Miscellaneous Thoughts and Ramblings

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The Color of Cuba

pic01February 20, 2012

Me cuarto ha no papel higenico! My first words in Cuba, my hotel room has no toilet paper! I had practiced many greetings the weeks prior to the trip but that stuttering sentence issued to a bemused hotel maid was not one of them. It kind of reminds me of my trip to Spain one weekend, "Como se dice? Where the hell did my car go..." but I digress. Vosotros (the collective WE in Spanish), traveled to Cuba under the "People to People Cultural Exchange" program that promotes a better understanding between the countries. Or at least it did in our case. US Customs, apparently, has seen others use it as a chance to hangout in Cuba, smoke Cohibas and meet chicas judging from the questions we received from my friends manning our borders but I can assure them that our travel was, in fact, to exchange stories, photos & a bit of culture and cheer with an amazing group of Cuban photographers and the people of Cuba. Yes, we did put a dent in the nation's inventory of rum and Cohibas but that really is an aside.

Our group was led by El Commandante Don Arturo, AKA, the great commercial photographer and mentor to many, Arthur Meyerson. We joined two other groups, Kip Brundage & Tony Bonanno - all organized through Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. Seeing Tony again was great and we all shot together every morning (okay, nearly every morning) promptly at 6:15am. From there the groups would go their own way for the day. Groups sometimes meant the full team, half the team, two or three or occasionally, it meant, where the f*** did everyone go? In my case, that was the first day. Carlos Otero Blanco, our Cuban photographer, happened to be holding my primary camera when I became a group of one. Don't panic, the group said they were continuing down the street to the ocean... they must have meant the other ocean because I double-timed it to the ocean I knew of and they weren't there. So I waited, until the sun set. No grupo, no Cuban with a camera costing the gross national product of a small Caribbean island. What are you to do? Practice with that backup camera with the ultra-wide angle lens. Make lemonade. This image of the man with the tattoo at El Malecon would not have happened if I were with the group!

Over the coming days, I will post more images from Cuba and info for future travelers to the island. In the meantime, here is the link to how I saw, as Arthur refers to it, The Color of Cuba.

P.S. I did find the group, the camera, and my pride, all back at the hotel.

New Mexico - The Color of Light

pic01Summer, 2011

Lately, just about every year, we make the trek to Santa Fe, NM to improve upon the craft that is making photos, to learn how to see things you would ordinarily miss. And to eat - the food in that city is amazing. Thankfully, this past summer, Sam & I scheduled a few extra days to the end of my week taking Arthur Meyerson's class, The Color of Light, in New Mexico as there was not much time for eating between assignments. Knowledge of composition, exposure, and use of your tools - camera, flash and the bevy of Adobe products, are to be well understood before attending. Arthur's class isn't about learning to emulate his style of photography, it's about bettering your vision and pushing yourself beyond what you're comfortable with. It's about not just capturing color or light; it's about building an image that has that color and light along with gesture or moment all in the one image.

We took to the streets of Albuquerque and Santa Fe as well to parks, aquariums, rodeos and along old Route 66. After a week of improving our vision and craft, then we had time to eat.

I'm proud to show a sampling of the week's work here..

Northern New Mexico with Tony Bonanno

pic01Summer, 2010

If I could do one thing, it would be to travel and take photos along the way. Thankfully, I get to do that alot. One of my favorite places to do that has always been the American West. Big Sky, mountains, deserts and a way of life so different than mine. I've never asked him why he went west but I suspect Tony Bonanno's reason were close to mine. If you ever have an opportunity to take a photography class with Tony, I suggest you take it. His Hooves and Dust Collection of images captures the spirit of the West and his work in Cuba will have you on the next flight to Havana.

The images I produced while traveling with Tony are printed in large format throughout our home, I invite you to see them in the gallery here..