Sean Murray: Blog en-us (C) Sean Murray (Sean Murray) Sun, 12 Sep 2021 22:44:00 GMT Sun, 12 Sep 2021 22:44:00 GMT Kingston and St. Andrew by Air  

Being a landscape photographer at my core, my default is usually to go to the north and south coasts to explore the variety of options that Jamaica has to offer. Between my van being in the shop for a over year and a life consuming "9-5" in IT, there haven't been many opportunities for me to visit these spaces. Mix this in with a goal of doing over 100 days of photography for both 2020 and 2021, I had quite the dilemma on my hands.

Given all of these constraints, the short term solution was simple, continue using the environment which is quickly available around me. This started the consistent process of capturing sunsets from Long Mountain, Skyline Drive along with a variety of other locations around Kingston and St. Andrew. After exhausting all easily available opportunities, I eventually transitioned to the air which unintentionally led this photo series. 

I did not truly appreciate the bigger picture that I was apart of until I was able to view many of these locations from the air. While I would love to describe some of the views and surprises that I witnessed, I will let the photos do the talking.

Without much further ado, I present some of Kingston and St. Andrew by Air:



Oxford Road

]]> (Sean Murray) Sun, 12 Sep 2021 22:16:43 GMT
Rally Jamaica 2017  

What was initially to be a day of chilling and supporting friends, turned into a full day of rally photography. We spent most of the day at locations appropriately labelled "Big Jump" and "Watersplash" for the usual drama and then ended the day by the sports club.


For the photography junkies, all of these images were captured with my trusty Canon 7D paired with a (borrowed) Tokina 11-16 2.8. The camera was set to shutter priority, with shutter speeds ranging from 1/100 to 1/400 and ISOs of 400 or less. The goals behind these settings were to:

  • Capture the movement of the cars using panning. Panning is the technique of following the car with your camera while using shutter speeds slow enough to capture the movement in the background. 
  • Capture the cars as sharply as possible at f/8 - f/11 when the sun was not present in the scene.
  • Attempt to get starbursts of the sun when it was in the scene using f/22.


I am happy with the overall outcome, however I had a few reminders that you could learn from:

  • The images at big jump were not vibrant and lively due to the sun's position and overcast conditions. In a rally context, this is out of your control but from an artistic or commercial photography standpoint, check the weather and plan accordingly.
  • The afternoon back lighting from Watersplash onward made for epic images.
  • I should have tried 1/100 for the drifting shots by the sports club. This may have allowed for more drama in the images by capturing more of the movement in the background.


With all of that technical mumbo jumbo out of the way, here are a some images that sum up the day:

The full set of 60 images can be seen here: Rally Jamaica 2017.


]]> (Sean Murray) action automotive rally Tue, 05 Dec 2017 02:55:35 GMT
How you can see the Milky Way from Jamaica

Unknown to most Jamaicans, we can see the Milky Way from Jamaica. Why haven't I been able to see it you ask? There are many reasons for this which we'll get into shortly.

In my teens I've always had a deep fascination with the stars and space. I remember spending hours looking on pictures of galaxies and nebulae in complete awe. My fascination reached the point that I dreamed of becoming an astrophysicist or an astronomer which unfortunately was not mean to be. Through high school and college I continued my occasional reading on related subjects including black holes, quasars, nebula, etc (Yes, I'm a nerd). As I got older and busier with life this interest took a back seat for several years.


A Beautiful Accident

In the Summer of 2013 I went to Whitfield Hall Hostel where we were to overnight before my first hike up to the Blue Mountain peak. Before heading to bed to rest for the hike, I roamed the area to take pictures of the cabin and the property. It wasn't until months later that I realized that I had accidentally captured the Milky Way in one of the images. My mind was blown and my eyes were open. Prior to that moment I did not realize that it was possible to see the Milky Way in the night sky. From this point onward my interest in stars and space was re-ignited and the hunt for the Milky Way began.  


