1,000

July 30, 2019

BW photograph of run-off after hard rains.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

One thousand.  As in days.

At times, days seem to flow past in a blur-especially when looking to the past.  At other times, they seem to trickle by with no seeming end.  In any case, days are markers of time.  They are markers in time.

Birthdays.

Graduation days.

13 Days.

Anne of the Thousand Days.

Vietnam:  The Ten Thousand Day War.

The Talking Heads sang “Letting the days go by…”.  David Byrne finishes with “Same as it ever was”.  In between he asks “Well, how did I get here?”

Which is very much a question worth asking-and answering.  After all, each day will only occur once in a lifetime.

Take care.

Lines

July 26, 2019

BW photograph of a trail through the woods in the early morn.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Lines provide a sense of direction, a sense of movement from here to there.  The lighter portion of the boot-worn trail indicates a path through the woods.  This is clearly human in origin.

BW photograph of a line of quartz running through a larger rock.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Lines can also serve as a point of contrast-the lighter streaks of quartz make a nice compliment to the darker boulder-this is a fundamental element of all B&W photography, regardless of the subject matter.  Nature provided this delineation.

Bw photograph of several broken branches around a living pine tree.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Putting both of those concepts together produces the illusion of movement to a (very) still image.  Allowing the eyes to wander and trace the lighter elements in the above photo is one way to encourage a viewing of the entire image.  Nature has a way of rendering elegant chaos.

Nature also has a means of rendering a different version of contrast.  Looking around the above image reveals a lot of dead, decomposing, organic matter.  The tree to the right however, remains straight and true.

Take care.

A Walk

July 25, 2019

BW photograph of the observation tower on Confederate Ave. in Gettysburg.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

I have been visiting the Gettysburg battlefield for decades-it has served as the subject of many posts within this blog over the years.  There is an observation tower just off Confederate Avenue and, once at the top…

BW photograph looking from Confederate Ave. toward the Emmitsburg Road.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

when looking east, it is possible to engage a view of the distance between the area where Confederate soldiers hunkered down (now named Confederate Avenue) in preparation for the battle, and the High Water Mark (the point of their furthest progress during the battle-that is across the Emmitsburg Road, which runs along the top of the above photograph)…

BW photograph looking from Confederate Ave. toward the Round Tops.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

and the two Round Tops, which were prized during the three-day battle; the Union soldiers occupied that ground.  It was across the open field depicted in both photographs that the Confederate soldiers advanced.

BW photograph of a sunrise behind a split rail fence at Gettysburg.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Despite the numerous visits and the research I have done about the battles there, I recently realized that I have never walked that route-I have driven it thousands of times, but that is not the same-the distance is covered much too quickly under motorized transport.  A paved road now connects Confederate Avenue and the Emmitsburg Road so there is no need to actually cross the field.  Yesterday offered a brilliantly cool morning to make that walk.

BW photograph of the Peach Orchard at Gettysburg.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Along the way, is the Peach Orchard…

BW photograph of a split rail fence around the Wheat Field in Gettysburg.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

and the Wheat Field-both were sites of fierce fighting.

It was bit over 3 miles to walk from Confederate Avenue, cross the Emmitsburg Road, make the loop around the Wheat Field, and return.  It took about 15-20 minutes to cover the area represented by that open field.  One can research the accounts left by soldiers who participated in the fighting-Ken Burn’s The Civil War is useful for that purpose.  Making that walk reinforces just how relatively small and tremendously exposed the individual Confederate soldiers were-they were visible to the Union soldiers arrayed across the higher ground from the moment they mustered onto the field and began the march.  Both armies would have been quite aware of what carnage was about to be unleashed-and there was (is) no place to hide, even if one wanted to do so.

BW photograph of a cannon along the Confederate Avenue at Gettysburg.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It goes without saying that no one was shooting at me as I walked and made photographs-the cannon along the way are silent-the air was clear.  I  could take my time.  I could stop when I wanted.  I could take a drink of water as needed.

I could also drive away when finished.

Take care.

 

Cold Front

July 23, 2019

BW photograph of an overcast sky the morning after strong storms.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

A front moved in triggering some very decent thunderstorms yesterday-that cold air collided with the excessively heated air from the past few days, which resulted in some local downpours and a tornado warning.  The temperature dropped from the high-90s yesterday afternoon to the mid-60s this morning.  It was still sprinkling, and rain is in the forecast for the rest of today and into tonight.

