Jeff Mauritzen@jeffmauritzen

Photographer of People, Places & the World's Wild Things. Contributing Photographer to @NatGeoTravel. Come join me on a photo workshop in Costa Rica!

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Caption this image of sheep blocking the road in County Kerry, Ireland. // #Ireland #Sheep #Captionthis #archives


2018 Costa Rica Photo Workshop announcement: Come join me in one of the most biodiverse destinations on our planet. The Osa Peninsula is increíble! We just got back from a week of scouting down there. Swipe left to see just a small portion of what we saw. I will be hosting a workshop with fellow wildlife photographer @stevemorello from April 20-26 at the @crocodilebay. This will be a small group workshop with a maximum of 20 participants (currently only 17 slots left). For more info please visit link in bio or shoot me an email. Happy to answer any questions in the comments as well. Thanks for taking a look!


Piro Beach, Osa Peninsula, #CostaRica. Slow capture this time with a @tiffencompany #gradND filter to balance the sky. #nikon100 #photoworkshop


My, what pretty eyes you have. We had some great snake photo-ops during our Costa Rica #photoworkshop scout, including this Eyelash pitviper. More details on 2018 in the #osapeninsula to come! #CostaRica #puravida #eyelashpitviper #costaricaphotography #nikon100


Our guide and friend @osa_photography took us to Catarata Matapalo for a series of beautiful waterfall cascades to photograph. We can’t wait to come back down in April for our #photoworkshop here @crocodilebay. We’ll have 20 available slots. We hope you’ll join us! #costarica #puravida


One of my favorite parts about visiting #CostaRica is the incredible amount of #monkeys you see up close! This was a Mantled howler monkey and baby we encountered on day 2 of our scout for the upcoming #photoworkshop in April 2018. #OsaPeninsula


Reticulated glass frog spotted on our hike along the border of Corcovado National Park today. #Glassfrogs are so cool! #osapeninsula #CostaRica


¡PuraVida! Last night’s sunset at Rocas de Piro beach on the #OsaPeninsula was incredible! Stay tuned for more details on our upcoming 2018 #photoworkshop here in #CostaRica.


A Charming #hummingbird feeds on a calliandra tree in the gardens at the @crocodilebay resort. So much to share from the day 1 scout of our future #photoworkshop here in #CostaRica. It’s hard to believe it’s only been 24 hours down in the #OsaPeninsula! This place has so much to offer wildlife and nature photographers! Stay tuned for more workshop info. #nikon100


Excited to be heading back down to #CostaRica’s Osa Peninsula. This location is a wildlife jewel of Central America and also the location where I photographed this #scarletmacaw in flight. This time I’m heading down to scout a future photo workshop location that I’ll be doing in partnership with @stevemorello. I’ll be posting photos all week with more details to come on the spring 2018 #photoworkshop. I hope you’ll join me there! #puravida #nikon100


Help me caption this mule deer photo! #captionthis


Palouse Falls state park in Washington. What an incredible view! My only regret is I couldn’t catch it at sunrise or sunset but if you plan to come here then you should! // Currently on assignment, traveling the Columbia & Snake Rivers for @lindbladexp & @natgeoexpeditions.


Yesterday’s exploration involved a jet boat trip up Hells Canyon on the Snake River. Had some great wildlife sightings, including this wild #turkey taking flight. Who would’ve thought they’d look so cool while flying? Continue to follow along this week as we explore the Columbia & Snake Rivers. #onassignment @natgeoexpeditions @lindbladexp


Tonight’s harvest moon rises above the Columbia River Gorge. Couldn’t use a tripod for this one, since I was cruising on a ship and knew it would be grainy due to the high ISO but figured it was still worth the shot. Tech Specs: Nikon 300mm f/4 vr with 1.4x teleconverter, #Nikon D5, 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 5000 #nikonnofilter


Cormorants dry their wings in early morning mist along the coast of Astoria, Oregon. Proof to myself that sometimes you can take a decent photo through the window of a moving vehicle. Currently on assignment with @lindbladexp & @natgeoexpeditions on the Columbia River.