The Hunt Begins

Armed with my new found but meager knowledge of the Milky Way, my search began at Holywell in April of 2014. This attempt unfortunately came up empty handed which, taught me my first lesson, that is, the Milky Way is not always present in the night sky. This trip fortunately was not a waste as I captured my first two favourite nightscape images which can be seen below:


The Search Continued

Determined to find the Milky Way, my research began to find out why I wasn't able to see or capture it. My search directed me to the following fundamental lessons :

  1. When the Milky Way is in the night sky, we are not able to see it from the city or populated areas due to light pollution. Light pollution is roughly defined as "the brightening of the night sky caused by street lights and other man-made sources, which inhibits the observation of stars and planets."
  2. Once we head in to areas with little to no light pollution, we still may not be able to see it if there is a half or full moon. As a result of this, it is recommended that you look out for it during new moons or while the moon has set.
  3. From mid October to mid March, it is not visible in the night sky because the brighter areas are in the sky when the sun is up. As a result, it is recommended that you shoot during the "Milky Way" season which starts in mid March and ends in mid October. 
  4. The Milky way can be tricky to find unless you know what you are looking for. To help with this search, mobile apps like PhotoPills for iOS or Stellarium Mobile for Android have come highly recommended.


With this new found information, my search took a turn for the better. In the summer of 2014, on my way to Treasure Beach from Black River, I drove through an area which was void of street lights and was more or less pitch black. Added to the fact that the moon had already set, I had the WILD idea to stop at a near by shop in an attempt to capture the Milky way. A few shots later, I was able to capture my first deliberate shots of the Milky Way, the best of which can be seen below.

On my way back from Ocho Rios on the North South High in September of that same year, I noticed that the conditions were similar to that of Treasure Beach and I had the same wild idea yet again. We quickly stopped the car on the high way which resulted in the following images:

From that point onward, my confidence grew and in four different road trips around Jamaica in 2015, I was successful in capturing it at multiple locations . These locations including: Holywell, Pelican Bar on the coast of St. Elizabeth, Jakes in Treasure Beach, Grand Palladium in Lucea and Goblin Hill in Portland. The following images are some of my favourite shots from these trips.


Major Point of Note: Light Pollution

As I mentioned earlier on, light pollution robs us of our ability to see the Milky Way clearly. To truly put things in to perspective, the below image shows the Milky Way over the light pollution of Kingston which I believe speaks volumes.

Light pollution is a world wide problem that affects us and future generations. If you are interested in finding out more about light pollution and what you can do to help, check out these articles: Reduce Light PollutionHow to Take Action to Prevent Light Pollution and 5 ways you can reduce light pollution.




We can indeed see the Milky Way from Jamaica once conditions are right and the location is free of light pollution. The best time to search for it if you have never seen it before, is in August during a New Moon with the aid of one of the mobile applications which I've previously listed.

]]> (Sean Murray) Nightscape Mon, 10 Oct 2016 04:06:14 GMT
Pelican Villa in Portland Jamaica  

When visiting Blue Lagoon in Portland, it is virtually impossible not to notice the villas on the left. For years these villas have been shrouded in mystery to me and I've always wondered what they were like. Even after seeing a few pictures from Facebook friends or glimpses on boat rides to Pellew Island (Monkey Island), my curiosity was never satisfied.

This all changed in 2015 when I had an opportunity to photograph the Pelican Villa which sits among them. According to AirBnb, the Pelican is a 5 bedroom, 3.5 bathroom villa, complete with living room, dining room, kitchen and an Executive Chef. 

Now while I'd love to describe it with words, I believe that the images to follow will do a far better job. With that being said, I present to you, the Pelican Villa:

Here are a few random points or tips that came from my stay this year:

  1. The villa comes with a boat and a captain.  As long as the conditions allow, this is a good opportunity to head to Monkey(Pellew) Island, San San Beach or Alligator Head. 
  2. The villa comes with snorkeling gear, kayaks and a really large surf board with a paddle.

