• Dispatches

    Dispatches: Morocco’s magical allure

    There is something truly magical about Morocco and that is why I keep returning, year after year, since my inaugural trip back in 2013. The Atlantic port city of Essaouira, an 18th-century fortress and a UNESCO site, is not only an incredibly beautiful destination but, a cradle of the arts with a mystical and spiritual culture (the Gnawa) that originated out of Sub-Saharan Africa. For the past four years, I have attended the Gnaoua World Music Festival (every May/June depending on Ramadan) which is a celebration of the culture and the music, along with other musicians, that come from all over the world to play and experience the Gnawa. Together,…

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    Dispatches: Rediscovering the Big Apple

      If you are a photographer on the East Coast then you’ve probably done more trips to New York than you can count. And you’ve seen every photographer you know have their own take on the “Greatest City in the World.” But that shouldn’t stop you from looking for something new to inspire you in the Big Apple. Here are some of the things I saw in New York this summer, both old and new. All images © 2016 Rob Cannon. You can see more of Rob’s work on his website. Dispatches is our occasional look outside of DC at the places local photographers have traveled. Have a set of photos…

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    Dispatches: A pleasant summer in Minnesota & a recipe for Swedish egg coffee

    Summertime is pleasant in Minnesota. Having spent most of my adult life sweating through sticky DC summers the thought of a comfortable summer had never really crossed my mind until my partner and I decided to spend the season in Minnesota. Working from home has many advantages and a big one is having the flexibility to pick up and leave–that’s what we did this summer (and extended into the fall). Turns out Minnesota is also a good place to take a break from DC politics. It’s been a summer spent exploring new places as well as seeking out some of Minnesota’s roadside attractions with my trusty Roadside America app. Much of…

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  • Dispatches,  Nature

    Dispatches: Meet the desert’s ‘ugly duckling’ at Joshua Tree National Park

    As the legend goes, Mormon pioneers gave the Joshua tree its name because it reminded them of the Old Testament prophet with his arms outstretched to the heavens. Those Mormons were most likely suffering from heat-induced delusions. In nature’s beauty pageant, the homely Joshua tree walks away with Miss Congeniality. They’re in a word, ugly — resembling the unfortunate offspring of a cactus and a palm tree, without the stateliness of a palm or the intimidating presence of a cactus. Yet, as unattractive as they might be, no plant in the 800,000 acre Joshua Tree National Park is as important to the fragile desert ecosystem. The Joshua trees play a…

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    Dispatches: Road trippin’ through southern Europe

    There are many ways to travel but what I like most is the freedom you have during a road trip. You can go wherever you want, stop wherever you want, stay as much as you want and plan your route accordingly. One of the top trips on my bucket list was a road trip to southern Europe; and last summer I had the opportunity to make it happen. From Lisbon to Florence, 25 days, four countries, 3.500 km, more than 4000 photos. I flew from Washington DC to Lisbon, rented a car(s) and drove north along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean to Porto, then to north Spain (A Coruna,…

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    Dispatches: Outnumbered by sheep in Iceland

    My wife and I  promised our nephews that, after their bar mitzvahs, we’d treat them to special celebratory trips anywhere in the world. This summer, we took our nephew Jacob to Iceland. It’s a feast of sights and sounds sure to appeal to the teenagers in your life — and you’ll have a good time too! Here’s some of what we experienced. Photos © 2016 Miki Jourdan unless otherwise noted. Dispatches is our occasional look outside of DC at the places local photographers have traveled. Have a set of photos you’d like to feature here? Contact us at editor@dcfocused.com.  The Fauna Because of its isolated setting, Iceland’s wildlife is rather…

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    Dispatches: Strange days and cool nights on Venice Beach

    Venice Beach — about midway between Santa Monica and Manhattan Beach — is named for the canals that run through it. Once the most eccentric and bohemian of the Los Angeles beach communities — the Doors were founded here in 1965 — it is rapidly succumbing to an onslaught of gentrification. Even so, people still fish on the fishing pier, superannuated hippies ride colorful bikes, and there is a beautiful sunset every night. All images ©  2016 Clif Burns. You can see more of his work on his website. Dispatches is our occasional look outside of DC at the places local photographers have traveled. Have a set of photos you’d…

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    Over the boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach

      It’s tempting on a clear August day in Rehoboth Beach to look at the ocean and the blue sky from the Boardwalk. But that would be a mistake because there are plenty of things going on all over the boardwalk itself and plenty of photo opportunities. All images ©  2016 Clif Burns. You can see more of his work on his website.

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    Cuba: Finding hope and dreams amid the rubble and everyday struggles

    A week in Havana is hardly enough time to experience more than a slice of what life is like in the city of 2.1 million. For first time visitors from the U.S., it can be a little overwhelming to take it all in in such a short period of time. Crumbling and decaying buildings everywhere, the sense of both hope and frustration among the people you meet, the surreal sight of classic American cars on the roads, the emerging capitalism and the artistic awakening that is evident in the island’s music, food, dance and arts. Our group of seven traveled to Havana from Washington, D.C. in June for Focused Photo Adventure’s inaugural Cuba workshop. It…

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    Dispatches: Anger & Grief in St Paul Minnesota

    The morning after Philando Castile was killed in his car after being pulled over by police for a broken tail light in the Falcon Height neighborhood of St Paul, Minnesota, a protest rally was held at the Governor’s residence on Summit Avenue in St Paul. Diamond Reynolds, Castile’s girlfriend, who shot the iPhone footage after Philando had been shot was at the rally and spoke to the crowd, “He was loving, he was caring.” Since then, there has been an ongoing presence of protestors in front of the residence as well as a number of rallies in and around St. Paul. Over the weekend, I went back to the Governor’s residence and to…

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    Dispatches: On safari

    What were we doing in Africa? More particularly, what was I doing, bringing my 75-year-old mother to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Botswana? Only a year of unpredicted and unpredictable events could have led me to consider such a trip: my father had died, and my mom and I needed a place to be on the one-year anniversary of his death. I had been to a conference in South Africa in 2015, had gone on safari for the first time, and had fallen completely and utterly in love with the country and the wildlife. But perhaps most importantly, my mom and I needed to find a new way to be…

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    Kickstarting our Cuban adventure

    A week from today, seven of us from the DC Focused community will be on a charter flight to Havana, where we’ll spend the next week photographing dancers, boxers, baseball players, artists, farmers and everyday people. We’ll wander the back streets of Old Havana chasing quintessential street images and get up before sunrise to document the city of 2 million residents literally and figuratively waking to a new day. Change is coming to Cuba. Slowly but surely and this will be our chance to document the country in transition. This will be my third trip to Cuba but the first leading a group as part of my new business, Focused…

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