Pretty

February 16, 2018

BW photograph of trees silhouetted at twilight.

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

After having made two trips in New Orleans in post-Katrina 2008, I had decided that making pretty photographs was a waste of my time.  There are two very subjective aspects in that sentence:  the first, “pretty”, is open to interpretation.  My initial photographic interest was the natural world-grand scenics and the intimate microcosm of mountains, flowers, and critters.  Having been to the Lower 9th Ward and other areas that were still wrecked three years after the storm had made an impression-“pretty” images were of much less interest.  The second, “…waste of my time.” is not saying “a waste of time period“; it was fine for others to make such photographs.   I wanted to make socially relevant photographs to illustrate a number of concerns that I felt were important-they could be largely grouped under the heading of the human impact on the natural world.  Hence my emphasis on trash, for example.

A decade later, I have found myself to be increasing frustrated and disillusioned, and, yes, angry, at the state of the world; particularly U.S. politics and the role it plays in local, national, and global events.  We have had yet another mass shooting in a school.  That makes something like 30 such events since the start of 2018, let alone what came before.  Previous posts have detailed my concerns over the political response to climate change.  Trash continues to proliferate.  And so on.  While Steven Pinker does have a point, as does this article, the examples cited here dull the shine of such information, especially when they have a direct impact on a given individual.

BW photograph of trees silhouetted at twilight with clouds in the background.

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

All of which leads me back to “pretty”.  That is still very much a subjective term.  The photographs included here fit that definition for me.  I very much like B&W photographs that have a full range of tones from deep blacks to bright whites.   It is also helpful to remember the emotions experienced at the time the shutter was pressed.  Watching the clouds move across the sky and the manner by which the light changed in response to that movement induced a sense of calm and wonder.  For a few moments, the info in the paragraph above became irrelevant.

That does not mean those issues can be ignored or obfuscated.  Doing so is, after all, what allows them to worsen.  I will most certainly continue to make photographs to illustrate that which is of concern to me.  At the same time,  I am returning to my roots (which seems to be an appropriate phrase for the intent here, literally and figuratively) as it is quite useful to one’s well-being to find some beauty and peace when possible.

Take care.

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Winter 2018

February 13, 2018

BW photograph of the low winter sun against an overcast sky with silhouetted trees.

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

It has been an odd winter with regard to the temperature and forms of precipitation.  The rain promised by the overcast sky in the above photograph did eventually fall.

(Photographer’s Note:  The above photograph was deliberately underexposed so as to add a bit more “moodiness” to its feel.  The clouds were not so full of moisture so as to be quite that dark.)

BW photograph of an icy yard with clouds in the background.

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

We have also had two decent ice storms (so far).  That caveat was added as we still have the rest of February and all of March yet to come.

BW photograph of an ice-laden pine branch with a Christmas tree ball.

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

Both of these were enough to create problematic driving conditions and altered school schedules…

BW photograph of an ice covered tree with a contrail in the distance.

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

enough so that the thought of being on a plane to somewhere else was quite attractive.

The “oddness” mentioned in the first sentence?  The forecast is for temps in the 60s later this week.

We do still have the rest of February and all of March to go.

Take care.

Remnants Redux

December 27, 2017

BW photograph of the sun shining through trees.

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

The angular intricacy of leafless trees provide a striking graphic when silhouetted against the low winter sun.

BW photograph of a fallen autumn leaf in water.

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

The leaves themselves appear to be much more delicate and vulnerable-an effect that seems to be enhanced once they are on the ground.

Be sure to look up and down…

Take care.

“Nice” Light

November 16, 2017

BW photograph of Trinity Lutheran Church.

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

It is worth looking for nice light-and that is quite subjective and dependent on the desired image/effect.  In this case, “nice” means a hard, front, light, which serves to provide the contrast to accentuate the brightness of the sunlit portions of the church while also providing the darker shadows.

BW photograph of Trinity Lutheran Church and the cemetary.

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

BW photograph of Trinity Lutheran Church and the cemetary-wide view.

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

Having found the requisite light and an appealing subject as the showcase, it is then useful to make a variety of compositions.

This worked.

Take care.

Heliophysics

July 5, 2017

BW photograph of buildings and a water tower.

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

On August 21, 2017 there will be an approximately 70-mile-wide band of the U.S. that extends from Oregon across to South Carolina, which will experience a total solar eclipse.  This discussion from NPR’s 1A is definitely worth a listen as the guests discuss the particulars-including the important, specific, instructions for the viewing of this event.  One would really not like to literally fry one’s eyes, right?

BW photograph of palettes against a brick wall.

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

“Heliophysics” is the term used for the study of the interaction between the sun and space, as described here.  Understanding and paying attention to the effect of light is the absolute essence of photography.  Without the direct light of the sun, the above two photographs would be much less interesting.  The strong highlights and deep shadows are what provide the sense of texture and depth to the images.  Were this an overcast day, or even a different time on the same day, these photographs would not have been able to be produced in this form without the use of artificial light.

BW photograph of a bulldog sunning itself in a window.

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

Such conditions also produce the perfect time for a nap.

Take care.

Spring Colour

May 14, 2017

Colour photograph of a decaying log in front of lichen covered rocks and some bright green leaves.

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

This is the photograph on which I was working when the rain began to fall as explained in the previous post.  I do not like to mix BW and colour photographs in the same entry, and this one really did need to be presented in colour.

Take care.

Cloudspotting

April 18, 2017

BW photograph of various trees against a clear sky.

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

A clear blue sky is a pleasant sight and a joy to experience…

BW photograph of sycamore trees against a clear sky.

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

…today was that kind of day.  Earlier this week, Sunday night into Monday, it rained and rained-at times it pounded; at others, it was just a drizzle.

BW photograph of a large white cloud after a rain.

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

The latter part of Monday afternoon, though, saw the sun open up and create an environ ripe for the development of certain cloud formations.

Different climatic conditions produce different types of clouds, and this process is described in The Cloudspotter’s Guide: The Science, History and Culture of Clouds.  When I was primarily a natural history photographer, one of the photogs I followed was John Shaw-I read all of his books and learned a great deal about the art and craft of nature photography.  One of Mr. Shaw’s main points has consistently been that knowing the biology of the subjects being photographed would lead one to be a better nature photographer.  Therefore, I collected and read many different field guides, and that perspective is what led me to The Cloudspotter’s Guide and other cloud-related resources.  Clouds occupy more than just an environmental niche and so the subtitle of The Cloudspotter’s Guide is certainly fitting-it is a highly recommended read.  There is also a functional side to this knowledge-learning to read clouds and paying attention to weather systems helps keep one prepared-that, too, is highly recommended, especially in the era of climate change.

I must admit now, though, that the technical details as to the science behind cloud formations is less interesting.  Part of the reason for this is because a fair amount of that knowledge remains and has been reinforced by attending to weather patterns over the years.  However, the larger issue is one of simple aesthetics-the beauty and majesty of clouds as they exist are captivating in their own right.  I like watching them. I like photographing them.

Get outside and look up.

Take care.

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