Photography in Cienfuegos, Cuba
Nov05

Photography in Cienfuegos, Cuba

One of the things about my trip to Cuba, in comparison to other destinations I’ve been to recently, is that I was going in a bit blind.  I didn’t have a whole lot of information to go on for the country in general, so my 2 weeks were a bit of a crap shoot.  Cienfuegos was the first town I went to after leaving my Intrepid Travel group and headed off on my own.  I didn’t know anything about Cienfuegos except for what I read in the Lonely Planet on the bus ride in from Havana.  On the whole, I thought the city was beautiful.  It seemed a bit wealthier than other places I’ve seen in Cuba, and there were a couple interesting things to shoot.  I spent 2 full days in Cienfuegos, but the truth is, from a photography perspective, I probably could have done everything I needed to in just 1 day. This is what I got up to. The Malecón of Cienfuegos The afternoon I arrived, I headed out to the malecón of Cienfuegos to shoot the sunset.  I was hoping to get some shots across the water of the colonial center, but the views weren’t great and there was a plant puffing smoke into it all.  It just didn’t work.  To add salt to the wound, there was the craziest light and sky I’ve seen in a really long time, and I really didn’t have anything to shoot in the foreground of it.  Had I gone downtown, the light would have been amazing over the cathedrals and old architecture.  That said, I did get one or two images from the malecón that I liked. The Plaza I really liked the look of the plaza in Cienfuegos. In fact, I actually sat there and shot time lapse almost all day.  It was a cool little place to hang out.  Once the light started coming down, I shot some photos.  I didn’t get the greatest sky – like the night before – and the lack of clouds made the photos it a bit dull, but I did do some play with the sun coming down and got a couple decent blue hour photos of it all. Some Thoughts from Cienfuegos As I mentioned in the intro, I really enjoyed Cienfuegos. But, it was another example of how planning a destination you’ve never been can be so hard.  I really didn’t need 2 full days in town.  Sure, if you’re a regular tourist you might want all that time to visit the various museums and such, but I really only needed a sunrise and sunset to capture what...

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Welcome to Havana, Cuba!
Oct27

Welcome to Havana, Cuba!

I made it to Cuba! It’s actually such a strange feeling. I’ve never been anywhere like Cuba before, and that’s an awesome feeling for someone who travels so much and is always looking to get back that sensation of being completely overwhelmed. I jumped on board a tour with Intrepid Travel to try to get Cuba sorted out a bit. I wanted to figure out how everything works before setting off on my own for a bit of solo travel. I think that if you’re going somewhere you know nothing about, and don’t really understand how travelling a place works, it’s a great idea to jump on a small group tour like this for a while before then heading out on your own. It allows you to pick the brain of the guide, get your feet wet, and gain some confidence before setting off solo. Anyways, this video and article are from my first couple days in Havana and then joining the tour to head out of town. Havana Old Town The old town of Havana is a bit of mind-explosion. One second you feel like you’re in a war zone with destroyed buildings, then you walk a block and feel like you’ve stepped back in time. There are some beautiful plazas, some wonderful old architecture, and some completely dilapidated buildings. It was definitely a bit strange at first, but the old town is full of charm. I absolutely loved experiencing it. Of course, you’ve got a ton of these beautiful classic cars roaming the streets, too, which is really fun to see. The truth is, on my trip I only planned in one and half days in Havana. After spending my first day, I knew that I didn’t plan for enough time here. The Art of Fuster In the Suburbs After heading out of Havana, we made our way to the suburbs of the city. We stopped in a really cool neighbourhood created by Jose Rodriguez Fuster and is almost Gaudi-esque in its style. Basically, he and almost everyone in the neighbourhood have tiled their houses, their properties, and even the bus stops. It’s a pretty cool place, and definitely unique. That Strange Feeling of Being Lost to Time Arriving in Havana was strange. It did feel a lot like being back somewhere in Central Africa in some ways. But then, it began to feel extremely unique. It is almost a sensation like I’ve come back from the future to visit the 1960s, and every now and then a sliver of modernity has seeped through with me. The lack of internet, cell signal, and connection to the outside has been the...

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The Best Ways to Document your Road Trip
Jul30

The Best Ways to Document your Road Trip

In today’s fast-paced world, surrounded by an abundance of cheap airline flights, it would be easy to think the classic road trip was slowly dying out. After all, who wants to spend hours in a hot, stuffy car when you could be getting to your destination much quicker through other means of transportation? As it happens, the allure of the road trip still endures for millions of travellers all over the world, as they organise their routes with friends and family, working out the best places to take a pit-stop and see some sights. A road trip really can produce some amazing memories, but just how should you go about documenting your adventures so that you can always keep track of the wonderful stories to tell? Here are some of the best ways to make sure your memories stay unforgettable. Take lots of pictures An obvious one, maybe, but when you spend a long time on the road you can forget to take pictures. You’re either too busy driving, catching up on some sleep or getting caught up in exploring your destination. While you don’t want to come across as the annoying tourist who has to get the camera out for every single nice view or statue, you should try to take pictures every now and then just to keep a record of everything. To break things up a bit you could take group shots with other people on your road trip. Keep a diary/blog Of course, all of your photos come with a story, and a diary provides a great way to give them some context. It might seem old fashioned, but writing down what you did during the previous day and explaining your thoughts in a diary are fantastic supplements to your trip. You don’t have to go into too much detail if you don’t want to, but you’ll appreciate a bit of backstory when you look back on your travels. If you’re not prepared to put pen to paper then bring your laptop along, as there are several free online programmes that allow you to keep travel blogs, updating them with images during your trip. Vine Vine is a service that allows you to record short, six second looping videos and send them to friends. It might seem a bit tricky at first, but once you get the hang of the app you’ll be creating new videos like it’s the most natural thing in the world. Coming up with funny, interesting vines that show off your travels and where you are in the world are a great way to keep friends and family in the loop, and you’ll be able to save them to a profile to look back on the memories for years to come. Record videos If a picture is worth...

