Ten Minutes

June 13, 2021

BW photograph of cumulous clouds forming behind a tree.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Ten minutes.

BW photograph of cumulous clouds forming behind a tree.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

These three photographs, along with several others that were not used herein, were made within a span of 10 minutes.

BW photograph of cumulous clouds forming behind a tree.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Nothing really profound here-just a comment that it is fascinating to watch as cumulus clouds clouds slowly grow and morph in real time.

Take care.

Season

June 1, 2021

BW photograph of broken windows in a broken house three years after Hurricane Katrina.
Copyright 2008 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

June 1 is the official start of the 2021 Hurricane Season; however, we have already experienced the first named storm of the season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted “another active hurricane season” as a follow-up to 2020’s “historic level” year.

Indeed, if one moves from the Atlantic to the Pacific, there has already been one “super typhoon“.

On the other hand, also according to NOAA, in April 2021 the U.S. experienced a lower than average number of tornadoes as per the preliminary reports.

For those interested, the NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center is a useful site to bookmark.

Finally, Louis Pasteur is credited with saying “Chance favours the prepared mind”. As such, given the intensification of storms, if not the actual number, as a result of climate change, it is best to be prepared for their occurrence. That is one reason the SPC link above is useful. It is helpful to know what the various storm-related terms mean. It is also useful to have a predetermined plan as well as the supplies needed in case of an event. Ready.gov can assist with that.

Take care.

Make Due

May 26, 2021

BW photograph of the Super Flower Blood Moon behind the clouds.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Last night and early this morning, a combination of stellar factors conspired to produce a Super Flower Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse. This photograph shows virtually none of the phenomena.

The east coast was not going to get the eclipse. The “Super” and “Blood Moon” part is not apparent due to this being a B&W photo and that the moon is too high in the sky yet for the maximization of those effects. I also do not own a super-telephoto lens for the highly detailed, close-up photographs that many no doubt were able to produce and post.

For the photographer who is faced with perhaps less than ideal circumstances, the goal is to still make a compelling image. It might be one, though, that tells a different story. That the moon is shrouded by the clouds, yet still clearly visible, adds a bit of intrigue-a bit of hide-and-seek. The enlightened clouds testify to its brightness. The much more grey and black clouds provide drama and seem quite ominous. The moon is placed within its context on this particular evening. This is a much more emotive, moody, contemplative photograph than a clinical portrait would be. Of course, if that is what the photographer wanted, this is certainly not that.

Which is perfectly fine.

Take care.

17 Years

May 24, 2021

BW photograph of an immature cicada.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It is time for the current edition of the 17-year periodical cicada cycle. Benjamin Banneker studied these insects so thoroughly and accurately that he was able to make the prediction of their 17-year return.

BW photograph of a mature cicada.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

That is quite a bit of time…and they are certainly now out-and-about in some areas.

BW photograph of a mature cicada.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

As a history lesson, it it worthwhile to make a list of the world and/or personal events that have garnered one’s attention since their last appearance. This is quite a mind-boggling activity when placed within this context. 17 years is quite a bit of time.

Had they the ability, would the cicadas have chosen to emerge in a global pandemic (yes, this is anthropomorphizing)? How much has climate change affected the areas they inhabit? Which species have gone extinct while they were underground? What political events have occurred (think about the number and impact of the U.S. presidential elections during this time, for example)? Can you say social media?

What will the world be like in 2038?

Take care.

Interpretation

May 13, 2021

BW photograph of large cumulous clouds over some trees.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The Talking Heads have a song entitled “Burning Down the House”-the band does a rousing version (is there any other way to do this song?) in Stop Making Sense…David Byrne and his band prove the earlier point/question in American Utopia.

BW photograph of a portion of tree trunk laying on some gravel after local flooding.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The lyrics include the line “Hold tight, we’re in for nasty weather”…

BW photograph of the remains of a fire (log and ashes) laying atop a large boulder.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

along with “Fighting fire with fire” and “Gonna to burst into flame”.

Mr. Byrne and the band used those lyrics with particular intent, which appear to not include the frame of reference here.

No, I really am using them in conjunction with climate change. Whenever I hear the song, those lyrics are taken literally-extreme weather is what comes to mind. That interpretation has been shaped, of course, by years of catastrophic impact wrought upon the planet and its inhabitants (people, flora, and fauna) as a result of the overall warming of the planet.

BW photograph of a fallen tree across a waterway.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

NOAA recently upgraded Hurricane Zeta to a Category 3 hurricane after further examination of the data gathered during the storm. The 2021 Atlantic Hurricane season is predicted to be “more active than normal” as per the link, and…

BW photograph of dried, cracked, mud.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

California and the west are bracing for another long, destructive fire season as a result of drought. (Photographer’s Note: the above photograph is of dried mud-we have quite a bit of precipitation in this part of the country thus far this year.)

“Hold tight” indeed.

Hunkering down may be what is needed in the midst of an event, but that is an acute intervention and does not address the root causes of a much more chronic problem. For example, the dependence on fossil fuels was further demonstrated this week when the Colonial Pipeline was shut down in a ransomware attack. President Biden’s “American Jobs Plan” has measures designed to directly and indirectly address climate change within the context of upgrading U.S. infrastructure (cybersecurity is one of the areas needing attention) and thereby wean us off such dependence and incorporate more environmentally-aware, sustainable sources of energy. It remains to be seen how this plan will fare in Congress as the overall cost estimates in the plan as well as the means by which to pay for it are part of what is in contention. It goes without saying that cutting dependence on fossil fuels remains controversial.

“There has got to be a way”.

Take care.

Stormy

May 5, 2021

BW photograph of Morgan Run after a thunderstorm.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The other night there was a slow-moving thunderstorm cell that passed over this area…we were on a tornado watch for about an hour, and there was some cyclonic action within the storm. While it rumbled, flashed, and rained quite hard off-and-on over that time period, no tornado emerged. That was certainly a relief; however, that this occurred at the beginning of May in this area of the country gave one pause. It was a bit of a surprise to hear the weather alarms go off and be accompanied by the directive to take shelter.

BW photograph of debris on a large boulder after a thunderstorm.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The storm put down enough rain that it was sufficient to raise the level and force of waterways. The above debris does look a bit carefully arranged to have been left once the water receded.

BW photograph of defris laying on a large boulder after a thunderstorm.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

However, that would not have been impossible as the pattern is consistent with the direction of travel (the water flows right-to-left in the second photo or top-to-bottom in the image directly above) and the amount and type of material present. Earlier posts have documented the downed trees in the area, so there is a lot of wood available to move about. Nature is nothing if not elegant and creative in its presentation.

BW photograph of a plastic spade near some run-off after a thunderstorm.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

When there is such a deluge, distinct patterns of run-off develop as the rushing water seeks its lowest level. On a much grander scale and in other locations, this results in the loss of valuable topsoil and leads to catastrophic mudslides.

The feast or famine (drought or deluge, for example) presented by the present climate systems reinforces the need for addressing climate change to be a global political priority.

Take care.

Related

April 30, 2021

BW photograph of a sandal amid weeds on a step three years after Hurricane Katrina.
Copyright 2008 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

A dictionary definition of “meaningful” is as follows: “having a serious, important, or useful quality or purpose” and “communicating something that is not directly expressed”. The experiences from my trips to New Orleans in 2008 to assist with the continued post-Katrina rebuilding had a measurable impact on the imagery I was creating and what I considered to be meaningful. I decided that I would make images that reflected the degradation of the natural world.

BW photograph of a headboard inside a gutted house three years after Hurricane Katrina.
Copyright 2008 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The same dictionary defines “relative” as: “considered in relation or in proportion to something else.” This definition is basically describing comparisons that can and are to be made. When it comes to media, there certainly are differing viewpoints. I think this is especially applicable to the arts, wherein there is a wide variety of subject matter, presentation, and personal taste.

BW photograph of a clamshell packaging laying in the grass.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.
BW photograph of a broken Starbucks plastic cup in park parking lot.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.
BW photograph of a Smartwater bottle stuffed between some rocks and piling.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

After those trips to New Orleans, what I mainly settled on was photographing trash. This was, and remains, an easy choice due to the proliferation of what is left behind or tossed aside-I basically make portraits of trash. I have continued this pursuit for years now as those who have followed these posts can attest. In some cases, the photos stood for themselves…in others, they become metaphors for larger issues. My plan is to continue to do so until I am burned out on the subject as the environmental impact of this waste is a real problem. I certainly do not anticipate running out of material. Of course, not everyone considers trash or photographs of trash to be meaningful subjects…hence the point about relativity.

BW photograph of a full moon on a cloudy morning as seen through a tree.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Also, there have been times that I have needed to quite literally focus on more pleasant (relatively speaking) subjects in order to maintain some balance in perspective. In other words, I need to make sure to see both the forest and the trees…not just the trash.

There are always photographs to be made.

Sometimes, simply looking up helps…

Take care.

Cooperation

April 20, 2021

BW photograph of blurred water running between two large boulders.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

For years, I have been writing about climate change and the need for individuals and governments to do their part to offset this existential reality-I no longer think of this as a “threat” as we are currently attempting to live with the existing consequences of an ever-quickening heating planet.

BW photograph of a spotted oak leaf laying on a rock.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Now, China and the U.S. are having direct talks (and here) aimed at a cooperative effort to reduce emissions in order to reach the goals established by the Paris Accord. Those reports, while both hopeful and helpful, also contain enough stumbling blocks (social, economical, and political) to cast doubt on their efficacy. The history of attempts to adequately address climate change is fraught with stated goals and pledges that have been undermined by social, economical, and political issues. As always, time will tell.

BW photograph of a log wedged within the Y" split of another, larger, log.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It is what happens during that time of deliberation and (hopefully) movement toward the goals that is of concern. NOAA has updated its “hurricane seasonal outlooks” to reflect both the improved measuring systems and the impact of climate change. Climate dynamics will not wait for such deliberations-significant actions to actually lower emissions are needed.

BW photograph of two beer bottles under some rocks and splattered with mud.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

You might be thinking “Why the photos of trash to illustrate a post about climate change?” (I know that connection may seem a bit dubious, but bear with me…)

BW photograph of a full water bottle laying on the ground amid some leaves.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Addressing both requires a level of individual and systemic intervention that heretofore has not been up to the task. Trash continues to accumulate because companies use and manufacture materials that do not decompose (plastics, for example), are difficult to recycle (plastics, for example), and are treated as completely disposable by individuals (plastics, for example). Even if the product is recyclable (glass, for example), it often ends up being tossed or left behind.

That the U.S. and China, the two largest polluters/emitters, are having direct talks about climate change, especially when there are other major issues (human rights, Taiwan, etc.) at hand, is, indeed important.

We will see how President Biden’s “Leaders Summit on Climate” goes next week.

Cooperation on all levels is certainly needed.

Take care.

Control

April 13, 2021

Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

I have been thinking about control a lot lately.

BW photograph of a mask laying on the ground.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The pandemic has certainly given us much to ponder in that area. Had we paid more attention to the history of previous epidemics/pandemics and taken control of that for which we had the opportunity (stockpiling PPE supplies; effective communication of factual information vs. disinformation-on both governmental and individual levels; the personal responsibility to follow science-driven measures (which, admittedly did change as more information emerged-which is expected to happen); and the demonstration of empathy and caring for others’ health and safety, are examples), then we would not be where we have been and are.

BW photograph of a cirrus cloud.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Climate change and the subsequent impact on local weather is another such point.

BW photograph of a large tree that has dropped some branches.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Scientists and environmental activists have been warning about the impact the proliferation of greenhouse gases will have on global temperatures since the 1960s.

BW photograph of clouds and trees hours before a thunderstorm.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Now, 60 years later, there is a real race against the clock to develop and implement the necessary mitigation and adaptation measures to minimize the on-going impact of violent weather systems that churn up and give energy to increasingly powerful storms, drive the conditions that lead to scorched-earth wildfires, and massive flooding.

There is, of course, a connection between these two issues. As climate change degrades habitable space, human populations migrate to new areas. As populations increase, there is a need to also increase sources of food. Those two conditions increase the likelihood of inter-species contact, which makes it more likely for zoonotic diseases to jump from animals to humans.

It can take real political and personal will to make the hard choices needed to create better living conditions for all. It is quite important to recognize and take control over that which we have-the information to which we pay attention is one such example, so as to be in better positions to deal with those for which we don’t.

Take care.

Fallen

April 1, 2021

BW photograph of a fallen tree wedged between two others and laying atop a large rock formation.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.
BW photograph of Morgan Run.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.
BW photograph of a path cut through fallen trees cut to allow for walking on a trail.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.
BW photograph of a tree fallen across a trail.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.
BW photograph of a tree fallen across a trail.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.
BW photograph of a tree fallen across a trail.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.
BW photograph of downed trees across a trail.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.
BW photograph of a fallen tree beside a trail.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.
BW photograph of a fallen tree next to a trail.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.
BW photograph of Morgan Run.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.
BW photograph of tree roots exposed by erosion.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.
BW photograph of trees wrapped around large rocks after a flooding event.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.
BW photograph of trees wrapped around rocks after a flooding event.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.
BW photograph of a tree laying across a trail.
Copyright 2021 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Wind is a powerful force…

as is water.

Separately or together, as is the case with hurricanes/typhoons, tropical storms, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, etc., they have the capacity to remake the landscape.

Take care.

As an aside, I am still trying to figure out the changes to the WordPress format…clearly I still have much to learn…