A Wee Bit of the Irish


I remember my grandmother showing me a photograph of her father, Fred Kelly, taken on a trip to Ireland in his elder years.  So I have known from my days as a child that I have roots in Ireland.  The roots are on my mother’s side, which makes it difficult to convince people with the wonderful, classic Irish surnames that I am one of their Irish brothers .Especially since my last name is about as English as it can get.

So this year, with St. Patrick’s Day coming upon us, I decided to do research on Ancestry.com in order to find out my true link with the Emerald Isle.

The farthest the records go back is to James Kelly, born in 1809.  He immigrated to the United States in the early 1840’s.  He had a son in 1844 named Thomas Marion Kelly.  Thomas Kelly had a son named Fred Kelly.  Fred Kelly had a daughter named Edna May, my grandmother, and she had a daughter, my mother, Dorothy Ann Uland.

I wish I could say something such as James’ lineage went back to some great Irish warrior or king or something of the sort.  So far, I have not found a mention of James ever having parents, so no luck there.  I don’t have a real cool story to use on an Ancestry.com commercial.  James died a pauper in 1880.  Thomas served in the Civil War for the North in the 38th Indiana Regiment, Indiana Infantry, Company F.  This regiment participated in quite a few notable Civil War battles, but there is no record as to which of those, if any, Thomas Kelly may have fought in.  The only occupation any of the male Kellys listed on the census rolls was that of a farmer.

Other than my mother and grandmother, the person I know the most about is Fred’s wife, my great grandmother Anna L. Kelly. I found her obituary stuck one of my mother’s Bibles.  Great gramma Kelly was a member of the Church of Christ, the Rebekah Lodge and the Order of the Eastern Star.


Finding Anna L. Kelly’s obituary last night opened up a few forgotten memories from my childhood days.  The first St. Patrick’s Day I remember is the one that occurred when I was in the first grade.  Friends kept telling me I had to remember to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, or I would get pinched.  What self respecting 1st grader wants to get pinched?  So I went home and relayed this to my parents.  My grandmother happened to be visiting, and she informed me that WE do not wear green because WE are not Catholics!  Yikes!  So I pleaded my case as there were about 30 first graders who didn’t give a rat’s rear end about my grandmother’s religious convictions.  So I expressed my concerns as well as any 6 year old can about the upcoming trials of St. Patrick’s Day.  Let’s face it, I was coming off a month long high from St. Valentine’s Day.  I didn’t know who this new saint was but I wasn’t liking where this was going.   I did know where I WOULD be going if I wore green…straight to hell!  At this point I may have started to cry because having the choice of getting pinched or going to hell is, quite frankly, extremely stressful to a 6 year old.  But my grandmother, God rest her soul, sent me a life line.  As a Protestant, I could wear orange, which was the same thing as wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day.  Still struggling at school with simple things like seeing Spot run, I had no idea what a Protestant was, but at that moment I didn’t care. They were now my favorite people in the whole world!   With my soul now saved from the fiery lakes of hell, I could now bravely go to school, armed with the wearin’ of the orange, and be pinch free on St. Patrick’s Day!

It didn’t work…


I am, as far as heredity goes, a mongrel.  Go ahead, scratch my ears and make sure my nose is cold.  My great grandfathers and grandmothers hailed from England, Germany, Ireland and Wales.  In fact, I am a torn when I watch the movie “The Molly MaGuires.”  Do I root for the Irish coal miners or the Welsh police?

The saying is that on March 17th, everyone is a little bit Irish.  For me, it is nice to know that it is true.  I can trace my roots back to Ireland, back to one James Kelly, who boarded a ship headed to America to make a new life.  I am also aware that the amount of Irish blood in me is like a thimble full of water poured into the Colorado river.  But on March 17th, I can wear green without fear of hell or pinching, and I can proudly stand with my friends: the Devlins, the Tallys, the McMichaels et al and say, I am one of you!  I am a son of Hibernia!  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Reign síochána Bealtaine Dia ar domhan agus i do chroí. Lá Sona Naomh Pádraig ar.


