Farewell 2015

December 31, 2015

BW photograph of a faded wall advertisement in Havre de Grace

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

2015 has come to a close.  As it is ending, global temperatures are up and the price of a barrel of crude oil is down.  There are an awful lot of other bits of information to be considered, however, those will be left to the various lists being compiled about the year.

Photography is certainly not without such lists.  Many magazines and blogs are hosting their “best of” gear choices, which provides impetus for what is referred to as “gear acquisition syndrome”.  The idea that a new camera or lens will demonstrably improve one’s imagery is one that manufacturers count on to drive sales, which is important for them as sales of photographic gear are generally down across the industry.

The connection between photographic sales, global temperatures, and crude oil?  Consumerism.

BW photograph of a felt Christmas tree ornament lying on the ground

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The hours of Christmas Day 2015 were not even over when emails advertising “buy what you really wanted” were being sent.   It is worth pondering the various interpretations to be made about such a message.  I have done my part to fund various companies in the past year(s) and, if I am truly honest with myself (and checkbook), very few of the purchases have made much of a difference in what I do as a photographer.  The types of photographs that have appeared in these posts over the years do not require a great deal of complexity or state-of-the-art technological wizardry.  (It is acknowledged that may not be true for other photographers or other genres of photography.) I have (and have had) what I need.  In any endeavour, if the equipment on hand is sufficient for the purpose, then buying more most likely means the purchase is meant to fulfill some other needs.  It is important to figure that out.  After all, the cameras, lenses, and such are just tools to be used to an end, not the end themselves.

The images and their stories are what count.

Thanks to all who have read these posts over the years-it is greatly appreciated.

This is the last post for 2015. I would like to wish you a Happy New Year and to please be well.

 

 

Trees and Bridges

December 29, 2015

BW photograph of an Amtrac Bridge in Havre de Grace

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of the Chesapeake City bridge

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Two different cities.  Two different trees. Two different bridges. Two different days.

Same weather.

Very similar compositions.

Take care.

Weather

December 27, 2015

BW photograph of storm clouds over a trailer park

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The very warm, wet, definitely unseasonable weather in the Mid-Atlantic does not compare to the storms that have hammered the South over the past few days.  The same can be said for the flooding in Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay.  Australia is dealing with wildfires that are tied to the opposite of weather events-extraordinarily dry conditions.  While these kinds of losses are devastating at any time, it is especially heartbreaking to have such events occur during the holiday season.  Condolences to all who have lost family, friends, and property.

The photograph above is from southwestern Pennsylvania and those clouds look much more ominous than they turned out to be.  Within a short period of time, they smoothed out into a continuous mid-tone grey before dropping just a bit of rain, which then settled into a chilly mist.  The temperature was in the mid-40s, and that was decidedly cooler than those of the past week.  The forecast is again for much warmer temperatures in the coming week.

The photograph presents the clouds as I remember them to be.  It is very easy to use an editing program, such as Photoshop, to make them look much more threatening.  Given what is happening globally with the current weather pattern, there really is no need for false software embellishment.

Take care.

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2015

Bright red berries against a lichen-covered rock

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!

Given the current weather pattern, there is no snow to be found in the immediate area.  In lieu of the white, the bright red berries and complementary lichen express a bit of a holiday sentiment…

Please enjoy the day.

Christmas Eve

December 24, 2015

Santa Claus version of a Coca-Cola soda can sitting among oak leaves, with late afternoon side light

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

‘Tis the day before Christmas…

Where?

December 23, 2015

BW photograph of a rain-wetted railroad track and bridge reaching into the distance

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

As 2015 draws to a close, given the state of affairs throughout the world, it would seem fitting to ask:  to where is humanity headed?

It is 60 degrees and pouring rain as this is being written.  The Climate Change deal has been brokered, and members of Congress are rumbling about its future should a Republican win the U.S. presidency next year.  It is worth noting that California has been in a drought for the past four years, and, on the other side of the planet, the Philippines has been hit by two typhoons in the recent months.  And then we have Paris. San Bernadino.  Syria.  ISIS.  The history of the Ku Klux Klan.  Baltimore.  Chicago. Cleveland.  Charleston.  Columbine.  New Town.  It would seem that there is more than enough fear, suspicion, and hatred that spreads around the globe.

