(Source: danielmtle)

Sometimes when I have no idea what I’m looking at, I’m left to make obscure connections to things unrelated.

Bryophyte. Where the composition accidentally reminded me of Mario vines and platforms.

It’s really no wonder so many video games take direction and inspiration from nature. You should see the collection of fungi photos I have because they remind me of old school Mario side scrollers.

I’ve had the great pleasure of working with Ian Glasspool the last year or so to image the Fossil Ferns collection.  I have learned an enormous amount about Paleobotanical collections, managing, and organization through Ian.  And while it isn’t the easiest topic to try to learn about, Ian sure has made it much more palatable for a non scientist such as myself.  His passion for the collection definitely translates as he often goes on curious tangents about all the quirks of the Paleobotanical collection.   One of the most unique things about Paleobotanical collections is that it is organized by stratigraphy, not taxonomy.  And only because you may get a slab of rock that contains a bunch of potential species and you can’t possibly separate everything.  So you know everything is of the same location and time period but taxonomy would cause more problems for a collection manager.  And as we lay to rest the imaging part of the project, it pains me to say that Ian is departing from the museum.  I will truly miss his presence in the museum and because he is leaving, he had no time at all to get a formal portrait in my office with the object.  I had to get his portrait while I had the chance to in the short meeting with him about concluding the project. But without hesitation, he knew exactly what his favorite object in the whole museum was.

The specimen I’m holding is part of the holotype of Prototaxites southworthii collected from Late Devonian sediments at Kettle Point, Ontario. The genus was first erected by Dawson in 1859 and includes specimens that can measure in excess of 20 feet in length: at the time of its growth it was by far the largest-known organism on land. However, since it was named Prototaxites has been the subject of heated debate. Dawson considered it to represent rotted conifer wood. However, this idea was ridiculed by Carruthers (1872) who considered it to be an alga. It has subsequently been described as a fungus, a lichen and most recently a rolled up mat of liverworts. While consensus doesn’t exist it is most widely considered to represent a basiodiomycete fungus. This specimen is anatomically preserved and thin sections of it reveal interwoven tubes when viewed microscopically. These tubes are often visible in examples of this fossil preserved as charcoal and such fossils form some of the earliest evidence for wildfire on the planet.

One thing that Ian doesn’t say above is how he is drawn to the enigmatic.  How the specimen may not be the prettiest, but the mystery of what it could possibly be is the appeal to him.  There is a lot of mystery stuff in the Paleobotany collection.  I can see how this it the perfect field of science for Ian.

The view from down the hall when I’ma toilin’ away on the camera.

The view from down the hall when I’ma toilin’ away on the camera.

So in the last couple days we’ve finished photographing some of the Paleobotanical collection!  Fossil Ferns is pretty much mostly done.  7200 images but to be fair, I’ve been the only one working on it for the entirety of the project and since the fall I’ve only been working on it once a week.  It’s nice to see an imaging project finish but I’ll definitely miss working with the collection… But I’m moving onto some pretty awesome projects!  And hopefully learning to use an xray machine!  So I’ll be posting some more images to conclude the fossil ferns experience in the next couple days.

In other news:  I’ll be in Portland, OR next week.  Hoping to get some interesting collecting sketches in.  I’ve had a really busy July and want to get some more of it posted but it’s mostly unrelated to ThingsonDesk… so if ya’ll are interested, there’s DanielMTLe.tumblr.com :)

Last week. a molt.

Remember that chrysalis I found a little while back?  Well he emerged!  A black swallowtail indeed!  Allie and I let it go on Fri. morning.  It was sad to see him go.  We named him Papi (short for Papilionidae)… Hope he’s still fluttering free out there!  He left something behind for me to remember him though.

OOOOOLLLLD helicopter seed. neat

OOOOOLLLLD helicopter seed. neat

Went to a coinstar a couple days ago and walked away with some change to think about. 

Things I intended on separating and keeping (dollar coins)

Things I didn’t realize I had and the coinstar separated because it couldn’t give me bills for (a surprising amount of canadian currency/coins that barely resembled the currency they used to be)

And the leftover change that didn’t come out to an equal dollar amount…

A Collection of Coins from my coinstar experience.

Here’s an end of the day treat for ya’ll!  Dick Tracy.  When was the last time this comic was in print in the papers?
I found this scrap being used in packaging and being a comic appreciator, I took it aside and imaged it.  Intending on cropping it for the tumblr post to edit out the field museum logos n such.  But looking at it, aesthetically it did a few things that struck me as thought provoking that I wanted to point it out.  As looking at an object goes, I think photographing and isolating does a lot to elevate the perception of an object.  In this case a historical object.  A comic: torn, weathered, Dick Tracy, print quality.  All of these qualities alone do a lot to sort of guide your mind into thinking about this thing.  And I thought that leaving the scale bar and having this Field Museum logo in the corners did a lot to steer my notions of the object in a different direction.  As if now it has something to do with Natural History.  And the Field Museum’s authoritative ownership makes me think about ways it could pertain to natural history or Anthropology.  It ambiguously takes the role of a specimen and not an art history object or collectable.
this post was meant for purely sketch purposes and the field museum has nothing to do with the object or my babblings on such.

Here’s an end of the day treat for ya’ll!  Dick Tracy.  When was the last time this comic was in print in the papers?


I found this scrap being used in packaging and being a comic appreciator, I took it aside and imaged it.  Intending on cropping it for the tumblr post to edit out the field museum logos n such.  But looking at it, aesthetically it did a few things that struck me as thought provoking that I wanted to point it out.  As looking at an object goes, I think photographing and isolating does a lot to elevate the perception of an object.  In this case a historical object.  A comic: torn, weathered, Dick Tracy, print quality.  All of these qualities alone do a lot to sort of guide your mind into thinking about this thing.  And I thought that leaving the scale bar and having this Field Museum logo in the corners did a lot to steer my notions of the object in a different direction.  As if now it has something to do with Natural History.  And the Field Museum’s authoritative ownership makes me think about ways it could pertain to natural history or Anthropology.  It ambiguously takes the role of a specimen and not an art history object or collectable.

this post was meant for purely sketch purposes and the field museum has nothing to do with the object or my babblings on such.