Purity

October 30, 2014

BW photo of restaurant umbrellas.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Purists argue that B&W photography forces a greater adherence to the fundamental constructs of photography:  overall composition and the finer details of shape, form, texture, and lighting.  There is also nothing quite like seeing an image appear as the paper soaks in the developing tray-“magical” is a cliché, but it surely fits.  Those were two of the main reasons for my enjoyment of traditional (meaning film and chemical) B&W photography and processing.

Digital changed that.  In fact, I started shooting digital for only two reasons:  the first was that so many photography students were making the change and (I felt) it was important to keep current with the technology when teaching the craft.  The second reason was for aesthetics-I could continue to work in B&W without needing access to a darkroom and working with the chemicals.  I do have a deep appreciation for the manner in which B&W photography imposes a discipline in subject selection and the resultant rendering of a scene.  The use of over-saturated colour cannot be a crutch when working in black, shades of grey, and white. Photographic purity indeed.

BW photograph of Baltimore City from Fells Point.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It is for these reasons that there has been an increase in the number of B&W photographs illustrating the posts recently.  There will still be colour as it is now fall and the leaves have been turning but B&W is immensely satisfying.

Take care.

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The After

October 21, 2014

BW photograph of corn stalks that are in shadow in the forground and lit by the afternoon sun in the background.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The majority of the photographs used to illustrate this blog have been made in the early morning hours-that is the time I am most out-and-about as I find the stillness both comforting and evocative.

Diagonal BW photograph of corn stalks that are in shadow in the forground and lit by the afternoon sun in the background.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

However, much is to be said about the light that comes later-especially on a crisp fall day.  These two photographs were made minutes apart this past Sunday afternoon.

Take care.

Perceptions

October 19, 2014

 

BW photograph of a Royal Farms gasoline prices sign advertising $2.99/gal gasoline.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

I truly thought I would never again see sub-$3.00/gallon prices on gasoline.  These rapidly dropping prices are generally met with gratitude as the money saved on gas can be used in other areas.  It appears that conflict within OPEC is partly responsible for this trend.

Meanwhile, the stock markets of the world were in a sharply downward trend as well this past week.  (On Friday some markets, including those in the United States, rebounded a bit.)  These rapidly dropping prices were decidedly not met with gratitude.  There are many issues driving this trend; all of which serve to illustrate just how intricately connected the world of the 21st century is.

And when it comes to global connectivity, perhaps no other issue dominates as much as the Ebola virus.  As the content of this post relates to economic issues, this article provides a global monetary analysis of the outbreak.  It is, of course, difficult to put an economic cost on pain, suffering, and death-that is until any legal action makes this necessary.

However, the title of the post is Perceptions and this also applies to Ebola for at least two reasons.  First, The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States has posted this page regarding the transmission of the virus, and it would be important to read this information as what people believe about the transmission and what the CDC says may be different.   Second, it appears that as long as Ebola remained within the remote villages of Africa and outbreaks quickly burned out, it was not worth the economic investment of pharmaceutical companies in developing a vaccine as reported here.  That seems to have now changed, which is important for all going forward.

Yes, the economics of Ebola makes the cost of a gallon of gasoline become most insignificant by any comparison.

Take care.

Quietude

October 17, 2014

Pillar and Stairs 0364

There is a welcome stillness to the early morning that just does not exist once the sun arises and the business of the day begins.  On a personal level, while it becomes increasingly difficult to muster out of bed pre-sunrise, it is well-worth the reward of experiencing the coolness of the air and the sound of emptiness.

Foggy day looking out a window.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The same experience can be had on foggy days.  The damp moisture in the air suppresses sound; traffic slows down; and fewer people are out and about.

Both of these scenarios present an interesting question to ponder: what is there that exists in the absence of?

Take care.

Bars

October 5, 2014

Football facemask portrait

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

From eighth grade through graduating college, I spent the majority of my fall afternoons working behind one of these.

Looking through a football facemask

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Looking at the world behind a set of bars certainly does give a unique perspective.

If I remember correctly, the advanced technology applied to the football helmet and the increasing sophistication of the facemask has been implicated in the increasing number of concussions and chronic brain trauma  experienced by many players of the sport.  It is interesting how devices designed to protect players became one the chief contributors to injury: the theory at work here is the more “protection” afforded to the head, the greater the likelihood a player will use it to inflict pain on another.  In other words, if a player had to worry about loosing his own teeth each time he hit someone, perhaps he wouldn’t lead with his head.  (As an aside, the gender reference “he” here is not used to exclude the number of women who play football.  Indeed, there is a great deal of information regarding the susceptibility to head trauma by women playing sports.)

And while on the subject of head trauma and protection, given the number of cases of domestic violence in the news lately, perhaps some players will be seeing the world through a different set of bars.  That, however, would require changes in our culture and legal system.

Take care.

 

“Rain Tax”

October 2, 2014

 

BW photograph of a parking lot grassy area.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

In 2013, Maryland passed into law HB 987, which is the Stormwater Management-Watershed Protection Program.  It took not long for this to be referred to as the “Rain Tax”-especially by those not in favour of its passage and implementation.  It is significant that the Maryland Department of the Environment uses the word “fee” in its description of the program.

As discussed many times in this blog, words often have multiple meanings, not to mention differing connotations.   The use of the word “tax” conjures up many thoughts and reactions, with not many of them being positive.  Perhaps that was one of the reasons for that particular word choice.  On the other hand, referring to a “fee” may create a different response.

Dead fish among debris in water

Copyright 2010 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Focusing on which word to use actually appears to obscure the main point of the legislation:  with the increasing development and population density in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed area, instead of having the opportunity to soak into the ground, rain water runs off the built environment and carries with it trash and toxins into the storm drains and then into the Bay.  (Two asides:  One, I have written about this aspect of the issue before and two, this problem is magnified given the number of abandoned buildings in the city of Baltimore-also a subject of earlier posts.)  The increased pollution levels have an adverse effect on water quality, which in turn impacts the biological organisms living in and near the water.  This type of sequence is referred to as  the “domino effect”, which is defined as “a situation in which one event causes a series of similar events to happen one after the other.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

The photograph that leads this post is of a newly re-designed and re-paved parking lot at a local strip mall where grassy areas have replaced some of the asphalt.  I have been unable to determine if this is a result of the aforementioned Stormwater Management-Watershed Protection Program, but these are the kind of efforts being made to reduce the amount of run-off in other communities.  Putting aside the issue of tax vs. fee and/or governmental intervention, there are many ways in which individuals can capture and make use of storm water and they are worth investigating.  The second photograph is from Fells Point, which is near Baltimore’s Inner Harbour.

One last reference to politics, though:  this is an election year and Maryland will have a new governor and perhaps some different representatives come November, so it will be interesting to see what happens with this program and similar initiatives.  One outcome is certainly clear:  the longer we individually and collectively continue to argue semantics rather than address the substance of the issues, environmental degradation in this case, the faster we all continue in the race to marginalization.

Take care.