Tag Archives: photography

Guinness Storehouse- Dublin, Ireland

When I think of an Irish pub I think of music and guinness. And also corned beef and cabbage, although it’s not a very common dish in the eating establishments I’ve been to in Ireland. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen it on a single menu over there. Guinness on the other hand is everywhere and the top visitor attraction in Dublin is of course the Guinness Storehouse. Back in 1759 Arthur Guinness signed a 9000 year lease on a brewery at St. James’ Gate for  £45 a year. That’s kind of amazing. Spoiler alert: That lease is no longer valid as the land the brewery is on ended up being purchased outright a while back. 

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The current visitor centre for the storehouse was opened in 2000 and contains seven stories of information about Guinness and the brewing process. In the main lobby there’s a gift shop, an incredibly pricey one and a nice lady who greets you with a little information about what you’ll experience during your visit. She pointed out that if we look up we’ll notice that the seven floors of the storehouse are designed around a central glass atrium that form the shape of a pint of Guinness. And sure enough, it did. This mirrored pint if filled would hold around 14.3 million pints of Guinness, to give you an idea of scale. We made our way up through the levels learning how this black gold is made and all the history behind it. First and foremost water, hops, barley, and yeast. I had never seen hops before and the smell of all the grains was so interesting. I realize that may sound strange but I guess you had to be there. 


There were videos and illustrations of the brewing and growth of the brand including memorabilia over the years. At one point it seemed like a maze of industrial pipes and a portal to another dimension. 


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An advertisement from 1943. The toucan is said to be the most popular of the animals used in early advertising for the brew. He was retired in 1982.



The harp logo first appeared in 1862, chosen because of it’s importance as an ancient Irish symbol. In 1960 Guinness introduced its first lager and named it Harp. The one on display in the storehouse is called the Downhill Harp and dates back to 1702. It was played in the 18th century by a blind harpist known as Hempson. The inscription on it ends with, “That Queen of Musick you may call me”. 


Then on the fifth floor you have the opportunity to learn “the perfect pour” because there’s a very particular way one must pour a Guinness. And the harp logo on the glass must always face the person who’s ordered the pint.



Finally, the holy grail awaits on the seventh floor, a 360 degree view of all of Dublin in what’s called the Gravity Bar. It is the highest bar in the city and on this particular day we got to watch the sunset. It was really beautiful and many seemed to think the free Guinness was also pretty glorious. I had a very refreshing glass of Fanta orange because although I find the history of the brew very fascinating the taste of it not so much and not as hydrating as a seven floor excursion would require.



It was a great way to end our first day of Dublin exploration. If ever you’re in the area check it out and if you get there earlier in the day there’s also a restaurant that is rumored to serve excellent chocolate Guinness cake. 



For discounted tickets or for more information visit their site directly at: www.guinness-storehouse.com

Much ado indeed

The sun was setting and a nice, cool breeze lightly wafted the scent of garden blooms. We had arrived just in time to get settled in before the Shakespearian comedy began. An elegantly scrolled larger-than-life black metal gate stood in the center of the stage against a twilight backdrop of sky. A magnificent prop that turned out to be one of only a couple. I’m not sure I’d ever been to an outdoor play before and almost immediately wished I had brought along a light blanket. Well-costumed ladies took stage and began the opening scene in song, a pleasant blend of altos and sopranos in almost perfect harmony. Several hours later, having survived an intermission and continuously fast-paced witty banter, the show had concluded. It was not the best modern delivery of an Elizabethan play that I’ve experienced. In fact, it was a bit dry at times and seemingly more serious than it needed to be. It was supposed to be one of Shakespeare’s funniest plays. My favorite parts were the dance scenes. I will definitely praise their choreography; it was detailed and authentic to the time period. I’ve watched instructional dance videos and tried to learn baroque, renaissance, and medieval dance. It’s not as easy as you’d think. Some of those dances require very fancy footwork.

