A traveler without observation is a bird without wings. ~ Moslih Eddin

There is more to Minnesota than just the Mall of America and more to South Dakota than just Mount Rushmore.  Likewise, there’s more to Jamaica than just white sand and coastal resorts.

To each their own and there are benefits to both.

Holiday life in Jamaica:
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Real life in Jamaica:2014Jamaica-1060125

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2014Jamaica-1060133kpcrMy ultimate achievement:  Finding clotheslines to photograph in Jamaica

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Prairie Wisdom ~ Wind is free and clothespins are cheap

Clotheslines are my obsession.  I hang clothes out on the line whenever the sun shines and inside the house in the winter to add humidity, save energy, as well as wear and tear on the dryer.  I also have a hard time walking past a clothesline without photographing its contents.

A clothesline is like a family portrait since the items hung change along with the family.  Babies in the house? I once had 70 cloth diapers on the line after we brought the youngest home from the hospital and still had his older sister in diapers.  Our school colors were hung with pride as I displayed sweatshirts and t-shirts while the kids were still in school.  The sizes of items on the clothesline would grow with our family and now we are down to just the two of us…

Spain-1050288dmvcrSegovia, Spain

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Spain-1040309dmvSantiago, Spain
Spain-1040043plclNear Lavacolla, Spain

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Spain-1030630dmvcrVillafranca del Bierzo, Spain

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAMontego Bay, Jamaica

Spain-1030832Melide, Spain?

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Cleanliness is next to Godliness

Around the world you’ll find pride in the results of laundry endeavors. Why go through all that work if the clothes aren’t sparkling, right?

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Woman washing and scrubbing her clothes in the river near Villafranca del Bierzo in Northern Spain.

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Below is a woman on the beach in Montego Bay, Jamaica utilizing a tree as a clothesline after washing her clothes in the ocean.  You use what you have.
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Employment Opportunities in Montego Bay

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Scene: My sister and I walking in Montego Bay toward downtown debating whether to explore the “sketchy” part of town.

(Enter Steve): “I recognize you. I work at El Greco. My name is Steve. What are your names? It is market day so come with me and I’ll show you! No one will bother you when you are with me.  You can take all the photographs you want!” He then proceeds to give a a tour of old downtown, Montego Bay.SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAI knew this ploy from a previous visit since they see the bright yellow wristband we need to get our complimentary breakfast and know where we are staying. (We figured out later to have it put on loosely so that we can slip it on and off.) I was O.K. with this situation since I REALLY wanted to take pictures downtown but was hesitant to attempt it with just the two of us.  Maybe not wise to trust a complete stranger but we were sucked in….
S-o-o-o-o here we go!SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

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Sam Sharpe Square in the heart of Montego Bay makes a good place to start a walking tour of the town. Sam Sharpe is a national hero of Jamaica (1801, Jamaica – 23 May 1832, Jamaica) and was the slave leader behind the Jamaican Baptist War slave rebellion. Sam Sharpe was later captured and held at the jail cell in the square now known as the cage; He was tried at the court house now known as the civic center and hanged in the square along with other participants.

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Today five main monuments are a testament to that faithful day. These include the fountain (not running that day), the court house where he was tried, his statue placed at the spot where he was hanged and two holding areas known as the cage. The square, formerly called Charles Square, contains a collection of bronze statues sculpted by island born Kay Sullivan that show the Bible-thumping Sam Sharpe talking to four of his followers.SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAThe stone Cage is the other main feature of the square. The Cage was built in 1806 and originally used to hold captured runaway slaves and sailors, and those out after curfew. Since then it has been a town lock-up, latrine, a clinic and a tourist office. It now houses a small museum. ~ Don Philpott

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAThe St. James Parish Church was built between 1775 and 1782. It underwent substantial repair work in 1957 following damage from an earthquake.There are many points of interest in the church, including two monuments by noted 18th century sculptor, John Bacon. One of these is a monument to Rosa Palmer, the former owner of Rose Hall Great House. Was she the “White Witch?”

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAThe welcome wagon was ready to sell us string bracelets.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAOf course, we made a deal so he was a happy camper.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAAn elaborate stained glass window was installed in 1911. Adorning the walls are plaques and memorials to important figures in the history of Montego Bay. ~ Jamaica Travel and Culture.com

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Cemetery near the main square where 21 Jamaican soldiers from WW II are buried.