(Swipe left for photo series.) Some sunsets just keep getting better after they set and this one was no exception. Despite having some serious camera gear, many of our guests like Mike Moyle (image 2) broke out their smartphones to better capture the expansive #britishcolumbia coastline that surrounded us that last night aboard the National Geographic Quest.


Hundreds of Pacific white-sided #dolphins joined us for our journey through Blackfish Sound #britishcolumbia yesterday. What an incredible sight to see. Currently on assignment with @lindbladexp & @natgeoexpeditions.


My daughter and I face off with our cameras in the #sunflower fields at @burnsidefarms. This image was taken by my wife @blushawaymakeup, who isn't a photographer but as you might've guessed, a makeup artist. If you happen to live in the #WashingtonDC metro area and need a #MUA, please check out her work. This image also appeared in the recent August issue of @washingtonianmag.


Monarch caterpillars chomp away at the swamp milkweed I planted last summer in our yard. This a win for me (last year the voracious rabbits ate all the #milkweed) and more importantly for the monarchs. We have 5 in chrysalis stage at the moment, currently in the caring hands of my 6 year old daughter. It's so important to introduce our children and future generations to the wonders of the natural world. @natgeocreative #loveva #monarchbutterfly #monarchcaterpillar #backyardwildlife


Seemingly endless rows of sunflowers backlit by last night's setting sun. The #sunflowers at @burnsidefarms face east, so if you're looking to photograph them with a deep blue sky, I'd head there in the morning and use a circular polarizer. For this shot I used a #Nikon 300mm lens. I often use telephoto lenses in landscape photography because I like the compression effect it offers. @visitvirginia #loveva #exploredmv @natgeocreative

Burnside Farms

And now for something completely different...The Ireland project was spectacular but glad to be back home with the family in the #OldDominion. Stopped by @burnsidefarms tonight to see their spectacular sunflowers fields. As a bonus, got to watch these Ruby-throated #hummingbirds zip around the #gladiolus. Will definitely be back to visit more over the next 2 weeks. #burnsidefarms #loveva #exploredmv

Burnside Farms

Words by @jkglobaltext. We started our road trip with a secret, so let’s end with a surprise. On our last week in Ireland, we got an invite—a summons really—to come to Castle Ward, set for #Winterfell in Game of Thrones, to meet the legendary @GOT_Direwolves, the creatures that stalk the imaginary lands of #GameofThrones. Except Odin and Thor are the real thing. The #direwolf is long extinct, but the #NorthernInuit is the closest breed to an actual wolf; when Thor let out a howl of protest at the lack of treats coming his way, the difference seemed minimal to me.
The dogs have a lovely loping gait and a slightly kinked nose, both evolutionary traits that help them survive in icy climes. But their most striking characteristic (aside from that blood-curdling howl) is the dew claw that sticks out like an extra set of ice-grips from the dogs’ lower legs.
Odin played Summer, and Thor’s #GOT character was Greywind. We arrived on a cold, wet afternoon as the light faded from the grey #Ulster sky, and there in the estate farmyard the canine celebs were surrounded by an entourage that any Hollywood actors would revel in. @williamogmul, @Ross_mul_, and @kaic33, from “the wee fishing village of Ardglass” form the savvy brotherhood who own these fine creatures; along with their friends @Remi_marv, who studies animal behavior, and @gracefegan, they also run Direwolf Tours around various GOT sites. The lads’ dad has also made inroads into the entertainment industry, crafting the Norse St. Isle skiffs used in the Irish TV series VIKINGS.
So as we leave behind the highways and byways of Ireland, with regrets for all the places we could not visit, it’s good to look forward rather than backward. Ireland is a place of constant creative reinvention: the Mulhalls are a fine example, morphing from an historically fishing family into one with an eye on Hollywood. In Belfast too, you can witness the creative Irish art of storytelling in a forward-looking, yet historic format: the saga of Game of Thrones is now displayed on a huge tapestry in the Ulster Museum.


