Fair

September 22, 2019

BW photograph of a food stand at a fair as seen through a chain link fence.

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

“Fair” is one of those words with multiple meanings.  One of those has to do with large gatherings of people engaging in a celebratory event-as in a “state fair”.  Another is about equal treatment or acting without bias-to treat “fairly” or to “be fair”.  The photograph above clearly represents the former.

However, it also relates to the latter.  When I used the same photograph in a previous post, the content was about the connection between unhealthy diets and their consequences with regard to the healthcare system.  Indeed, it would be hard to argue that the food advertised at this stand was healthy.  That it would be enjoyable to those who consume those items goes without saying.  That issues connected to that enjoyment, when engaged in as a lifestyle choice, is one of the points in the earlier post.

Truth in disclosure:  I have been a vegetarian for almost three decades now.  In reality, I am practically vegan.  Initially, it was concern over the conditions under which cows, pigs, and chickens are raised by industrial farming-this includes their housing as well as the amount of antibiotics and growth hormones used-that facilitated this decision.  It has since become clear that the consumption of a meat-based diet, particularly beef, is one of the major drivers of climate change.  Were I not already there, the production of methane would have been the catalyst for the change in my diet.

Therefore, I am not unbiased in what I write or link to with regard to climate change and its related subjects.  I do use credible sources for the information presented herein.  The interconnectedness of diet, healthcare, and climate change has been established.  The synergistic risks, both for individuals and the planet, are real.

It is fair that this point-of-view be explicit.

Take care.

 

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Out of the Rabbit Hole

August 19, 2019

BW photograph of a bowl of fresh peaches.

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

In the previous post, I mentioned “going down the rabbit hole“.  I usually attach a negative connotation to that phrase-it is for situations over which there is little or no felt control.  One of the ways I deal with that feeling, as a means of regaining control and perspective if you will, is to take a road trip, often in search of roadside or farmer’s markets. The sensory stimulations of fresh produce are rejuvenating to the spirit.

Colour photograph of a bowl of fresh peaches.

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

As with sunrises and sunsets, sometimes it is helpful to also use the colour version of the file.  The BW version, arguably, gives the viewer a bit more about which to think.

Take care.

The Power

August 14, 2019

BW photograph of Morgan Run on a foggy morning.

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

As in the power to alter reality.

As I usually do each morning, I checked my phone’s weather app to see the prevailing conditions-there was a string of clouds for the remaining hours of the morning, but no rain was indicated.  As a result of that info, I went to a favoured spot to take photographic advantage of the light fog in the area.  No sooner had I settled into the composition as seen above, rain started to fall.  For a brief moment (or two), my brain said “It can’t be raining because that is not what the phone said would happen!”  The water landing on my head and camera said otherwise.

Such is the power of the digital age.  Information presented can be in direct contrast to the physical reality, but the physical reality is then what is questioned.

That is a problem.

Some of this comes from confirmation bias, which is the pattern of only paying attention to data that supports one’s preconceived beliefs or desires.  If one wants something to be, one can check sources until an agreeable one is found, or select sources that are known to support a particular position.  Denial drives another part of the delusion.  Denial can be described as a “buffer against an unacceptable reality” or a way of “finding comfort in a threatening situation”.  (Those are in quotes because a speaker at a long-forgotten workshop used them and they made sense to me.  They also frame denial as a coping skill, an ineffective one in the long run, but a form of coping nonetheless.  This view is in comparison to the more pathological perspectives often attributed to that behaviour.)  If it is not acknowledged, it is not happening or did not happen.

I really wanted it to not be raining this morning.

Climate change is, of course, a perfect example of how rhetoric, or an app, can allow one to question or form an “alternate” reality.  That, however, does not change the facts on the ground.

It really was water falling from the sky.

Take care.

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.

BW photograph of a tree overlooking a cemetery.

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

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.  The above photograph is not from Rwanda, as I have not been there.  It is, however, a marker of the 800,000-1,000,000 people killed there during those 100 days.

Please do listen to this report regarding the manner by which Rwanda has coped with this truly human tragedy.  I would also highly recommend reading Mr. Gourevich’s book and the articles he has written in the intervening years.  The title of the linked book is especially poignant.  There are, of course, many other available resources.

Given the rise in hate speech and nationalistic politics that have gripped much of the world, which are based in the demonization of “the other”, there is much to be learned from the Rwanda experience before, during, and after the genocide.  However, we truly seem to be incapable of learning those lessons.  This is, I think, reflected by the fact that when teaching the Rwandan genocide, by far the majority of students had no real knowledge of what happened there in 1994.  It is extremely difficult to extract any learning points from that which you do not know happened.

The United States refused to directly intervene and obfuscated the U.N. efforts there despite having finally ratified the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. For more about that history, it is useful to read this.

Know. Remember. Learn.

Take care.

Open

April 5, 2019

BW photograph looking upward at the top of a rock formation with trees reaching into the sky.

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

The above photograph is open to much anthropomorphizing.  Are the larger trees menacing the smaller ones in the middle?  Or, are the looking on watchful that the smaller do not slip off the edge?  Given the noir-like effect that BW brings, one could conclude it is more the former than the latter.  Perhaps they are just silhouetted trees against the early morning sky.  Such imagery can stimulate the imagination.

In any case, the main access road to the mountain trails on which I like to walk was finally opened recently-it was closed for the winter months.  That is one sure sign of spring, even though it was a 27 degree morning when I visited.

BW photograph of Chimney Rock in the early morning.

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

The rising sun, though, soon cut the chill and brought the glimmer of warmer days to come.

BW photograph of several downed trees with their roots exposed.

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

There was ample evidence that this was a cold, wet, windy, winter.  This particular set of trees appear to have been victim of the domino effect-one started to fall and brought those nearest down as well.  The sound that must have made.  Given the size of these trees, and others like them that were felled, the reminders of this winter just past will remain for quite some time.

Such crashing about is not an imaginary menace.

Take care.

Powder

February 2, 2019

BW photograph of a twig poking through newly fallen snow.

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

It is 14 degrees and quite sunny as this is being written.  One advantage to this deep cold is that the snow, which fell yesterday, is a beautifully dry, crystalline, powder that is light and airy.  Not at all like the usual Mid-Atlantic moisture-laden concrete that fell earlier this winter.  No, this is the type of snow for which folks flock to the western states’ ski resorts and refer to as “pow”.  I do not ski, but this type of snow is much easier to remove from one’s driveway as it can be literally brushed away.  From a photographer’s standpoint, the highlight/shadow contrast created by side light works well to emphasize the texture of the crystals.

BW photograph of a sycamore tree's roots covered in snow.

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

The temperature rose through the later morning and by the afternoon it had warmed all the way up to freezing.  The snow in the direct sun began to melt just a bit, and as the temperature drops overnight, it will freeze.  This will then create the harder, crunchy, type of snow often referred to as “corn” snow.  This is the stuff that will act like ball bearings and create avalanches when it is covered with a new layer of snow.

Those are the three terms to which I have become accustomed to characterizing snow: powder, cement, and corn.  I am much more familiar with the latter two.

The Inuit and Yupik dialects have dozens of terms for snow in order to differentiate the various qualities.  Given that the nature of this post is fundamentally about language, and that language is the essence of culture, it would be important to also read this report.

Take care.