The Morning After

July 9, 2019

BW photograph of the rocks at Morgan Run the morning after the recent flooding.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

These photographs were made about nineteen hours after those from the previous post.  The waters had receded…

BW photograph of the flood plain at Morgan Run after the water receeded.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of the roots of one of the sycamore trees that line the banks at Morgan Run.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

and the trees remain resolute despite the further exposure of their root systems…

BW photograph of debris caught by the trees after the recent flooding at Morgan Run.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

and the continued battering from the debris…

BW photograph of logs among the rocks at Morgan Run after the flood.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a log and rock wedged together after the flooding at Morgan Run.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of piled sticks after the flooding at Morgan Run.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

much of which, both large and small(er), will remain in place until the next flood.

BW photograph of the depressed plant stalks from the floodwaters.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Take care.

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Downpours

July 8, 2019

BW photograph of turbulence caused by floodwaters flowing over rocks.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Today has been the opposite of the weather described in the previous post.  There have been several downpours, and one local station reported that 3+ inches of rain fell in the Washington, D.C. area leading to localized flooding.  Flash flood warnings were issued and motorists were advised to not drive through standing water.

BW photograph of turbulence caused by floodwaters flowing over rocks and around trees.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

These photographs were made during a brief respite from the rain and show Morgan Run, which once again had far exceeded its banks.  Under normal conditions, the water does move along, but not anything remotely like this.  Both the volume and the force of this water evidenced the rationale behind not driving through such flows.  (As an aside, the road takes an overpass to cross Morgan Run, so that would not be an issue here.)  The turbulence in the lead photos was caused by the floodwaters colliding with the very large rocks that are usually highly visible and protrude from the water enough to be quite walkable.

BW photograph of a lone tree partially submerged by floodwaters.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of three trees partially submerged by floodwaters.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The trees that line the bank have had their roots prominently exposed by previous floods-they have been documented in other posts.  As of this morning, all of those trees were still standing.  I plan to go back early tomorrow morning to check as it was again pouring while these photos were being edited and this post was being written.

This kind of weather event, extremely heavy, but relatively brief, downpours are in keeping with the predictions for this area as a result of climate change.  As such, it is expected that this will not be the last of flood photos from Morgan Run and other waterways this summer.

Take care.

Timing

July 7, 2019

BW photograph of Taugahannock Falls canyon under strong sidelight-the falls are in shadow while the canyon wall is strongly lit.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Timing, as the saying goes, is everything.

That is certainly the case with photography.  In the photo above, arguably, the most important of the subject matter, the falls, is in shadow, while the canyon wall is brightly lit by the strong, directional sidelight.  Such is often the issue when traveling.  It may not be possible to be at the location at the desired time.  Or, if there at the desired time, environmental conditions may not cooperate so as to allow for the intended image.  When that happens, one must adapt.  The strong contrast presented by the rising sun allows for a textured study of the canyon wall.  Perhaps this calls attention to a feature that may be overlooked when focusing, literally and figuratively, on the waterfall.  Perhaps this is also just a rationalization for a missed opportunity…

In any case, one must remain flexible.  Plans often have to be modified due to conditions beyond one’s control.  More to the point, one must retain control over that which is within reality.  Being adaptable is certainly an asset when so much can, and often does, go “wrong”.  That last word in is quotes because that in itself is a judgment.  It is much better, and more conducive to one’s well-being, to avoid such interpretations and just accept the situation as it presents itself.  In this particular case, it was a gloriously clear morning in which to be on the road.

Take care.

Falls

July 6, 2019

BW photograph of the top of Buttermilk Falls.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This is a photo essay with not much text-just a bit of description and explanation.  It was quite warm in Ithaca, NY over the Fourth of July holiday-a local cashier stated that it was finally “warm”, which is more of a comment about the winter.  The sun was bright and hot, especially for this locale (way upper 80s), once the day made the turn into the afternoon.  Therefore, it made sense to awaken early to make the walk along the Buttermilk Falls Trail before the sun fully lit up the day.  The above photo is from the entrance-once in the gorge and nearer the water, the ambient temperature cooled quite a bit.

BW photograph of a section of Buttermilk Falls.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

There are several drops as the water makes it way down through the gorge.

BW photograph of a section of Buttermilk Falls.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a section of Buttermilk Falls.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a section of Buttermilk Falls.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of one of the last sections of Buttermilk Falls.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This final photograph is just before the trail makes a further descent-time, and energy, did not allow for the walk’s continuance.  The “going off the side of the mountain” look is certainly intriguing, though.

Take care.

