Monday, December 29, 2014

Fellow Photographers and Friends in Cuba

I loved going to Cuba with Road Scholar, it was a treat the entire 9 day program!! We saw and experienced so many different types of places, and the icing on the cake were the 14 people we shared our adventures with. From as far as Nebraska, but mainly New Englanders, we shared a common bond of photography, but the spirit of camaraderie, flexibility, excitement, anticipation, and agreeableness everyone had made it a particularly wonderful trip! Thank you! 

 Asha looking glamorous with the beautiful colors.

 Outside one of the dance perfomrances. Asha, Steve and Dan. What??! :-)

Linda and Dick from Lexington with Essdras, our fearless leader and award winning photographer., who made it all fun! Essdras always had 2 cameras :-)

 He wasn't on the tour with us, but followed us everywhere!

 Essdras took this photo of our group, as well as the next. You can see what an awesome group we are!

At a famous Cuban photographer's house, his back porch. Thanks for the photos, Essdras!

Essdras on El Malecon the Saturday night Michelle, Asha and I went out with him to enjoy the lively weekend ritual of the young people being seen. 

Michelle with her blond hair was a big attraction on El Malecon. Everyone was very friendly and respectful.

 Me on a farm near Varadero, getting into the Christmas spirit.

 Dick in the gardens of our hotel.

 Stan getting a drawing from a street artist.

 Linda and Steve at the tall apartment building that looked abandoned, but wasn't.

 Essdras and Mary inside a church.

 Buddy, from Westport CT, getting ready to do the Rumba with local dancers. He was always ready to dance!

Dancers posing for us.

Asha and her iPhone, portraits. 

 A bunch of us going for a walk. Cubans always make time for a chat.

 Buddy using his elbow technique to hold his camera steady, always something new to learn!

Linda and Dick at the farm. More Nikon shooters, a strong majority were Nikon shooters, only a few of us Canon people on this trip.

 Michelle, Asha, Steve, and me having a sunset drink at our hotel in Havana.

At the main art museum in Havana, with our trusty bus waiting. We were very comfortable, lots of room and luxury on the bus. 

  Our time in Havana would not be complete without a ride in one of the beautifully renovated convertibles!  Linda and Dick in the from seat.

 Jim, Asha and me in the back, fun!!

Jim getting some 'medical' care from Essdras after an amazing save he made! He tripped, but instead of hitting the pavement full on and breaking something like most of us would have, he rolled and came out with only a scratch!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Visiting A Havana Community Center in Cuba

As part of our People to People visa program to enter Cuba from the United States, we visited a wide variety of local places: senior centers, dance companies, art galleries, print making shops, a little bit of everything. All of them very interesting and providing an insight into life in Cuba, the people we met were happy and welcoming, letting us use our cameras and offering a friendly smile.

Since our group has returned from Cuba, December 11th, relations with Cuba have thawed according to Obama, and many rejoice! Cubans that depend on remittances from their relatives in the States will be able to receive more money, and hopefully travel to Cuba will be less fraught with visas and restrictions. I don't think our awesome group of photographers had anything to do with it, but it's fun to take some credit :-)

 A dapper gentleman at the senior center.

 The cook in the kitchen, she could be my grandmother.



Happy New Year!! The triumph of the revolution... Doesn't look so triumphant with so little on the shelves.  Note the cash register and transistor radio, puts you back a few years, doesn't it?

 Walking the neighborhood.

 Getting a shave.

Relaxing at home, while keeping an eye on things...


 Youth gathering, peacefully.

 Man and blue wall. I love the colors!

More grooming. We never saw a sloppy Cuban, always looking good and well dressed. Eyebrows plucked on the young men.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Forbidden Land of Havana, Cuba

Forbidden to independent travelers from the Untied States, people from other countries can travel to Cuba without any restrictions. The only sanctioned travel from the US is with a people to people visa with an approved travel group. I went with Road Scholar and they arranged a perfect photography tour for us!!

Our Road Scholar program, "Inside Cuba's Art Revolution - Meeting the Artists and People of Cuba" did just that. I have a new found appreciation for the people and art of Cuba, art that they create and use everywhere, not just in a gallery. Cubans love and appreciate their art, music, painting, dancing and it's evident everywhere you look. I loved this trip and I love Cuba!!!

My friend, Essdras M. Suarez, a very fine photojournalist and teacher, and I put the trip together and we had the best group of photographers and Cuban tour guide anyone could ask for!! Viviane could answer any questions about Cuba or our daily activities in flawless English, she had an unlimited amount of patience, knowhow and humor with our group of 14 excited photographers. She kept us entertained and informed. We were all so happy to be there getting our fill of the amazing visual delights at every turn. What fun we had, many memories to savor and a beautiful country to visit!!

So now the challenge is to decide which of my 3000 images are going to see the light of day. I've processed a few, and here they are. The plan is to post more as I 'develop' them.

Our first evening in Havana, Cuba. Panning for motion with my camera, slow shutter speed.

Near our hotel.

Plaza de la Revolucion. And yes, there are these wonderful older cars everywhere! Jim, one of our photographers, knew the make and year of each one.

Our hotel, the famous Hotel National de Cuba, a popular place since the early 1900's for many celebrities and heads of state. We had 12 presidents from Latin America countries staying there with us.

 Hotel National de Cuba boasted a glamorous interior, too.

Photo of the brochure in our room... 

In case you think we were deprived :-)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Plimoth Plantation: The Last Day of 2014 Season

I had the pleasure yesterday of walking around Plimoth Plantation with my friend Sean, and came away with these images. That place is magical in the right light, and it was the right light.  Hope you think so, too.