Interested in making a booking? Contact Ralgan Wynter at 876-520-3566 or

I hope you enjoyed this post and if you are interested in seeing more posts like this, you can either join my mailing list or follow me on Instagram.

If you own or manage a property and are interested in having it photographed, please fill out this inquiry form.

]]> (Sean Murray) Property Photography Thu, 23 Jun 2016 03:43:47 GMT
Mich and Chan of Salsa Society Jamaica  
Featured in the JHTA Magazine, Our Jamaica 2015.

If you've followed my latin dancing work over the years, you may have noticed the couple affectionately known as Mich and Chan. For the past 15+ years they've had an all consuming passion for latin dancing which has lead them to training in New York, multiple performances and being teachers to many students over the years.


Now while I'm am not an amazing dancer due to my own lack of practice, they've played a key role in my growth from having two left feet and ten big toes to being fairly competent.


They are currently the hosts of the Latin Night, Pre Game Fridays at New Kingston Shopping Center where they teach Salsa, Mambo and occasionally Bachata. You can get in contact with them at either their Salsa Society Jamaica Facebook Page or by email at


With all of that being said, I'd like to present to you, Mich and Chan:


If you are interested in seeing more blog posts like these in the future including road trips around the island, weddings, food, etc then you can join my Mailing List.


]]> (Sean Murray) Latin Dancing Portraits Thu, 26 May 2016 01:19:05 GMT
Bacchanal Jamaica 2016 Highlights  



This has been my 3rd year covering the Bacchanal Jamaica road march and in spite of some hiccups (No wide angle lens), this may just be my best set yet. After you've gone through the highlights here the full album can either be viewed here on my website in high resolution or over at Facebook.


With that being said, enjoy!


The full album can either be viewed at Facebook or here for high resolution.

If you are interested in seeing more blog posts like these in the future including road trips around the island, weddings, food, etc then you can join my Mailing List.




]]> (Sean Murray) Candids Carnival Portraits Wed, 06 Apr 2016 12:56:21 GMT
Disappointed in the behaviour of some Jamaican Instagram Pages (5 Updates)  



I hate for this to be my second blog post however, it has to be done. In my time on Instagram, there have been many Instagram pages that have risen to fame for curating and collating Jamaican content. Over the years there have been many contributors to these pages, most of whom are happy once they are featured.


When it comes to using content from Jamaican photographers, the stories however start taking a turn for the worse due to our watermarks. Firstly, I need to give credit where is due, most of my interaction with these pages have been positive up until now and I owe at least 100 of my followers due to work shared by them


Now with that out of the way, let me get to the meat of the matter. Most if not all Jamaican photographers who are on Instagram or are on social media, have a few simple rules:

  1. Leave the watermark alone 
  2. Give us photo credit
  3. Treat us with respect


‚ÄčPersonally I try place my watermarks in ares that make them hard to remove while still maintaining balance and the beauty of the image. There are some instances when I have to place them at corners or edges because it would destroy the flow of the image. Prior to this week, I've had a few issues with my watermarks being cropped out on these images however the issue is generally resolved once I message the page.


This brings me to Tuesday, December 8th, when what I believe to fair rules, were violated. @Checkoutjamaica on Instagram decided that they loved the BMW image from my Rally Jamaica Blog Post so much, that they made a meme. In doing so they gave me a photo credit but failed to leave my watermark on my image or a link the blog post. For reference see the the images below for the original and the "meme'd" editions.
That SEXY Original BMW image from Rally Jamaica That Sexy BMW image from Rally Jamaica


That Not So Sexy @CheckoutJamaica Meme


Seeing the post, I wasn't particularly happy with it, so I messaged the page as I normally do. I believe my approach was however it was met with silence all while being active. I found this disrespectful and later reported the image to Instagram for copyright violation. For reference see the below image.


I was pleasantly surprised when Instagram took action in less than 4 hours. Photographers, take note.


