Someday Photo: Declan Brennan – Clogheen, Ireland

In the morning, Hermitage House host, Declan Brennan, can be found pursuing chores on the grounds of his bed and breakfast in Clogheen, County Tipperary, Ireland. By late afternoon he is freshly scrubbed and sports a crisp white shirt and black slacks and heads to the pub where he holds court until midnight.

In the morning, Hermitage House host, Declan Brennan, can be found pursuing chores on the grounds of his bed and breakfast in Clogheen, County Tipperary, Ireland. By late afternoon he is freshly scrubbed and sports a crisp white shirt and black slacks and heads to the pub where he holds court until midnight.

A few years prior to my stay at the Hermitage House in Ireland, Declan Brennan and his wife Breda shucked their executive attire and acquired an ailing bed and breakfast in her wee home village of Clogheen, County Tipperary. Just a short walk from where she was raised on the banks of the River Tar, they saw potential and a lot of work. But they were not deterred. They had a dream.

The couple went about making renovations with a personal touch that included six guest rooms, a new kitchen and the small pub where Declan draws the Guinness and pours shots of fine Irish whiskey nightly. The immaculate facilities and lush, manicured gardens are a testament to their hard work which begins daily before the sun rises lasts until after midnight.

Though they are in near constant motion they always take time to be perfect hosts and make their guests feel right at home.

Passing through the dining room after completing a few outdoor chores, Declan even made time to indulge this itinerant photographer for a quick portrait session.

So, Declan and Breda, I just wanted you to know I haven’t forgotten about you and how much I appreciated your warm hospitality. The prints that I promised to send “someday” are on their way to you.

Photographer’s Note: Someday photographs are those that were made after hours while on assignment or simply because I was moved by the spirit at a particular moment in time. Many of them have languished for years as transparencies, negatives and digital files waiting for someday. When possible, I’ve eliminated Saturday from my calendar and Someday is now the day after Friday and before Sunday.

The day the nutcrackers cried

On the twenty-third of May 2012, the nutcrackers cried. That was the day my sister died.
My older sister took a shine to her nutcrackers. Not the really useful ones for revealing the meat of a nut, but carved and painted blocks of wood with spine controlled mandibles.

It was mere hours before Christmas of 1985 when her precocious five-year-old spotted a tall and stately red-cheeked king in the department store. He tugged at his dad’s jacket and insisted that monarch belonged to his mom, his queen.
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Someday Photo: Coleman’s Pub, County Mayo, Ireland

Coleman's Pub in Knock, County Mayo, is a traditional Irish pub in this village of less than 600 people.

Coleman's Pub in Knock, County Mayo, is a traditional Irish pub in a village of 600 people that is known worldwide as the location of the Shrine of the Blessed Virgin.

In Ireland, there are two things you don’t want to miss: A traditional Irish pub and a pint of Guinness. I sampled the foamy dark Irish staple so I could say so, but my preference is a hot black caffeine beverage. That’s ok too because pubs are really about more than pints and partying.

Coleman’s Pub in Knock, County Mayo, is a friendly communal hub where local lore and the latest gossip flows freely if you belly-up at the bar. Soccer fans tend to gather around wall-mounted tellys where rowdy rules and the competitive lots can be found at the snooker tables or dart boards. The dark corner booths near where the neighborhood mutt naps on the grizzled wood floors are perfect for contemplatives, lovers and the shy.

This little village of almost 600 souls is known worldwide as the site of an apparition by the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist in 1879.

Coleman’s Pub is nestled among religious souvenir shops hawking cheap holy water bottles to the pilgrims on their way down the road to the Knock Shrine of the Blessed Virgin. When it opened in 1938 it was named for St. Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary.

Photographer’s Note: Someday photographs are those that were made after hours while on assignment or simply because I was moved by the spirit at a particular moment in time. Many of them have languished for years as transparencies, negatives and digital files waiting for someday. I’ve eliminated Saturday from my calendar and Someday is now the day after Friday and before Sunday.

