Summer 2017

June 21, 2017

BW photograph of cumulous clouds behind a stand of trees.

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

Today is the first day of summer, the Summer Solstice, and Tropical Storm Cindy is making her presence known along the Gulf Coast.

BW photograph of cumulous clouds behind a stand of trees.

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

Locally, the week began hot and humid with a relatively strong thunderstorm on Monday.

BW photograph of cumulous clouds behind a stand of trees.

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

Yesterday was much cooler as a result-the sky was also washed clean.

BW photograph of cumulous clouds behind a stand of trees.

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

These photographs are from the same cloud bank as it moved across the sky yesterday-they were not part of the thunderstorms mentioned earlier.  Unlike being in a tropical storm, let alone a hurricane, there is a settling effect that can come from watching the slow, deliberate movement and evolution of clouds as they pass.

Take care.

Time

June 15, 2017

BW photograph of a boarding house at Oregon Ridge looking west.

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

Time is a frequent subject of this blog.  The photograph above is one of the bachelor boarding houses at Oregon Ridge-a structure I have been photographing for well over a decade now, maybe two.  This is a view looking west.

BW photograph of a boarding house at Oregon Ridge looking east.

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

One of the reasons for repeatedly writing about time is because there are so many markers of its passage.  This is a view looking east.  Over that decade +, this once somewhat elegant-in-its-utility structure has certainly decayed.  The renewal and growth of the late spring/early summer flora provides significant contrast and calls attention to the consequences of time.  At some point, this foundation will no longer able to support itself and will then need some type of brace/reinforcement or it will crumble.

Much like us as we, too, grow older.

Take care.

A Walk

June 10, 2017

BW photograph of a moonset across a road.

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

Last week, a very cool (47 degrees) morning followed a full moon.

BW photograph of a foggy morning looking across a field.

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

That temperature was enough to create fog in the low-lying areas.

BW photograph of a sunrise over a field.

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

As the sun arose, the fog burned off.

Colour photograph of a sunrise over a field.

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

(Colour photographs of sunrises tend to make a better presentation, right?)

BW photograph of the Wolf Rock trail.

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

Once at my destination and having begun the walk, two books readily came to mind:  A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson, which has been made into a movie, and The Nature Fix, by Florence Williams.

BW photograph of mountain flowers with strong sidelight.

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

This particular walk was a sensory delight-there was birdsong, the dampness of the earth, courtesy of the copious amounts of recent rain and that morning fog, and the varying scents that come from being in the woods.

BW photograph of four tree trunks near Wolf Rock.

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

BW photograph of a tree cleaving Wolf Rock.

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

BW photograph of an upward looking view of tree tops against the sky.

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

While this walk was a bit modest in scope and distance, it was the experience that was important; a point central to Mr. Bryson’s book.

BW photograph of the former Homicide building, which is now a functioning hotel.

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

My other possible choice that day was to go for a walk in the city.  Ms. Williams directly addresses the differences in the sensory response between that and being in the woods-her book is well worth a read.  She summarizes the impact of inhaling nature’s aromas as opposed to those produced in an urban environment.  Indeed, which would you rather smell-car exhaust or pine needles?  The issues and assets of activating different neurochemicals are also presented.  Cortisol or dopamine?  The choice of stimulus is vitally important to the overall experience.  Of course, I am biased.  However, it also depends on what one likes to photograph, and I will most certainly return to photograph the newly opened hotel.  Therefore, when it comes to the muse, one, whenever possible, must choose wisely.

That was a very good morning to be in the woods.

Take care.

 

Nostalgia

June 4, 2017

BW photograph of two old rotary movers overgrown with ivy.

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

When times become complicated and stressful, there is a real tendency to retreat into nostalgia in an attempt to find some solace and security.

BW photograph of an old strorefront with painted product advertisements.

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

A walk down a historic street engenders such moments, and that does provide a welcome “time-out” from the everyday.  (Quite honestly, that is one of the reasons I like working in BW so much.)

