St. Martin Through The Lens of Member Robert Gannan

March 15, 2012

Quintess Member Robert Gannan is a man of many roles: husband, father, grandfather, world traveler and longtime friend to many. But, simply put, he is a photographer at heart. Robert claims, ever-so-humbly, that the places he’s traveled, rather than his own expertise, have allowed for fantastic photo opportunities. And even if technical photography is not necessarily his forte, as an artist, Robert has developed the uncanny ability to capture what he sees. Here, Robert takes us on a photographic journey with Quintess.

When I’m on vacation with Quintess, I’m seeing some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. For example, several years ago, I submitted a photo of my daughter-in-law while we were staying at one of our favorite homes, the enormous Teton Village property in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The snow-rimmed alpine lake and crisp blue sky was the ideal backdrop for Liana’s sheer exuberance, which made for a remarkable photo (which happened to be selected as a Quintess photo contest winner). That photo, that home, that trip – it all goes down in Gannan family history as a treasured Quintess memory.

Most recently, we visited the Quintess home in St. Martin – a veritable photographer’s paradise. I’ve never seen such vivid colors, shimmering expanses of still water and fluttering birds and butterflies around every corner. While we were there, we visited a butterfly farm, which was the perfect place to snap shots of these fascinating, feather-light creatures. The St. Martin birds were also nothing short of exceptional. I swear that one hummingbird, which came to the tree on the back patio every day, was absolutely posing for me – as if it were preening for the paparazzi! The mist over the water in St. Martin also created the perfect conditions for rainbows. In this photo, I caught the tail end of the rainbow; I had just enough time to run inside and get my most valuable possession – my Leica camera.

Besides St. Martin’s rich visual environment, we were deeply impressed by the home. We had originally chosen the destination for a reunion of old medical school friends and decades-old travel companions. It was perfect. The home felt spacious enough for four couples, but it also felt incredibly intimate – the ideal place for deep conversation amidst stunning scenery. We all loved the magnificent infinity pool, with seemed to drop off right into the ocean. Our Destination Host Valerie was superb and the housekeeper’s ever-present smile made us all feel right at home; they epitomized the perfect blend of polished native charm and laid-back island attitude. Although I was initially reluctant to make the journey from the West Coast all the way to St. Martin (I joked that we may as well be going to Australia), once I arrived, I was pleased to find the change in culture and place brought our entire group closer together.

Though the St. Martin and Jackson trips will be hard to top, we are all looking forward to getting out to the new Wine Country properties in California. Though last time we visited Wine Country we discovered countless excellent Napa photo opportunities (and even treated each of our guests to a photo book chronicling the experience), surely the new location in Sonoma will yield new scenery and a fresh perspective on Northern California’s rich landscapes. My Leica is ready and waiting.

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