Winter 2018/2019

October 20, 2018

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

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

A chilly start to the day makes for a crisp walk in the woods.

BW photograph of a tree truck laying next to a large rock with direct sunlight.

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

Yesterday morning began with temperatures in the high 30s-the coldest morning of the year thus far.  This morning was a bit different-temperatures were in the mid-50s, but the rain from last night left the air heavy, damp, and a bit cold.  Rain is again in the forecast for tonight followed by temperatures once again in the high 30s for the early morn.

Not to jump too far ahead, but NOAA has released its forecast for Winter 2018/2019.  This is well worth a read for those in the U.S. who are interested.  According to this information, some of the areas affected by the recent hurricanes have “…the greatest odds for above-average precipitation this winter.”  (Several of the hiking trails I frequent are still running with water and/or are soggy and muddy from all the rain that has fallen in this area over the past few months.)  Drought conditions will continue in some areas and be reduced in others.  NOAA’s current forecast also states “No part of the U.S. is favored to have below-average temperatures.”

Time will tell as to the accuracy of this particular prediction-the report explains some of the variables that could change what is actually experienced.  As such, NOAA does update the forecast on a regular basis.

It is useful to remember that weather is local and climate is global.  While the NOAA forecast is more to the local weather-end of that spectrum, and the recent IPCC report is at the global climate-end, they both reflect patterns established by an overall warming planet.  As such, while it may mean that some have less snow to shovel this winter, which may or may not make those folks happy depending on one’s feelings toward snow, the overall socioeconomic impact is much greater.  How will Alaska, for example, cope with its increased and continued warming? (It is worth noting that linked article is from 2016.)

Take care.



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.

Michael and Climate Change

October 10, 2018

BW photograph of the woods off to the side of Chimney Rock on a foggy morning.

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

Hurricane Michael arrived today with all the destructive capabilities as was forecast.  The storm will be moving through Georgia and the Carolinas and then out to the Atlantic.

NPR’s 1A program also had this discussion about climate change-please give it a listen.  It is especially important to pay attention to the information from the recent IPCC report regarding the time frames with which we need to be working and the steps to be taken to mitigate/adapt to climate change.  Time is short, but as the report and 1A discussion indicate, the capability is there-multiple concrete strategies are presented.  It will, however, take individual, industrial, and political will.

Michael, and the other major storms, droughts, and fires of the past few years are reminders of what is at stake.

The photograph is a moment of calm.

Take care.

IPCC, Michael, Whales

October 9, 2018

BW photograph of Chimney Rock enveloped in fog.

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

Today began with a bit of drizzle and quite a bit of fog.  Once that burned off, the day became much warmer.

BW photograph of a pine tree trunk against a foggy background.

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

Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a new report-NPR posted this overview and here is the IPCC document.

While it is certainly important for all individuals to do what is possible to reduce their impact on the environment, we are clearly past the point of changing light bulbs and turning off those lights when not in use.  In order to meet the goals outlined in the report, larger scale governmental efforts are needed.  Given that the mid-term elections are right around the corner here in the U.S., and that the U.S. government has dramatically reversed the efforts made to participate in this global effort, it would be quite useful for voters to research where individual politicians stand on the issue of climate change.  This article may be of use should one choose to contact a member of Congress.  Alternately, there are any number of organizations worth investigation for possible support-Charity Navigator has a couple of lists worth a look.

The timing here is more than a little bit ironic in that Hurricane Michael is on track to hit Florida tomorrow as a (most likely) Category 3 storm.  By Thursday, it will be in the Carolinas, which are continuing the recovery process from Hurricane Florence.  NPR also posted this report about the impact of climate change on right whales.  The warming of the waters and subsequent changing of ocean currents are a substantial ingredient in both the development of stronger, larger hurricanes and the habits of ocean-living species.

Speaking of climate change, politics, and Florida, this is an important read.  It is also an example of another course of action that can be taken on behalf of the environ.

Climate change has been a serious issue for quite some time now-denial and obfuscation does not change that.  As the overall climate temperature rises, so does the magnitude and scope of the associated problems.

As an important aside,

Take care.

UPDATE:  NPR has updated their report on Hurricane Michael.

Flora and Fauna

September 18, 2018

BW photograph of the Hog Rock Trail heading toward Cunningham Falls on a foggy morning.

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

One of the other real advantages to being up and out before the sunrise is that you get to experience the waking up of the world around you.  Yes, in some situations this means more people, and more cars, and more mechanical noise.  Out in the woods, though, this changes.  For example, the various species of birds begin to sing their songs.  The aroma of the air and the texture of the ground underfoot change.  Various plants open and/or reorient themselves.  It is quite a sensory experience.

BW photograph of the split end of a tree limb laying on the ground.

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

Speaking of such, I am currently reading A Year in the Maine Woods by Dr. Bernd Heinrich.  The author is able to provide ample details as to which species makes which sounds and when or which tree is in which stage of development.  He is quite learned and has put extraordinary effort into being so.  Early in my photographic career, I spent quite a bit of time attempting to develop such knowledge.  Arguably, as per photographer John Shaw, being a well-informed naturalist would be as asset in the pursuit of photography.  This is most certainly true for one making specific photographs of particular species-you can learn when to be where for the desired image.  On the other hand, I have gotten to a point where I do not need to know which species are making what sounds as I am not interested in that degree of selectivity in my photography.  I prefer a greater degree of serendipity to my process-I wander and photograph what catches my eye.  However, I absolutely need to know that the species are.

This latter point is quite important, because we are in an age, the Anthropocene, which may very well mean they aren’t.

Please be sure to read Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural HistoryThis is Ms. Kolbert’s The New Yorker article addressing the same topic.

Take care.

Climate Change

August 9, 2018

BW photograph of the Nisqually Glacier path with the low flow of the Nisqually River.

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

The cover headline of this issue of The Economist reads “In the line of fire: Losing the war against climate change”-inside are several articles that amplify the concern.  It is worth a read.

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.