BW photograph of a white wall with a "Private Property" sign listing several prohibitions, included "No Lurking".

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

However, it is a real mistake to think that times in the past were any more secure, less stressful, or “great”.  The Great Depression.  Two World Wars.  Redlining.  The Cold War.  Sputnik.  The 1968 Democratic Convention.  Martin Luther King. Vietnam.  Kent State. Rodney King.  9/11.  Iraq/Afghanistan.  The housing bubble.    Climate Change.  All times present their challenges-some extend longer or have deeper impacts than others.  Some are most certainly more personal than others.  And some issues appear to be intractable:  racism, economic inequality, war.

There is no going back: we, and time, can only move forward.  It is the manner by which that movement forward takes shape that is key. Any attempt to turn back the clock and re-create an illusionary, distorted view of the past will almost certainly create more issues ahead.

Yes, “time-outs” are helpful-we just can’t live in them.

Take care.

BW photograph of a dropped leave in dried, cracked mud.

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

Yesterday, the president did what he said he would do-he withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord.  NPR posted this fact-check of the speech within which the president made the announcement.

BW photograph of a dark vehicle driving in a parking lot on a rainy day as seen through a windshield.

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

And the world has responded:  It appears that China is moving towards leadership in this critical issue; France replied in this manner;  and this is the response from the EU.  This report is a little older, and, of course, we now know the result.  Ideally, the U.S. withdrawal will strengthen the resolve of the remaining 190+ countries who signed the Accord.

For someone who claims to be so enamoured with the environment (listen to or read the text of the speech), the president sure has a contradictory way of showing it-Scott Pruitt as head of EPA, the roll-backs of Obama-era climate efforts, and now this one.

It is worth noting that current Secretary of Defense James Mattis had this to say about climate change earlier this year.

Take care.

Erosion

May 31, 2017

BW photograph of the water running at Morgan Run.

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

It has continued to be a wet spring thus far in this part of the world in 2017-this is Morgan Run moving along.

BW photograph of the pattern made in small pebbles by storm run-off.

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

The above photograph shows the run-off pattern formed when heavy amounts of rain gush from Morgan Run’s parking area downhill toward the Run proper.

BW photograph of tree roots exposed by erosion.

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

Over the years, such flooding has eroded the banks along Morgan Run leaving tree roots exposed.

BW photograph of tree roots exposed by erosion.

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

Their serpentine patterns and tonal/textural qualities are intriguing.

BW photograph of a larger rock resting on an exposed tree root after a storm.

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

And they occasionally become a resting spot for other objects pushed along by the torrent.

BW photograph of roots, grasses, and water running at Morgan Run after a storm.

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

The above is a wider shot-the tree roots are to the lower left.  The grasses are an indication of the former high-water mark from the most recent storms.

BW photograph of a downed tree at Morgan Run.

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

Ultimately, once enough of the soil has washed away, the tree roots have nothing left with which to hold-this particular tree fell some time ago.

As some of the above photographs were being made, Cyclone Mora  was hitting  Bangladesh.  As with the previous post about the 2017 Hurricane Season and the flooding that occurred in Sri Lanka, extreme weather often takes a much larger toll on those living in least-developed countries, which have neither the infrastructure nor the resources to adequately cope with the destruction.  The 2015 Paris Climate Accord was finally positioned to actually move the bar in terms of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and further the adaptation/mitigation needed to address a warming planet-President Obama supported this plan.

However, the current president continues to mull over whether or not the United States’ will keep the commitment it made to the world.

Take care.

Memorial Day 2017

May 29, 2017

BW photograph of a United States flag hanging outside a shop for Memorial Day.

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

BW photograph of a United States flag attached to a Jeep.

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

Today is Memorial Day.

Whatever the politics, and it is impossible to separate the politics from war-Clausewitz wrote “War is the continuation of politics by other means,” it is important to remember those who have served.

Take care.