Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Located in the northeastern Caribbean Sea, Puerto Rico was key to the Spanish Empire since the early years of exploration, conquest and colonization of the New World.

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

A young bride after her wedding ceremony at The Cathedral of San Juan Bautista, the Roman Catholic cathedral of the Archdiocese of San Juan de Puerto Rico. The cathedral is one of the oldest buildings in San Juan, located in Old San Juan, and is the second oldest cathedral in the Americas.

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

A family pays homage and respect outside La Fortaleza ÒThe FortressÓ it is the current official residence of the Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello'.

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Kites fly on a Sunday afternoon on the grounds of Castillo San Crist—bal.

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

A woman steps onto the blue stone streets of Old San Juan. The blue stone was brought over on Spanish ships as ballasts and later used as the city streets.

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Old San Juan is known for chic and history.

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

La Perla is a historical shanty town astride the northern historic city wall of Old San Juan.

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Pittsburgh Pirates legend and Puerto Rican native Roberto Clemente is stilled honored and revered.

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Tourists and locals on the grounds of Castillo San Crist—bal, the largest fortification built by the Spanish in the New World. When it was finished in 1783, it covered about 27acres of land and basically wrapped around the city of San Juan.

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

A cruise ship departs Old San Juan harbor.

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

A man climbs an apartment stairwell in Old San Juan.

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

A couple walk the streets of Old San Juan. The rooster on the man's dress shirt embodies the symbol of masculinity.

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

A young woman outside a Old San Juan dance club.

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Puerto Rican's embody the spirit of sport and their local athletes.

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Salsa dancing and drinks play well into the Old San Juan weekend night.

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

A stray cat crosses an alley in Old San Juan. The country is a US Territory but its soul is Puerto Rican.

Old San Juan / A brief encounter

Photography by Brian Plonka

I knew before this recent family vacation to Puerto Rico that we were visiting a U.S. territory. I brought my passport along anyway.

Photography is hard to just “put aside” while on vacation. At some point on our 11-day adventure, I knew I would need a fix of sorts. My wife is a photojournalist, making it easier to satisfy that need without explanation. The first eight days of the trip I rested with family along the northwest coast.

We spent the last four days in Old San Juan.

I brought a friend in the form of a 45 mm Nikon Tilt-Shift lens. I went for two walks during the four days, amassing some seven hours of photography time.

Puerto Rico is definitely not the U.S., and for that I’m pleased.

Puerto Ricans are by law natural born citizens of the United States and may move freely between the island and the mainland. However, as it is not a state, Puerto Rico does not have a vote in the United States Congress, which governs the territory with full jurisdiction. As a U.S. territory, American citizens residing on the island do not vote for the president and vice president of the United States.

Strike all that...

They are Puerto Ricans to the soul through and through.

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