This morning, The Diane Rehm Show broadcast a discussion that was entitled “A Conversation With Faith Leaders On Moral Leadership In Today’s Political Climate”-it is well worth a listen.  One of the main threads of the discussion was seeing people as “the other”.  From a sociological perspective, that means dividing people into groups: “us” and “them”.  The “us” are people who look, sound, believe, and think like “we” do.  The “them” are people who do not.  Once placed into that second category, people are then looked at as being a threat and as something to be feared.  Stereotyping, of course, drives a very large part of this.  Once that prejudice has been established, it is a very short trip to discrimination.  Those three concepts (stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination) are very much present in the political discourse as the run-up to the 2016 presidential election continues.

What to do about that?  Please listen to the program linked above.

Beyond the content, the other main reason to listen to the program is to hear how the panelists discuss these issues.  No one is shouting; no one is demeaning another.

Take care.

 

 

Winter Solstice

December 22, 2015

BW photograph of trees blowing in the wind

Copyright 2015 Kevin P, Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Today is the Winter Solstice (in the Northern Hemisphere), which means that this is the shortest day of the year.  It also the beginning of winter.

This is important as the weather forecasts for the eastern part of the United States call for record high temperatures-and not just for the warmest temperature for the daylight hours, but also the warmest temperature for the “lows” of the nighttime hours.  The above photograph was made in the early afternoon, when the temperature was in the mid-50s.  A lively breeze was blowing, and it had rained earlier in the morning.  It is to be warmer yet tomorrow.

As a result of those overcast skies, the shortness of the day will not be so noticeable.

Take care.

“Landmark”

December 13, 2015

BW photograph of the sunrise over a parking lot

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The world awoke today to The New York Times proclaiming “Nations Approve Landmark Climate Deal”. (This story is being covered by media around the world, and so this particular article is just one of the reports.)  It is perhaps serendipitous that the temperature today in Washington, D.C. is forecast to reach the mid-70s.  Today is December 13th.

BW photograph of the Bachelor Boarding House at Oregon Ridge

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Kiribati (a nation mentioned in the “climate migrant” article linked below), the Marshall Islands, Maldives, and, much closer to home, Tangier Island will perhaps have a longer future to which to look as a result of the agreement.  This remains to be seen as the deal will need to be re-visited in the years to come, and as the ongoing effects of climate change are monitored-this accord does not eliminate climate change.  Significantly, the term “climate migrant” has entered the English lexicon; this term is used in reference to populations, which will be displaced as oceans rise and desertification spreads.  Still, this is a momentous occasion, and what is of great significance is that 195 nations participated in this historic agreement-the deal applies to the most developed, the developing, and the least developed, nations.  Ever since the Kyoto Protocol failed, the stratification of countries has been one of the main stumbling blocks to the reaching of a global agreement.  No longer.  Maybe, just maybe, this will also serve as an example of how nations truly can cooperate to resolve international problems.

Then again, maybe not.  Some members of Congress have vowed to fight implementation of the accord in the United States, an issue that is nothing new here.  Whether Congress will have the power to do anything about that implementation remains to be seen.  One of the overall concerns is the shift away from fossil fuels to cleaner sources of energy, and the impact that could have on the economies of particular states.  That situation is not unique to the U.S., as countries who rely on oil production as a stalwart of their economies, Venezuela, for example, are experiencing financial difficulties.  The other side to this, though, is that perhaps this agreement will stimulate much more investment in new technologies for energy production.  While it would have been helpful for this to have occurred years ago, now seems to be the time.

Take care.

 

 

 

 

Fallen

December 5, 2015

Red leaves that have fallen to the ground

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It was an exercise in serenity watching and listening to these leaves as gravity pulled them to the ground. Included with that was a bit of melancholy as this means the passing of another season, and colder times ahead.

According to this report, there have been 355 mass shootings in the United States so far this year.

Unlike the inevitability of the falling of leaves, there are efforts that could be enacted to prevent this degree of violence, for which the United States is leading the world.   The issue is whether or not there is the political and cultural will to intervene.  Americans have quite a unique relationship with firearms, and that makes this an extremely contentious issue-one that, to date, shows very little sign of changing at the Federal level.

The legislative efforts at the state level have been a bit different, as summarized in this article.  Time will tell how these changes hold up to the challenges mounted by those in opposition.

Pogo got it right:  “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Take care.