Words by @jkglobaltext. We’re at the end of our adventure; so we saved the best ‘til last. We agreed that Connemara was where we found the heart of Ireland. Connemara can change a person’s destiny. A while back, we wandered into the heart of the Connemara #Gaeltacht to visit the #PatrickPearse Cottage in Ros Muc. Here the leader of the 1916 Rising discovered his ancient Gaelic heritage and fell under the spell of the lyricism of the Irish language, the stoic grace of its people, and the dramatic sweep of a landscape that is cast in a different shade of light, mist, or shadow with every passing hour. Pearse built a cottage on Loch Oiriúlach in 1909 and dreamed of a land liberated from foreign rule.
We headed for the Old Bog Road (Bothar na Scrathog). There, surrounded by Connemara’s Blanket Bogs, we saw a green-roofed waterside cottage under the Twelve Bens. The fast-running streams here teem with salmon and trout, and wildlife abounds. Looking at this tiny cottage in this vast wilderness, I recalled another poet who soared lyrically and musically once charmed by #Connemara.
In 1986, Mike Scott and The Waterboys were bound for rock’n’roll glory. Instead, Scott went to Dublin and heard an Irish jig that changed his life: “I’d never heard playing so fiery, so elemental yet based on an ancient musical lineage. It was wild, ornate, lustful, and courtly all at once.” So off he went to Connemara, rented a cottage, and soaked his music in mandolins, fiddles, uileean pipes, bouzoukis, and bodhrans. The result is a masterpiece called “Fisherman’s Blues,” produced between Dublin, Spiddal, and California. The full range of songs (collected in a box set) runs the gamut of traditional Irish and Americana cultures: Dylan covers sit easily with a composition by Turlough O’Carolan, the 17th century Irish harpist; Yeats’ recitations and wedding waltzes compliment songs about the Hill of Tara, Puck Fair, and getting Too Close to Heaven. Mike Scott got close to heaven in Connemara; you can still hear his spirit in the covers played by buskers any night of the week in #Galway city. “I wish I was a fisherman,
Tumbling on the sea…”


Words by @jkglobaltext. Today, I find myself traveling through the Kingdom of Kerry, which may just be the most beautiful place in the world. The director David Lean certainly thought so when he waxed lyrical about the magical Kerry light during the making of his film “Ryan’s Daughter” in 1970.
For a couple of hours this afternoon I’ll have the Kingdom practically to myself. Why? Because most of its inhabitants will either be in Croke Park for the All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo, or else in a darkened room with the blinds pulled urging on their heroes via television. I’ll probably be listening to the game on the car radio while heading for the #DinglePeninsula. Kerry, for all its remote and rugged beauty, holds a special place in the communications history of Ireland, for it was on Valentia Island that the first trans-Atlantic telegraph cable between Europe and North America was landed.
Wherever you go in this magnificent county, you’ll find a witty populace of farmers, charmers, and people who love to talk…just ask Jeff, who married a Kerrywoman! I’ve asked him to post his favorite photo of the Kingdom for the day that’s in it…and he chose this beautiful shot of #SleaHead at the tip of the Dingle Peninsula taken in 2010.
Me, I’m hoping that the men in the green and gold shirts overcome Mayo today and meet Dublin in the final in September. The Dubs must get by Tyrone in their semi-final first, but a Dublin v Kerry clash would be the dream final, as always. And if I can’t get a ticket for Hill 16, I might have to come back to one of the many fine pubs in Dingle to watch the men from the capital vie for glory against the men from the Kingdom. Good luck today Kerry, and hopefully we’ll see you again in September!