On receipt of this mail I attempted to confirm that the image was removed. I however found out that I was blocked by the page. I eventually confirmed that the images were removed. As is to be expected, CheckOutJamaica shared this with other pages, one of which was @OnlyInJamaica


@OnlyInJamaica is an Instagram page which I had a reasonable relationship with. Prior to this incident the page had messaged me saying that it "rated' my work, but was unable to share it frequently due to my watermarking style. The total interaction can be seen below:


Fast forward to today, December 10, 2015. I received multiple messages and calls from colleagues that two of my images were being featured on the @OnlyInJamaica without my watermark and credit. I attempted to view the page but found myself blocked as per the image below:


I logged out of my account to the view the page and surprise surprise, the images were there:



For those of you may not be familiar the original images:


To add further insult to injury, a colleague of mine confronted them about it under one of the images and his post was deleted shortly after.



Now at the end of all of this, I have some decisions to make about how I want to proceed on social media which may unfortunately affect my current and future followers. One idea being consider is to place a watermark in the center of the image which will ultimately take away the beauty of the image.


To my followers, friends, supporters, or anybody who appreciates this kind of imagery

The actions of these few ultimately destroy you viewing experience and reduce the chances of you seeing high quality and unique content. Here are some of the reasons:

  • In response to individuals like these, photographers watermark their images, sometime in the center of the image in an attempt to protect the image. This will distract you from seeing the image in all its glory
  • Some photographers refuse to post their content, which means less unique quality content
  • Some photographers refuse to post their best work online

Please let me know your thoughts on this in the comments so that I can be informed in how I move forward.


To all photographers who share their work on social media (Update 1):

  • Instagram has your back 
  • Know your rights. The moment you press that shutter and the image is taken, you are the Copyright owner unless there is a signed contract stating otherwise. That being said, do the necessary research to have a better understand of what your rights are so that you can know how to operate.
  • There is no such thing as "Registering for Copyright". What people confuse this with is the process of registering your images with a registry like Jamcopy. These registries make it easier to prove in a court of law that you are the creator of the image.
  • An alternative to registering with these registries, is what is called "Poor Man's Copyright". This process involves sending media with work to yourself via registered mail. For further details, I'd recommend having a talk with JIPO (Jamaica Intellectual Property Office) which can be found on the JAMPRO building in New Kingston.
  • These pages will be less likely to repeat these actions if there are consequences for their actions. The actions can include:
    • Sharing your experiences with them via blog or other mediums
    • Reporting the images for copyright infringement to the platforms in question
    • Reporting the pages for copyright infringement to the platforms in question
  • These pages do these things because we do nothing
  • No need to be heavy handed if it was a first time offense or mistake. Message them about it first, give them a chance to fix the problem and then move forward from there.

Let me know your thoughts and experiences in the comment.


To the offending pages and pages which may operate in a similar manner:

Try putting yourselves in the shoes of the photographers who you take advantage of.

You've had a dream of exploring and capturing Jamaica to showcase it's beauty to the world like never before. You've spent countless hours researching and practicing your craft to capture the beauty in all its glory. You've invested hard earned money into the best equipment that you can afford in order to capture it in the highest possible quality. With the help of friends you've explored known and completely unknown places all while risking your equipment, health and in some cases life to capture the unseen. All the while not being paid the true worth for your creativity, the equipment you've invested in, your effort, the gas and/or the rentals that you use to get to these remote locations, the accommodations, the guides not to mention the wear and tear on your vehicle, body and equipment.

How would you feel if an individual or company decided to build their livelihood or reputation using your hard work all the while refusing to give the due credit and respect? 

With that being said, here are a few more things to think on:

  • Be careful of how you treat people or the bridges that you burn. If you burn enough people, it will come back to haunt you.
  • The concept of "curating" and collating Jamaican content to create pages with massive followings is not unique. The only thing separates you everybody else knowledge and consistency. Knowledge can be bought or acquired through research and that gap can be closed.


Think on these things.



UPDATE 2: 13/12/2015 (AM)

Even after Instagram took down the offending images @OnlyInJamaica decided to post another one of my images without my watermark, credit or permission.


