4:30 a.m.

April 6, 2020

BW photograph of a grocery in the early early morning in the age of COVID-19.

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

I have always favoured the early morning.  In the time of COVID-19 and social distancing, this is, perhaps, the best time to do the allowed grocery shopping.  This particular morning also provided a clear sky along with the glow of a nearly full moon.  It was a wonderful time to be outside.

At such times, it is difficult to juxtapose the current circumstances with such a lovely beginning to the day.  The need to don masks and wipe down everything before touching and radio reports of the building crescendo of potential deaths this week presented a sobering contrast.  Reality, as is said, does indeed sometimes bite.  And hard.

Condolences to all who have lost loved ones.  Best wishes to all for what is yet to come.

Be safe and well.

Storytelling

March 27, 2020

BW photograph of a light standard in an empty parking lot.

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

Storytelling is essential to any culture.  This is one way to convey the history and traditions of a group from one generation to the next.  The questions become, which stories to tell?  From which perspective? What is embellished, and what is removed? What is the point?

There are many stories from which to spin from the photograph above.  What do you see?  Does the day, date, and time make a difference?  It is certainly does capture a reality, but is it also a metaphor?  If so, of what?

From a purely photographic standpoint, why this particular composition?  Why B&W?

Take care and be well.

Chaos

February 29, 2020

BW photograph of downed trees and tree debris.

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

Take your pick:

COVID-19 has led to thousands of deaths and a free-fall in the U.S. stock market;

Russia extends its involvement with the upcoming U.S. 2020 election;

Australia has had punishing floods and hail on top of extraordinary wildfires;

Syria escalates its conflict with Turkey;

India reacts violently to state-sponsored discrimination over a citizenship law; and

the overall continued political turmoil in the U.S. (there are too many links to do this one justice).

What is especially disconcerting about the above, and the myriad of humanity’s other issues, is the political will behind nationalism and the efforts exerted to remain in power.  This opposes the seeking out of genuine cooperation, both nationally and globally, to find lasting solutions.  The more that factions retreat into tribalistic groups that demonize the other, the more that cooperation becomes a wistful dream.  When something immediate, like COVID-19 (although this is a new strain, the issues surrounding its appearance and the manner that characterized the initial response are not), or something much, much more chronic, like climate change, arises, there is plenty of global expertise to assess, evaluate, and implement strategies to avoid or mitigate the damage.  Adaptation may also be required.  However, this means being open and above-board and having a willingness to work with others.  It means having effective leadership-contradicting the CDC and WHO is not that…

No one who knows me would ever use the term “optimist” as a descriptor.  I would argue that I am more of a realist who does focus on problem areas-perhaps overly so, but I am genuinely concerned by the current state of affairs.  I very much advocate for the awareness of current events, and their historical antecedents (it is so very important to have a sound grounding in history-that provides the context for a proper perspective on today’s issues), so as to be an informed citizen-especially in an election year.

By “informed”, I mean very carefully vetting information.  Critically analyze its source and content.  Social media algorithms are specifically written to drive content for which one has a demonstrated historical preference-this is part of what creates confirmation bias.  For example, one cannot properly vet (or fact check) one anti-climate change article by going to another anti-climate change article.  This post-modern age, characterized by data manipulation, does require a greater degree of due diligence.

Take care.

Correction/Addition

February 8, 2020

BW photograph of a Home Goods with one "o" blown out from a storm.

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

The blog post from yesterday was in error.

BW photograph of a large pine tree laying atop a delivery van after a strong storm.

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

According to this article, five tornadoes touched down in Maryland-one in Carroll County.

BW photograph of a large pine tree laying atop a delivery van after a strong storm-closer view.

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

It often takes the National Weather Service a bit of time to assess the data and make such determinations.  The article mentions the tornadoes were EF0 or EF1-the “EF” stands for “Enhanced Fujita” as per the scale that measures the strength of tornadoes.  While these rank at the lower end of the scale, the damage they can create is self-evident.

