Beauty

October 13, 2018

BW photograph of hay rolls in Antietam.

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

That which is considered beautiful is subjective and very much a culturally defined term.

BW photograph of Burnside Bridge at Antietam.

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

A cool, crisp October morning with a bright sun rising in the east provided some measure of that criteria.

BW photograph of the Dunkerd Church at Antietam.

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

It was a beautiful morning for a walk.

That well over 20,000 men were either killed, wounded, or went missing here in 1862 defies the imagination and stands in very stark contrast to the feel of this place on this particular day and time.  The battle at Antietam was the “single bloodiest day” in United States history.

Gen. Robert E. Lee has been quoted in multiple sources as having said “It is well for war to be so terrible, lest we grow fond of it.”  Indeed.  And yet, the Civil War in the U.S. continued until 1864; then there was WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq (twice) and Afghanistan-the latter is ongoing.  These are just some of the overt wars for the U.S.-although there has been no declaration of war since WWII.  That list does not include the covert activities nor the ones for which we supply one side against the other as in Yemen, for example.  We provide Saudi Arabia with arms and support in what amounts to a proxy war with Iran.  The violence of the Civil Rights Movement and the riots of 1967 and 1968 are not included, yet were bloody in their own right.  Globally, we could discuss the fighting in many other places (Myanmar) or the threat of such elsewhere (Bosnia and Herzegovina).  One does not have to reach the point of taking up arms to be destructive.  Think about the belief systems and public policies that support racism and destroy the environment, to name two, both here and around the world.

It is so very helpful to get outside and see and feel and smell and touch the beauty that exists.  It is also important to remember how fleeting that can be unless there is a shared recognition that short-term gain for some cannot be a substitute for longer-term deprivation, exploitation, and outright elimination of another.

Take care.

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Water

October 5, 2018

BW photograph of Morgan Run with blurred water due to slow shutter speed.

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

Running water is a favourite subject for landscape photographers.  A relatively slow shutter speed is often used to create the smoothed out effect seen above and in the two photographs immediately below.  While this is an aesthetic choice, a slow shutter speed (measured in full seconds) is often a necessity when photographing in low light and using a relatively small aperture (f/8 for example) for depth-of-field.

BW photograph a small waterfall at Morgan Run.

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

BW photograph of Morgan Run with blurred water due to slow shutter speed.

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

BW photograph of Morgan Run with somewhat sharper water due to faster shutter speed.

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

This is the same scene as the photo immediately above, except a  faster shutter speed was used.  As such, the water takes on much more of an “edgy” quality, which perhaps gives a better sense of what power it can possess.  As an aside, this is the reason water, when imaged by sports photographers, has been “frozen”-the high shutter speed needed to stop the motion of a kayaker in a set of rapids also stops the motion of the water.

BW photograph of debris from flooding at Morgan Run.

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

The past months have been extremely wet (it stormed again last night and sprinkled just a bit this morning) and Morgan Run has, on a few occasions, rampaged over its banks.  The above and following photographs document several piles of debris that have wedged against the trees along those banks.  Some of this debris was 20-30 feet beyond the usual water line under non-flood conditions.

BW photograph of tree trunk debris at Morgan Run after flooding.

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

BW photograph of debris among trees at Morgan Run after flooding.

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

BW photograph of a down tree, stripped of bark, after flooding at MR.

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

There is a fury within that water can unleash-even a normally (relatively) small bit of water such as Morgan Run can move large objects when flooded.  Looking at these piles led me to think about the earthquake and accompanying tsunami that recently hit Indonesia.  Even with hearing/reading the reports, such an event is still unimaginable.  The death toll is currently 1500 plus and expectations are that this number will rise as workers continue to search the enormity of destruction-the number of people swept out to sea remains unknown.  While those who have survived must now face the physical task of rebuilding their lives and communities, the remains from such a catastrophic event are not always visible.  The psychological trauma visited upon those can persist.

