Paul Contino | Photographs - Photoletter 35

Paul Contino | Photographs

Photoletter Issue No. 35 | March 2024


I’m one of those regulars you’d come upon many mornings in his usual seat drinking his usual 16-ounce drip at the local cafe in town.

There are a group of older gentlemen usuals that can be found lounging on cracked leather couches chatting of weather and politics and sports.

One fine afternoon I decided to stop in for a wine break … and wouldn’t you know it, one of those fine usual gentleman happened to be there acting on a similar impulse for a glass of red.

Though I don’t know how often he frequents during the afternoons (or both morning and afternoon), it was a pleasant surprise to find a familiar face relaxing, a comforting drink at his side, taking in the post midday sun as cafe clientele wandered by.



What is on your agenda for the upcoming months ahead in the form of travel?

Do you have any locations yet planned, itineraries outlined, or must-see events?

Over the weekend I had a conversation with some friends; it seems there are two main travel destinations this year: viewing locations for the total solar eclipse and attending of the Summer Olympics in Paris (lucky them, huh?).

If you have been anywhere on planet Earth for the past few months then I gather you are aware that on April 8th the Moon will be passing between our terrestrial home and its nearest star, and that its effect will be visible to many along a swath of the United States.

This “once in a lifetime event” for residents of the U.S. to view in their own backyards actually happened not too long ago in 2017.

Those that were fortunate to experience “totality” said it was a unique and awesome event worth experiencing and traveling for.

Though I never made it to a location to experience the full veiling of the sun with our moon, I was still able to admire a slice of the magnificence of the solar eclipse.

During the partial passing of the moon between Earth and Sun, a dimming of the sky was noticeable, the temperature did appear to drop slightly, and I was able to uncover evidence of partial coverage of the sun.

This coverage was most apparent when viewing sunlight filtering through trees, as small crescent patterns blanketed the ground and adorned arms and hands spread under the leaf-laden branches.

I happened to have an old film camera with a telephoto lens lying around that I figured I’d play with to take some photos at peak albeit partial coverage.

All of the photographs published here were taken with a considerable zoom to get as large an image of the crescent sun as possible.

If you’re planning on capturing the upcoming eclipse event, you can make the most of your outing by incorporating interesting surroundings with the eclipsing sun.

For the photos here, I took advantage of passing cloud cover and its adding of character to the images.

I happened to be atop a hill at a church grounds during the eclipse, so I incorporated available tree cover as well as a roof cross into the images to instill a memorable sense of place.

If you don’t have a lens which zooms in considerably, I’d suggest making an attempt to incorporate other points of interest into your images, such as your family gazing up safely with solar glasses.

Take also into consideration the surrounding scenery - be it your familiar home or a majestic mountain setting - to instill that extra bit of captured memory to your daytime stargazing.

You can find additional resources for appropriate solar-gazing equipment and free guides here.


A postcard depicting a winter view of the Norwegian town of Sakrisoy on the island of Lofoten

Thanks for the tangible snail mail postcards!

I received one recently from New Zealand - one place on the “to visit” list - with an expression of wanderlust included in the correspondence written on “leap year day”:

NZ (South Island), Morocco again, Japan, or Iceland

As well as the ever-elusive search for equilibrium:

… working on finding a balance between the things I love to do and that which I ultimately need to do …

I think most all of us can especially relate to the latter remark.

An additional Pacific island postcard made its way to my mailbox with the following:

Aloha! [with a hand-drawn smiley face]

Next time you’re in Hawaii

I think you’d enjoy visiting these

National wildlife Refuges.

Thanks! I think I just might…


I wanted to share a gallery from a contact in Vermont who reached out recently to share some of his work (which happens to include moments from New Zealand).

He’s an avid bird photographer and recently exhibited select images at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier.

I appreciate that he is putting himself out there and taking the initiative to share his view of the world with the world.

Check out Burnt Fen’s images


I hope you are enjoying my visual and written perspective of the world in these photoletters as much as I enjoy putting them together.

The majority of this is done in coffee shops, as the background noise helps keep me focused, and the movement and cafe life adds inspiration at times.

If you’d like to show a bean’s worth of financial support in addition to your readership (which I do appreciate!) feel free to “buy me a coffee”. It’ll set you back all of $3.23 for my “usual” 16-ounce drip with a complementary refill: Venmo: @PaulContino


Reading: Sprakkar and “Glöggt er gests augað” and Rudyard Kipling’s If

Learning: the languages of New York City

Expanding: my vocabulary with Merriam-Webster

Thanks for reading and have a great Easter and start to Spring!


See something you like? Most images can be made into artwork - paper prints, metal prints, canvas - for display in home or office or as a gift. Send me an email and we can discuss!

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