At any rate, the show was over. We had abided by an announcement right before the show began to refrain from taking photos. I always assume this is to prevent distracting and annoying flashes while the actors are trying to work on stage and even though I don’t use a flash in those types of settings I complied. So, imagine my surprise when we attempt to take a photo AFTER the show had ended, the man sitting behind us tells us to delete our photos. And then goes to get another employee of the theatre who comes over and gives us a hard time. The man sitting behind us knew we had not attempted taking photos during the show and must’ve been aware the show had ended because half of the outdoor theatre had already emptied. To make matters worse, I had forgotten to put a memory card in the camera in the first place. Before we left the house I had been trying to clear up the memory cards to make space. I honestly thought the guy might try to take my camera, citing how illegal it is to take photos and the play is copyrighted. I was honestly humiliated, made to feel like a criminal. This is definitely not the first time I’ve been asked to stop taking photos (Miami, Ireland, Italy, etc.) but never ever has someone tried to stand over me and force me to delete photographs. My favorite was the Sistine Chapel. How on earth are you supposed to visit the Sistine Chapel and not take photos. Well, it was because they wanted you to buy their own photos when you exited through the gift shop.

This has bothered me all day so I’ve been doing some research. Considering Shakespeare never published his plays for fear of the works being copied without his permission and copyright laws did not exist in his time… how is this play copyrighted? I could find nothing showing that it is. What seems more likely is that the theatre may want copyright of any photos taken of their performance of the show and in that case it may be illegal to try to publish or sell any photos you take of the actors but not actually illegal to take the photos. In fact I saw no signs posted that indicated photography was not allowed, and there was nothing mentioned on the tickets. If these men had actually forced me to delete my photos they were likely intruding on my photographer rights according to everything I have read. The exception is military and government facilities and installations and private residences or property in cases where you are trespassing. If you are in a public facility, especially in a public park, more than likely photography is NOT ILLEGAL. Some zoos including the San Diego Zoo make it clear that taking photos is ok but it is illegal to profit from any photos taken there.

Here’s a handy outline I found describing Photographer’s Rights:


And this is what the big ado was about:

Photo by Henry DiRocco

A photograph. One of many in the online gallery of the theatre’s website, available for free public download in web or full resolution, your choice. Photo credit goes to: Henry DiRocco. I had mostly enjoyed this mediocre rendition of a play until we were harassed for unsuccessfully trying to take a photo after it had ended. I’m going to continue to arm myself with the knowledge of a photographer’s legal rights, you should too.

California girls

You’ve heard the songs but I’ve got to say, there are some very lovely ladies here along the Pacific. I’m not certain how many of them are actually from here as there’s a huge military influence but regardless, Katy Perry and the Beach Boys come to mind. The day after we arrived from Florida, I got to participate in a photography workshop in Oceanside, CA hosted by Southern California Photography School. The particular workshop I attended was led by hugely successful local photographer Michele Parsley, specializing in portraits and boudoir photography. (link: http://micheleparsley.com/index2.php)  It’s hard to pick out my favorite shots but here a few that I got:


Following the shooting at the workshop I got to tag along for a fast-paced photo shoot along the beach. These girls are going to be appearing in a calendar to support the wounded warriors fund. I will post a link as soon as I know it’s available.

Here are a few shots I got during that photo walk:

Models pictured from top: Kim Le, Amanda Marie, Whitney, Makendra, Kristi, Evelyn, Deidra, Kristen, Brandie,  and Sarah.

Charlie’s first trip to Balboa Park

It was a beautiful Sunday though a bit warmer than we probably would’ve liked. It is July though so I guess we couldn’t complain too much, just part of Summer’s territory. It had been a year since I had last walked around Balboa and I can’t say much has changed. There are the same street vendors and sidewalk performers, the same amazing architecture, and still a flourish of glimpses of wedding parties.

But this was Charlie’s first time and though she may have been a little overexcited at times, trying to take whomever holding the leash for a ride, she did very well for an introduction to the bustling park. Overall, I think she is very content with California. She hasn’t had the anxiety she had right before we left Florida whether it was the storms or her sense of us leaving, possibly without her. She’s actually been very well behaved.

