Travel Photography – It’s in the Details

by Robyn Porteen
( October 27th, 2014 )

Trvel Photography - Hanging Lantern in Jerusalem

Travel Photography – It’s in the Details.

Traveling to foreign cities can be overwhelming with the hustle and bustle of daily activities. There are people making their way to work and tourists staring up into the air at the architecture attempting to take it all in. It might be intimidating to just start pointing your camera at strangers. My advice is to break yourself in by paying attention to the details and small things around you.

Travel Photography - Spices and Incense

You will be amazed at how many more photos you will come home with and you will end up with a very unique collection from your trip. If you were to send five people to the same place and tell them to focus on the details, everyone would come back with a different set of images. Photographing the details will show your own unique perspective.

Travel Photography Details

These images were selected from a trip to Israel in 2009 and all of them bring me right back to that small place in time. The old city of Jerusalem had a certain smell and feeling about it. There was a sense of danger and awe.  I had no problem finding details to focus on in my daily walks around the city.

Travel Photography - Poster in Jerusalem



It’s usually the photos like these that I end up printing and framing. I think the details have more of an artistic nature. I love doors and have collected photos of doorways from around the world.

You might want to try collections of certain things on your travels. Faces, street signs, and close-up architectural shots are all great subjects for collections.



All photography by Robyn Porteen 


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Castle Hopping Off the Beaten Path

by Robyn Porteen
( October 16th, 2014 )

Minard CastleIreland is my favorite spot to visit and I have been there several times. I have many stories to share about this beautiful country. Fascinated by history, the first thing planned was to explore the old castles and homesteads and imagine what life was like a few centuries ago. We take pride in history in the US, but we are hard pressed to find many structures or sites that are more than 300 years old.

Many of the Castles have been turned into tourist traps and there are long queues just to get inside. So I made the decision to explore the abandoned castles off the beaten path. Research was done online and I found an older book published by The Daily Telegraph called Castles & Ancient Monuments of Ireland. It was published in 2001, but I figured that some of these castles have been standing since the 1200’s so a 12 year old book would still be valid.

Castles and Ancient Monuments of Ireland

What’s great about this book is that it sections off parts of Ireland, has decent maps and takes the time to really tell the history of the entire area and each individual site. In some cases it will let you know that the castle is on private property and how to contact the property owner and their suggested hours for visiting the site.

Climbing over walls and dodging sheep were all part of the excitement of discovering some of these hidden gems. I always made sure to knock on the door of the owners house and humbly ask permission before wandering through the ruins. Always show respect for the property owner.

Fireplaces from each floor of a crumbling castle


Be cautious in these buildings, they are old and crumbling, Many of them have stairs that go to second floors or higher and there are no safety rails or even people to come to your aid at these remote locations if you get injured.

Leave them as you found them, don’t litter or try to take a piece of the building home with you, these should still be enjoyed by generations to come and it would be easy for the property owners to restrict access.

Photographers: Figure out which direction these are facing in the sun and try to capture them  in the right light. Pick the best ones for sunset or sunrise by which direction the main structure is facing.  I visited a few that I could not photograph well because the only exposed side for taking the photo had the sun behind it. There is nothing worse than being excited to see a beautiful, historical castle and not being able to get that perfect shot!

Keep your camera on the ready as you approach, crows will gather in these structures and when startled, they will fly out and circle above the castle or perch where you can photograph them.

Birds Circling Castle


Since I purchased this book, I did some research this week and found a few more that have good reviews published in the last five years. I still plan on taking my current book with me each time I visit this beautiful country, it is a proven guide for my explorations.

Old doorways inside an old castle

All photography by Robyn Porteen

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Irish Fog Creates a Mood

by Robyn Porteen
( September 28th, 2014 )

Irelands Sleeping Giant

I have the pleasure of traveling to the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland every 1-2 years. It’s the most beautiful place in the world to me. Time is slower there, people are in no hurry, they still run herds of sheep down main street and there are no trains and very few buses that go there. It’s my own peaceful retreat.

I have photographed this area many times and captured the beautiful sun drenched western coast line with its magnificent waves crashing on the shore. I was thinking that I had photographed every nook and cranny of this area except for many areas inland without roads, so I made a plan to set out on one of the hiking trails called the Saints Path north of Dingle on my last day there. In fact, I had saved a whole day just for this photo trip. The weather had been beautiful and sunny the whole week, but on the last morning it was foggy with drizzle! My first thought was that I had planned my days wrong and I should have done this sooner, I was stuck inside for the day.

Then I had an inspiring thought…...maybe the fog would be a great capture! After all, fog is a regular weather event here and it would allow me to bring home the mood of the land with all of the ancient architecture encased in fog. So I went to the local clothing store and bought an inexpensive rain cover, put on my hiking boots and off I went.

Dingle Peninsula Ireland

It turned out to be one of the most spiritual days I ever had in Ireland. As I started to climb the Saint’s Path, I could see the fog all around me hovering in the distance. One minute, I could see yards ahead, then the fog would creep in around the rocks and I could not see more 10 feet in front of me. It was a beautiful experience all alone on the Dingle Peninsula, far up on a hillside, just the fog and I. It was a difficult thing to capture with my camera, but below is an attempt at before and after photographs.

Fog Pulling Away

Fog Creeping In

It was well worth the trip out in the drizzle and fog. I did remember my plastic camera rain cover to protect my camera.  I have many more trips to take to this peninsula and I think I will be spending more time in the fog!

Foggy Hillside in Ireland

All photography by Robyn Porteen


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