Thanks and Giving

November 26, 2013

Cat squinting while sitting on a porch.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It  seems useful to disconnect the two words that comprise the upcoming holiday.

Thanksgiving theoretically is a time to reflect on that for which we can and need to be thankful.  Unfortunately, this holiday brings massive amounts of advertising and commentary on the latest and greatest new devices.  So much so that stores are opening during the day and not waiting until Black Friday.  It is as if what was “mandatory” just a few months ago ought to be banished to the rubbish heap in favour of something new and better.  There is ALWAYS something new and better in the tech world.  The trick is to find that which does what is needed and learn to master that tool to create the images desired.  It is the PHOTOGRAPHS that matter, not the camera.  Photographers have a plethora of tools available that run circles around the equipment of years ago from a technical standpoint-lets be thankful (and satisfied) with that.  Work to create images that have a longer life cycle than the latest gear and be grateful for the skill to make them.

In conjunction with that idea, especially at this time of year, the concept of giving is bastardized-as a culture, we seem to have substituted the spending of money for the sharing of care and togetherness, as if giving some “thing” is the same as conveying a deeper sense of meaning.  Such is the nature of materialism.  Granted, it is often much easier to have a physical object stand in for emotional connection, however, it is a mistake to confuse the two.

If one must have a monetary value attached to gifts, perhaps it would be a good idea to take the money for one gift and donate that to a charitable organization that works for those who really do live without (and “without” I mean food, water, shelter, and clothing on a daily basis-NOT without the latest cell phone).

Take care and be well.

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It was 19 degrees this morning, the coldest of the year so far in this part of the world and out west several states were dealing with ice and snow, so it seemed a good idea to post some info regarding the just-concluded 2013 United Nations Climate Change Conference. 

This is from the United Nations and this one, this one, and this one are from The Guardian.

Take care.

FIFTY

November 22, 2013

According to National Public Radio yesterday morning, the National Weather Service confirmed that 50 tornadoes touched down this past Sunday in the Midwest.  The Washington Post published this article on November 18. 

Aid is continuing to reach the Philippines after one of the strongest storms ever recorded hit there a week ago.

Meanwhile, talks at the United Nations Climate Change Conference appear to struggle to resolve historic issues.  Here is a link to the UNCCC site for more information.

Take care.

 

A Quiet Morning

November 17, 2013

Main Street on an early, foggy, morning.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The anticipation of some early morning photography had a greater effect than was desired as I came to consciousness much sooner than was scheduled. However, I awoke to a damp, foggy morn and headed out, stopping first on Main Street.  There is an ethereal effect created by the combination of darkness, fog, and electric lights that can only be felt at such times.  This is one of the crossroads around which the town was built and later in the day it becomes very busy as folks are out and about, but none of that was evident at this early hour.

Panera Bread early on a foggy morning.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

John Sexton referred to these conditions as “quiet light”.  The human-generated light is certainly harsh, however, the softness of the fog evens that out a bit.

Bachelor Boarding House foundation at Oregon Ridge.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

From there I headed down into the valley to photograph Oregon Ridge-a favourite place for a variety of types of photography.  Here, there were no electric lights and so the quiet of this particular morning was as close as the fog and just as soothing.  Nor were there any people and in the stillness I could hear the water dripping from the trees and feel the coolness of the moisture seep ever so slightly through my shoes.

Abandoned saw horse.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This is the kind of morning that is a true gift and there for the enjoyment-all it takes is to get out of bed.

Take good care.

Globalization

November 10, 2013

Monkton train station on a bright, fall day.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It was a beautiful fall day that begged to be used for a walk-temperatures were in the high 50s with plenty of sun.  Weather forecasts on the morning news, however, advised that it was going to be “windy” with “gusts up to 20 mph.”

Maple leaves in fall colour.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Many of the trees were indeed stripped of leaves but there were some maples with plenty of vibrant fall colour remaining…

Various leaves in fall.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

while other flora offered a more subdued palette that was nonetheless quite beautiful in its own quiet way.

Boken beams that have fallen in an abandoned house.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The photographs in this post were made while walking along the North Central Railroad Trail in Monkton, Maryland.  There is an old, long abandoned house next to the trail that continues its graceful destruction as the weather and years take their toll.  The building has been there as long as I have been walking on the Trail and that has been over a decade.

It was this building, the advisories about the wind “gusts”, and the bright sky that brought me back to thinking about the Philippines.  Typhoon Haiyan did indeed create the massive damage and much loss of life as was feared-this is one story.  As is mentioned in the article, Haiyan may be “…the strongest cyclone ever” as it contained sustained winds of over 140 mph with gusts to 170 mph.  Locally, today, as was mentioned, we were advised by the forecasts to be prepared for gusts of 20 mph.  When did we get so sensitive that 20 mph is now a “gust”?

Indeed. In fact, it is difficult to imagine 170 mph winds as I have never been in anything close to that degree of velocity.  The frame of reference did ultimately come in the form of a comparison:  I am thinking about having the roof of my house replaced and my contractor said the new shingles are manufactured to withstand 130 mph winds.  I distinctly remember being impressed with that number and yet a brand new roof with state-of-the-art shingles and installed in compliance with stringent building codes would most likely have been peeled off and discarded by Haiyan.

Nature seems to have a sharp sense of irony.  Tomorrow, November 11, the 2013 United Nations Climate Change Conference begins in Warsaw, Poland.  The talks that begin tomorrow are a continuation of the process begun in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan and held in various locations over the intervening years.  Despite the talks, greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise and the planet has continued to warm.  Perhaps some concrete, legally binding, changes will be agreed to this year.  The next 11 days or so will provide an answer to that.

Time has certainly provided an ongoing list of catastrophic natural disasters of which Typhoon Haiyan is the latest. It would seem that at some point we will need to stop referring to these as “natural” disasters as the manner in which humans live life is amplifying the conditions under which such storms develop.  The fury of the weather is then most felt in the areas in which people either choose or are forced to live-along coastlines.  (That is not to minimize the wildfires and tornadoes that have occurred in the mid-and southwestern United States.)  Globally, an increasingly significant percentage of people live along or near coastlines.  Finally, so many citizens of least developed nations live in such profound poverty that their infrastructure is nowhere near up to the task of providing protection from these storms.  Of course, New Orleans and the gulf coast of the United States were devastated by Hurricane Katrina and the U.S. is the prototypic most-developed nation.  The common thread is poverty and poverty is a human-generated condition.     

There are a number of organizations providing relief for the Philippines.  Please consider a donation.

Take care.

The Phillipines

November 8, 2013

Readers of this blog know that I routinely write about the weather and climate change as this is arguably the most significant issue of our times.

The Phillipines are currently being hammered by Super Typhoon Haiyan-please read this story.  Having seen New Orleans after Katrina, I can only imagine what the Phillipines will be like after this.

Thoughts to those in that part of the world.

Take care.

Neighborhoods

November 2, 2013

Old shed with broken window.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This is a short photo essay from some walks in and about various neighborhoods.

Corner of Fulton and Laurens-building awaiting final rehabilitation.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

German Street in Shepherdstown, WVa.

Copyright 2103 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Fire escape and boarded-up door way.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

German Street in Shepherdstown, WVa.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Trash piled next to a stoop.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Faucet in empty store.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Old building amid fall colour.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Empty Jim Beam bottle in the gutter.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Saint Casimir Church in Baltimore, Maryland.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Take care.