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.

Road Trip

July 2, 2017

BW photograph of Big Four Mountain through a stand of trees.

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

While it is a tired, clichéd, saying, it is nonetheless a truism:  Americans have a love affair with cars and road trips.  (July 4th is right around the corner, and there is perhaps no greater symbol of the American sense of independence than the automobile.  Just prior to her death at age 99+, I asked my grandmother to identify the single greatest achievement that occurred in her lifetime, and she said the invention of the car.  It is important to note that she was alive for the moon landing in 1969.)  Kerouac’s On the Road is a classic read, and Route 66 was a popular television show in the 60s.  Toward the end of June, I had the opportunity for a drive along the Mountain Highway in Washington state.  All told, we were on the road for about 10 hours and covered a bit more than 300 miles that day-most of it while looking at multiple-thousands-of-foot peaks.  The above photograph was made while approaching Big Four Mountain.

 

BW photograph looking downstream at water running next to the Mountain Highway.

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

All along the Mountain Highway, the sound of running water could be heard.  It was just a simple matter of pulling off the road and taking a scramble among the rocks to get closer.

BW photograph looking across the running water at a debris pile next to the Mountain Highway.

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

This is a more direct view of the debris field to the left in the previous photograph.  Given the amount of snow in the mountains the previous winter, there was quite a bit to melt and feed these waterways.

BW photograph of running water amid rocks next to the Mountain Highway.

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

The torrents were impressive-what a lovely sound they produced.

BW photograph of part of the North Cascades as seen through some trees.

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

Having taken the Mountain Highway into Darrington, WA, we then turned and headed for the North Cascades.  The photograph above is from a walk near the North Cascades National Park Visitor Center.

BW photograph of a run-off waterfall at Diablo Lake in the North Cascades.

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

This run-off waterfall created its own micro-climate, which was quite welcome as it was in the 90s that day.  A temperature like that seems to be very unusual for that part of the country in June.  As we drove past the various peaks, it was possible to see many waterfalls cascading from the remaining snow fields-those eventually would feed the waterways like those included here.  This particular waterfall, which extended to ground level near the road, was very cool-literally and figuratively.  This was made at Diablo Lake in the North Cascades.

BW photograph of a mares tail cloud at Diablo Lake in the North Cascades.

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

The above is one of the few clouds to be seen that day.  This was also made at Diablo Lake in the North Cascades.  The well-defined, deep shadow of the railing in the lower right corner is a testament to the direct sun that characterized the day.

Quite a trip.

Take care.

Midnight Rider

June 29, 2017

BW photograph of a fallen log upon a sandbar with running water.

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

“I’ve got to run to keep from hiding, and I’m bound to keep on riding…”

“I don’t own the clothes I’m wearing, and the road goes on forever…”

The above is a snippet of lyric from the song “Midnight Rider”, which was written by Gregg Allman and Robert Kim Payne.  Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band died recently.  Rolling Stone magazine published this tribute-it is worth a read.  That leaves Dickie Betts and Jaimoe as the surviving members of the original line-up who recorded the album, “Idlewild South“, on which that song appears.

Listening to the Allman Brothers, first on vinyl, then 8-track, then cassette, then CD, then iTunes, has provided a soundtrack for many travels.  “Idlewild South“, along with “At Fillmore East“, which is routinely at the top of live album “best of” charts, were staples.  They still are.

Mr. Allman’s plaintive wail on “Midnight Rider” can stir some deep emotions.  And he had much about which to wail.

Ride on.

Passing Time

June 28, 2017

BW photograph of the sun setting behind the Olympic Mountain Range-first in a series.

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

BW photograph of the sun setting behind the Olympic Mountain Range-second in a series.

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

BW photograph of the sun setting behind the Olympic Mountain Range-third in a series.

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

BW photograph of the sun setting behind the Olympic Mountain Range-fourth in a series.

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

Watching the sun set is a particularly good way to spend time.  This is looking west from the Sky View Observatory, which is in the Columbia Center in Seattle, WA.  The Seattle Needle is visible in the lower right corner of some of the photographs-that provides a perspective on the height of the Columbia Center.  The Olympic mountain range forms the horizon.

Take care.

Summer 2017

June 21, 2017

BW photograph of cumulous clouds behind a stand of trees.

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

Today is the first day of summer, the Summer Solstice, and Tropical Storm Cindy is making her presence known along the Gulf Coast.

BW photograph of cumulous clouds behind a stand of trees.

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

Locally, the week began hot and humid with a relatively strong thunderstorm on Monday.

BW photograph of cumulous clouds behind a stand of trees.

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

Yesterday was much cooler as a result-the sky was also washed clean.

BW photograph of cumulous clouds behind a stand of trees.

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

These photographs are from the same cloud bank as it moved across the sky yesterday-they were not part of the thunderstorms mentioned earlier.  Unlike being in a tropical storm, let alone a hurricane, there is a settling effect that can come from watching the slow, deliberate movement and evolution of clouds as they pass.

Take care.

Time

June 15, 2017

BW photograph of a boarding house at Oregon Ridge looking west.

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

Time is a frequent subject of this blog.  The photograph above is one of the bachelor boarding houses at Oregon Ridge-a structure I have been photographing for well over a decade now, maybe two.  This is a view looking west.

BW photograph of a boarding house at Oregon Ridge looking east.

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

One of the reasons for repeatedly writing about time is because there are so many markers of its passage.  This is a view looking east.  Over that decade +, this once somewhat elegant-in-its-utility structure has certainly decayed.  The renewal and growth of the late spring/early summer flora provides significant contrast and calls attention to the consequences of time.  At some point, this foundation will no longer able to support itself and will then need some type of brace/reinforcement or it will crumble.

Much like us as we, too, grow older.

Take care.

A Walk

June 10, 2017

BW photograph of a moonset across a road.

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

Last week, a very cool (47 degrees) morning followed a full moon.

BW photograph of a foggy morning looking across a field.

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

That temperature was enough to create fog in the low-lying areas.

BW photograph of a sunrise over a field.

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

As the sun arose, the fog burned off.

Colour photograph of a sunrise over a field.

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

(Colour photographs of sunrises tend to make a better presentation, right?)

BW photograph of the Wolf Rock trail.

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

Once at my destination and having begun the walk, two books readily came to mind:  A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson, which has been made into a movie, and The Nature Fix, by Florence Williams.

BW photograph of mountain flowers with strong sidelight.

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

This particular walk was a sensory delight-there was birdsong, the dampness of the earth, courtesy of the copious amounts of recent rain and that morning fog, and the varying scents that come from being in the woods.

BW photograph of four tree trunks near Wolf Rock.

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

BW photograph of a tree cleaving Wolf Rock.

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

BW photograph of an upward looking view of tree tops against the sky.

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

While this walk was a bit modest in scope and distance, it was the experience that was important; a point central to Mr. Bryson’s book.

BW photograph of the former Homicide building, which is now a functioning hotel.

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

My other possible choice that day was to go for a walk in the city.  Ms. Williams directly addresses the differences in the sensory response between that and being in the woods-her book is well worth a read.  She summarizes the impact of inhaling nature’s aromas as opposed to those produced in an urban environment.  Indeed, which would you rather smell-car exhaust or pine needles?  The issues and assets of activating different neurochemicals are also presented.  Cortisol or dopamine?  The choice of stimulus is vitally important to the overall experience.  Of course, I am biased.  However, it also depends on what one likes to photograph, and I will most certainly return to photograph the newly opened hotel.  Therefore, when it comes to the muse, one, whenever possible, must choose wisely.

That was a very good morning to be in the woods.

Take care.