GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA
By Megan Burnham
Joint Task Force Guantanamo Public Affairs
GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba - For most personnel, stress comes from daily activities and challenges at work. There are numerous ways to handle stress and "take your mind off of work."
Eugene "Marty" Parsons, who's been working here since August 2007, handles daily stress by taking unique artistic photos of the island to capture all of the critters that reside here, as well as simple nature photos.
"It gave me something to focus on other than how work was just minutes prior," said Parsons, an electronics technician by military occupational specialty. "Instead of just sitting around after work, I went for a walk to get out and see stuff."
In Parsons' first six months, he regularly walked for three hours in the evenings after work and about four to five hours on his days off. He went out everyday, weather permitting, if he didn't have other plans.
Parsons commented that he was always the one to take photos back home at family gatherings, vacations and other events. In Gitmo, his main undertaking was getting unique shots of animals that not many people had spent the time to get.
"The key was getting to know the animals' patterns because they all do different things," said Parsons. "It basically drew me into applying all my thoughts on how to bring home pictures that were better than the ones I took the day before."
Parsons had previously decided he was going to be taking photos while stationed here, but had no idea it would turn into a photography obsession and become part of his daily routine. He also used these photos to send to his family back home so they could see what he saw and share his experiences with him.
"My family totally enjoyed it when I sent pictures home," said Parsons. "They enjoy nature as much as I do, so it was basically allowing them to appreciate the beauty of Gitmo while still being in the states."
Some of Parsons' best shots were taken at Cable Beach and the cliffs around that area, but also the plant nursery, the hills behind Tierra Kay housing and 'Rain Lake' (as Parsons likes to call it) down the road from TK. Parsons' favorite places were 'Rain Lake' and the plant nursery because they provided the best opportunities for wildlife, plant and flower photos.
"I call it 'Rain Lake' since it's really only a lake after a good rain," said Parsons. "It was my favorite place. My second favorite place is the plant nursery which is, in my honest opinion, the greenest part on the base."
Parsons decided to put a photo book together as a souvenir for himself and his family after being unsuccessful at finding photo books of Gitmo currently in circulation.
He had already started a photo album of his own, so after stumbling across a company which gave people bookmaking software, he completed his own layout and ordered two copies: one for here and one for home.
After showing it to numerous people, many became interested and wanted a copy of their own.
Parsons' deployment and photo taking opportunities are coming to an end as he will soon be transferring to U.S. Naval Station Mayport, Fla., as a radar technician. His goal was to simply take more pictures before he left; over the course of a year, Parsons took around 8,000 photos.
"I hope people will take a little time to walk and appreciate the nature around us," said Parsons.
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This work, Beating stress the artistic way, by SSG Megan Leuck, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.