Tour continues to two elementary schools; an infant school for very young students and an upper elementary school. It was fun to see kids just being kids.

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Friday is Market Day so we found the street busy with vendorsSAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

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Along the way we picked up a wing man, Dave, who claimed he “had our backs” and tagged along behind us. He also would pipe in with the history, information and would answer any questions. Oh, well, another one on the payroll.SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

Time to wind down our 1 1/2 hour tour of downtown Montego Bay and get a photo of our guides/bodyguards. Our attempts at fist bumping.

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We pay our guides and part ways assuring them that we could walk back to the hotel unescorted. We had other offers for tours and taxi rides along the way with the opening line “I recogize you. I work at El Greco.” Been there, done that… The REAL test was continuing to wear the RIU Resort red wristband from Negril after returning to Montego Bay. All of a sudden we had so called “employees” of RIU offering tours and taxi rides. Hmmm… Do we have gullible written all over us? Don’t answer that!!!

It’s Photo Friday… travel cameras?

Jamaica is well known for its beautiful beaches with many tourists photographing beautiful sunsets along with frolicking in the surf and white sand pics. I observed a pair of teenage girls spending at least 3 hours posing and taking pictures with their phone of themselves in their little bikinis as though they were Sports Illustrated swimsuit models. On a morning walk along the shore I looked to the left and discovered that I had found a nude beach of primarily senior citizens. Hmmm… I decided that was NOT a photographic opportunity, but it certainly was an eye opening experience! Oh, to be so comfortable in your own skin.
I was trying out a used (but new to me) point and shoot camera, but was disappointed in the features not available (like RAW only in low ISO’s, focus was so-o-o-o frustratingly slow, settings were buried so deep into the menu and slow to access). We have been searching and analyzing on the internet and comparing models vs. price.
My question is: What is the best, yet small travel camera for photographers who like to manually control settings and have fast, spot focus? Any thoughts out there???

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Planning a trip to Jamaica? Let me introduce you to Solomon…

Meet Solomon Hutchinson, our tour guide/driver extraordinaire.  He was our “go to guy” for exploring locations in and around Montego Bay, Jamaica that were too far for walking.  His friendly, prompt and courteous service made our trip stress free and comfortable. He was able to provide rides for our group even though we weren’t sure of the numbers until the last minute.  He must have had some kind of magic hat to pull all this off!

My favorite quote from our Jamaican experience is from Solomon himself:

“I have no problems; only situations.”  ~ Solomon Hutchinson 

I try to remember this saying when I think I should be all stressed out about something.  You just deal with it.  End of story.

Solomon Hutchinson

Solomon Hutchinson

solomonhutchinson@hotmail.com  |  876-368-7820 |

For the most historic and cultural sightseeing and tours such as Mayfield Falls, Green Grotto Cave, Dunn River Falls, Black River Safari, Negril, 7 Miles Beach.  Wheelchair accessible.

Use only special taxis or vans operated by JUTA, the Jamaica Union of  Travellers Association (tel. 876/957-4620), or taxis operated by its  government-sanctioned counterpart, JCAL Tours (Jamaica Co-operative Automobile & Limousine Tours; tel. 876/957-4620). Do not get into a  “pirate taxi,” even if the driver promises to cut the going rate in half;  cheating tourists is disturbingly common. JUTA tariffs are controlled, and  you’ll recognize its vehicles by the union emblems and red license plates. A  list of official tariffs is posted at the airport — but it’s still important to  agree on the price before setting out, to avoid potential disagreements later.

Read more: http://www.frommers.com/destinations/montegobay/0314010002.html#ixzz2HUxZwdhq

It’s Photo Friday!! Photo Etiquette 101

Looking for tips to stay within photography etiquette guidelines when traveling.  I love exploring cultures with my camera, including my own rural environment, but don’t want to be offensive at the same time.  Often times I find that we are “same but different” in many aspects and appreciate the uniqueness of experiences.  I have found that purchasing or tipping generously will often provide plenty of photo opportunities, but my experience with a variety of cultures is limited.

I’m reaching out to others in the world that have travel photography experience to offer suggestions to best document the experiences but be within the realm of common courtesy.  Which cultures are particularly difficult or easygoing to document?