London, England – 2017

While we had a lovely stay in Northern Spain and hope to publish a few of the photos in a magazine we are waiting to publish them here. Please bear with us for the release of these two special places at Playa de Cathedrales and San Juan de Gaztelugatxe.  Let’s just say that seven days of rain in Spain was not part of our original plan. Moving on to London, it was nice to hear English again. Since they speak a different dialect in Northern Spain all my study of Spanish was rendered useless.  But, London is a massive city and I am not generally fond of a huge urban metropolis.  Arriving in the sun, softened the blow and the naturally friendly, chipper outlook of the people is something I had forgotten.   I think it is fair to say that Jeff has been anticipating this part of the trip far more than myself.  In part, because he has some work to do here documenting the women and men’s race walk events at the IAAF World Championships, but more due to our appointment with Madame Trousseau’s of London (please help us by voting for your favorites at the end of this post).  […]

Country #41 – Portugal, Challenges Everywhere

To say that I was excited to return to Lagos, Portugal is a gross understatement.  I was last there for three weeks in 1992 after studying abroad in Paris for the semester.  It left an indelible footprint in my mind.  The gorgeous turquoise blue/green waters of the Algarve has miles of caves and grottos to explore by boat or kayak.  The cliffs contain a labyrinth of paths that wind all along the edge overlooking the waters below.  The constant wind brings refreshment to the ever present warm sun.  Hidden beaches delight at every turn some populated and others completely desolate.  The people were warm and welcoming to tourists and locals alike.  The language was soft, romantic and beautiful.  The food was fresh and full of delicacies we can’t find at home, like bacalhau (a staple Portuguese cod dish), melons covered in fresh port and fresh olives from the groves.  What is not to love?  My one concern was that it might have changed or maybe my memory was colored by the rose covered glasses of being in college and on vacation in Europe… I need not have worried.  Every memory I have is what we experienced in Lagos.  Despite some difficulty getting our rental car, we arrived to our apartment mid-afternoon.  We soon found […]

Black Swan Inn – Bershires, Massachusetts

We had a rare treat during the school year with a weekend get-a-way to the majestic Black Swan Inn in Lee, Massachusetts on the foothills of the Berkshires. We were planning on doing a small talk on our One Dress, One Woman, One World project, but hadn’t intended to do a photo shoot. However, when we took Munson for a walk along the local Pinnacle trail we found that fall was still in full glory. We decided to go back the next morning and do a wedding dress shot. The light wasn’t as good as we had the day before, but it was still gorgeous. Help us decide which photo you like the best and vote below? Thanks!      

Rio De Janeiro and Iguzau Falls

Given our extensive set of photo shoots in Europe this summer we decided that in Brazil we would focus solely on race walking and take a token One Dress shot to count Brazil in the county list. It sounded like such a nice, simple and non-painful plan. Our trip progressed relatively smoothly. If anyone is interested in our initial impressions of Brazil please see our initial story on racewalk.com. Given the exorbitantly inflated Olympic hotel prices we rolled the dice with Air BnB. We selected our place from very few, affordable rooms near the race walking courses, near being 15km away. Yes, Rio is a very large place. To say we brought the luck of the Irish with us is an understatement. We rented a room from an apartment with the family still living there. Carla, Rodrigo and their two children Pedro and Valentina were amazing. Without a huge agenda and the family on holiday for the Olympics, we spent a lot of time with them. What an amazing treat to see how a kind-hearted, local family lives. We went to the mall together to take care of our cell phones and had dinner out so Valentina could have pizza. […]

Scotland – Eilean Donan and Castle Stalker & a Wee bit of England

After two weeks in Ireland, we headed to Scotland, because as Mike Meyers would say, “If it’s not Scottish its crap!” While the people are just as kindhearted as Ireland, they are definitely more reserved and measured in their responses. We parked ourselves at the Loch Ness Clansman Hotel with the ability to see Nessie from our room. Our first stop was the 13th century castle Eilean Donan. It was renovated in in the early 1900’s and is absolutely exquisite. You may have seen it in the Highlander movie (There can be only one!) We were not given permission to photograph inside, which appears to be a consistent restriction in Scotland. However, we were told that we could shoot on the island grounds after 6PM. We decided to leave our hotel at 12 and have a leisurely countryside drive and lunch in route. We arrived at 3PM as planned, toured the castle and had a snack as we waited until 6PM. However, we failed to plan for tidal waters. The water was already low when we arrived and would disappear at low tide around 7PM. In addition, we had zero light, just mushy, gray skies. Sadly, we also had a […]

