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.

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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.

Detour

August 6, 2018

BW photograph of Detour with Double Pipe Creek flooding its banks onto a road.

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

Between here and there is the small town of Detour, Md.  My first recollection of Detour was when it flooded in 1972 as a result of Hurricane Agnes.  At the very western edge of the town is the Double Pipe Creek, which has left its banks multiple times over the decades flooding and/or endangering the homes and businesses there.  The above photograph was made at 9:13 a.m. on August 4, 2018…the date of the most recent flooding.

In comparison to many other parts of the world, which are experiencing extraordinarily high temperatures and often accompanying droughts, the local area has been inundated by rain.  This report provides an explanation for the seemingly contradictory weather patterns produced by the overall changing of the global climate system.

BW photograph of a fallen sycamore tree against an overpass.

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

As a reminder, the above photograph was posted to this blog on May 24, 2018 and shows the water level of Double Pipe Creek just beyond the tree roots in the foreground-a period of very heavy rain had preceded this event.

This past Friday and early Saturday morning brought yet another series of drenching rainfalls.

BW photograph of Detour showing the elevated water level of Double Pipe Creek-debris is against the bridge.

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

The above photograph was made at 9:17 a.m. and shows the resulting water level of Double Pipe Creek-the debris pictured here is just about at the point where the sycamore tree trunk is laying atop the bridge in the previous image.

BW photograph of Detour with Double Pipe Creek flooding its banks onto a road.

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

9:21 a.m.

BW photograph of Detour showing the elevated water level of Double Pipe Creek-debris and a flooded fence are in the foreground.

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

9:26 a.m.

Double Pipe Creek had once again broached its banks.

BW photograph of Detour showing the elevated water level of Double Pipe Creek-a moving truck has water to the half-wheel height.

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

9:29 a.m.

BW photograph of Detour showing the elevated water level of Double Pipe Creek-a moving truck has water to the two-thirds wheel height.

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

11:10 a.m.

Importantly, the water level had not as yet crested when these photographs were made.  Look closely at the wheels of the truck in both:  the water was still rising across that time span.

Meanwhile, today 1A aired this discussion regarding the current administration’s efforts to freeze the standards for fuel economy and emissions-it is worth listening to the disagreements and points made by the various guests, which highlight both the complexity of this issue as well as the conclusions drawn from particular data points.  The environmental impact of auto emissions is the connection to this post-it is also another example of the U.S. withdrawal from longer-term active measures to address climate change, which is the fundamental basis for the patterns of such extreme weather events.

Take care.

 

Retreat

July 28, 2018

BW photograph of the origins of the Nisqually Glacier on Mt. Rainier.

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

This post is a follow-up to the last regarding the global effects of climate change.  In this particular case, the photo essay herein addresses the Nisqually Glacier, which is located in Mount Rainier National Park.  The photograph above is Mt. Rainier with the peak obscured by clouds.

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 National Park Service provides information about the glaciers on Mt. Rainier.  Included are many other links and a time-lapse that demonstrates the “…dynamic nature of glaciers as rivers of ice.”

BW photograph of the Nisqually Glacier path with the low flow of the Nisqually River-looking into the river from above.

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

The previous post was about global temperatures and climate change.  Glaciers are another strong source of evidence regarding the impact of the increase of greenhouse gas emissions and the subsequent rise in global temperatures.  Such is the premise of photographer James Balog’s Extreme Ice Survey.  Mr. Balog also used time-lapse photography and video imagery of glacial retreat as a means of presenting visual evidence of climate change.  His work is available via a variety of resources, including this NOVA episode, a TED Talk, and the feature-length documentary entitled Chasing Ice.  It is significant to note that the imagery contained in these presentations is well over a decade old at this point.

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 Nisqually Glacier has retreated far up the valley.

BW photograph of the Nisqually Glacier path with the low flow of the Nisqually River-the bridge is to the right.

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

The bridge over the valley is to the far right of the above photograph-this was the vantage point from which all of the images herein were made.  The NPS describes the changing nature of the Nisqually Glacier, which at one point extended from Mt. Rainier in the far distance as shown in the previous photograph, down through the valley, and to the site of the current bridge.  This is clearly no longer the case.

Global extremes in temperatures and their subsequent consequential impact, the increase in the severity of storms, flooding, (as an aside, Japan is bracing for a tsunami, which is about to hit areas most recently flooded), and glacial retreat.  Examining the visuals makes it extremely difficult to deny climate change…not that that stops those who do.

Take care.

Backdated: July 5, 2018

July 15, 2018

BW photograph looking west down Thames Street before sunrise.

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

BW photograph looking from Fells Point toward the Chesapeake Bay at sunrise.