BW photograph of the Monocacy River following strong storms.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

That tornado did not materialize, thankfully, but the house was certainly rattled by several loud thunderclaps.  As a result of the copious amount of rain that fell, the local waterways were again swollen…

BW photograph of downed trees over Big Hunting Creek after strong storms.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a small section of Big Hunting Creek following strong storms.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

and roiled.

Take care.

Up There

July 20, 2019

BW photograph of blurred clouds on a very windy morning.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Today, July 20, 2019 is the 50th anniversary of man’s first walk on the moon.

In 1969, my aunt and uncle managed a drive-in movie establishment.  During that summer, my grandparents and I would awaken on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday mornings to clean up the debris left behind by the customers as it was commonplace for people to simply drop their trash on the ground and drive away-the environmental movement had yet to really take hold and recycling was unheard of.  Given the family connections, it also meant that I could go to the movies, I think, for free.  One of the other benefits was being able to sit in the projection booth and watch as those giant reels of film (remember that?) unspooled their imagery onto the screen.

(As an aside, Hurricane (Tropical Storm) Agnes destroyed that drive-in 1972.)

We were there on July 20, 1969 watching The Green Berets, a movie steeped in propaganda as the war in Vietnam was not going well, when it was announced over the speakers that Neil Armstrong had made those historic steps.  While the significance of that moment did not really register then, I remember the clapping and cheers that arose from the darkened vehicles.  It was quite a moment.

Looking up, it is still difficult to imagine what it took to make those steps happen.  For example, watch Apollo 13.  (I have not seen First Man.)  There is a scene where the flight engineers use slide rules to make their calculations.  I had a slide rule and never did learn how to use it effectively.  Today, smart phones have more capability than the computers NASA also used to make the Apollo program as successful as it was.  The average automobile has more wiring and electronics than did the lunar module.  Such capability is taken for granted and there is a quest for ever greater technological advances.

That quest, though, is part of what spurred the space program.  Most importantly, it was also a race to beat the Soviets to the moon-Sputnik was a significant event putting that race into motion.  That the U.S. and Russia continue to be adversaries demonstrates that some things do not really change.  Today, there are several countries vying for a return to the moon-some to use it as a way station on the journey to Mars.

Go outside tonight and look to the moon…imagine…

Take care.

PSYC 101 NOTE:  The ability to remember where one was and what was happening when meaningful events occurred is referred to as episodic memory-more about that here.

Heat

July 18, 2019

BW photograph of the square in Gettysburg, PA on an early, hot, summer morning.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The last couple of posts have addressed climate change from a precipitation perspective.  Now comes the heat.

The forecast for the Washington D.C. area this weekend is for temps of around 100 degrees, which, if that occurs, will be the first time at that level locally since 2016 as per a weather update from NPR.  Adding in the humidity creates the “heat index”, resulting in the felt experience of 110-115 degrees during this time period.  As such, an “excessive heat watch” has been initiated for the area.

BW photograph of two chairs sitting on the sidewalk on an early, hot, summer morning.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Coincidentally, or perhaps not, NPR’s 1A broadcast this discussion earlier this morning.  This is worth a listen as the various issues related to climate change as a national security threat are presented.  Of particular significance is the degree (no pun intended) to which climate change further destabilizes global relations-please be sure to listen for the number of people that could be displaced due to climate change and the impact of those movements.  That the melting of arctic ice due to climate change is seen as a benefit to some in the current administration, please listen for Secretary Pompeo’s comments, is quite a problem.

When engaging is this discussion, it is important to again stress that this is a right now problem, not just one for the future.  Indeed, given the administration’s position, the future will assuredly present worsening conditions and a broadening of the resultant issues, both of which increase the costs for adaptation and mitigation.  On a related note, it is also important to remember that this is not just a problem for other countries either-please listen for the discussion of Norfolk Naval Base and military training as examples of the impact on the U.S.

Given that we just had a tribute to the military staged by the current administration this past July 4th, one would think that the impact of climate change on the defense infrastructure and personnel would provide some adjustment in the overall view of the gravity of this particular problem.

However, that would require a major adjustment in the thinking on the part of the administration.

Take care.