Reminders always remain.  For example, in 2011, an earthquake/tsunami destroyed the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan.  Radiation most certainly can be measured, but not by using the naked eye; therefore, continued monitoring and testing is required.  While that area continues the process of recovery, fisherman, whose livelihoods have been impacted since the event, are concerned about a plan to dump treated water from the plant in the ocean.

Take care.

 

Rain (Continued)

September 13, 2018

BW photograph of Morgan Run after Gordon's floods but before the arrival of Florence.

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

The title is both literal and figurative.

Rain has been the main subject over the past few posts.  Even though “Rocks” documents a hike that took place on an 80+ degree humid morning, the main emphasis was the impact of the rain in this region.  Over the past few days, the remnants of Tropical Storm Gordon has dumped a copious amount of rain.  The above photograph is of Morgan Run from this past Tuesday morning, and depicts a vastly lower water level than existed this past Sunday morning-it was still raining hard then.  Mostly cloudy and misty conditions have prevailed since, with smaller periods of heavy rain.

Given that the water level had fallen, what was left to document was the result of the flooding.

BW photograph of the erosion debris onthe walkway at Morgan Run after a recent deluge.

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

This is the debris that had either been washed down the walkway from the parking lot or had been deposited by the current during the most recent flooding at Morgan Run.  For a bit of perspective, the fishing platform in the background was under water on Sunday.

BW photograph of a leaning Sycamore tree's roots that have been exposed due to flooding.

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

BW photograph of a row of Sycamore roots exposed by flood waters.

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

The photographs above show the exposed roots of several large Sycamore trees.

BW photograph of a pine tree's roots exposed by flooding at Morgan Run.

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

These belong to a pine tree nearby.

The high water mark from the weekend was well above the location of these trees-in other words, they were partially under water over the weekend.  Morgan Run has over-topped its banks several times this year, which has resulted in the soil being washed away.  It goes without saying that this is a cumulative effect-Morgan Run has flooded many times in the years that I have been visiting the area.

BW photograph of broken logs wedged against Sycamore roots after a flood.

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

When the water does rise, Morgan Run can flow at a pretty good clip, so the degree of erosion is not surprising.  Logs banging into the tree trunks are an additional stress.

BW photograph of rocks amid some exposed roots after a flood.

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

In many areas, the soil has been replaced by loose rocks and stones.  As such, there is a lesser amount of firm ground to hold the trees in place.

BW photograph of a maple leaf in mud marked by the water's current.

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

The Mid-Atlantic has been inundated by rain and the ground is saturated.  Hurricane Florence is now forecast to make landfall late Friday into early Saturday.  This area is on the outer reach of the current trajectory (the Carolinas), but she will certainly drop more rain here as the storm progresses.  In fact, while Florence has lost some wind speed, the main concern is the historic amount of rain and subsequent flooding that is expected.  Indeed, the adjective “biblical” has been used to characterize that aspect of the storm.  Florence is expected to stall over the Carolinas in much the same manner as Hurricane Harvey did over Houston just over a year ago.  Harvey’s rainfall set a record-will Florence top that?  It does bear repeating that we continue to see the escalating impact of climate change on the formation and impact of such storms.

Meanwhile, Olivia is battering Hawaii and out in the Atlantic, Isaac, Helene, and Joyce are spinning.

Across the Atlantic, parts of Europe are experiencing the opposite effects of climate change.

Climate change is clearly a global issue that manifest itself in a variety of ways-most of which are extremely detrimental to flora, fauna, and the built environ.  It really is a problem that many in power and those who vote for such perspectives fail to recognize this.

Take care.

Greys

August 23, 2018

BW photograph of an overcast day in Mercer, ME.

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

Having deep distinct blacks and bright white highlights provide the end-point contrast for striking BW photography.  However, the gradations throughout the middle-tone greys are necessary to provide the full range of tones for this medium.  Otherwise, you would have what BW photographers refer to as the “chalk and soot” look.

BW photograph of an old Ford tractor with a front end loader.

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

The black-grey-white transitions, combined with the absence of colour, which is often overworked via the Saturation controls in photo-editing software, provides a sense of purity, a sense of “completeness”, to the imagery.

Take care.

