Back in May of 2017 myself and Anna had the chance to go to Puerto Rico to "get away from it all", so I packed up all of my cameras and we went to a different place where I continued to take photos of everything while Anna relaxed. In all seriousness though, it was a welcome respite from Baltimore and city life. In light of the recent devastation that has happened in Puerto Rico as a result of an unfortunate set of back to back hurricanes; I wanted to share our photos from our trip and tell you a little about what we did there.
We booked an amazing room at a vegetarian bed and breakfast called The Dreamcatcher Inn. This wonderful little spot is nestled away in a residential neighborhood called Ocean park and only 2 blocks from an amazing locals beach. The accommodations were quaint in the best possible way and the food was spectacular in the best vegetarian way. The entire Inn has an welcoming organic feel to it. Ocean Park was just lovely. We spent many afternoons walking the quite streets, enjoying the mix of modern and classic Mediterranean architecture of the homes. The beach itself was immaculate. With the silky soft sand, amazingly sky blue water, and welcoming locals it is a spot I will hold close to my heart for the rest of my life.
During our stay, we explored the streets of Old San Juan. What struck me the most was the amount of color incorporated into every aspect of the city. From the painted stucco buildings, to the shop signs, and and even Burnie Sanders. The views from the walls of the historic El Morro were stunning. Looking down from the turrets we could see waves breaking against the rocks below and for a moment everything seems to exist outside of time. This view we were taking in remained unchanged for generations, preserved in its serenity.
We also had a chance to go on a graffiti bike tour of Ocean Park and the neighboring town. Our guide, Carlito, seems to know everyone. At each piece of art, he told us the background of the artist, the inspiration for the piece, and the importance of it to the neighborhood. Unlike in many mainland cities, San Juan's government embraces graffiti and recognizes it for the art that it is. If you have the chance, this tour is 100% worth it.
One thing to remember when traveling with the goal of taking pictures is that the best gear is what you have on hand. The images below were taken with every kind of camera from an iPhone, to a 35mm Canon AE-1 (film camera), to a Sony a6300 (digital). The gear you have doesn't matter. Recording where you went, preserving those memories, capturing those beautiful moments, is what really matters. Make sure you enjoy what's happening though and live in the moment. For me, taking the time to photograph a scene is how I enjoy the moment. It allows me to really observe what's in front of me; to appreciate the tiny details.
What's important now, is that Puerto Rico get the help it deserves. These amazing people are our kin, living under the same Stars and Stripes as those of us in Maryland, New York, San Diego, and even Washington DC. Due to their location, they are not afforded the support that those of us on the mainland are. The current projections are that power will remain out until at least December for most of the island. I hope that you will take a moment to donate, even just a small amount, to help these beautiful and welcoming Americans. I would suggest sourcing your support through charities like UNICEF.