Happy Holidays!

December 24, 2011

I did purchase my new car as mentioned in the previous post.  It is nice that the worry of breaking down has been relieved.

However, that relief comes with a cost-a car payment.  I had sold my full-frame camera body to pay for the clutch that burned out on Blue right before the rear differential decided to become dysfunctional.  Selling that body was a way to avoid putting the repair on a credit card or tapping into other funds that I did not want to use.  It is important to note that I am employed full-time and make a comfortable salary.  However, I have the many on-going expenses that come with living in the 21st century and 2011 has been one of many added expenses.  The tree that needed to come down, repairs to my roof, and those to Blue come to mind.  And now, a car payment for the next five years.  Had I not already sold that body, it certainly would have gone in support of the new car.

I distinctly remember buying that camera.  I vacillated greatly and finally convinced myself that being able to use smaller prime wide-angle lenses again justified the purchase.  I ended up trading-in another digital body and some lenses after having been caught up in the full-frame fever, but felt a bit odd doing it.  I did enjoy that camera, however, I found myself leaving it behind more and more due to the weight and size.  Most of the images I create now are used for instructional purposes and the web.  Certainly one does not need a state-of-the-art camera to produce effective images for those purposes.  No, that particular purchase clearly was one more of “want vs. need” and it is very important to know the difference.

Such indulgences are just that and it is useful to carefully think about what motivates a purchase.  Photography is a wonderful pursuit, but it can be quite expensive-especially if one plans to stay current with the latest and greatest.  And sometimes life does not go as planned.  I had planned on keeping Blue until she hit the 300,000 mile mark, for example.  On a much larger scale, the national poverty level is 15.1%.  Earlier this year, nationally, the number of underwater mortgages hit 23.1%.  The number of Americans using food banks reached 16.6%.  Few would have “planned” to be in such situations.

And so as we close-out 2011 and move into 2012, it might be worth thinking about “the bigger picture”.  Individually, that might mean saving for retirement.  Locally and/or globally, that might mean supporting an organization that works to provide assistance for those in need. Reducing consumption and re-allocating for the greater good can be a charitable way to greet the new year.

Happy Holidays!

Blue

December 10, 2011

200,000 miles on the car's odometer

Copyright 2011 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

My car, a 2004 Subaru Forester, turned over 200,000 miles last week. Other than the few miles the mechanic has driven when diagnosing problems and testing repairs, I have driven every one of those miles. No one else in the family drives a stick.

And now, Blue seems to have come to an end. I recently replaced the clutch and now the rear differential is grinding; she needs a new timing belt; and her tires are more than halfway finished. These repairs will cost more than the book value of the car, which makes doing this work a poor financial choice.  Given that I drive approximately 100 miles per day, it is likely that Blue will continue to need more work.  It is a sad time. Read the rest of this entry »

Flattened

December 3, 2011

Closeup photograph of a cherry Coke can

Copyright 2011 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Things are…

Flattened cherry Coke can

Copyright 2011 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Until they aren’t.

Flattened water bottle in the street

Copyright 2011 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

And that is precisely the issue.  In their original forms, these containers had a purpose:  to deliver thirst-quenching liquids.  Having out-lived their intended use, they appear to have been judged worthy of no further use and subsequently discarded in the street.

And that is the problem.

A decaying robin carcass

Copyright 2011 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Organic life forms, once expended,  will become a meal for other critters and eventually decompose.  As a result, bodies can still be useful after their primary raison d’être has been extinguished.  As with most processes, the time period for decomposition varies.  While often unpleasant (the sights, odors, and potential for disease do exist), one way to look at this is as Mother Nature’s recycling program.

The time it takes our trash to degrade or decompose also varies-those aluminum cans?  80-200 years.  Plastic bottles? 450 years (according to this source.)  This, too, is unpleasant, but for very different reasons.  Plastic especially does not simply return to the earth and cease to exist, as this essay about the North Pacific Gyre  describes.  Quite problematic on so many levels.

It is very distressing to continue to see the lack of reduction/reuse/recycling of trash that ends up in our streets and waterways.  Really not sure what else to say…

Take care.