The following photos were taken within about a 15 minute window- just in the few golden moments at the start of a sunset. There were some changes in light as I went along, but most of the differences between these photos are the result of changing exposure in-camera, and adding off-camera flash. I made very few modifications in photoshop- I cropped slightly, cloned out an ugly electrical line, and added a bit of saturation to enhance the sunset, but otherwise the lighting differences are Straight-out-of-camera.
In the photo above, however, the couple isn’t well lit, so I added an off-camera flash for a different look. You can still see the cyans of the ocean, but the bride & groom are more the focus of the image.
Adding off-camera flash in a gazebo with a white ceiling, perfect for reflecting the light, creates an image with focus on the bride & groom, but also allows the definition and colour of the sunset behind them.
I love the creative freedom that comes from changing light!
Do you have a lighting preference among these images?
This woman approached me while we were walking through a village and pointed to my hat, which had a Canadian flag. She gave me a hug and started speaking quickly in Spanish. Since I speak only a few words of Spanish, and she spoke only a few words of English, I smiled and said “no hablo Espanol” she smiled and said “you try? I try”. We had an unusual but friendly conversation- I think it was about my children and her grandchildren, and that she loves Canada and I love Cuba… and finally I said she was beautiful and asked to take her picture. A few hugs and kisses later, and I was left with an image that will always remind me of the beauty, strength and open hearts of the people I met in Cuba.
These photos are taken in Holguin City, Cuba. We ate at a 3rd story restaurant, so as I walked down the stairs on the outside of the building, I took the opportunity to frame this street from more than one vantage point. I find it interesting how each one tells a story of the city in a different way.
The first story to me is about architecture and the layout of the street, the second about the life and people of the city, and the latter photo is more about the man standing in his outdoor shop. Although I love all three for different reasons- I think I prefer the third- where the focus is more on an individual. Perhaps it’s because am primarily a portrait photographer, I am drawn to capture images of people more than scenery. What do you see in these images, and are you partial to a particular point of view?
On another note, Personal shops like this are everywhere in the city. We were told by our tour guide that Private businesses have been allowed for the last few years under the rule of Fidel’s brother Raul Castro.
I think my next several posts will be dominated by the images I captured during my trip to Cuba this week. We stayed in Holguin at a beautiful resort called Playa Pesquero (and I have many luxurious beach photos!). As lovely as our resort was however, the most wonderful and memorable parts of the trip were the 3 excursions we chose- that took us into neighbouring village and onto farms to meet the local people of Cuba. It will be months- perhaps years- before I can even truly absorb the impact some of the people had on me. I can’t wait to share my photos of these truly beautiful, generous and loving people- willing to open their hearts and homes to some nosy Canadians, and to smile for this particular crazy Canadian with a camera.
Today I will start with our trip to a Cuban Village school.
Our guide told us that Education is free for everyone in Cuba until grade 12. University is free if you agree to serve the country in some way later- depending on your chosen profession. All children are given books and uniforms, but there isn’t extra money for ‘luxuries’. Our tour had planned to stop at a different school, but as we drove through this village we asked our guide about the children here- and he said that the buses almost never stop in this village. Our group was fairly small, so he went and spoke to the teachers and got permission for us to come in and bring our gifts. I had packed some Crayola markers and crayons, pencils, pens, some stickers, and a few other small items for the class. Others in our group had packed toothpaste, soap, candies and toys. Because this wasn’t a “tourist” school, I think the children were much more surprised by the gifts and happy to have us visit. (later in our tour, we walked around the village with the regular tour school stop- another bus was already there giving out gifts and the children acted like it was commonplace) This easily is one of my best memories in Cuba. More than one of us got back on the bus with tears in our eyes!