Words by @jkglobaltext. Every facet of life in Ireland resounds with echoes of folklore and history. We enjoyed a Strongbow cider last week, and Jeff wondered about the name? “Remember the Rock of Dunamase in County Laois?” I said, “That was Strongbow’s fortress.” Strongbow cider is actually brewed in England, but if you like Irish history, go to The Rock of Dunamase, located 3 miles (5 km) east of Portlaois. This castle keep has witnessed 2,500 years of human drama from its strategically advantageous elevation in the central plain. The Rock is a palimpsest of Irish history, with its three wards, or defensive enclosures divided by walls, inviting you into the heart of the island’s Viking, Norman, and Cromwellian past. The Inner Ward show three angles of Strongbow’s castle still standing firm against the elements: Peer out the round-arched windows onto sweeping farmlands below and imagine a nervous Norman knight wondering who was friend and who was foe in this strange land of clannish Celts. The raw cawing of the crows who now claim these ruins as their domain give the keep an eerie afterlife.
Strongbow was the nickname of Richard de Clare, the formidable Anglo–Norman warlord, who ruled his eastern terrain from the elevated ringed fortress of the Rock of Dunamase. If you visit the Aveyron region of France, you’ll see similar fortified citadels, called Bastide towns, built on hillsides. The Strongbow nickname was believed to stem from de Clare’s preference for Welsh archers during his wars in Ireland. He found a ready-made site for such defensive warfare on Ireland’s central plain: The Rock had fine sightlines for spotting attackers all the way to the Wicklow Mountains in the east and the Slieve Bloom mountains to the west. The hillock rises dramatically near Portlaoise, and was originally the site of an Iron Age ring fort. The site was attacked by Vikings, and the 13th century Norman castle that Strongbow built was virtually destroyed by Cromwell’s forces in 1650.
Tonight, I’m in the port of Cork, so I’ll try Stonewell craft cider made from the apples of Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford, Tipperary, & Cork. But that’s another story…


Words by @jkglobaltext. The Irish have a special grá (love or affection) for horses, and several times last week, we had our own reins pulled to a complete halt by equine creatures in beautiful settings.
We met Ellen Mitchell at the #IrishNationalStud on the Curragh of Kildare. Ellen led us to a magnificent stallion called Invincible Spirit, the “Sire of Sires,” who commands a cool €120,00 ($140,000) in stud fees. Invincible Spirit was Greto Garbo reincarnated in equine form, and he let Jeff know that he wanted to be alone by trying to bite him. Ellen explained the Hollywood lifestyle of a retired champion racehorse in Ireland: Here at the National Stud, the lovely euphemism of “covering” is used to describe the deed that is now Invincible Spirit’s raison d’être. In the height of breeding season, this temperamental thoroughbred is lead to the “covering shed” up to four times a day. I tease Ellen that a thoroughbred horse and a mare getting together in a covering shed sounds like teenagers hooking up under a bus shelter! “Well, you can call it the ‘love shack’ then,” she laughs.
On our walk around the Stud’s grounds, which include delightful Japanese gardens and a fine restaurant, we met a tiny falabella horse called Homer (named after Mr. Simpson). Driving southeast, Jeff had another “STOP THE CAR” moment. Suddenly he’s leaping a wall, laden with cameras, disappearing down a bank towards a river ford outside Enniscorthy. I thought he’d seen a salmon leap, but he returned with fabulous images of horses taking a long, cooling drink in the River Slaney.
Some hours later, we left Wexford in a funk, as the light, the traffic, and the lack of fishing boats made for disappointing photos of the port town. We sought a backroads route to Waterford, and high in the hills above #Wexford, #horses came to our rescue. At the Crossabeg Game Sanctuary, Jeff shot these graceful creatures grazing with a spectacular backdrop of the spires of the town below.
The horses spotted him, and his promising looking bag, and he beat a hasty retreat, as I enjoyed a laugh at his expense. My own grá for the spirited Irish #horse was growing. @irishnationalstud #theweekoninstagram


