Rob3 | My Passions and Lensography
Hi, I'm Rob Hemphill aka Rob3
I stumbled upon Squidoo in early 2008, and what I saw was a terrific opportunity to join a forward thinking community which allowed anyone to write about whatever they desired. This was free speech at its best, so wasting no time and wanting to document my wine experiences I signed up.
There's something very special about Seth's golden egg or orange squid, in that it has attracted so many wonderful, interesting and generous people, its lensmasters - people like YOU!
The banter that appears in comments is always fun and positive while the Squid HQ team is awesome and always so helpful and generous, this is what makes us want to get creative. They are managing to navigate the Squid ship through turbulent waters.
My first lenses were all about my career passion of wine. Those passions have since spread to include others of heritage, travel, nature and photography with of course other topics in between. My great love of the African continent also shows up occasionally beginning with a lens on my Childhood in Africa in the 1950's and 60's.
And now I'm a happy hubber!
I've documented loads of little stories, incidents and experiences. I've reviewed the odd gadget, gift or game and also written about the birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees, Elvis and John and even the Jungle Book, to mention but a few.
Any of you who've read a number of my lenses probably know a bit about me and what I've done, where I've lived and what I do. For those who haven't, here's a potted history of a life made up of passions!
A soul needs passions - and plenty of them!
Photo: The Matterhorn and me, Nov 2013
Created on 14 Dec 2013
IMMINENT - About Me
All photos © Rob Hemphill
My Small World - Places I've lived in for a reasonable amount of time
From Kenya to Ireland to England and back to Ireland again, this is my small world. When it comes to travel though, that's a different matter altogether!
Map: © Google Maps
Kenya From 1953 to 1963
Born in the uplands of Kenya near the Uganda border, this was the part of Africa I grew up in. I spent ten extraordinary years from 1953 in this beautiful country.
How did I find myself in Africa in the first place?
My father moved to Kenya as a young man to work on his uncle's farm. After several years, he built his own house, acquired some land and started farming in his own right. Years later, he went into partnership with a great friend, whose son would become my best friend, This farming union lasted until each of the families needed more space for their respective offspring and both bought their own farms - near to one another!
My sister and I were now living on a large farm where Dad farmed coffee, maize (corn), sunflowers and had a herd of dairy cows and pigs. Life was busy and the farm employed dozens of workers. There was always a hustle and bustle around as many of the worker's children would be playing around and about. We soon picked up a smattering of Swahili, the local language, and within the family we still use it where appropriate today. There are certain words in English that don't translate as well as those in Swahili, one favorite is maradadi, meaning beautiful and multicolored, and Kenya is every bit of that.
Photo: Masai warriors
© Rob Hemphill
African Bird Books
Ireland From 1963 to 1984
Following Kenya's Independence in 1963, my parents decided to leave Africa and return to their roots in Ireland. This was a traumatic time for them as my father, in mid career had to search not only for a home for the family, but also a job. Agriculture was in his blood so they searched throughout parts of England and Ireland for a farm, but most were too expensive.
In time, they found an old Georgian mansion built around 1690 in Southern Ireland, reputedly for William of Orange's chaplain. Often when asked why they chose such a large house, my father would reply, "because no one wanted them, they were difficult to heat (had no central heating) and needed constant repair. I bought it because there was a 100 acre farm attached to it."
This was our house in Co. Tipperary in the 1980's, which now unfortunately has been completely neglected. It could be a ruin within a generation (see below).
Photo: © Rob Hemphill
Neglect Leads to Dereliction
In a short 30 years since leaving our old house this is the current state of it. The far wing that used to be on the left end was knocked down by the owners shortly after they moved in and since then both the exterior and interior have fallen into disrepair.
As I mentioned earlier, big houses are not easy to look after as they require constant upkeep. But it's very sad to see the demise of one's heritage. Most countries have a system in place which helps to protect old buildings of significance however, sadly Ireland does not. The Irish Georgian Society does not have any powers to implement actions that would halt the destruction of these graceful old houses.
To think that during my teenage years I was playing tennis on our own grass court with friends, in whites and being served afternoon tea by my mother or au pair girl - those were the days!
(see the tennis court in the photo above)
Photo: © Rob Hemphill
Living in the western part of Ireland in County Tipperary, we are close to so many famous attractions, castles and other heritage sites, as well as having the largest lake on the River Shannon right on our doorstep.
From our earliest time here we found many special places, none more so than two areas, one the Burren and the other Connemara. To find out why they're both so amazing, please read their respective lenses.
I suppose the Irish pub has always played a big part in our social lives, the Guinness is gorgeous - better than anywhere else in the world. They say it doesn't travel too well or perhaps the water used wherever it's brewed is just that little bit different. Anyhow, we all think Guinness is good for us! The Irish folk are full of fun, and tend to look on the bright side, but they always talk about the weather - rain and more rain!
Photo: The countryside around me - 40 shades of green.
© 2011 Rob Hemphill
Irish Whiskey and Coffee = Irish Coffee
England From 1984 to 2009
From dairy farming to wine growing
Following years of dairy farming difficulties which were not helped by high interest rates by the Irish banks at the time, I moved to the east of England where I became involved in the wine industry while bringing up a family at the same time.
This was a very new phase, as I had no experience about anything to do with wine and in due course we had a new family in tow. New challenges can be so rewarding and these were certainly that. The task ahead of me was daunting enough, to establish a wine making business on top of our existing grape growing one.
