Encapsulation

November 9, 2018

BW photograph of a charred log lying among rocks.

Copyright 2016 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Twelve shot dead in a bar and nearby the Woolsey Fire burns.  Senseless gun violence and the impact of climate change.

Also, this Sunday is the 100th anniversary of the ending of WWI.  On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, hostilities ceased.  The adjective “senseless” was used above.  Please read through this article for another application of that term.  Although, as the article makes clear, not all would agree with the assessment leading to the use of that adjective.

Such is the case when it comes to addressing both mass shootings and climate change.  The gun lobby has more than enough political power to prevent any meaningful interventions-the fossil fuel industries occupy a similar position.  Innocents continue to be killed and communities continue to burn.  Thousand Oaks, CA and the surrounding area are experiencing both simultaneously.

Take care.

P.S. This article addresses wildfires in the Plains states.  The differentiation and interaction of weather and climate change is described-as is the role climate change played in the fires as expressed in the interviews conducted by Mr. Frazier.  The creation of a sense of powerlessness, whether through lack of knowledge or teleological argument, is another dynamic at work in the persistence of these issues.  Failure to proactively address root causes mandates continued reactive responses.

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BW photograph of Wolf Rock and trees silhouetted against the rising sun.

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

This is one to follow.

Take care.

BW photograph of fallen leaves in a gutter washed against a car tire after a heavy rain.

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

Not long after the previous blog was posted it did, indeed, begin to rain again, but gently.  At some point late last night or very early this morning, there was a downpour that was accompanied by strong, gusty winds-both rattled the house enough to disturb one’s sleep.  The results of this latest bout of precipitation were clearly evident once the sun arose-there were a lot fewer leaves still on trees.  When the rain falls that hard and that fast, it has nowhere to go.  In the built environ, the water ends up gushing in the streets.

BW photograph of a flooded cow pasture after a very heavy rain.

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

In open spaces, that much water is unable to soak into the already saturated ground.  On top of that (literally), local waterways again left their banks.  This photograph shows a flooded cow pasture…

BW photograph of a flooded soy bean field after a very heavy rain.

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

while the above is a soybean field that is just across the road from the pasture.  A culvert under the road provided a conveyance for some of the water to rush from the pasture to the field.

Vote for the environment on Tuesday.  The planet needs all of the assistance it can get.

Take care.

Weather as Metaphor

November 2, 2018

BW photograph of rain clouds above silhouetted trees.

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

Our foray into fall has made a U-turn as the mid-30s temperatures have doubled.  We have gone from frost warnings to thunderstorm warnings.  It rained very early this morning and more of the same is forecast for a bit later tonight; the clouds as displayed above did not release any moisture as of the typing of this sentence.

The end scene of the first Terminator movie uses such a cloud formation as the visual metaphor for the coming conflict with Skynet-the self-aware computer system that decided to eliminate humans and resulted in multiple sequels, prequels, and hard-to-categorize but less-than-equals.  Imagery of such ominous-looking clouds has been used in such a way for so long that this has become a cliché.

At the risk of such, we are most certainly at a defining moment in U.S. politics.  There is debate over whether this is the most ___ (fill-in-the-blank with whatever negative adjective as is desired) political season in history.  Given that we like to think of ourselves as the model democracy, it is remarkable as to the extent to which efforts are being made to exclude so many from participating in the process by voting.  It must be remembered, however, that the decade of the 1970s had more bomb explosions than any other; that the 1960s had cities burning from riots; and that the 1860s had a full-on Civil War.  None of that, by the way, is in any way meant to minimize the carnage and loss of life in Pittsburgh or the recent mail bombs sent.  Such behaviour is inexcusable and not justifiable at any time.

It must also be remembered that words matter.  What one says or does not say, especially when such acts as those above are not specifically and categorically condemned, gives tacit approval for their continuance. The use of rhetoric to fuel the politically-charged divisions within the U.S., and in other areas of the world, does nothing more than harden positions into what is now commonly referred to as tribal factions.

Whatever the outcome of Tuesday’s elections in the U.S., civility must not be the loser (as has already been demonstrated time and again).

Take care.

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.

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.

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.