We did get to explore a couple places we hadn’t previously, paths and gardens.

Of course, the humans enjoyed the outing also.  We hope to go back this weekend for a little Shakespeare in the garden. I guess I forgot to mention they have a sort of replica of the old globe theatre where a variety of plays are performed, including Shakespeare’s. I was pretty excited to find this. We concluded the evening with a drive to Coronado where we caught dinner and a very tuckered out Charlie napped on the way home. More to come of our adventures. Stay happy, stay healthy.

A look back at the Emerald Isle

In less time than it took to fill up 24 exposures I felt like I had found my home at long last.  
The grass really does seem to be greener on the other side. Perhaps it’s all the rain? The emerald contrasted nicely against the gray skies while the fresh scent of moss rode on the sea breeze. There seemed to be ample opportunity for the sun to sneak out from behind the clouds. As I walked along the shore cliffs gazing at land’s end, I imagined this land long ago when castles were alive and ships prepared for long voyages. It was easy to forget the hustle and bustle of the real world when entrances to forest paths reminded you to watch for fairies. I quickly decided this was one of my favorite places and I wished upon the quartz found buried on the beach that I’d see Ireland again.

the meaning of life, a photographic story

Like a lost bird I winged carelessly with no particular direction in mind, enjoying the breeze and taking time to take in the view. Something had to slow me down, keep me still for a while so I could figure it out. I couldn’t just keep floating along with no clear path. It’s hard to get somewhere when you don’t know how to get there. This bird could think of flying all he wanted but he wasn’t sure where to go. So he just sat there and thought about it.

And so did I.

Enjoying the view.

Dreaming dreams, hoping for things, and soaking in moonbeams.

Pondering, wondering, wandering while the moon listened.

Like, why some leaves turn orange, and others yellow or red. And why red seemed to be my favorite. But why not purple or blue?  So much time spent trying to figure out the meaning of all that is life.

But then the leaves have fallen, winter drifts in and lingers a while. Another year fares us well. The sun rises with promise of renewal.

With fresh memories of fields of butterflies that new love sent fluttering.

There are prickly parts every now and then. It does us well to also remember them.

Last summer we walked through a desert garden, while the bird thought of flying, thinking but going nowhere. It seems like a lifetime ago but yet not that long ago now. We’ve come quite a long way since then.

The tree let the bird rest a while. It was a tree that stopped us… that told me to slow down long enough to realize

that a change needed to be made. To understand the things that are truly important. And to know that I have not fully done all I need to in this life.

Now a countdown til the day I can fly again. Til we can fly again. This time knowing, and an idea of direction. I will still dream dreams and hope for things but I will not wing wildly, carelessly.

new postcard

This is the first design that I’ve really liked. Will likely come up with a couple more.

The hardest part is deciding which photos to use, that part can easily take a couple hours if you’re really putting thought into it. The layout is much easier once the pictures are chosen.

I have to admit, this is kind of fun.

I’ve been working on some new business card designs. I may have gotten a little carried away with it really, but the possibilities seem to be endless. I’m going to have to decide on a few designs and stick with them. While I’m in the process I figured I’d post what I have so far.

These two are my favorite. Whimsical and Spring-like.

I may make changes to the text, or text color.

And here are the others:

a whole new world

Everything’s strange and new to baby Tahlia and I imagine the world seems like such a huge, exciting, and fascinating place. Though she also seems to be sleeping as much as she’s awake. She’s tinier than she appears and cute as a button.

You’ll likely see more posts of baby Tahlia in the future.

These images are watermarked with my new logo. With a new year under way, it felt right to come up with something fresh. I’m very pleased with it.

With a stork on its way

A couple weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be able to do a maternity shoot with two wonderful people, Jeremy and Tasha. Seemed everyone involved had fun with it and we got some great shots, in my humble opinion. The overcast grey overhead cleared up right as we started and by the end we had a pastel swirl of the sun’s setting as a backdrop. How lucky was it that we happened to have cotton fields and a river nearby to work with also. Here’s a preview: