Travel Photography – Cuba

Following a recent holiday, it became apparent that travel photography to me is a cultural thing. Some people just want a photograph of themselves in front of everything. Or maybe they want to capture the essence of a place? Everyone has their own goals when it comes to photographs – and although I was on holiday, in the photographs I took I wanted to capture the essence of the places we visited.

Cuba is fascinating by anyone’s standards, but from a photography perspective – you have the old buildings, the old American cars – and wizened old ladies smoking cigars in the street. In Havana, it’s also a place of overcrowding. The government control where people live and work – so you can get large families living in small flats – often in buildings that don’t look as if they’ll be standing next week. With the average monthly wage being about $25 it easy to see how much tourism plays a part in peoples lives. In a bizarre twist it’s entirely possible for a taxi driver to earn more than a doctor due to tips extra from tourists.

When confronted by a place with so much character such as Havana, it focuses my mind in terms of the things I look to photograph. In this case I was also limited by my kit as I was travelling light, with just a 5dmk2 and 24-70mm lens. I knew that the photographs I wanted had to be a little different than travel-guide photographs, but at the same time there needed to be something Cuban about them all. The slightly distressed look of some of the images was achieved by adding some grain as part of the post processing.

 

In this first image I wanted the juxtaposition of the American car against the picture of Che Guvara and the revolutionary tones. Here I also liked the muted colour of the car and the graffiti.

 

For me, the third image was a slightly unusual one as it was actually a corner of a shopping centre – against the blue sky the form and shapes really stand out.

 

The fourth image is actually three images stitched together. I had to take the photograph in three part as it was just too wide. The trick here was that it was in shade meaning a nice even exposure across the images. Making sure I had enough of an overlap on each image from the last – and staying the same distance from the wall for each shot made this a 5 min job in photoshop.

 

 

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