It was February 7, 2020.

Take care.

Wilted

February 2, 2020

BW photograph of a bouquet of wilted mums.

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

Followers of the impeachment trial will have no doubt drawn their conclusions about the process and desired verdict.  Fortunately, the recent House and Senate proceedings have been aired live so that folks could watch/listen as they were occurring.  This is especially critical given the polarization of opinion and the spin that gets placed on info by partisan outlets.  Social media bears the brunt of this, but broadcast networks are certainly not immune.  As such, one must take great care to be cognizant of implicit and confirmation bias as to the drawing of conclusions.

BW photograph of a bouquet of wilted daisies.

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

This is the third impeachment of a U.S. president in our history.  That we have reached a point wherein the Senate has actively engaged in defending the president instead of working as a co-equal part of government to provide oversight, investigate, and judge as designated is of great concern.  The Senate is, in effect, abdicating its power to the embellishment of the executive branch.  This was not the intention of the framers of the Constitution.  They were particularly concerned with the interference of a foreign power in our elections.  Said interference is a central point in this impeachment.

Regardless of one’s political persuasion, the profound emphasis on the achievement and maintenance of power rather than adherence to the principles of democracy as espoused in the Constitution is a dangerous place in which to be.  It would be important to read that document (the Constitution) so as to have a foundation for understanding the points being made and those being obfuscated during these and related proceedings.

UPDATE:  The above paragraphs were written before the Senate voted to not call any witnesses or hear additional testimony from said witnesses.  This is in contradiction to polls which have indicated the majority of Americans wanted additional witnesses to be called.  It appears that a Senate vote to convict/acquit will occur on Wednesday, with the latter being the most likely outcome.  Given that additional information related to the articles of impeachment continues to be uncovered, the decision on Wednesday will not be the end of this issue.  No matter what, there is an election in November.

The current issue of The New Yorker also contains this article, which is very much worth a read.  I found it interesting/amusing that Ms. Lepore used “withering” in the article-I choose “wilted” here, a choice made before reading that piece.  Both appear to be an accurate descriptor.

Take care.

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.

2020

December 23, 2019

BW photograph of a pair of prints in the snow.

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

2019 is sliding away…and 2020 is around the corner.

BW photograph of a Santa hat laying in some leaves on a sidewalk.

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

In many respects, 2019 was a difficult year-certainly for the topics most often presented herein.  I really do vacillate on the tone for this blog, and, most of the time, that ends up with info related to that with which I am most concerned: climate change, the proliferation of trash, the the social forces that continue to drive those issues.  As such, that means this is not often a bundle of grins to read.  I really do not see that changing in 2020 as I have never been a “glass half full” person…I call it being realistic.  (Others might say pessimistic.)  2020 is shaping up to be a very important year environmentally and politically, both separately and in the manner with which they intersect.  We will see how it goes.  Given that the new year brings with it the custom of making resolutions related to changes in behaviour, perhaps there will be more activity leading to a healthier planet and political system.

As an aside, for those who may prefer a more optimistic outlook, or at least a dose of optimism, there is this.  Please do read the “About Us” link once there.  I am also decidedly not being snarky about, or dismissive of, the need for cheerful info.  The media sources we choose, and the therefore the content we engage, are a very significant agent of socialization-a shaper of how we think and feel-the importance of which can not be overstated.  Sites such as that linked above can provide a useful counter-balance to the mayhem very much present in the world.

With that in mind, there is a photographic project for the new year that will create a bit of a different focus in both tone and subject matter for this blog.  There have been some hints at this in previous posts, but given what is written in the two paragraphs above, it is time to pursue it in a more consistent manner.  That is not to say climate change and politics will disappear from the blog, just that my intention is to level this out a bit.  We will certainly see how that goes.  As Bette Davis once said “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”

It is hoped that those of you who have been following the blog will continue along.  I am much appreciative of your checking in and hope that the photographs and content of this site has been of use.

Here’s to the new year!

Take care.