Category Archives: Cuba

The Importance of Letting Your Photos Marinate!

Take Out and Delivery - Havana - 2013

A couple of years ago, Eric Kim wrote one of his wonderful blog posts on the notion of letting your photos marinate “in order to really discover if they are any good or not.”

One of the things I most enjoy is looking back through my Lightroom catalog at images I’ve shot a year, or two, or more years ago. Sometimes I’ll just remember a situation – and go searching back through my catalog to try to remember. It’s always striking to me just how often I’ll something completely new in those images.

One of my first examples of this took place over a year from my first trip to Havana in January 2013. I was wondering whether I could assemble a book of portraits from my images shot in Havana – none of which were actually taken as portraits. I wanted to experiment with both black and white and a square format style – and it worked out beautifully. I found faces – portraits – in images I’d previously overlooked. Like seeing with new eyes all over again. See my Faces of Cuba images.

Last night I was back in a Havana mood again – this time looking forward to my next trip to Cuba in January 2016. I came across these two images – both of which just made me smile and remember the moments when they were taken. Marinate indeed – these two have been down deep in my Lightroom catalog for almost three years – and they resurfaced last night to my delight.

Break - Havana - 2013

Short Film: Cuba Cubano Cañibano

Raúl Cañibano Ercilla - Havana - 2013

I’m looking forward to attending next week’s screening of the short film Cuba Cubano Cañibano – about the life and work of Cuban photographer Raúl Cañibano. The event is being held on Wednesday, September 23 in Palo Alto at The Mid Pen Media Center. RSVP if you’re planning to attend as space is limited.

My image above of Raúl shooting was taken in Havana in January 2013.

Havana Simplified

NY - Havana - 2013

A couple of years ago, I noticed the work of Chris Hilgert on Google+. At the time – he’s since moved on to other things – he was using a post-processing technique which I really enjoyed. The basic idea was to simplify the image to push noisy details out of the image while retaining fine details in the areas of primary interest in the image.

I decided to try experimenting again with variations on this technique – applying the technique to some of my images from Havana shot in 2013. The Flickr album that resulted is here.

Passing Conversation - Havana - 2013

Sisters - Havana - 2013

Raúl Cañibano: Storyteller

Raúl Cañibano: Storyteller

Tonight I attended the talk by Raúl Cañibano – one of Cuba’s great photographers – at an event at Foothill College organized by Ron Herman. I spent a week in Havana two years ago – in January 2013 – and Raúl was one of the photographers we worked with. He’s an amazing street photographer to watch – very quick on the trigger, knows his settings and image dimensions – and makes beautiful images.

This new exhibition of his work by Ron Herman is beautifully done. If you’re in the Bay Area and interested in this kind of monochrome street and fine art photography, be sure to check out this exhibition!


E Pluribus Unum - Havana - 2013

Today was a great day in the evolution of relations between Cuba and US. This is an image I shot in Havana during a beautiful week in January 2013 – note the “E Pluribus Unum” on the upper part of the wall. One from many!

With today’s news, I look forward to many more happy images from Cuba and the wonderful people we had a chance to meet while we were there. Change takes time – and generations to pass. It was a wonderful day for Cuba today!

Black and White Toning – An Example from Havana

Ready - Havana - 2013

I’m a fan of black and white – especially black and white with subtle toning. My favorite uses the platinum toning in PhotoShop CC.

Here’s an example – an image from January 2013 in Havana. I loved the light on the bicycle – and the toning adds a bit of interesting depth. This image was shot with my Nikon D600.

Checking In – Back to the Farmers’ Market in Havana, Cuba

Checking In - Havana - 2013

From time to time, I look back at some of my older images – and my images from our amazing visit to Havana in early 2013 are now in that older category!

This is an image I hadn’t processed before – that struck me as I was browsing through my Cuba images in Lightroom.

We were in a large warehouse with a farmers’ market underway. Lots of nooks and crannies. As we walked around, we mostly had friendly encounters – with one except that I’ll always remember! This is a shot that I took looking out from within the warehouse – just loved the feel of the characters.

Shot with my Nikon D600 and post-processed in Lightroom 5 and VSCO Film.

Viva! – Life on the street in Havana

Viva - Havana - 2013

Looking back through my shots from our visit to Havana a year ago, I came across this image. I had skipped over it previously – probably because it’s not super sharp and that blurred motion of the woman in the foreground. But, giving it a second look, it pulled me in – there’s the element of layers in this image.

Shot with my Nikon D600, I post processed it using Lightroom and Photoshop to emphasize the textures and tonality of the image.