Belfast, Ireland – Titanic Experience and Crown Liquor Saloon

While we didn’t originally have the Titanic Experience on our to-do list with the wedding dress, when Stewart at the Guinness Storehouse suggested it would make a great shoot we reached out to them. They were very enthusiastic about our coming so we made it our first stop. Titanic is one of Jennifer’s favorite movies. For me, the technical aspects of why the luxury liner sunk and the challenges associated with its rediscovery and recovery have fascinated me for years. The Titanic Experience which opened four years ago does a wonderful job satisfying all facets of interest in the titanic in a wonderfully immersive way. Below is just one of the many exhibits. This one surrounds you with three walls of video to take you virtual walkthrough of the historic ship. Another great exhibit takes you with a floor view of the explore the wreck of the Titanic as the underwater submersible would have seen it 12,500′ (3,800 meters) below sea level. We were too tired to wait for blue light and photograph the building properly, but we did snap a shot from above so show you the amazing internal architecture. The endless amount of detail was overloading in an […]

Northern Ireland – Coastal Causeway Route

Next we headed north to Northern Ireland, country #34 and the Coastal Causeway Route. We stayed at a wonderful bed and breakfast called Wanderin Heights. It was run by the sweetest older woman who made breakfast and all your time there feel like you were visiting you dear, sweet grandmother. Our reservation was completely messed up, not her fault, and she fixed everything including giving us the best room in the house. Complete with an ocean view. We had a busy agenda that was shortened when we saw scaffolding over the Dunluce Castle. Still there was plenty to do. We spent a day or so scouting our locations and the best time of day to do each shoot. Sadly, it rained a lot. Like most of the day every day. So we had to balance light with the weather forecast. First up, was an early morning shoot at the Dark Hedges (also known as the King’s Road in Game of Thrones). Unfortunately for us, getting morning light this far north in the summer meant getting up at 4:30 AM and hitting the road immediately. We had a difficult time deciding which shot we liked the best, so please help us by voting […]

West Coast of Ireland – Cliffs of Moher, Ballinalacken Castle and Doolin Cave

Going into our trip, the Cliffs of Moher were certainly one of the most anticipated and challenging photo shoots. To find a great location without hoards of people and the proper light was going to be difficult. Looking at the weather forecast we knew the evening we arrived was out best and possibly only chance to get decent lighting. Apparently it rains a lot in Ireland. A lot! On our way we had a few challenges. The roads out of Dublin were reasonably wide and well paved, however as we got closer to the cliffs, the roads became unforgiving, literally. It was hard enough driving on the wrong side of the road, but when there were centimeters of space on either side of the car. Next thing we knew, we blew a tire. Spare you ask, yes, but there were funky caps over the lug nuts and we sat puzzled and called for help. All the while, our precious light was mocking us. Perfect skies, but for how long? Fortunately, we figured it out, swapped on the donut and frighteningly putted down the road. If it was bad before, it was far worse on a donut. We eventually arrived at the Elements B&B with the sun […]

Dublin, Ireland – 2016

Before marrying Jennifer, I had the opportunity to visit Dublin, Ireland 4 times for the World’s Friendliest Marathon when I coached for the Leukemia Society. It’s odd to have visited a country/city for the 5th time, but since Jennifer had not been to Ireland we decided to go along with our friend Mike who traveled with us to Jordan. While Dublin is known for many things, it is the home of my favorite beer, Guinness. While one might say I am biased by the creamy goodness in a glass, both Jennifer and Mike were notably impressed by the seven story experience at the Guinness Storehouse. Indeed, even I was blown away by the upgrades to the tour. Guinness was kind enough to allow us early entry and provide an escort to help us get the photos we wanted. We were met at 9AM by Stewart, who enthusiastically embraced our challenges. Our first, attempt was the dimly lit, majestic waterfall which presented many lighting challenges. Stewart watched and Mike and I set up and adjusted multiple remote flashes to capture Jennifer, the dress and the waterfall in one click. Many clicks later, we got our keeper just as the hordes of people […]

Cruising with the Family – 2016

Once every decade or so the sun, moon and stars align and Jennifer and my spring breaks fall on the same week. This was that year. Unlike many of our far out adventures, we spent the week participating in a relatively tame cruise through the Caribbean. The best part of the trip was spending time with our extended family. Yes, it is possible to travel with family, even in-laws, and all have a great time. We often met for breakfast and always met for dinner. In between, we explored and of course had the dress in hand. This was our second trip with Holland America and we highly recommend them as a cruise line. The food was great, the staff very friendly and helpful, rooms were clean and reasonably spacious, and the selection of excursions was extensive enough to give us some options for interesting photo shoots. Our first was swimming, playing and kissing wild stingrays. The excursion started just off the boat where we were walked over to a smaller boat. First, we headed out to the reef for a bit of snorkeling. Given that we were getting wet anyway and we’ve had plenty of underwater scuba shots previously, […]