 

The Morning After

July 9, 2019

BW photograph of the rocks at Morgan Run the morning after the recent flooding.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

These photographs were made about nineteen hours after those from the previous post.  The waters had receded…

BW photograph of the flood plain at Morgan Run after the water receeded.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of the roots of one of the sycamore trees that line the banks at Morgan Run.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

and the trees remain resolute despite the further exposure of their root systems…

BW photograph of debris caught by the trees after the recent flooding at Morgan Run.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

and the continued battering from the debris…

BW photograph of logs among the rocks at Morgan Run after the flood.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a log and rock wedged together after the flooding at Morgan Run.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of piled sticks after the flooding at Morgan Run.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

much of which, both large and small(er), will remain in place until the next flood.

BW photograph of the depressed plant stalks from the floodwaters.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Take care.

Downpours

July 8, 2019

BW photograph of turbulence caused by floodwaters flowing over rocks.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Today has been the opposite of the weather described in the previous post.  There have been several downpours, and one local station reported that 3+ inches of rain fell in the Washington, D.C. area leading to localized flooding.  Flash flood warnings were issued and motorists were advised to not drive through standing water.

BW photograph of turbulence caused by floodwaters flowing over rocks and around trees.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

These photographs were made during a brief respite from the rain and show Morgan Run, which once again had far exceeded its banks.  Under normal conditions, the water does move along, but not anything remotely like this.  Both the volume and the force of this water evidenced the rationale behind not driving through such flows.  (As an aside, the road takes an overpass to cross Morgan Run, so that would not be an issue here.)  The turbulence in the lead photos was caused by the floodwaters colliding with the very large rocks that are usually highly visible and protrude from the water enough to be quite walkable.

BW photograph of a lone tree partially submerged by floodwaters.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of three trees partially submerged by floodwaters.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The trees that line the bank have had their roots prominently exposed by previous floods-they have been documented in other posts.  As of this morning, all of those trees were still standing.  I plan to go back early tomorrow morning to check as it was again pouring while these photos were being edited and this post was being written.

This kind of weather event, extremely heavy, but relatively brief, downpours are in keeping with the predictions for this area as a result of climate change.  As such, it is expected that this will not be the last of flood photos from Morgan Run and other waterways this summer.

Take care.

Timing

July 7, 2019

BW photograph of Taugahannock Falls canyon under strong sidelight-the falls are in shadow while the canyon wall is strongly lit.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Timing, as the saying goes, is everything.

That is certainly the case with photography.  In the photo above, arguably, the most important of the subject matter, the falls, is in shadow, while the canyon wall is brightly lit by the strong, directional sidelight.  Such is often the issue when traveling.  It may not be possible to be at the location at the desired time.  Or, if there at the desired time, environmental conditions may not cooperate so as to allow for the intended image.  When that happens, one must adapt.  The strong contrast presented by the rising sun allows for a textured study of the canyon wall.  Perhaps this calls attention to a feature that may be overlooked when focusing, literally and figuratively, on the waterfall.  Perhaps this is also just a rationalization for a missed opportunity…

In any case, one must remain flexible.  Plans often have to be modified due to conditions beyond one’s control.  More to the point, one must retain control over that which is within reality.  Being adaptable is certainly an asset when so much can, and often does, go “wrong”.  That last word in is quotes because that in itself is a judgment.  It is much better, and more conducive to one’s well-being, to avoid such interpretations and just accept the situation as it presents itself.  In this particular case, it was a gloriously clear morning in which to be on the road.

Take care.

Falls

July 6, 2019

BW photograph of the top of Buttermilk Falls.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This is a photo essay with not much text-just a bit of description and explanation.  It was quite warm in Ithaca, NY over the Fourth of July holiday-a local cashier stated that it was finally “warm”, which is more of a comment about the winter.  The sun was bright and hot, especially for this locale (way upper 80s), once the day made the turn into the afternoon.  Therefore, it made sense to awaken early to make the walk along the Buttermilk Falls Trail before the sun fully lit up the day.  The above photo is from the entrance-once in the gorge and nearer the water, the ambient temperature cooled quite a bit.

BW photograph of a section of Buttermilk Falls.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

There are several drops as the water makes it way down through the gorge.

BW photograph of a section of Buttermilk Falls.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a section of Buttermilk Falls.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a section of Buttermilk Falls.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of one of the last sections of Buttermilk Falls.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This final photograph is just before the trail makes a further descent-time, and energy, did not allow for the walk’s continuance.  The “going off the side of the mountain” look is certainly intriguing, though.

Take care.