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Photograph Caribbean Way of Life!

The Caribbean is a dream destination for many photographers with a diverse range of landscapes, architecture, and cultural sights. You can get a great shot in the most unexpected places and with so many places to choose from deciding on just one can seem impossible. To help you make up your mind here are some great locations for a little inspiration. Tobago With over 400 species of birds, dense jungle rainforest and uncrowded beaches you’ll have plenty of opportunities for a postcard perfect picture. This small Caribbean Island has a quaint charm to it — you won’t find a concrete high rise or a shopping mall in sight. For a different perspective of the island, visit Fort King George. From this historical sight, you can get great shots of the ocean vista with canons in the forefront. Pigeon Point is another great spot, known as the best beach on the island. Head there in the late afternoon when the fishermen bring in the catch of the day. Havana, Cuba The largest city in the Caribbean, there’s no shortage of castles, lively squares, and iconic architecture. You’ll be spoilt for choice in Old Havana which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Located in the Plaza de la Catedral, the Havana Cathedral is a beautiful spot for an early morning picture. You can also look forward to plenty of pictures of the colorful shop fronts and unique street performers. Bahamas With sunken shipwrecks, underwater caves and stunning coral reef, this is the perfect choice for the underwater photographer. If you’re lucky, you can get some great images with a wide angle lens of dolphins, wild sharks or Spanish galleons. If you want to stay on land, you can visit the Gallant Lady, a shipwreck resting on the shore on the southern tip of North Bimini. The rusted metal looks great against the crystal waters and white sands. For a beautiful night time picture, head to Samana Cay where locals hunt for crabs by torchlight. Small wax candles litter the beach for a magical image. Dominica Dominica is often overlooked and remains a hidden gem. Volcanic activity on this tiny island creates some stunning natural wonders including hot springs, boiling pools, and black sand beaches. The mountainous terrain can be quite rugged, so be ready for a trek if you want that perfect rainforest image. Staying at the beach is just as impressive, where you can see hot lava turning to steam as it enters the ocean. Barbados The white sand beaches of Bathsheba on the East coast of Barbados are home to impressive jagged rock formations. This is an ideal viewpoint...

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Recovery and Ruins in Huanchaco, Peru
May23

Recovery and Ruins in Huanchaco, Peru

Northern Peru weren’t exactly kind to me.  In Mancora, I picked up a nasty stomach bug from a hamburger.  So rather than spending the 3 days there surfing, eating ceviche, and laying around on the beach, I spent it on the toilet, and letting anti-biotics wage war in my body.  So, by the time I got to Huanchaco I was feeling really itchy to go out and take some pictures, and explore a little bit. I’ve been to Huanchaco about 6 or 7 times before.  It was a stop on the tours I used to lead in South America. But, like so many places in this part of the world, I never really photographed it properly.  Thus, I was pretty stoked for the opportunity to wander around town, along the beach and into the Chan Chan Ruins to take some images.  This is what I got up to. The Chan Chan Ruins I used to lead tours through these ruins, and have always thought they were underrated.  I think one of the reasons the Chan Chan Ruins are pretty under-visited is because they really aren’t that photogenic. That said, they are one of the most important pre-Incan ruins in all of Peru. They are also absolutely massive.  The Chan Chan Ruins are the largest adobe city in history.  And, I think the most impressive part of it all is that they sit just a couple hundred feet from the ocean.  The scale of these ruins is incredible.  How amazing would it have been to see this sand city when it was still being lived in by tens of thousands of people? Caballitos de Totora One of my favourite things in Huanchaco is that the fisherman ride canoes made out of reeds.  The caballitos de totora, or reed horses, are very iconic in this part of Peru.  Nowadays, of course, lots of the fisherman simply wait on the beach for tourists to come by and offer them photos and rides for a small fee.  However, some still do use the boats to fish.  In fact, sometimes you can even catch the fisherman surfing the waves. Portraits on the Beach I keep mentioning that my goal for the year is to take more portaits.  So, I took an afternoon along the beach and out onto the pier in Huanchaco to attempt some portraits.  I even dragged one cactus flash and used my 3 Legged Thing Tripod as a flash stand.  Most of the locals were really good in letting me take their photo.  In fact, none of them turned me down at all.  What a difference to the highlands and Andes...

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