Contrasts

January 12, 2020

BW photograph of debris on a walkway after a flooding.

Copyright 2020 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

A couple of days ago, it was well below freezing, and we had several inches of snow.  Yesterday, and into last night, it warmed up considerably, into the 60s, and a powerful wind and rain storm blew through the area.  As is the norm with such short, heavy rains, there was evidence of localized flooding.

BW photograph of muddy leaves plastered against a bulkhead after a flooding.

Copyright 2020 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of debris around a tree trunk after a flooding.

Copyright 2020 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The wind gusted in such a manner as to rattle windows.  The forecast had called for a potentially damaging thunderstorm to occur around 3:00 a.m.  Whether responding to that or to my cat’s incessant need for attention, I awakened shortly after that time, and there did not appear to have been a thunderstorm.  Clearly, though, it had rained, and quite hard.

This stands in stark contrast to Australia.  They are in the middle of a truly horrendous fire season resulting from climate change and drought that is genuinely catastrophic for the land, the wildlife, the citizens, and the global community.  Those fires are pumping tons of particulate matter and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as well, thus completing the feedback loop.  This puts a very sharp point on the viewpoints and policies of Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Indeed, whether one is discussing Morrison, Trump, or Bolsonaro, the common threads are policies defiantly at odds with a need to quell a raging planet.

How much this plays into the upcoming 2020 election in the U.S. remains to be seen.

Take care.

Off-Season

January 11, 2020

BW photograph of the Ocean City pier silhouetted against the morning sky.

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

My favourite time to go to the shore is during the off-season.  The beaches are largely empty…

BW photograph of closed store fronts on the boardwalk.

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

 

BW photograph of bikes parked on a boardwalk.

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

 

BW photograph of some leaves gathered in front of a closed store.

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

 

BW photograph of closed store fronts on the boardwalk.

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

 

BW photograph of a downed sign laying amid some leaves.

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

and there is a quiet elegance, a simplicity, to the boardwalk.  It is also possible to clearly hear the rolling of the ocean as otherwise there is very little sound.  There is no congestion and no distractions.  No sickly sweet smells of beach fare.  Just the air, the water, and the sound of one’s feet alighting on wood.

Take care.

 

Change

December 20, 2019

Bw photograph looling up at a pair of church steeples on a clear, sunny, day.

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

Last Sunday was a bright, beautiful, if a bit chilly, sunny day.

BW photograph of a sunlit hotel exterior wall looking out from a window.

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

It was a nice day for a walk before retiring later in the afternoon.  As the sun was setting, the weather was about to change.

BW photograph of a hotel courtyard after a snow-looking down from a room window.

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

BW photograph of a snowy highway looking out and down from a hotel window.

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

This was the scene about 17 hours later.  It is December…

Take care.

Harmony

December 12, 2019

BW photograph of a mum.

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

There is nothing that humans create, from the Sydney Opera House, to the bass line for “Baba O’Riley”, to a Pink Floyd audio/visual show, that compares to the elegant harmony produced by nature.

BW photograph of a 3-pronged pine needle caught in the bark of a pine tree.

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

Humans, though, do most certainly have the ability to upset that harmony, which is reflected in the decline/destruction of species population and habitats throughout the world-this and this are examples.

Nature does have the remarkable ability to adapt and rejuvenate-witness the Exclusion Zone surrounding Chernobyl.  It did take a powerful lot of human intervention to mediate the result of the meltdown-efforts that would not have been needed were it not for the arrogance of those (and the system) that precipitated the explosion.  For details about that, please read this and watch this.

Yes, as Neil Young sang, and this is a paraphrase, “we have Mother Nature on the run”…only now it is almost fifty years hence since he wrote “After the Gold Rush”.

Yet, there are ways to restore that balance, that harmony.  We just have to have the wisdom, the will, and the political fortitude to make it so.

Take care.

Haunting

November 26, 2019

 

BW photograph of the greenhouses and main building of an abandoned nursery.

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

There is a haunting quality that accompanies abandoned buildings.

BW photograph of the main building of an abandoned nursery.

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

Part of that comes from the physical aging of the structures.  Wood dries out, bakes in the sun, and turns grey.

BW photograph of the greenhouses, which are part of an abandoned nursery.

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

Translucent materials become fogged and weathered.  Doors flap and creak in the wind.

BW photograph of the main building of an abandoned nursery.

