Category Archives: Cuba

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.

The Leader of the Band at Cafe Taberna in Havana Cuba

The Leader - Cafe Taberna - 2013

This is one of my favorite images from our trip to Cuba a year ago this week. It’s a shot of the lead singer in the band the night we were at Cafe Taberna – which plays that wonderful Ry Cooder / Buena Vista Social Club style of music. By the end of the evening, the band had us on our feet with lots of folks dancing in the aisles. Such a great memory!

I re-processed this image last night and uploaded it to Flickr. Today, it got picked up by Flickr Explore and went viral – resulting in thousands of page views and many new followers to my Flickr photostream. Pretty amazing to watch! The re-processing I did last night primarily involved a new Photoshop action being worked on by Dan Margulis which does some magic to portrait shots. I then processed it into monochrome in two steps – first using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 and then applied a platinum gradient map to give a gentler look to the monochrome treatment.

If you’re curious, here’s the original image straight out of the camera – my Nikon D600:

The Band at Cafe Taberna in Havana Cuba

The Band at Cafe Taberna in Havana Cuba

Cafe Taberna - Havana Cuba

Cafe Taberna – Havana Cuba

Picking Five from 2013

Picking Five from 2013

[Note: First published earlier today on InMenlo.com: A few great memories from photography explorations in 2013]

Looking back over a year is something many of us do at this holiday season. I’ve enjoyed looking back at 2013, as it appears in my Lightroom catalog of images captured over the year.

I find it sort of amazing that Lightroom reports I’ve taken 7,697 images in 2013. Good grief! I recently put together a Flickr set of the top 100 images of mine from 2013 based upon views and votes as favorites. But I wanted to also do a more personal look back, choosing just five images from my photography explorations this year.

Much of my joy of photography, by the way, comes from long walks taken a few years ago with InMenlo co-founder Chris Gulker — a very talented photographer who taught me well.

So, here we go… Continue reading

Four Men in Havana

Four Men - Havana - 2013

After reading about Saul Leiter’s death early this week, I started scanning back through some of my images looking for some vivid color shots with either scarcity of stuff or an abundance of stuff in the image.

I came across this one – shot in Havana in late January. That’s my friend Doug Kaye out of focus in the lower right looking at this scene. The title comes from the four men I see in the image – maybe you can find even more! What’s fun to me about this image is how my eye just keeps exploring around the scene – it’s so chock full of interesting stuff, color, and texture.

Shot with a Nikon D600 and the 85mm Nikkor prime lens. Post-processed in Lightroom 5 with VSCO Film and in Photoshop CC.

Cruising in Havana

Cruising - Havana - 2013

A fun shot of one of the taxis across from our hotel in Havana – beautiful paint job on this old car!

Tweaked a bit in Lightroom with for a more cinematic look with some split toning, a 16:9 crop, and a vignette.

Brings back lots of memories of our great time in Havana last January! Nikon D600, 85mm, 1/200 at f/3.5, ISO 100.

Faces of Cuba – The Book

Faces of Cuba - Personal Publishing Project

Over the summer, I worked on a personal project that involved going back through my images from our visit to Havana, Cuba in late January of this year and creating a new portfolio of portraits – cropped to square format. I worked on a few images each week – ultimately resulting in a portfolio of twenty portraits that I titled “Faces of Cuba”.

I recently assembled these images in a Blurb book – also in square format – 7×7 inches in size. I used Lightroom 5′s book publishing module to edit the book and send it to Blurb for printing. I was very pleased with the result – this “proof edition” of Faces of Cuba!

You can see the full portfolio here.