Monday, 24 November 2008

Facebook...

Doing most things now on Facebook...

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

MO-vember...

Movember - Sponsor Me
No, I'm not growing one, but my daughter's boyfriend is.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Critter Spot: Shield Bug(?)...

This little fella is about 2cm long (not including antennae) and was intent on keeping out of sight. Trouble is, he's so darn big, I could spot him amongst the foliage from a few metres away!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Sun Spot: Flowers in late afternoon sun...

As our house is on the market at the moment, we periodically place some new flowers in a jug in our bedroom. The late afternoon sun was really picking out the vibrant colours and the flowers were begging to be photographed!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

A sad day...

I have just heard of the passing of Floyd Gibson, a Canadian artist. He was an active member of a number of artist groups and will be sadly missed. My thoughts go out to his family.

This painting is one of his latest...

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Mineral Spot: Cassiterite...

Cassiterite is a tin oxide and has been mined for the production of tin metal for a couple of thousands of years. Good crystals are found in a number of tin mining districts around the world, and those from Rossarden in north east Tasmania are amongst the best.

This specimen is one of a number of specimens that will be in this weekend's upcoming auction.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Mineral Spot: Descloizite...

Descloizite is an uncommon lead vanadium mineral found in the oxidised zone of mineral deposits. This particular specimen has an interesting story to go with it. It was given to me by a Broken Hill mineral collector as an unknown mineral, supposedly collected underground in the Zinc Corp Mine, Broken Hill by a miner. It is clearly from Berg Aukas in Namibia, not Broken Hill. The specimen is about 30mm tall.

This specimen is one of a number of specimens that will be in this weekend's upcoming auction.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

New Issue of Mineral Collector Magazine...

The seventh issue of the Australian and New Zealand Mineral Collector magazine is now out. This issue contains articles on new minerals in Australia, Australians in Minas Gerais, Keith Lancaster - a Tasmanian collecting pioneer, thorian brannerite and more.

It is full colour, 28 pages, and only $10US available from Lulu.

If outside the US and if you are going to order a copy directly, can I suggest that you use the 'Standard' option for shipping. It is by far the most economical, and usually arrives within a couple of weeks.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Mineral Spot: Pyrolusite...

Pyrolusite is a manganese oxide mineral, not often found in good crystals such as this one, which measures 2mm in height. It comes from Cloncurry in Queensland.

This specimen is one of a number of specimens that will be in this weekend's upcoming auction.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Mineral Spot: Pseudomalachite...

An uncommon green or blue-green phosphate mineral, pseudomalachite is so-named for its similarity to malachite. I rarely forms as distinct crystals, more likely as rounded aggregates.

This one is from Lake Boga in Victoria and a good example. I have been going through a lot of Lake Boga material recently and photographing a number of specimens. Many of these can be seen here.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Sun, er Moon Spot: Full Moon...

Beautiful moon and clouds out our back door tonight!

Friday, 12 September 2008

Mineral Spot: Zircon...

These are waterworn zircons from Carapooee in northwestern Victoria.

This specimen is one of a number of specimens that will be in this weekend's upcoming auction.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Mineral Spot: 2009 Mineral Calendar

In case you don't like the Creepy Crawly Calendar, here is my 2009 Calendar of Minerals from France, some of the minerals in my collection.

Available from Lulu for a miserly $US12.95.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Critter Spot: 2009 Critter Calendar...

2009 Calendar of Tasmanian Creepy Crawly Critters! A close-up look at some of the critters that inhabit my neighbourhood.

Available from Lulu for a miserly $US12.95.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Mineral Spot: Native Copper...

Well, I am finally getting back to normal. Following closely on my back operation, I had to have an emergency operation to remove my gallbladder. I didn't even know that I had gallstones until three days before the operation! Still, recovering well, and due back at work next Monday.