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

Mostly though, that feeling comes from the loss of purpose and energy provided by a living presence.  In this case, one can easily imagine the rows of flowers or herbs or vegetables that once could have been grown and sold here.  The interaction of customers and the vendor(s) as goods were exchanged for payment.  The pleasure derived from fresh produce.

The flip side of that, though, is the struggle to make a small business work in an era of industrial farming, long-distance trucking, and chain stores.  (This is, of course, speculation as I do not know the reason for the ending of this establishment.)  Owners tire, become physically or financially unable to continue, or develop other interests, other needs.

Imagining what once was is part of the draw to creating images of that left behind.

Take care.

 

Stillness

September 14, 2019

BW photograph of a wooden bench with fall debris underneath.

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

It was a damp, cool, day-one that was good for a walk.  While doing so, I came upon this bench, which seemed to beckon for a moment or two of stilled contemplation.  However, once the photograph was made, I continued on.  The thought, though, of sitting and letting the rest of the morning’s traffic pass by lingered.

Take care.

Choices

August 25, 2019

BW photograph of Devil's Den on a clear morning.

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

The other night’s thunderstorm cleared the humidity and knocked down the temperatures-nice conditions to be outside.  The above photograph is of Devil’s Den, which is on the Gettysburg battlefield.  This was the composition I had in mind on the drive there-the rock formations appear as giant stepping stones leading from the lower left to the upper right, which pulls the eye across the frame.  The lichen on the rocks contrasts nicely with the middle tones of the rock and the darkness of the sky (which was created by using the red filter in the Acros film simulation and a polarizer), and serve as a leading line that also crosses the frame.  The morning sun was high enough to showcase the textures, but not direct enough to wash them away.  Absolutely perfect conditions for this photo-that is one reason to pay attention to weather forecasts and climatic conditions.  This scene would look very different with a uniformly overcast, grayish, sky.  Most importantly, it would not have yielded the desired image.

BW photograph looking down a bridge span on a foggy morning.

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

Aside from the obvious difference in subject matter in these two photos, the ambient conditions are also quite different.  This photograph was made the morning after the one above, and was created prior to the sun clearing the trees.  It was cool and foggy, so the light was quite soft-the relative absence of clearly defined shadows is indicative of this, as is the whitish sky in the distance.  The converging lines are what pulls the eye through this photo and conveys a sense of distance.  This is a fairly pedestrian (meaning that this is a common angle) image, but one that I like nonetheless.

BW photograph of a section of bridge highlighting the rivet work.

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

A detail image of the same bridge highlighting the rail and diagonal span.  In one sense, the diagonal movement is the opposite of that of the eye when reading English-that is, it leads the eye from the right to the left and so introduces just a bit of tension to the image.  It is also possible, though, to view that same line as moving on a downward diagonal from the left to the right-this restores a sense of balance.  It is important to note that some cultures read right to left, which reverses the points being made here.  Adding in the flat railing introduces another dimension.  When making the photograph, I saw the flat railing as leading the eye from left to right (that “reading” point again) across the bottom of the frame, with the span then making a sharp upward movement back to the left and out of the frame.  This, too, can be reversed.  The downward diagonal to the right, then flat across the frame to the left.  In any case, the vertical tension wires close the frame at the left, essentially creating a triangle.  A third option is to view both the diagonal and the horizontal as meeting at a point to the lower right.  It can be interesting to pay attention to the initial response created by the mind’s eye when viewing a photograph.  Should the image lend itself, it is worth forcing the brain to take a different look.  From a compositional standpoint, the photographer does well to consider the manner by which to engage the viewer-is there to be a focus (literally and figuratively) on one point in a photograph, or is the viewer encouraged to roam through the entirety of the scene?  Both have their applications-the photographer has to decide.

Finally, there are no people in these photographs.  That, too, was by design.  In fact, I had to wait in the making of the lead photo for some visitors to clear the area.  Frequent readers (thank you very much!) will have taken notice that the images presented are most often characterized by that lack of personage.  This is one reason for arising early and getting to where I want to go-folks tend to sleep later.  I like the emotional impact of that absence-it can be possible to interject feelings as disparate as loneliness or solitude depending on the current disposition of the viewer.  Again, what is included or excluded is up to the photographer.

Choices must be made.  This is part of what separates photographs from snapshots-not that there is anything wrong with the latter.

Take care.