A festival of light
There are days when the light is a gift for photography, and when Mother Nature is also putting on a show of autumn colours the day is a real treat. Couple that with some fascinating Victoriana – the Geological Illustrations in London's Crystal Palace Park, displayed since 1854 - and the company of geology afficionados on a walk led by the inimitable Prof. Joe Cain of UCL as part of the Geologists’ Association’s annual Festival of Geology and you have a seriously good day and some seriously interesting history of geology.
The ‘illustrations’ – especially the life-sized dinosaur sculptures - were the Alton Towers and World of Adventure of their time. There was no Jurassic Park unfolding on the silver screen then! The ‘illustrations’ are looking a little tatty and faded nowadays, and with the benefit and hindsight of another 150 years of research and discovery we know that many of them would have looked different from how they were posed here, but they still provide a glimpse into the history of palaeontology and geology and they still bring home the size of the larger beasts. The Megalosaurus in this photograph, for instance, was sculpted as a quadruped; nowadays they are recognised as theropods – dinosaurs that have the same body plan as Velociraptor and T. Rex, walking and moving the way they did. Knowing that, though, just adds to the interest.