 

BW photograph of the Hurricane Jose's flooding of Bethany Beach.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

PHOTOGRAPHER NOTE:  The above photograph is from Bethany Beach following a tropical storm.

Yesterday, NPR’s 1A had a discussion about Tangier Island and it is worth a listen.

Climate change does indeed present an unpleasant reality for many.  The notion that a way of life lived for generations may no longer be possible is very difficult to contemplate, let alone actually face.  Years ago, I learned a definition of denial that I came to appreciate:  “Denial provides a sense of security or buffer against an unacceptable reality.”  (Unfortunately, I do not recall the source of the definition.) In that sense, denial is a coping mechanism-an ineffective one in the longer term, but it does take the sting out of the short-term.  However, to continue to deny the existence of climate change and its human basis in the face of scientific evidence, or worse, to support politicians, ideas (which include the questioning of the fundamental scientific processes resulting in the data), and policies that will exacerbate the problem, is a willful refusal to accept things as they are and are becoming.  Meanwhile, fires burn, floods inundate, and droughts bake in the time of now.

It is important that one caller advised Mr. Johnson about his mischaracterization of Tangier Island as the initial population to be relocated.  Here is an article regarding Isle de Jean Charles from two years ago-please also give this a read.

Climate change and the need for mitigation and adaptation cannot rationally be denied regardless of how uncomfortable that may be.

Take care.

Backdated: July 5, 2018

July 15, 2018

BW photograph looking west down Thames Street before sunrise.

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

BW photograph looking from Fells Point toward the Chesapeake Bay at sunrise.

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

BW photograph of the City Pier in Fells Point at sunrise.

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

I have finally gotten back to completing this post, which was begun on July 5.

These photographs were made early on the morning of July 5.  This area had been under high temperature/high humidity conditions that had pushed heat indexes into the triple digits during that week.  As such, when out and about, it was important to stay well-hydrated so as to stave off heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  While temperatures have moderated a bit, we still have August on the way…

BW photograph of a partially full water bottle atop a granite step.

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

BW photograph of a water bottle laying in the gutter.

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

BW photograph of a water bottle laying in the gutter.

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

BW photograph of a partially full water bottle laying at the base of a street light.

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

However, it is also important to properly dispose of the containers for those fluids-especially when single-use containers are employed.  This recent article from National Geographic details the enormity of the problem that plastic presents.  The following is a quote from an earlier National Geographic article:

“The new study, published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, is the first global analysis of all plastics ever made—and their fate. Of the 8.3 billion metric tons that has been produced, 6.3 billion metric tons has become plastic waste. Of that, only nine percent has been recycled. The vast majority—79 percent—is accumulating in landfills or sloughing off in the natural environment as litter. Meaning: at some point, much of it ends up in the oceans, the final sink.”

The plastic bottles shown above are four that did not initially make it to a recycling bin on July 4th.  Just as important, two of them still contained a fair amount of water.  On that note, here is some information related to the wasting of water, while this site addresses the worldwide lack of access to improved water sources and the concomitant problems associated with that.

Remember Flint, MI? (And that is not the only city in the U.S. with water issues.)

Take care.

Interaction

March 27, 2018

BW photograph of a wall with a diagonal downspout in contrasty light.

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

There are several locations that I photograph repeatedly-this wall is one of them.

Part of the reasoning for this is accessibility, but the overriding factor has to do with the character of the structure (the brickwork, windows, and diagonal downspout) and the ambient light as it interacts with those elements.

Walls impart a sense of permanence and stability (as any follower of current geopolitics understands, they also most certainly serve as a means of separation and enclosure).  The light, however, is anything but.  For example, the shadows are quite well-defined, and they are offset by bright highlights.  This combination is created by a very strong, very direct, light source-the sun was bright and the sky clear on the day the photograph was made.   The current conditions are exactly the opposite-the sky is uniformly overcast as it is moving on toward rain.  Therefore, if this wall were to be photographed at the moment this is being written, the distinct film noir look seen here would be missing.

I very much prefer this type of lighting for this type of subject.

Take care.