Words by Justin Kavanagh. // I sat for a while on the wall at #CahirCastle, looking at the beautiful Pilgrim geese, and I thought about Tipperary’s finest poet. Shane MacGowan, born in Kent, England, rediscovered his spiritual home during childhood summers in Puckaun and the surrounding townland of Carney. He would immortalize these green heartlands of Ireland: “I sat for a while at the cross at Finnoe
Where young lovers would meet when the flowers were in bloom
Heard the men coming home from the fair at Shinrone
Their hearts in Tipperary wherever they go”
Shinrone, in Offaly, gave the world another man known for his way with words: Barack Obama's earliest known relative, his great-grandfather, Joseph Kearney, hailed from the village. Travel on the M7 today and you can refuel at the Barack Obama Plaza near Moneygall.
Power, influence, and intrigue have brooded in Cahir since 1142 when the castle’s construction began on an island in the River Suir. The Anglo-Norman Butler family took possession in 1375, and it’s been captured three times since: the #castle fell to Devereux, Earl of Essex, in 1599; it surrendered to the Baron of Inchiquin in 1647; and Oliver Cromwell took control in 1650. In 1627 Lord Dunboyne murdered his cousin James Prendergast there in an inheritance dispute. Yet it’s via the world of film that many know #Cahir: In 1981 the castle was a location for a battle scene in “Excalibur,” John Boorman’s cinematic take on the legend of King Arthur.
#Tipperary, like much of Ireland, has a long history of invasion, conquest, and bloodshed. But as Shane MacGowan’s poetry proves, it conquers all-comers with its beauty and those who leave here take it with them in their blood. You can leave Tipp, but Tipp will never leave you. Over to you Shane… “I sat for a while by the gap in the wall
Found a rusty tin can and an old hurley ball
Heard the cards being dealt, and the rosary called
And a fiddle playing Sean Dun na nGall
So I walked as day was dawning
Where small birds sang and leaves were falling
Where we once watched the row boats landing
On the broad majestic Shannon”


Words by #NatGeotravel writer Justin Kavanagh. // Amble around Ireland in summertime and the hedgerows are lush with life; horses graze in vivid green fields; meadows are dotted the deep reds and yellows of wildflowers; hills are ablaze with purple heathers and yellow gorse. The call of the wild is heard by homo Hibernicus and by more retiring creatures, like the badger and the hedgehog.
We met a High Queen of Ireland at the Hill of Tara: Saraí Humble is a body tuner, a sound therapist, and a yoga teacher. She offered us tea and cake from her camper van, and poured forth a torrent of passionate arguments for an alternative Ireland: “Bankers, corporations, governments—none of these provide a sense of community, so we’re reclaiming this ancient land for Irish people.” She spoke of the healing energies of Tara, of drums’ that absorbed and resounded the Earth’s energies, of playing harp strings using the hill’s winds, of the healing waters of Ireland’s holy wells…she spoke a lot! All the while, a silent figure called The Badger listened wistfully. Andrew Carragher showed us his sculpture of a stag, crafted from fallen timbers on sacred sites. Then the body tuner announced her dream of giving Irish people hope (solas) for a better future, gave me a vial of holy well water, and we were on our way.
We met a #traveler woman, Helen Riley, on the road between her hometown of Cashel and the city of Waterford. She proudly posed for a photo with her granddaughter Katie in their traditional caravan, as their horse grazed nearby.
Near the market town of Roscrea, Tipperary, Jeff roared “STOP!” just in time! We wrapped a baby #hedgehog in cloth and brought him safely across the road to the garden of Susan Reid. She and a friend arrived home to find a National Geographic wildlife shoot happening on her property as Minty the cat hovered with intent.
Just outside of #Wexford, I approached a smiling produce seller:
“How are your potatoes?”
“Usually round and covered in muck!” Ellen McHale shot back in a lovely Glasgow brogue, a mischievous twinkle in her eye. We laughed out loud, then stood swapping stories at the side of the road, in summertime, in #Ireland#theweekoninstagram