In the movie “The Longest Day”  Sean Connery says, as they are moving inland to the sound  of bagpipes, “Yeah, it takes an Irishman to play the pipes!”  Here is a little Irish wedding song for you.


“Pigeons from Hell”


Feeling the urge to write something today desirous of keeping the 5 or 6 consistent readers of my humble little blog happy.

The Photographers Adventure Club, which I have mentioned in several previous posts, has a weekly photography theme that members are encouraged to submit photographs that fit the theme.  I like the idea, but admittedly I am not very consistent…oh who am I kidding, I rarely, if ever post photographs to the site.

This week, I decided to go shoot some images for this weeks’ theme of “Wheels”

I took a trip down to Sahuaro Ranch Park in Glendale.  They have some antique farm equipment that made for some good shooting for this topic.  I converted 3 of the images to black and white or sepia in order to give the photos an old time feeling.

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Sahuaro Ranch Park has some marvelous old buildings on the grounds.  While working my photographic magic (sorry, a bit of shameless self promotion here) I noticed a gathering of pigeons on the roof of a nearby building.  Whenever I see pigeons on the roof I am reminded one of the scariest television show episodes I have ever seen.  It was the show “Thriller” hosted by Boris Karloff, who played the original Frankenstein and Mummy and was in a host of other B grade horror flicks in the 30’s and 40’s.  The episode was called “Pigeons from Hell”.  I saw this scary little gem when the family was visiting my uncle back in Michigan the summer before the sixth grade.

The gist of the show is that wherever these pigeons appear on the roof, someone is murdered.  Now I know that with shows like “The Walking Dead” and other splatter movies etc., that a man walking down the stairs with an ax in is head is pretty tame stuff, but in 1961 it scared the holy heck out of me.

And thanks to “the time machine of my life” You Tube, I can watch the whole episode.  Haven’t worked up the courage yet, but someday…

This is the opening sequence of “Pigeons from Hell” episode.  {link}



Hey, you try coming up with eye catching titles, OK.

It will be kind of a scatter shot of ideas and photos for this morning’s blogging.  The insomnia gremlins are running wild. I must have broken one of the three rules of gremlins…again.



On Valentine’s day I semi-mocked the “holiday”, created by the card and flower industrial complex. I mentioned on Facebook how thankful I was that the kids came to class on Valentine’s Day burdened with flowers, balloons and candy.  This was a clear disruption of the educational environment so I was within my rights to confiscate the offending items.  My wife had awesome Valentine’s Day presents for 31 years.

But Valentine’s Day is for lovers, and as a wedding photographer, I need those lovers to get engaged and hire Poole Photography for their weddings.  So to make up for my  past wrongs against Valentine’s Day, I present this visual love gift to you all as a token of the importance of love in our lives EVERY day of the week, not just 2/14.



I talked  in an earlier blog about my wonderful day of shooting at the Matsuri Festival  {link}.  I entered three of my photographs I took that day in the PAC contest.  I didn’t place, but was happy that my photographs got a few votes.   On the positive side I did vote for the photograph that won the competition.  I may not have shot award winning images that day, but I do know an outstanding picture when I see it.



Although my ultimate goal for Poole Photography, my “White Whale” so to speak, is to be primarily a wedding photographer, I am attempting to shoot as many sessions as I can to gain experience and improve my portfolio.  For the last couple of weeks, my friend Dave has been persistent in telling me that I should come and take pictures of his new cute puppy before it grew into his new big dog. On Sunday I finally went to his place and did my first pet session.


The adorable Leah.

I love the following series of images.  Reminds me of those old monster movies in which the photographer, usually named Tim, sees the danger coming directly at him but instead of running away he holds his ground and continues to photograph the beast charging him until the bitter end!

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It is now 3:37 and about time to wrap this up and see if the insomnia gods are pleased.  I am not sure if they will be.  I have been drinking Mountain Dew,  which does contain caffeine.  I also was alerted by a Facebook post that Mountain Dew contains brominated vegetable oil.  I Googled brominated vegetable oil and its related health risks.  Oh great, one more thing to add to the list of stuff that might not be good for me.  I can just hear and see the early morning commercial now: “if you or anyone you know has drunk beverages contain brominated vegetable oil and you or they show one or more of these symptoms….” Yikes.

