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terraForm creation

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.


tamara hartson

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.