This specimen, although looking like something someone has dropped into a sugar bowl, is in fact, a specimen of native copper from Virneberg near Rheinbreitbach in Germany, and is one of a number of specimens that will be in this weekend's upcoming auction.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Sun Spot: Tasmanian Rosella...

Its the middle of Winter and the sun is still shining brightly (or it was a couple of days ago when I took this photo. Today's seen snow flurries!). This Tasmanian Rosella, also known as a Green Rosella (Platycercus caledonicus) was feeding on seeds from a silver birch just outside our kitchen window...

Monday, 7 July 2008

New Issue of Mineral Collector Magazine...

The sixth issue of the Australian and New Zealand Mineral Collector magazine is now out. This issue contains articles on plumbian orthoclase from Broken Hill, a report on the 2008 Gemboree, the Biggenden Mine, Queensland, Henderson's Quarry, New Zealand, and more.

It is full colour, 28 pages, and only $10US available from Lulu.

If outside the US and if you are going to order a copy directly, can I suggest that you use the 'Standard' option for shipping. It is by far the most economical, and usually arrives within a couple of weeks.

Mineral Spot: Wulfenite...

It has been a while since my last entry, over two months in fact. I have been sidelined due to back problems and had a back operation about three weeks ago. Recovering though...

This is a specimen from the Ojuela Mine, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico and has three mineral species on it, two of which can be seen in the photo. The yellow square-looking crystals are wulfenite and the paler spiky crystals are mimetite. The third mineral present is smithsonite. You can just see some white crystals in the background.

This specimen is one of a number of specimens that will be in this week's auction, also the first for quite some time. Hopefully, things will be fully back to normal soon!

Friday, 2 May 2008

Mineral Spot: Fluorescent Opal...

Nature is wonderful! Take this colourless blob (far left) of hyalite opal and put it under a shortwave ultraviolet light and it glows an eerie green colour!

This specimen will be in one of this week's lots in my auction.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Mineral Spot: Fluorite...

A nice photo of a couple of common minerals, fluorite (colourless cube) sitting on pale greenish pyromorphite, from a locality better known for its wulfenite. This photo is 4mm FOV. K & M Brown Collection.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Sun Spot: Autumn Colour...

We are just past the half-way mark for the season. The early morning sun today showed up the Autumn colours beautifully on this shrub just outside our lounge room...

Friday, 18 April 2008

Mineral Spot: Torbernite...

A change from the yellow uranium minerals from Lake Boga. Instead, a green uranium mineral, torbernite. An unusual but most attractive habit.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Mineral Spot: Ferberite...

Had to take a photo of this one before it 'is no more'! Towards the right of the ferberite crystal, which is coated by pyrite(?), you can see a break. It is likely that the specimen will some time simply break apart. But its a nice crystal so at least it will exist in this photo. From the K & M Brown Collection. Field of view 8mm.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Mineral Spot: Saleeite...

Hard to identify some of the yellow uranium minerals from Lake Boga, a granite quarry in Victoria. I have been trying to locate a specimen of a newly described species, lakebogaite which is one of them. This photo is of the mineral species saleeite which tends to have a greenish tint. From the K & M Brown Collection. Field of view is 4mm.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Sun Spot: Its a Hard Life...

The early morning sun today was either too much, or maybe not quite enough to get our sheep enthused. Its a hard life!

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Mineral Spot: Calcite...

This is quite a nice calcite specimen from an unknown (to me) location in New South Wales, the Buckeroo Quarry, Mudgee.

I did a bit of Googling and came up with a potential source, the Mudgee Dolomite & Lime Pty Ltd, in Buckaroo Lane, Mudgee.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Sun Spot: North West Bay...

Early morning Autumn sun over North West Bay, near Margate, Tasmania...and the photo taken from the end of the driveway leading up to our new block! Superb views!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Mineral Spot: Wulfenite...