Getting out of comfort zones is vital in life if we are to discover ourselves, and I sure discovered a lot about me and my abilities during these years. I was never top of the class in chemistry at school and now I was up to my eyes in it having to analyze wines and juices at all stages of a fermentation. This was so challenging and ultimately very rewarding.
Being able to build my own hi-tech winery with the help of a benefactor right beside the charming English thatched cottage we lived in, was a dream come true. Now my three young children could visit me at 'work' whenever they wanted, and it wasn't long before they spent hours playing amongst the stainless steel tanks or hiding between the boxes of corks and other stuff in the dry area above my office.
The only negative about living close to one's work is that one seldom leaves it behind, but I loved what I was doing and desperately wanted the business to succeed, so I put the hours in. But, I was a lucky Dad, as I didn't have to travel daily to and from work, I could come and bath the kids or read them stories at a moments notice, many Dads can't do that!
A younger yours truly in the Champagne region of France
Photo: © 1986 Rob Hemphill
If You Love Wine, You'll Like These Two Books!
This book has won all the major book awards while Jancis herself has received writer and woman of the year accolades in both the U.S. and U.K.
There is so much wine-related stuff here, from viticulture and wine making to the history of wine to tasters, growers and connoisseurs.
This incredible wine writing partnership has been hailed by critics as “extraordinary” and “irreplaceable".
The World Atlas of Wine makes the perfect gift for the wine lover in your life!
Making Wine - From This...
In the 1980's stainless steel wine tanks were only being used by top end producers due their expense. I was in a fortunate position to be able to not only build my own winery but also equip it with high end equipment.
Traveling to Germany during the late 1980's, I was not only being taught how to make wine professionally by a leading German winemaker, but also discovering where I could buy the best wine tanks, machinery and accessories to bring back to the UK. I was operating in England, which was not well known for making wine at the time, however it is now for its sparkling wine production, which is world class.
Stainless steel wine tanks.
Photo: © Rob Hemphill
Lensography or No Lensography?
Have You Made a Lens About Yourself?
Ireland From 2009
After 20 years of making wine, my great supporter and backer lost his wife to cancer and decided to sever his link with the wine world. This came as a devastating blow as we knew that the business would now be put on the market, which it was. Unfortunately the new buyer and I were never going to be compatible due to a lack of wine knowledge and communication, so I left the industry.
Anyhow, it was almost time to move on in life, which I did, and after my father had a serious illness I moved back to Ireland to be near him and my mother. I'm now living on a farm with my other half who is a very accomplished horse rider and trainer. She moved to Ireland some 30 years ago from North Carolina. It is this connection that has opened up a new world to me lately - America!
Having never traveled to the States before, we now go each year to visit her parents in NC, and often include extra trips where possible. On my first visit, I had no idea at how much cheaper most things were in the U.S. and this is when my interest in photography was able to come to fruition. I could now afford a decent digital camera and know that the extras would always be at hand.
Being semi-retired, I can now really enjoy my passions and get to travel and see new parts of the world. Armed with my camera equipment, I'm always ready!
Work bench in my new workshop which is becoming the center of my 'do-it' world!
Photo: © 2012 Rob Hemphill
Travels in the United States
Having more time has enabled me to travel more in the last few years. Those trips to NC each year are very special and I'm always overwhelmed by its beauty, whether it's in the fall colors of the leaves or the majestic waterfalls to the west of the state near the Tennessee border, there is so much to see and do.
A highlight was a trip to Wyoming in 2013, where we experienced so much, from the wrath of the Snake River whitewater rafting to seeing wild animals and birds in the Grand Teton Mountains. This has to be one of the most photographed areas I've ever been to, I saw more people up at 5.00am with their cameras and tripods, and wildlife groups setting off to witness the beautiful sunrises. And wasn't it worth it? Judge by some of the images below.
From the Teton National Park, we traveled north into Yellowstone NP for a few more days of exquisite beauty. Not wanting to miss any chance of seeing animals or geysers erupting, we walked our socks off and loved every minute of it. If you've never been, go!
Moulton's Barn near Jackson Hole in Wyoming with the Grand Teton mountains behind.
Photo: © 2013 Rob Hemphill
Travels in Greece
The Greek Islands are a great family favorite destination. I've only been to a few of them - Crete, Kefalonia and Lefkada, but they are so unspoilt and have some of the most beautiful beaches of anywhere. The Greeks are friendly and engaging, but what I like the most is the way they wish to hang on to their heritage.
The small waterfront towns and villages still have the appeal of yesteryear. The building of large high rise hotel blocks has not been allowed in most areas, instead they continue to build typical Greek style villas that we're so familiar with, and that's why we love it so much!
On a recent visit to Lefkada, our villa overlooked the private island of Skorpios. This is the island that Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis bought, and was where he married former US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in 1968.
Taverna on Kefalonia
Photo: © 2012 Rob Hemphill
When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.— Ansel Adams
One Great Concert - Fat Freddy's Drop
The last concert I was at was in England and this interesting group were on the bill - Hope you enjoy it!
New Blog Site!
RobHemphill.com is my photography and blog site still under development.
Please visit sometime!
This is Me!
My Lensography is not exhaustive but includes my closer interests.
Squidoo has given me an outlet to express myself over the years and I thank them for that. I sincerely hope that my small offerings have added a little value, as I have had tremendous value from it, spent hundreds of hours adjusting thousands of modules.
A big THANK YOU to Bonnie, Robin, Tom and the team at HQ, and most importantly to all of you who read and visit my lenses - you make writing them worthwhile!
Also to all my new HUBBERS!