Saturday morning bonus

Havana, Cuba | Misty morning light envelopes two Cuban fishermen as they head toward the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Havana, Cuba | Misty morning light envelopes two Cuban fishermen as they head toward the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

I do enjoy Saturday mornings. It’s a time I awake a little later and relax. It’s a great time to catch a couple of web surfing waves.

When I scurried over to the Hasselblad Owners’ Club site today it was really cool to see that my photograph of Cuban fishermen embarking into the morning light was one of the top ten most popular images for the month of March.

So, to all the members of the Hasselblad Owners’ Club who took time to view my profile photos and vote, “Thank You” for the bonus.

Prints of this image are available HERE.

Dr. Rubén Rodriguez Gavaldá: ‘Pride of Cuban Medicine’

Looking over the top of his spectacles when he speaks, Dr. Rubén Rodriguez Gavaldá's eyes broadcast the fact that he finds his greatest fulfillment as a teacher.

Looking over the top of his spectacles when he speaks, Dr. Rubén Rodriguez Gavaldá's eyes broadcast the fact that he finds his greatest fulfillment as a teacher.

There are two subjects that really spark a fire in the eyes Patricia Rodríguez Alomá. One is Habana Vieja (Old Havana) in Cuba, and the other is her nonagenarian father, Dr. Rubén Rodríguez Gavaldá. They are both a part of her heritage and her awe.

Patricia is the Director of Planning with the Office of the Historian of Old Havana, the Cuban government office responsible for the ongoing social and physical transformation of a once blighted neighborhood into a UNESCO World Heritage Site. She is also her father’s daughter who inherited the doctor’s enthusiasm and tireless work ethic.
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Simply, panoramic

Newly installed Cenotaph at Calvary Catholic Cemetery with the names of some of the deceased priests who have served in the diocese and are buried at other cemeteries.

I must confess I have always enjoyed using wide-angle lenses. Not your average 21 mm either, but really wide lenses just short of the round image fish-eye style. I like the perspective and I like working close to subjects.

Sometimes though, even with a 12mm lens, a super wide-angle does not provide a sufficient angle of view and desired perspective. This was the case on a recent assignment to photograph a cenotaph (wall of remembrance) at Calvary Catholic Cemetery surrounded by the graves of departed priests. The goal was to visually render the scene in a way that would best reflect the Church’s belief that after our departure from this world, we move forward in a positive direction, hopefully.

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Top Tip: Stay in the camera

Sunset on Pasagrille Beach

Pass-A-Grille is located at the southern tip of St. Pete Beach, a barrier island along the west coast of Pinellas County, Fla.

In classes and seminars on photojournalism and photography that I have conducted, I constantly remind students of my first rule for fully capturing the moment that has served me well: “stay in the camera.”

My youngest son, Zack, and I set off for a late-afternoon “backyard” photo expedition yesterday with a Nikon DX digital body and 300 mm lens. We spotted a sailboat heading toward the Gulf of Mexico in the bay on the east side of Pass-A-Grille, so we took a position on a beach-side dune walkover as the sun was close to setting in the west. Within a few minutes we spotted the sailboat rounding the southern tip of the island and beginning to head north.

I have always enjoyed the “big sun” effect that can be captured with long lenses. The sky was virtually clear and the quality of the light was captivating. We waited and hoped that the sailboat would not be too far from the shore as it passed through the sunlight’s glimmering path on the water.

I made a few test shots, ultimately bumping the shutter speed to 1/8000 sec. at f/11 in order to retain some level of detail in the water, and we waited.

As the sailboat proceeded northward we were hoping it would arrive before the orange orb dipped below the horizon. It did and I made a few exposures. Still holding the behemoth lens for another minute or two, I continued to follow the northbound boat. And then, as if on cue, a southbound pelican traveled across the horizon. Click!

When I saw that last image, I was reminded again of the importance of “staying in the camera.”

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