New Header Image: Happy New Year in Havana

Happy New Year - Havana - 2013

Every few months, I try to mix things up a bit here by changing the header image at the top of my blog. You can see the history of those images on this page – dating all the way back to January 2004.

For this latest update, I chose one of my favorites images from my recent trip to Cuba – one titled “Happy New Year” because of the words written on the wall just above the sidewalk. While out in the central Havana neighborhood on a Sunday in January, my photo buddy Doug Kaye happened to notice the writing and the scene behind. We stood on the opposite side of the street – treating the venue as a “stage” – and waited for the world to walk by.

The Top Hat in Havana

Top Hat - Havana - 2013

One of the most enjoyable things about street photography is discovering a venue – we think of it as a “stage” – which looks interesting. As the photographer, you position yourself across from the stage – and just wait for the world to show up on your stage.

This image is one example from my recent visit to Havana, Cuba. We had finished walking through an open market and noticed some interesting things going on outside, just across the street. I was tired and wanted to sit down – and found a spot that let me just look across the street at this “stage”. There were lots of cars and motorcycles going by in the street – so the venue was a bit challenging in terms of squeezing off shots in between the cars getting in the way.

As I was watching the world showing up on the stage – this guy with the straw hats appears – and starts sort of sorting them. Perhaps inspecting them is the right idea. As he was doing so, I captured this particular image – with him holding the top hat uppermost and really giving it the scrutiny.

Coincidentally, standing on the sidewalk behind him is Raúl Cañibano, one of the Cuban photographers who walked and worked with us every day we were in Cuba. His pensive look reminds me of his look much of the time we were together. He’s got his Nikon D40 in hand, is paying close attention to what’s happening around him – and ready to capture an image at the drop of a hat!

Light Me Up – Chinatown San Francisco – 2012

Light Me Up - San Francisco - 2012

This image is from a day of photo walking with Doug Kaye in Chinatown and North Beach neighborhoods in San Francisco in late March 2012. Chinatown is so rich with photographic opportunities that we were moving very slowly while doing a lot of street photography.

When street shooting this way, it’s great fun to try to find a stage – a venue that has visual interest all by itself – and then to wait for human subjects to appear on that stage. In this case, there’s a building on the north side of one of the streets with a pseudo-American flag painted on the wall. We stood on the opposite side of the street and waiting for interesting folks to appear on the stage – capturing many different images. This was one of the best – a smoker standing back against the wall and looking up at the bright morning sun.

Taken with a Canon 5D Mark II using the 70-200mm f/2.8L lens – shot at 80mm, 1/1600, f/4. Post-processed in Lightroom.