Photography skills lead Clay teacher Brian McGuckin to China

Karst landforms of Yangshuo. (Photos by Brian McGuckin)

Karst landforms of Yangshuo. (Photos by Brian McGuckin)

By Mark Ambrogi



For his wife to be a stay at-home mom for their growing family, Brian McGuckin began looking for something to supplement his teaching income.

Approximately eight years ago, he started a photography business. McGuckin said it has led to some amazing travel opportunities, including a June trip to lead a workshop in Guilin, China.

McGuckin, 41, is a sixth-grade social studies teacher at Clay Middle School. The Carmel resident will soon be starting his 18th year in Carmel Clay Schools, his 16th at Clay.

“I always liked pictures but didn’t know how to take good pictures,” McGuckin said. “I taught myself photography, and it’s been a passion ever since then. It’s turned into a full-time business as well. I do a lot of weddings and travel photography. I’m getting into doing more workshops and teaching now for people who have a camera they don’t know how to use.”

Cormorant fishermen of the Li River.

Cormorant fishermen of the Li River.

As part of a podcast group, McGuckin went with three other instructors to China.

“We had 13 people from all over the world who joined us there,” he said.

They were teaching landscape and portrait photography.

McGuckin climbed to the top of the Longji Rice Terraces and was able to take photos of the preparation for the Dragon Boat Festival.

“We noticed they were putting the tea light candles over the hills,” McGuckin said. “It was beautiful, and then we also found out, once it go dark, they were going to be shooting off fireworks for the Dragon Boat Festival. It was surreal to see all that.”

Fireworks over the Longji Rice Terraces.

Fireworks over the Longji Rice Terraces.

In addition, McGuckin met and shot photos of fishermen, who use the aquatic birds called cormorants.

McGuckin has done some work for Expedia, shooting in Europe, Central and South America.

“That’s also the area I teach, so that’s enabled me to share that with my (social studies) students,” McGuckin said.

McGuckin and his wife, Rebecca, have four children, ages 14 to six years old.

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