Viva Cuba!

Havana. 3-5-17. Yesterday was too “cold” to go to the beach. I was disappointed for my BeachGames essay, because Sunday is always THE day for me to shoot. Families and friends gathered, relaxed, nobody stressed. Yet the bad weather became my friend in the late afternoon. A cold front had moved in creating giant waves crashing against the historic iconic Malecon. The locals love it. Driving their 60 and 70 year old cars through the salt spray and hanging with friends for a cerveza Cristal. For magazine photography I need a shot like this. A scene setter. El Moro, the Spanish fortress in the background places the location without being a postcard shot. To do this the first thing I do is to sit down. Become a customer. Order a beer I don’t drink, yet it’s in my left hand and my camera in the right. Why? Because I can see that I will have about 5 minutes max to shoot this. Light magic. No time to make friends with the people at this table. As a tourist gringo photographer I must blend in fast. Appear casual and non threatening in a few seconds. If I looked like a pro photog or a tourist off a cruise ship, I’d be dead in this type of scene. I always tell my students DON’T MOVE. Stay put in a chosen scene. This won’t be my best picture in Havana, yet it does give me a springboard to move on to more esoteric work. I live for scenes like this. Makes me feel a part. Rewarding from both a cultural and personal perspective. Viva Cuba!

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