Back from Cuba and heading to Montana
We returned late last night from Cuba. It has been a hasty return (I am flying back out today to go lead a National Geographic Student Expedition in Bozeman and Yellowstone). I've been able to cull through the images quickly, identify a handful that really stuck out and make the necessary edits. There will be a much longer blog or two to explain our experience in Cuba and try to offer tips for those heading their in the near future. Overall, I would suggest going as soon as possible. The Cuban people are welcoming and helpful. The country is beautiful and extremely photogenic. Traveling is rather easy with public transportation or private services. Airbnb made our stays extremely smooth to plan and got us connected with local Cubans, which was a major perk to the trip. It was just a great time in Cuba with a lot of lessons learned and a few more Spanish words picked up too! Below is a quick summary and some of the images that stuck out to me initially.
It is really hard not to photograph the classic cars that seem to be everywhere. They offer a wonderful (well photographed) aesthetic. The above image was taken in a sequence of about 30 as I played with different framing, shutter-speeds, etc. I think the image could use a bit of retoning, but I am excited to make prints of this one!
I was never turned down for a photograph from any Cuban person that I approached. This was an amazingly positive experience for portraits and I am really excited to get down into the images and examine the expressions and remember the interactions with each person. The image above is of Felipé, a construction worker. He approached me as I was photographing the construction of new pipes on a road in Central Havana and explained what they were for.
The majority of Cubans are so relaxed in front of a camera. I found that making portraits started a dialogue between the person I was making the portrait of and myself, which most likely wouldn't have happened without the portrait being made.
The heat of midday is a bit much and less happens at this time, but I found that if I just looked nearby in the mornings, I would stumble upon great light, unique scenes and be able to make some quality photographs.
And the world recognition of Cuban cigars is well-deserved. They are high-quality stuff.