Saturday, April 18, 2015

The delight of fossils

click photo to enlarge
If my memory serves me well I spent a fair chunk of my childhood looking for fossils. Growing up in the Craven District of Yorkshire with its plentiful outcrops and drystone walls of Carboniferous limestone was clearly the prompt for this fascination. I had only to walk along a road or lane that was bounded by walls to be surrounded by fossils. Each rock had tiny shells, corals etc. A desire to know more about how small creatures came to be rock led me into the world of crinoids, brachiopods and rugged outcrops that had once been coral reefs beneath tropical seas. From there it was a short step into identifying types of rock, the lines of faults, and the characteristic forms of the karst landscape.

Like many children I made collections. Fossils and rock specimens comprised two such hoards. Interests developed in childhood often stay with you throughout your life and so it has been in this case. There are things that I pursue more avidly, in greater depth, but the why and wherefore of landforms fascinated me then and still does. So, unsurprisingly, when I was in an English Heritage shop the other day and I saw these cut and polished ammonites for sale, at a very reasonable price, I bought a couple. Not for me as it happens, but for my grand-daughter. Perhaps the story of how these pieces of rock came to be formed from the body of an ancient creature will spark in her the interest to know more and she too will cultivate the same interests that have brought me such pleasure.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Canon 5D2
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 100mm macro
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 0.6 sec
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: Off