimes all of life is in the timing!

Thanks for the visit.

0821: One Thing Leads to Another

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Word from a friend got me back down to the creek again, just a couple of hundred yards upstream from the area described in last week’s post. This time it was about large exposed slabs filled with solid layers of small brachiopods. They are all over the place down there, with clusters stretching many feet at a time over wide areas. Needless to say, there are several more trips to come. But for now I have these two images to give you a sense of what’s there.

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Despite this find, as often happens, I was distracted by something else – a medium sized sandstone app. 14″x10″x8″. I had been hoping to find one lately. The creek is where they usually appear but I’ve been spending all my “exploring” time at the quarry (where no such thing can be found).

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The sandstones can be great finds, thanks to the density and diversity of fossils contained. Oftentimes, the surface gives a hint of what might lie within. In fact, the “header” that has opened this blog for the past three years is a cutaway of a coarse sandstone I had once found further downstream. The oversized image above is the result of my first slice of this rock.

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The remaining images all result from that first slice. Here we have a long, delicate piece of rugose coral. The following image is the reverse impression of that piece of coral.

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Many brachiopods and fragments everywhere.

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Even part of a trilobite eye.

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Two different views of a particularly well defined brachiopod.

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And this rostroconch – as large and well-delineated as anyone I’ve found. And all this from one hit on the chisel! Much more to come.

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One last note – My solo exhibit will remain up through September 7. I’ll be sitting the gallery this weekend (Aug. 23-24, noon ’til 6pm). Drop by and say hello if you plan to be in the area.

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As always, thanks for the visit.