Words by Justin Kavanagh. We’re sitting on a hillside opposite the ancient #RockofCashel on a Friday night. Myself and Jeff are eating takeout from Ruen Mying Thai restaurant, waiting for the sun to set. The photographer’s socks are wet—again. I have put my foot down against the risk of putting my foot down in a cowpat in a wet field in #Tipperary. I’m staying in this malodorous car to reflect moodily on the road that brought us here.
The Rock itself is the height of medieval glitz, especially when illuminated at night. Once the seat of the Kings of Munster, this religious site consists of a 90-foot round tower dating from 1100 A.D., the Romanesque Cormac's Chapel of King Cormac Mac Carthaigh, a 13th-century Gothic cathedral built c. 1250, a spectacular High Cross, a 15th century castle, and the Hall of the Vicars Choral.
Yet as you sit looking over the busy highway below, you realize that life goes on despite generations of holy men and armies of soldiers who have passed through here; in 1647 English Parliamentarian troops under Murrough O'Brien ransacked Cashel and slaughtering many Irish Confederate troops before stripping Cashel of religious artifacts. Bono described the fate suffered by all such sacred ground when he noted that “…no one can own Jerusalem, but everybody wants to put flags in it.” I open a small booklet that I picked up in the Ruen Mying Thai, while waiting for our food: It’s “A Guide to Study Practical Buddhism.” The aim is “Deliverance from Suffering.” This tome on meditation seems in tandem philosophically with this vast and long-contested cathedral site on an elevated hill where St. Patrick was said to have banished the devil himself.
In the U2 song “Yahweh,” Bono dreams of a cathedral of understanding called the Eye of Abraham, where Christians, Jews, and Muslims can watch each other worship. The song’s conclusion seems apt as the twilight brings the Rock of Cashel alive in faded shadows and light: "Take this city
A city should be shining on a hill
Take this city
If it be your will
What no man can own, no man can take
…Take this heart
And make it break"

Rock of Cashel

Words by Justin Kavanagh. We’re watching Joe Fitz work his craft. Joseph Fitzpatrick represented Laois at senior #hurling for 13 seasons; he still plays for Rathdowney Errill and he now makes hurleys for the next generation. He recalls stepping onto the field at Croke Park in the blue and white of #Laois: “My heart was racing. It meant everything to me and my family.” We discuss the previous night’s Borris Kilcotton under-8’s game. Pat Moore was watching his grandson Dylan compete against Ballacalla. Pat’s son, Gary, was coaching: Three generations of #GAA men keeping local hurling traditions going. The GAA is the social glue that binds communities across Ireland… and beyond. Emigrants form clubs, and teams representing London and New York compete for All-#Ireland glory each year.
The craft of hurley-making is also passed along: Joe Fitz speaks warmly of Peter Bergin, who repaired Joe’s sticks. In the process, Peter imparted “the knowledge.” Now Joe runs his own cottage industry producing three to four thousand hurleys a year. Each is crafted from a block of ash. The “blocking” of the wood by a supplier is key as the cut must follow the grain down through the “turn” in the wood to the root. The grain shouldn’t be too close together nor too far apart; 30–40 year-old ash is best, with the wood dried to 18–20% moisture.
Joe takes a plank of local ash cut by Fergal Cuddy, and carves using a scroll saw. He edges the heel, explaining that more needs to come out of older ash, as it’s heavier. Balance is everything for the hurler. As he shaves the wood, his eyes light up: the ancient artifact takes form. A quick smoothing off using sandpaper; Joe binds the handle with a rubber grip, adds two bands to the head to bind the wood, and there it is—a fiercely durable artwork in ash, in 15 minutes flat.
I ask about the old battle scar running up his hand and wrist. “No, that was from the sandpaper strip coming off a while back,” he explains, “36 stitches all told.” That’s Joe Fitz for you; still putting his body on the line for his club…and his craft. Learn more about his work: @fitzhurleys #handcrafted