The book of Genesis provides the basis for a beautiful story of when the earth was new. The Genesis Photographic Essay has been an ongoing project of mine since 1968. Some of the original photographs are still used in this essay. I continue to update this essay so be sure to review it from time-to-time.

A Little Bit of Heaven

Sure a little bit of Heaven fell from out the sky one day
and it nestled in the ocean in a place so far away
and when the angels found it sure it looked so sweet and fair
they said suppose we leave it for it looks so peaceful there

So they sprinkled it with stardust just to make the shamrocks grow
it's the only place you'll find them no matter where you go
then they darted it with silver just to make the lakes look grand
and when they had it finsihed sure they called it Ireland

by J. Keirn Brennan and Ernest R. Ball

One cannot travel to Ireland without falling in love with the people, the land, and the endless scenery. Dora and I have spent considerable time in Ireland and Northern Ireland criss-crossing the two countries, each stop more gorgeous than the last. If you decide to go be sure to take in areas around Dublin, the Copper Coast, Donegal, and the Wild Atlantic Way that winds its way through County Kerry. Travel to Northern Ireland and visit areas made popular by the television series "Game of Thrones", which include the Giant's Causeway and Dark Hedges. Be sure to visit Belfast and the Titanic Museum. 

If you are a photographer considering a trip to Ireland I highly recommend signing up for a photo workshop. I will only recommend workshops that we have personally participated in and we feel are worth the investment. Of course, one could always opt to go it alone or join one of the many tours available. Both options will give a photographer less than expected results. The best spots may be missed completely and tours have no concern for needs of a photographer. Ireland is a popular destination spot for photographers and tourists. It is worth having knowledgeable photographers who are familiar with the country to get you into spots tourists don't normally see, as well as getting you into the popular tourists spots at the best time to avoid crowds of people.

Light Land and Sea offers some of the best workshops we have participated in. Light Land and Sea workshops are hosted by John Dunne and Athena Carey. They know Ireland intimately and have traveled down every road and path in Ireland to find the best spots. Our workshops included locations in County Kerry and the Wild Atlantic Way, Donegal, Ireland's Copper Coast, and Northern Ireland's Giant's Causeway. The workshops were everything we expected and more. John and Athena looked after us, guided us through numerous locations and photographic opportunities, and adapted to weather conditions as necessary. John and Athena not only provide excellent locations, their primary focus is the workshop participant and they set their cameras aside to spend quality time with each photographer. When the workshop is over they will also provide suggestions on places to shoot during your stay.

This year was the 75th annual running of Aiken Trials, which took place on Saturday March 18. This event is always well produced and attended. The Aiken Training Track makes for a neat venue. Tickets can be obtained for infield and outfield parking. Front row reserved parking gets you a parking spot next to the rail where you can watch the races. Spectators bring folding chairs, ice chests, and barbeques. The tailgate parties will rival any football tailgate party. Events like this are always attended by other photographers and it is a good time to meet new friends. There were a number of special events this, such as a bi-plane flyover, Miss South Carolina, and one of the Wells Fargo stagecoaches. 

We recently returned from Aiken, SC. One of the events we go to Aiken for is the Civil War reenactment of the Battle of Aiken. The war was essentially over, however; this was an important battle to the south. Sherman's forces had completed its march through Georgia and was turning their attention to South Carolina. Confederate soldiers engaged the Union army in Aiken and managed to score a minor victory, saving Aiken from destruction. 

Dora and I were stationed at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for four years, beginning in 1973. Our daughter, Karen, was born there. Cuba was under an economic embargo by the United States and so we were restricted to the base. Diplomatic relations with Cuba were severed in 1961 by President Eisenhower. The U.S. embassy in Havana was closed and Guantanamo Bay was isolated. We could take R&R trips to Haiti, Puerto Rico, San Juan, and other Caribbean locations but we never got to know any of Cuba, save what we experienced on the base. Over the years we would catch a glimpse through some story in a magazine or newspaper but we never thought the opportunity to return would present itself. Fast forward 54 years to August 14, 2015 when Secretary of State, John Kerry, travelled to Havana to reopen the embassy. Suddenly Americans could once again visit the beautiful island of Cuba. 

Friend and fellow photographer Steve Rich and I try to get together at least once a year for a great adventure of exploration, adventure, and photography. The past few years took us in to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park where we visited Pigeon Forge, Cades Cove, and Roaring Fork.

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