Divisions

July 1, 2019

BW photograph of a rail fence in Gettysburg at sunrise.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Steve Inskeep, one of the hosts of NPR’s Morning Edition, commented on the current polarization in the United States by pointing out that today, July 1, was the first day of the decisive Civil War battle that took place in Gettysburg, PA during the summer of 1863.  Estimates vary between 45-51,000 casualties for the three days of fighting.

BW photograph of a section of Devil's Den.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a section of Devil's Den.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The above photographs are of Devil’s Den-the fight for, in, and over those rocks took place on July 2, 1863.

BW photograph of the area known as the Slaughter Pen in Gettysburg, PA.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Adjacent to the larger rocks of Devil’s Den is an area known as the Slaughter Pen due to the number of soldiers killed there during the battle.  Awareness of that horrific history made for quite a sobering experience on such a pleasant morning.  Honeysuckle and some wildflowers were in bloom and a bumblebee was buzzing about.

BW photograph of a withered vine on Devil's Den.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This withered vine, which was growing on one of Devil’s Den’s flanks, served in stark contrast to that early summer life.  It seemed to be an appropriate metaphor for days of dying that occurred here in 1863.

BW photograph of a crack in the rocks at Devil's Den.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This longitudinal crack runs along one of the larger portions of rock of which Devil’s Den is made.  This, too, seems to be an apt metaphor for the split that occurred in the U.S., which culminated in the Civil War.  In many ways, those same divisions remain and are central to the politics of 2019/2020.

Take care.

 

The Opposite

June 23, 2019

BW photograph of the pre-sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The previous post was about a trip to the mountains.  This is about a trip to the shore.  The geography could not be more different; however, the rationale for the journey was the same.

BW photograph of the sunrise behind a dune fence.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This particular trip involved arising at 1:00 a.m. to be on the beach before the sun was rising at 5:30 a.m.  The drive was well worth it as it was quite dark, quiet, smooth, and with very little traffic.  None of those factors applied to the trip home, but that is a story for a different time.

BW photograph of the pre-sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Given our ancestral history (for example, please research Tiktaalikthis is also worth a read), there is something quite primal about returning to the ocean.  As such, the rhythmic, rolling pulse of the waves, a sensation you hear much before they become visible, creates a deeply calming effect, which is the same as a walk in the deep woods.  While I much prefer the latter as I have not ever made friends with sand, let alone the crowds that surely descend this time of year (indeed, shortly after these photos were made, this area became crowded with folks taking selfies with the sun), there is no denying the hypnosis of the ocean.

As an aside, I was about to write “sea” at the conclusion of the last sentence above as a means of varying my word choice-that would have created an inaccuracy.

Take care.

 

Walking

June 13, 2019

BW photograph of a pine and flowering bush in Wenatchee State Park.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Sometimes, you do have a drive a bit to get to where you want to be.  That means navigating traffic and all that entails.

BW photograph of either the Wenatchee or Chiwawa River.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Once there, though, it is time to unwind, to allow the mayhem to dissipate, and to just settle in and let the mind and body relax.

BW photograph of backlit old growth forest in Rainier National Park.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Within the outdoor world there is a concept called the “fastest known time” (FKT), which means that athletes will attempt to complete, say, the Appalachian Trail as quickly as possible.  The current record for covering the 2100+ miles of the AT is just over 41 days-you can do the math.  (As an aside, this particular record may have already been eclipsed.)  The corollary to this in the climbing world is “speed climbing”.  Alex Honnold (of Free Solo) and Tommy Caldwell (of The Dawn Wall-a free climb completed with Kevin Jorgeson) currently hold the speed record for El Capitan-they climbed over 3,000 feet in just under 2 hours.  As before, you can do the math.  Both of those documentaries, by the way, are worth seeing.  What Mr. Honnold and Mr. Caldwell have accomplished together and with others is quite astonishing.  Records, however, are almost invariably broken.

While these are undeniably extremely impressive feats, such activities hold no interest to me whatsoever in terms of participation.  With so much daily time spent getting from here-to-there and with deadlines looming, not to mention the time suck of working online, the last thing I want to do is push myself to fly down the trails when in the woods.  The fact that I am not capable of such accomplishments does not factor into this.  I go to the woods for the relief of stress, not its creation.  I want to linger.

This also needs to not be read as a criticism of those who endeavour to be the fastest at whatever they do.  It is just simply not for me.

BW photograph of some debris in the dried out run-off in Rainier National Park.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Time moves fast enough as it is-this is a perception enhanced by growing older and by recognizing that time, both chronologically and spiritually, is limited.

BW photograph of tree debris in Rainier National Park.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Walking doesn’t change the limitations, but it does appear to slow the passage and allows for the opportunity to engage the details that would otherwise be lost in the blur.

Take care.