The original:

This  image was reported and taken down by instagram.


Update 3: 13/12/2015 (9:29PM)
Firstly the support of this post on here, Facebook and Instagram has been overwhelming! This post resonated with A LOT of people who have been affected by this in some form or another. Thank you all for the feedback and for sharing! 
Tonight I got call from the PR manager\person of the @checkoutjamaica page who's team informed her of the blog post. To pre-empt any claims that I hung up the call, I am roaming and my credit ran out :(. Moving forward #TeamCheckOutJamaica, please communicate with me via the comments below. With that out of the way, the following were the main points that I took away from that call:
  • There are multiple persons managing the page 
  • The persons who manage the page are different from the ones who manage the direct messages?
  • She has stated that I have slandered the page or brand with this blog post
  • Four plus hours wasn't sufficient time to respond to a message about an image concern 

To the PR managers of @CheckoutJamaica, please confirm if the above is correct in the comments below.


Going based of these points, I have a couple questions:

  1. If this was a mistake and a lapse in communication, why was no effort made after to try and clear it up after the image was taken down by Instagram? 
  2. Further to #1 why was my page blocked instead of trying to reach out to me?
  3. Why would @OnlyInJamaica uncharacteristically break it's rule of leaving in watermarks and providing credits, not once, but 3 different times within 24 hours after I was blocked by @CheckoutJamaica?
  4. Does @OnlyInJamaica and @CheckoutJamaica share team members?
  5. Isn't an image take down by instagram a big enough issue for the team to have a discussion to find out what went wrong so that the corrective actions can be taken?
Just in case it is said that I'm not being blocked by CheckoutJamaica:

Update 4: 14/12/2015 8:02AM and Update 5: 14/12/2015 5:38PM

Morean from the @checkoutjamaica team has responded in the comments below, you can check it out for their side of the story.

In response to the 6:23 and 6:24PM, the 6:24PM response time was for "Thanks" and not for the message that follows. From my observation which can be tested, Instagram doesn't put a time stamp on the most recent message at the time of sending. 

Below are the approximate timings from the first message to the Instagram take down: 

  1. On 7th of December at 6:23PM and 6:24 the first two messages were sent
  2. At approximately 11:24AM on the 8th of December, the last message was sent. This was 17 hours after the first message
  3. The take down by Instagram happened at 3:13PM on the 8th of December. This was 3 hours and 49 minutes after the last message was sent to the page and infringement reported
  4. Based on 1-3 the total time between the first message and the infringement notification was approximately 21 hours. 

Below are screenshots which support the above timings:

With regards to the 24-48 hour response time, most if not all of the pages that I've messaged have respond within two hours. With this experience it is not unreasonable for my expectations of your page to be similar, especially when it is active. Even after the image was taken down, a response could still have been sent if it was a misunderstanding instead of blocking my page. 

]]> (Sean Murray) Fri, 11 Dec 2015 05:39:00 GMT
Rally Jamaica 2015 and First Blog Post While I'm not much of a writer I plan to do regular blog posts on including weddings, road trips going into 2016.  To be alerted as soon as these posts are out, click here to join my mailing list. If you have any ideas for any posts, feel free to let me know in the comment section below.


I will start off my first blog post ever with my time at Rally Jamaica last Sunday (November 29 2015). My first rally was in 2012, almost exactly a year after taking photography a bit more seriously. Year after year I've gone with the goal to do better than previous years with, some success. This year I spent most of my time between "Big Jump", "Watersplash" and the downtown stage which can be seen in the full albumWhile I may not be 100% happy with the set year, here are 10 of my favourite images:

The full album can be seen here and images from previous years here.

If you have the names for all of the drivers of the above cars or ideas for captions, please let me know in the comments below and I will add some captions as soon as I have a chance.

Thanks for taking the time out to read this post and stayed tuned for lots more content to come. To join my mailing list for new updates, click here. Until next time!

- Sean

]]> (Sean Murray) Automotive Rally Sat, 05 Dec 2015 21:50:14 GMT