Wulfenite is a lead molybdate mineral that usually forms as flat tabular crystals, less commonly as bypyramidal crystals, and often as combinations of the two. This one is a bit unusual in that it is almost 50/50. It comes from Whim Creek in Western Australia, one of Australia's best locations for wulfenite.

It is also another specimen that will be included in one of my auction lots next week at OZtion...

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Art Spot: Reflecting on the dark side...

I was up in Brisbane last week for a training course. A book shop near the hotel that I was staying in had a closing down sale on. As well as books, it also had art materials for sale. I bought some watercolour pads, brushes and tubes of paint. Good value!

Anyway, one of the evenings, I got a bit bored and decided to paint something (in acrylic paint). I decided on a 'self-portrait' (actually in reverse coz it was the image in the mirror!). Hence the title, 'reflecting on the dark side'.

Coming back to Tasmania was interesting. I thought that I might get pinged for having sharp objects in my carry-on bag (the brushes), but no. Instead I got pinged on the paint tubes. Liquids aren't they! However, after the security staff had a good look, they decided that they were ok as they were water colour and acrylic. Apparently, I would have had to give them up if they had been oil paint!

Monday, 31 March 2008

Mineral Spot: Analcime...

I have posted an analcime photo before (see here). However, I took this photo tonight and thought it worthy of uploading too. It is an analcime crystal sitting on calcite from the Bundoora Quarry in Melbourne, Victoria, and is 2mm FoV.

It is also another specimen that will be included in one of my auction lots next week at OZtion...

Monday, 17 March 2008

Mineral Spot: Hematite...

Hematite is an iron oxide mineral and can occur in many forms. These include thin hexagonal plates that may appear red, thicker tabular crystals, botryoidal masses, earthy, and this form, which is spheres that have attached themselves to an edenite crystal.

This is a specimen from Hendersons Quarry, Ngongataha, near Rotorua, New Zealand, collected by me in October last year.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

New Issue of Mineral Collector Magazine...

The fifth issue of the Australian and New Zealand Mineral Collector magazine is now out. This issue contains articles on 'chrome' cerussite; namibite from Queensland; White Island, a volcano off New Zealand; davidite from South Australia; a collector's tale from Larry Rush; and a 2007 symposium and seminar report.

It is full colour, 28 pages, and only $10US available from Lulu.

If you are going to order a copy directly, can I suggest that you use the 'Standard' option for shipping. It is by far the most economical, and usually arrives within a couple of weeks.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Mineral Spot: Calcite...

The last post was the orthorhombic form of calcium carbonate, aragonite. This time I have a picture of the trigonal form, calcite.

Calcite comes in many different crystal habits. Over 1,000 forms in fact. This is an almost globular form of calcite from Flinders in Victoria.

It is also another specimen that will be included in one of my auction lots next week at OZtion...

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Mineral Spot: Aragonite...

Aragonite is the orthorhombic form of calcium carbonate, with the most common form, calcite, having a trigonal crystal symmetry. Crystals such as the ones in the photo commonly occur in cavities in basalt rocks. This specimen is from a basalt quarry at Learmonth near Ballarat, Victoria.

It is also a specimen that will be included in one of my auction lots next week at OZtion...

Monday, 3 March 2008

Hot Spot: The House is on Fire!

Summer is over, but there is still a bit of heat about. Or at least, that's what you would think looking at this shot. Some superb morning skies in the last couple of days!

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Hot Spot: If you can't stand the heat...

...get out of the kitchen, or so the saying goes.

Our house is finally on the market. If you want to see more of where we currently live click here. Now all we have to do is build our new place!

(Photo by Michael Kingston of L J Hooker, Margate)

...and three days after it went on the market, it sold!

Friday, 15 February 2008

Critter Spot: Oi! Its not Spring!...

Caught these two at it tonight. Very small (about 3mm long each) but colourful.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Mineral Spot: Thomsonite...

