Friday, April 14, 2023

CUBA BABY: Havana Day Three - Street Photography Workshop

More sidecar photos and activities will be happening on Monday when we ride out to the countryside,
 but for now Friday, it is the Street Photogaphy workshop. Four attendees, Hogar from Berlin, Michele, a Frenchman from Washington, DC, Alan from Houston and myself.  Thorston Von Oovergard, a Danish professional photographer is the group leader.

What follows below are a few of the Cuban images I captured while strolling around the Vedado neighborhood of Havana. Vedado is a modest upscale neighborhood near the US Embassy. Like everywhere in Cuba, there is little class distinction or separation economically.

We'll start with the only color photo of the day. 
Sunrise, start of another warm tropical day. 
As the sun rises higher in the sky, the importance of cool shade increases dramatically.
Temperature hit 92 F this day.

Was surprised this gentleman agreed to be photographed. 
He had the aura of a bodyguard or security official.  Nothing sinister, but looks like he could handle any situation. He is the only person I met in Cuba that had that vibe.

American cars are not the only relics still on the road. 
I can imagine finding parts there for this British sports car is a serious challenge.

Amazing how they keep these old Detroit rods looking sharp and running.

Enough of the cars, let's see the faces of Cuba...
a Marxist book seller finds a a shady spot to lay out his wares on abandoned steps. 

Conversing with friends, this lady found a spot of cool shade.

Busy watching her chickens peck the hard ground, 
she was making sure they did not wander off. 
Gotta keep an eye on her source of eggs.

And she was watching her husband the carpenter repair a wooden door. 
He was the only person who wanted to talk politics with me. 
Changed the subject... fast.

This sweet grandmother gifted Alan the best cigar of his trip.

A friendly neighbor who asked why we would want to photograph a
 "boring, nothing happens here" street, those were her words.

And this was the only person who asked us to photograph her children.

A beautiful school teacher relaxing outside her classroom.
Cuban has the highest literacy rate of any Latin America country. There are small schools everywhere, from pre-K to University Preparatory. Cuban medical doctor are respected for being better trained, thus are in demand everywhere. The number quoted is, "Cuban has ten thousand doctors contracted out to hospitals around the world".  That generates a large portion of Cuba's foreign currency income.

Stopping at a coffee shop, Jose was our waiter. 
He agreed to poise for a photo. What a smile!

These two gentlemen relaxing in the shade, asked if we wanted to buy cigars. 
Those were good smooth smoking US$1 cigars we bought from that plumber.

The Jazz Music School students set up a free concert outdoors for the benefit of the neighborhood. 
Our good fortune was to be walking down that street at the right hour. Their proud professor invited us into the courtyard to take photos.

Have no idea what this couple's discussion was about, but it shows in her eyes.
Glad I was able to capture the moment.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

That is what street photography is all about. 
Being attune to what is going on around you. Look for the play of light and shadows, 
people's expressions and actions. Nothing is staged, cannot plan a shot. Just be ready, be aware, make sure your camera is turned on, walk slowly, be looking 360.

To close out the day's images, I offer you this unforgettable 
"Moon Over Havana" shot!

About half of today's images were shot without the person knowing they were being photographed. My camera does not have a telephoto lens, so I have to be up close to capture a sharp face. To do that, have learned from pros how to set the camera, shoot from the hip, with arms crossed, from behind, etc.  It pays off to practice and learn from the best.


Tomorrow's workshop, we focus on capturing casual portraits, more shots from the streets.

Our Doctor contact wrangled us a special invitation to a small live performance of Cuban singing, dancing, poetry tomorrow night. Will be a low-light situations with lots of movement, 
a challenge to capture with a camera.

Thanks for following along,

Stay tuned.


  1. I am not a fan of street photography, but I can understand why Cuba is so perfect for it. Looking at those pics is like a time capsule from the past.

    1. Agree, Cuba is a photographer's paradise. So much out of the norm from North American cities.

  2. Your portrait style photos are getting so good!!!


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