So with that information on my mind, I will try close my eyes and get some sleep, all the while knowing, and yes, hearing the BVO in my bloodstream, reeking havoc on various internal organs.

Pleasant dreams.


Perhaps because it was Throwback Thursday but it was a day of connecting with people, places and things in my past.

I was asked by a former student to shoot some head shots for him to submit to a contest he was entering.  We were set to meet at 7th St and McDowell.  My first apartment was at 5th St and McDowell.  The apartment building is still there.  I worked at an office at Palm Lane and Central, about 3/4 of a mile away and often walked to work, which started at the civilized time of 9:00.  I remembered my favorite bachelor fare of cheese omelets  flour tortillas and grape jelly, my dad’s occasional homemade lasagna, late runs to Jack in the Box for tacos (the ORIGINAL Jack Tacos, not the cardboard they serve today)  lunch at Whataburger and watching TV on a 13 inch black and white TV.  The freeway hadn’t been built yet.  The area where it was to be built was pretty dead as the houses and land had all been sold to make way for the new freeway, only to be entangled in a myriad of litigation that had stalled the project. It was nice to see how much the neighborhood has revived since.  The grocery store I shopped at is still there, but it is surrounded by Subway and Starbucks and a host of other business that have sprung up across the street from my former home.

As I was pulling into the parking lot, I got a text from my friend Dave.  He gave me some sad news.  Apollo will no longer be teaching black and white film and wet lab.  It will be going completely digital.  I know all the good points about digital and use digital in my own business.  But I believe there is a place for film in the learning process of photography.  A person learns about lighting  and exposure and composition and has to make these decisions without the crutch of having a button in Photoshop to make up for mistakes.  But I am retired and a quality photography curriculum is not my concern anymore.

After reading Dave’s text, I grabbed my camera and went to Starbucks to meet up with my former student Sergio.  Sergio, and his brother Dominique, ran track and played football for me, plus I had both of them as students.  To say that their life away from school was a bit more than rough is a huge understatement.  With all these obstacles in their life working against them, the chances of the two brothers becoming casualties of life were extremely high.  And, sad for me to say, many of their teachers bought into this future for them, writing them off as delinquents with no hope for the future.  But, to use an old cliche’, they pulled themselves up by the bootstraps and persevered through all of these hard times and made it through school.  They now are productive citizens with families of their own.  These guys are a big part of my “why I taught” reasons.  They are the true heroes of their life’s successes.  I am happy that I was able to play a small part in the story of their lives.

One of the things I remember about Sergio is that he always made me laugh.  He was bit of a class clown.  That has carried over into his adult life.  Sergio’s night job is being a stand up comic.  Sergio performs at local comedy clubs and has performed in New Mexico and Texas as well.  What I find interesting in talking with Serg is the amount of time and effort he is putting into learning the craft of comedy.  He attends workshops and seminars to learn better ways to present his material.  It was fascinating for me to hear him dissect the things he has learned and applied to his act.  Who knew comedy was so complicated?

Which brings me full circle to the reason why I am taking head shots of Sergio.  The young man is entering the Black Comedy Competition and needs to submit a photograph to the contest organizers.  I am glad that he thought of his former coach and photography teacher as the guy for the job.  We decided to meet at noon yesterday at 7th St and McDowell, close to his work and right across the street from my old apartment.  Got a little Starbuck’s, courtesy of Sergio, talked over old times and got to take some great photographs of this fine young man.

Sergio is opening for Jimmy Shubert at the Comedy Spot Comedy Club in Scottsdale this Saturday at 10 pm.  You should check out his act, I know you will enjoy it.  For full details, click here.

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*Credit where credit is due:  “Comedy is not Pretty is the name of a 1979 comedy album by Steve Martin.

Trivia:  The best Steve Martin movie that nobody has ever seen is “Leap of Faith”.