Jeffrey Byrnes Photographer Fashion + Portraits + Travel

Travel Photography & Vacation

Destinations near and far are still destinations. However far your travels bring you, you are still wandering. This summer I had hopes to visit some new places and make some extraordinary images to include into my travel portfolio. With my work schedule and regular trips to Cape Cod and Maine, I was not as fortunate as I had hoped to be in securing some elaborate destination. That is fine. I can not complain by any means. I have been spoiled this summer. 

Barnstable, Cape Cod

This post comes very late at night. Excuse any typos for that reason. This week has been long, exhausting, and very painful. My week started on Saturday with a destination wedding in Rhode Island. While I do not discuss wedding photography on this blog/site, I still do weddings throughout the year. I set out on the road Saturday morning. I was to shoot a wedding and be back for a head shot session in studio by 10am on Sunday. All went according to the plan. Immediately following the shoot I was on the road to Cape Cod. My fiance's grandmother rented a house for the family in Barnstable. Most of the family, including my fiance had arrived on Saturday.

I had been excited to come down for the week. This was the first year I was going to join the family. I had been invited the two years prior, but timing had not worked out for me and my work schedule. This yea, this year though I was incredibly excited. Throughout the day on Sunday my fiance was informing me that her nose hurt. Friday during a walkthrough of a house she accidentally bumped it. Small tap on the nose, nothing to think twice about. No blood, no break, no worries. By Sunday night after my arrival the pain was up and so was the swelling. Everyone was hopeful that by morning the swelling would have subsided and all would be well and she would be back to the beauty queen she is. That was not the case.

Over the years we have often wondered what people do when they have medical emergencies on Cape Cod. We no longer have such worries. Monday morning we traveled to an urgent care center about 15 miles from the house. In concur-ment with her mother, nurse, and aunt, nurse, the dr began his treatment course and sent us on our way. He gave instructions, if it got worse tonight go ER. If it doesn't, stick with planned course. Monday evening we went to the emergency room and sought further treatment. That was the first of many late night ER visits we were to have this week.  

Barnstable, Cape Cod

As I write, I am thinking back over the course of this week. It has been a long and exhausting week. I have been an observer to pain, sadness, and the question, "why me?" While I can not answer that, what I can say is that it has been hard to watch someone I am in love with endure so much pain. A few times I have heard her say, "I feel like a pin cushion," referencing all the needles, attempts, and fails at being pricked, that have happened this week. Most of this week has been spent going from urgent care to the house to eat and the back to the ER. Twice for me and three times for Sue, we have made it to the beach. A medical emergency like this has never been a part of our beach day plans. But life interjects when it does. 

ER Night V--Seventh IV

I am tired now. Sue is fast asleep and as I type I keep looking up at her. Merely two hours ago tears formed a path down her freckle dotted face and on to her hoodie. Her hand was interlocked with mine as nurse after nurse tried to run an IV. The peaceful sleep is a break for her. A break I am happy that she is having.

I am not ready for bed yet. Instead, I found the inspiration to write these thoughts and share a few photos. While I did make a few shots with my iPhone at the beach Thursday, I didn't really make any photographs until late on Friday night. It is rare that I go so long without bringing my camera out and making photos. Even of the most mundane subject. For me, my mind was on one thing, getting her better. I did not care about what I was missing, what I was not out shooting, I was concerned with the health and well being of my fiance.

After dinner we went down to the beach for a fire. A fire on the beach has been a bucket list item since I was a teenager. In all the trips to the cape, all the family vacations I have had, we had never had a fire on the beach. That changed last night and it was quite relaxing. Given the circumstances, my exhaustion, my concern, and near panic attacks at the health of my fiance have made it a hard week for me. But to sit on the sand and hear the waves breaking as the tide was coming up, combined with the ambient glow from the fire was soothing. There was a poetic comfort to the crackles and flying ambers that broke free from the fire. Fire is essential to human existence. At least I believe that we have an inherent need to be around fire at times in our lives. Without it, we wouldn't have survived. 

We left the beach a few minutes earlier than I wanted. We left just as the moon was coming up over the horizon. Without my telephoto lens, I did not care to stay to see it. We had to get to the ER. We were hopeful for an early exit, a short stay. That was not the case. We were there much longer than we wanted to be. Last night was the first night that my camera accompanied me. It stuck close to me. In my hands or on my shoulder. I wasn't leaving it in the car. No way, no how. I had taken just my 5D with my 40mm pancake lens. Was enough to capture some incredible photos at the beach and a few at the hospital. 

The Milky Way and a beach fire. Sandwich, Cape Cod

Surrounded by family we had an awesome fire on the beach. I noticed the Milky Way in the sky behind the fire. If you look at the top left closely, you'll see I caught a shooting star as well. 

Our hands. 

Sue's hands.

Sue's hands.

View from the hospital bed. 


Our hands, Hospital.

On Monday and Tuesday I was petrified. I was scared and worried. Most people, if not everyone would be just as concerned as I was. Some maybe more, some maybe less so. For me this week has been hard. It has been hard to watch emotionally as the woman I love sat in pain. I could provide all the soothing comforts, such as rubbing her forehead, her arm, her hand, coaching her when to exhale as the needles went in, or catching the falling tears, but the one thing I could not do is make her better. As the weekend is upon us, we have a few more days of visits to ER's and urgent care offices. Monday will be a new week and a new day in which we are hopeful her primary care doc will say, you're all clear. This will be one vacation, one trip to the cape we will not soon forget.

Hold the ones you love close to you.