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

BW photograph of the City Pier in Fells Point at sunrise.

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

I have finally gotten back to completing this post, which was begun on July 5.

These photographs were made early on the morning of July 5.  This area had been under high temperature/high humidity conditions that had pushed heat indexes into the triple digits during that week.  As such, when out and about, it was important to stay well-hydrated so as to stave off heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  While temperatures have moderated a bit, we still have August on the way…

BW photograph of a partially full water bottle atop a granite step.

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

BW photograph of a water bottle laying in the gutter.

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

BW photograph of a water bottle laying in the gutter.

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

BW photograph of a partially full water bottle laying at the base of a street light.

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

However, it is also important to properly dispose of the containers for those fluids-especially when single-use containers are employed.  This recent article from National Geographic details the enormity of the problem that plastic presents.  The following is a quote from an earlier National Geographic article:

“The new study, published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, is the first global analysis of all plastics ever made—and their fate. Of the 8.3 billion metric tons that has been produced, 6.3 billion metric tons has become plastic waste. Of that, only nine percent has been recycled. The vast majority—79 percent—is accumulating in landfills or sloughing off in the natural environment as litter. Meaning: at some point, much of it ends up in the oceans, the final sink.”

The plastic bottles shown above are four that did not initially make it to a recycling bin on July 4th.  Just as important, two of them still contained a fair amount of water.  On that note, here is some information related to the wasting of water, while this site addresses the worldwide lack of access to improved water sources and the concomitant problems associated with that.

Remember Flint, MI? (And that is not the only city in the U.S. with water issues.)

Take care.

The Days Before

June 29, 2018

BW photograph of a rail fence and stone wall on Culp's Hill.

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

BW photograph of a rail fence and stone wall on Culp's Hill.

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

BW photograph of a rail fence and stone wall on Culp's Hill.

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

BW photograph of a sunlit tree on Culp's Hill.

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

BW photograph of cows grazing in Gettysburg on a sunny morning.

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

The above photographs were made at Culp’s Hill, which is part of the battlefield at Gettysburg.  The fighting in this area began on July 1 and continued until July 3, 1863.

I usually visit the battlefield at some point during the anniversary.  This year, I went a little early as the forecast is calling for conditions much like those when the battle was actually fought:  sunny, hot, and humid.  Fortunately, the time to be there was a choice, and one that was easily made.  The soldiers most certainly did not have that option in 1863.

On this morning, it was sunny, but relatively cool, and quite comfortable.  It was as serene a walk as one could want.

Take care.

Separation

June 21, 2018

BW photograph of a No Trespassing sign laying on the ground.

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

Over the past few days, the separation of children from their parents/families at the U.S. border is an issue that has been widely covered and discussed.  The latest controversy also (again) brings to the fore the legacy of U.S. immigration policy.  Significantly, the implementation of detention and deportation policies appear to often hinge on keys words contained in or absent from previous legislation.  For example, former Assistant Attorney Leon Fresco points out the importance of the word “unaccompanied” being excluded from the Flores case, which was decided in 1996.  (The meaning of words and their contextual significance is the basis for the Symbolic Interactionism theory in Sociology.)

With regard to Sociology, one of the significant agents of socialization (those institutions charged with the transmission of culture from one generation to the next) is media.  How one thinks and/or feels about this separation, and immigration in general, is influenced by the sources of information to which one pays attention.  This report from NPR discusses the differing manner by which the current immigration issue is being framed by various news outlets.  What is being highlighted here is that difference-the same story is being explained/analyzed by competing belief systems.  That which is held to be “true” or “fake news” is most likely influenced by confirmation bias-the tendency to select and judge the credibility of sources based on those that contain information supporting pre-existing views.  Quite simply, we tend to agree with those sources that present information consistent with our views.

In a separate report, NPR addressed the potential implications of the stress-induced trauma that occurs under such conditions.  Given the age of the children, the plasticity of the brain during those developmental stages, and the magnitude of the emotional and biochemical response from being forcibly separated from one’s family, this is an issue of concern.  One would do well to put aside political views and attend to this as a humanitarian issue.  Indeed, the U.N. has called such separations illegal, and the living former first ladies have also condemned the action.

Two bills to address immigration are scheduled for a House vote later today-both would legislate the keeping of families together.  (The president finally did utilize his formerly denied executive power to do the same.  That, however, does not ameliorate the issue.)  Given the deep political divides regarding immigration, it is doubtful that either of these bills will pass.  Therefore, the immigration impasse, one based on the implementation of zero tolerance, will, in all likelihood, continue.

That we are a nation of immigrants appears to be considered irrelevant.

Take care.