Water and colourful minerals combined with time,
pressure and heat are the ingredients for geodes
and nodules. Geodes and nodules are similar, but
a geode has a cavity inside while a nodule is solid
throughout. Waterline agate is a kind of horizontally
banded microcrystalline quartz that often appears
in both geodes and nodules. The landscapes that
become terraForms are most often found in this
waterline agate. After collection, the geodes are cut
with a special diamond lapidary saw and slowly
polished to have a smooth, shiny surface. Even
though every geode is beautiful and in itself a work
of art, very few geodes have landscapes within
them. Less than 1% of the geodes and nodules
collected have landscapes.
In the workshop, each geode is cut and polished.
Powerful macro lenses are used to photograph landscapes within the geodes. Light is carefully controlled to
prevent random reflections on the microcrystals. For the most part, the landscapes that are photographed as
terraForms are easily visible to the naked eye, but the macro lens picks up details that are not visible:
Close-up of antarctic spring, revealing that the 'sun' is a deposit of reddish mineral.
Close-up of the 'wave' in pacific shows minute variations in colour and texture.
Some of the terraForms are panoramas, that is, they are composites of 2-5 separate images. The images are compiled and
any imperfections, fractures or reflected highlights are digitally removed. Manipulation and editing of the images is kept to a
minimum in order to accurately portray the original landscape of the geode.
Producing terraForms has allowed Tamara to
combine her photographic skills with her
background in earth sciences. Her experience with
paleontology and geology helps when exploring
new regions in search of geodes. In addition to
terraForms she has a wide portfolio of wildlife and
travel photography. Her photos appear in
numerous field guides, posters, and online
magazines. She is also the author of several books
and develops educational materials for elementary
students. Click here for a full list of publications.