Thomsonite and natrolite are two relatively common zeolite minerals that occur in cavities in basalt. They are often prismatic and colourless, and occur together, but they are easy to tell apart, particularly under magnification. The thomsonite occurs as thin bladed crystals with flat terminations, whereas the natrolite crystals have a square cross-section and pyramidal terminations. This photo is of thomsonite in the foreground, with the reflective face being one side of a natrolite crystal, and is about 4mm across. The specimen comes from Cairns Bay, Flinders, Victoria.

It is also a specimen that will be included in one of my auction lots this week at OZtion...

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Sun Spot: Strahan Sunrise...

Thought you all might enjoy me sharing this beautiful sunrise with you that I experienced this morning at Strahan in western Tasmania. I took the photo from the balcony of my hotel room, looking out across the harbour.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Critter Spot: The Hunt...

This hungry little critter was on the lookout for its next meal tonight. Greenfly. Yum!

In the blurry top left corner - the strike!

In the bottom left closeup, you can see the greenfly underneath the ladybird, which was having difficulty in moving on the fabric (a sheet draped by my wife over our back verandah railing). The greenfly escaped so I encouraged the ladybird onto my finger, and placed it in a nearby climber that I have found greenfly on before.

Although, if this is a Southern Ladybird (Cleobora mellyi) which it resembles, then it feeds primarily on psyllids and tortoise beetles, and not greenfly.

Maybe it was just being affectionate!

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Mineral Spot: Biotite...

This is a photograph of a mineral called biotite, one of the mica group of minerals. Biotite is now a group name for phlogopite, siderophyllite and eastonite. The crystals are usually stacked, not often seen as individual crystals such as this one. The field of view is about 4mm and the specimen comes from Jaune, Le Riveau Grande, Puy de Dome in France.

It is also a specimen that will be included in one of my auction lots this week at OZtion...

Critter Spot: Red-Legged Spider...

I assume that this is somewhat related to the Red and Black Spider, although there is not as much red. I also assume that there is a certain amount of toxicity because of the colour. This one found inside our hallway.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Critter Spot: Colourful Caterpillar...

I was out dead-heading roses this morning and came across this colourful little critter. No idea if this is a butterfly or moth caterpillar, let alone what species. Suggestions anyone?

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Hot Spot: Bushfire...

Its bushfire season here again. This is a fire that broke out yesterday at Conningham in southern Tasmania and has already burnt 500Ha. It is still considered active however the Tasmanian Fire Service have it contained and there are no properties currently threatened. Weather conditions are much better today.

The photo was taken from our new house block (the house in the picture is one of our neighbors to be).

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Critter Spot: Iridescent Green Fly...

Tonight, there were a number of these flies cavorting around on one of our pittosporum bushes.

Known as a ‘long-legged fly’, possibly Austrosciapus connexus, I am now wanting to capture one with its prey! Morbid, I know.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Odd Spot: Extreme Comb-over...

Spent a few hours in town today and took this photo (using my mobile) in the Elizabeth Street Mall in central Hobart.

Isn't this the most extreme comb-over ever seen?

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Mineral Spot: Sulphur...

The name sulphur is given to a yellow mineral that is made solely from the element, and is often seen in volcanic fumeroles amongst other things. This specimen is unusual in that it has a colourless gypsum crystal growing on the sulphur crystal. The specimen comes from Austria.

It is also a specimen that will be included in one of my auction lots when I post my first for 2008 at OZtion...

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Critter Spot: Flying Dragon...

Had a flying visit to our block today and captured what I hope is the first of many flying dragons (what our kids used to call dragonflies!). There are lots of dragons and damsels (damselflies) hunting around the small dam down in a gully.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Mineral Spot: Barite...

First post for 2008! Happy New Year to everyone!

This is the second time that I have posted a barite, (see here for the previous one). The reason for this one, other than its a nice specimen of course, is that I don't know anything about the location where it was found: North Kyle Mine, Drake, New South Wales.

If anyone can provide any information, it would be most appreciated.