Ireland - a sight to see


Travel for me is 98% about the people and culture.  But every once in a while I come across a breath-taking view, an unbelievable sight, something that looks like it belongs in a painting or a movie... and then I love to stop and sit, reflect on the beauty in the world, and try to show that the best way I know how - photography.


Annie and I took a bus tour from Galway to see the Cliffs of Moher (if you've seen The Princess Bride, these cliffs were featured as The Cliffs of Insanity) and today I want to post the views from the trip to and from the cliffs.  Tomorrow I'll post the cliffs themselves.



This is what I imagined of Ireland, why just staying in the city for the whole trip simply isn't good enough.  And our journey begins:








It was cold and rainy.  And WINDY.  Very windy.  Most of us fell over at one point unless we properly braced ourselves against the wind.  Now, when I travel, I often have trouble getting photos of myself and whoever I'm traveling with because I don't want to just hand my camera to a stranger walking by - "Here's a camera worth several thousand dollars.  You can try to take a photo of us or you can walk away with it while we pose here and let you get away.  And by the way, you know how to get this thing in focus, right?"  Ok, so that's a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point. So I try to keep my eyes open for competent camera users I'd trust.  Sign number one - I saw this kid with a Nikon camera.  3 points in his favor :)  Sign number two - posture when he took pictures.  He actually created a tripod for himself and held still and all that.




Sign number three - his equipment was entry level (D5100 and a kit lens) but his composition and the photos I saw were phenomenal.  Showed me he knew how to use it, not just have it. And when I finally decided to trust him was when he stood in the middle of the road because that was the only place to get the angle he wanted.  Sound like anyone else y'all know??? ;)  I fully support risking your life for the perfect shot.  Anyway, handed him my camera so Annie and I could be in a photo together with the beautiful countryside behind us.  It was cold and rainy and extremely windy, so everyone else had gotten back on the bus and was watched us from my right.  Laurie struggling a little bit figuring out how to get the photo in focus with my d800, but I was so impressed that he recognized the difference and wanted to try again! Ended up with some of my favorite photos from the trip.  Annie and I are laughing because the wind is knocking us off balance and trying to steal her hat.





There are a couple other photos I liked from this trip, but my wi-fi is struggling, so I'm going to leave it at this for now and come back later to add a few more.  It's interesting going to McDonald's more than ever before in my life - in Europe, that's one of the best places for internet connection, but I still find it difficult to want to spend that much time there.  Oh well!  Enjoy the photos, and watch for the cliffs tomorrow.








Lindy Hop

  There is a sense of community among swing dancers across the world.  We are all like family in a way.  I can travel anywhere in the world and be part of the club with instant friends.  These people are fun.  Interesting, adventurous, stylish, friendly, and everyone feels passionately about the emotions in the music.  That's what we share.  When that perfect song is playing, it's almost impossible to stay in your chair.  Everyone dances with everyone, and you don't have to know each other.  Here are the photos from day 2 of the Galway Lindyfest 2012.





Chris and Hazel (above right and below) were two of my favorite people from Ireland.  Hazel is an amazing dancer and actually an instructor for circus. Very talented girl!  And Chris was one of the first people Annie and I met in Dublin. If you look really closely, you can see that his bow tie is actually made out of wooden dice.  So classy, I love it :)





WIth this kind of dance, the choreography isn't planned out ahead of time, you don't even need to "learn the moves."  Everything is about connection.  When the lead moves this direction, the follow can feel it, so she moves as well.  In this way, I've found that the dancers are like two more musicians added into the music.  They can add embellishments or keep things simple, but they are contributing something to the feeling and style of the song.  It's difficult to find the right words to describe this feeling accurately, but it's the number one reason I love dance.  10 talented dancers at the same skill level will each have a completely different dance to the same song.





Below is Annie dancing with another of my favorite Irishmen, named Oisin. He is a professional traditional Irish musician and only got into swing dance about 6 months ago.  But he's doing so well and was a pleasure to be around.  It's funny though, because technically I know English but several times I had no idea what these people were saying because of their Irish accents!  Oisin joked that they should have streaming subtitled for us Americans.  I'll definitely have to look into that next time I come back!  I found myself smiling and laughing and nodding often... and having no clue what I was responding too.  Oh well.





I pulled out my camera to get a shot of the room and didn't realize that all the humidity and body heat from the dancing had fogged up my lens.  I'm thinkin' maybe I should charge extra for the not-quite-intentional-but-pretty-cool-anyway effect it created for the photo below!



Thank you dancers and friends from Ireland for making me feel welcome.  Check out the galleries of photos and feel free to purchase prints or right click and download for facebook here:


May 11 Galway Lindyfest

May 12 Galway Lindyfest