Grounded

December 8, 2017

BW photograph of several frosty leaves laying upon the ground.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Symbolic Interactionism is the one of four main Sociological theories to which I most subscribe.  The words used, and, more importantly, the meanings given to those words, are often at the base of the manner by which Conflict Theory explains societal issues-a prime example of this is the concern over whether or not the Pope was going to specifically use “Rohingya” when talking with Myanmar officials during a recent visit.  Without words, societies would not be able to perform as described by Functionalism.  Finally,  the meanings of existing words, not to mention the development and inclusion of new words, indicate change as per Post-Modern Theory.

BW photograph of a bird's nest laying upon the ground.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

“Grounded” is the word for this day-here is the Oxford Living Dictionary definition.  The examples provided give a well-rounded view of its use.  Indeed, people most probably first encounter this word upon the violation of some parental dictate.  To those, I would like to add:  “A result of the effects of gravity”.

BW photograph of a nut case laying upon the gound.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a nut laying upon the ground.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Were it not for gravity, the objects included here would have either remained attached to their host tree, or, once detached, would have floated off into the atmosphere.  As gravity is such an elemental force, these objects ended up “grounded”.

Take care.

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Choices

December 6, 2017

BW photograph of an Opinel knife.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Simplicity…or

BW photograph of a Wenger Swiss Army Knife with the implements displayed.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Versatility.

Both the Opinel and the Wenger Swiss Army Knife pictured above are classics in their own right.  I first learned of the Opinel when reading about mountain climbing expeditions decades ago.  My first contact with a Swiss Army Knife was when one was gifted to me in my early teens.

Which do you choose?

That question actually becomes much more difficult as there are multiple models of each.  In the case of Swiss Army Knives, one used to be able to choose between Wenger (the “Genuine Swiss Army Knife”) and Victorinox (the “Original Swiss Army Knife”).  While the brand of Swiss Army Knife has been cut to one (Victorinox), the wide range of choice remains.  With versatility also comes a bit of complexity.

Choose wisely.

Take care.

 

Coffee

December 1, 2017

 

BW photograph of a strongly-lit coffee cup.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Yes, the availability of good coffee, preferably at an independently owned shop, is very much a key to the walkability of a place.

Coffee is an integral part of global history and culture, and therefore very much open to a sociological view.  One of the major sociological theories is Symbolic Interactionism, which essentially argues that societies attach meaning to words and concepts-and it is the interpretation of those meanings that is critical to understanding a given group.  With that in mind, this is an anecdote from a wander in Los Angeles:  Every now and then when walking, I order a decaf, sugar-free, skim milk, vanilla latte.  Given that it is somewhat frightening when I hear myself make that order, I usually just get regular decaf coffee.  However, on that particular occasion, I went with the latte.

In keeping with the attachment of meaning to words, having ordered the latte described above, the barista said “We call that a ‘why bother?'”.

Take care.

Wandering

November 26, 2017

BW photograph of some stores on Front Street in Bath, ME.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Wandering is the close relative to walkability.  To “wander”, in my mind, is to move about aimlessly, or, more-to-the-point, to change direction as needed based on what becomes of interest.  A place needs to have walkability in order to feel comfortable when wandering about.  Both of those characteristics are loaded in value judgments-from a sociological perspective, values are used to determine what is right/wrong, good/bad, and/or acceptable/unacceptable.  Someone who appreciates the hustle and bustle of, say, New York City, may be on the right side of those hash marks with regard to the views expressed here.

BW photograph of Front Street in the early morn. Bath, ME.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Walkability, and therefore the ability to wander, is based on a fundamental feel for a place-travel photographers often talk about the “spirit of place”.  That feel and spirit is generated by a variety of components; again, one’s values are the key factor here.  While walkability and wandering can be applied to a larger city, or at least certain parts of larger cities, this is much more of a small town experience.  My preference is for a main street (and all the more nostalgic if it is actually Main Street) along which are smaller, independently owned merchandisers among which to shop and eat; more about this is a minute.

BW photograph of a table and chair on the sidewalk in Bath, ME.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It helps to have brick sidewalks, although the more ubiquitous concrete will do.  Some trees lining the way make for a pleasant experience.  Being able to move about at a leisurely pace without being trampled by others moving with a purpose is critical.

BW photograph of the side/back of Bath Savings, in Bath, ME.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It goes without saying that pedestrians really do need to have the right-of-way without the risk of unpleasant gestures.  Speaking of pedestrians, it definitely adds to the pleasure when passersby acknowledge a greeting and are not buried within technology.

With regard to the shops, there are two types of utmost importance-and, actually, most likely, in this order of priority:  a good coffee shop and a good bookstore-extra satisfaction comes from the availability of used books.  If there were a third type, it would be good restaurants that have selections for healthy vegetarian dining.  That one is somewhat optional as one can always obtain food elsewhere.  The “independently owned” criteria applies greatly to each.  Yes, I do visit Dunkin’ Donuts and Barnes and Noble with a degree of regularity, however, we are talking about walkability and wandering.  I expect and do neither at those establishments.

BW photograph of the riverfront off Commerce Street in Bath, ME.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of the neighborhood nearby, and the crane, at Bath Iron Works in Bath. ME.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of the trestles for a bridge over the Kennebec River in Bath, ME.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The photographs herein are from Bath, ME-a town that absolutely meets all of the criteria above.  Bath is a place where it is quite comfortable to walk about and wander with a cup of coffee in hand.  Once that part of the day has concluded, the settling down with a good book can follow…

Take care.

Gratitude

November 20, 2017

BW photograph of a tree shadow against a background of sycamore leaves.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

NPR’s  1A had a segment about gratitude today.  This is in keeping with the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday as celebrated by many in the U.S. later this week.

Being a bit of a wordsmith, I appreciated the distinctions made between gratitude, happiness, and being blessed.  Also, understanding the progression from gratitude as a thought to gratitude as a feeling via mindfulness was extremely helpful.   While everyone may not enjoy the level of nuance in the discussion, the overall intent makes the program well worth a listen.  Dare I say that I am grateful to have heard it…

BW photograph of pine cones laying atop pine needles.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Given that the host was interesting in that for which people are grateful, I am very grateful to have the ability to convey my view of the world via the images I make.  This is not a small thing.  Pat Perry, my mentor, took his time (an awful lot of time) and shared his knowledge with me in a way that both allowed me to grow into the craft and served as a model for the teaching of photography.  I would not be in the position I am without having had the opportunity to work with Pat.  In fact, I think quite often about what he would say about my work today were he still alive for us to have those conversations.

BW photograph of an overpass and intersection in Bath, ME.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Photography, of course, also involves having the time to travel about and explore-to do what I call “wandering”.   That entails having a degree of health, for which I am extremely grateful.  On a bigger scale, wandering also includes being grateful to live in a country where one can move about with a camera and be (relatively) free to document the culture that is us.  While there are issues with that in some parts of the U.S., many in other parts of the world sacrifice all that is theirs in the service of photojournalism/documentary photography.  We all need to be grateful to those who take such risks.

Finally, I am grateful to those to who view my work and find it of some value.

Thank you.

 

“Nice” Light

November 16, 2017

BW photograph of Trinity Lutheran Church.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It is worth looking for nice light-and that is quite subjective and dependent on the desired image/effect.  In this case, “nice” means a hard, front, light, which serves to provide the contrast to accentuate the brightness of the sunlit portions of the church while also providing the darker shadows.

BW photograph of Trinity Lutheran Church and the cemetary.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of Trinity Lutheran Church and the cemetary-wide view.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Having found the requisite light and an appealing subject as the showcase, it is then useful to make a variety of compositions.

This worked.

Take care.

Walkability

November 14, 2017

BW photograph of the exterior wall of a church in Shepardstown, WVa.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

“Walkabout” is a term for which dictionaries have variations on the definition, but involves the movement of the indigenous peoples of Australia.  It is a term modified here a bit to become “walkability”, which is used to describe the characteristics of an area with regard to the enjoyment one can have when wandering throughout.  If one is going to use that term, then s/he can define those characteristics.

BW photograph of the clock on the Shepard College campus.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Shepherdstown, WVa. is a place that ranks very high on my walkability list.

BW photograph of large rocks in Shepardstown, WVa.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The photographs included here essentially demarcate the entrance, center, and point of exit for the main portion of the town.  I had not been to Shepherdstown for a bit over a year, and so it was nice to be back on such a pleasant day.  In that time, several stores had closed and been replaced by new businesses.  A few favourites remained, thank goodness, which meant that the walkability has remained unchanged.

Take care.