Cuba Libre

The day finally arrived - I was headed to Cuba to join 13 other talented photographers on what I considered to be one of my top five most interesting places to visit and photograph.  

I was to spend a week in Havana with a day trip included to visit the smaller town of Matanzas.

After months of reading about the country, it’s history and watching endless YouTube Videos and Netflix movies (Cuba Libre and Cuba and the Camera Man was helpful), I felt I was ready to define a theme to focus my photography goals. I wanted to capture the people – I wanted to take pictures that would resonate their resiliency, their generosity, their kindness and how they lived. 

I wanted everyone who saw their pictures to understand their "dash"

From watching kids play football (pronounced soccer in the U.S) in the streets, to observing customers buying their next meal at the local spot, oh, I can’t forget the daily maintenance of those marveled American vintage cars – most of which serve as Taxis to tourist.

I wanted to focus on the everyday life of Cubans.

To that extent and what was most humbling, is beyond the elegance of the cars, cigars, and authentic Mojito’s, I wanted capture both the elegance and neglect of the city.

Cuba is unique. It is a place one must experience on their own. I look forward to going back and traveling throughout the other cities and exploring the countryside of this amazing country and listening and relating to the experiences of its people.

Visit my photo gallery for more images of this magnetic city.

CUBA_FB-30 (1).jpg

A sunny day in the park

When the sun is out most kids are eager to get out the house…they want to be outdoors…to be at the pool, riding their bikes, or playing at the playground. On this sunny Sunday afternoon, I was in Norfolk, VA to attend a friend’s commissioning ceremony to become a Navy Officer.  Why not “kill two birds with one stone,” I thought. This is when I contacted my good friend and the self-proclaimed and former “Mayor of K-Town”, Big E. "Let’s do a photoshoot with the kids", I suggested since I hadn't seen them in a while.

With the break from the previous day's rain, Sunday was the perfect opportunity. The grass was greener...the air was different. I initially wanted to try out this new soft box, flash and my new toy, the Sony mirrorless camera. I had all my gear. The park was perfect...very picturesque. I was going to do a “formal” family photo shoot.

That changed.

As soon as the seat belts became undone, the kids rushed out and beelined straight to the playground. They excitingly went down the slides...climbed the monkey bars and then moved onto the swings...their little legs dangling as they tried to get momentum to soar higher. As typical kids, they jumped off the swing and moved onto the next adventure. They grabbed the bag of chalk from mom and began using the concrete as their personal coloring page.  

Full of energy they were - they had no intentions of staying still for my intended “formal” photoshoot session. I had to act quick.

With my most of my equipment now stored, I relegated to just capturing memories of the kids playing and enjoying the day with their parents. You see, photographing kids is unpredictable. You have to be flexible….in essences, they are the bosses for the day.

I placed myself strategically on top of the sliding pole at the bottom of the slide; I crouched low to capture their little world...all with the intentions of seizing their "dash". I was amazed! The results were more memorable than having them sit in front of the perfect background...saying “cheezzzeeee”...smiling on command.

These images captured them in the innocence of play…horsing around with dad…seeing their radiating smiles; these will be the moments remembered.

Wedding Day Jitters

It was a beautiful day - love was in the air…ok, this beginning is a little cliché-ish.

So, I had the pleasure of capturing some memorable images during my friend’s recent wedding. I sensed her heighten anxiety just a few days prior to the event when the hired photographer bailed on them. Initially, I was just supposed to be a guest…and just like that, I became her photographer. I agreed with the disclaimer that “I don’t really do weddings”. You see this was my first wedding. I couldn't mess it up – there are no “do-overs”.

The day prior to the "big day" I was so nervous. I checked and tripled checked my camera, my batteries, flashes…I was armed with a plan. I had a backup plan. I even had a backup plan to my backup plan - I had no idea what to expect.

My nervousness was centered on missing key moments, not getting the right exposure, or worse, getting a ton of blurry images of this once in a lifetime event. I wanted to get the perfect images.

And just like that, it was over. I did it…my first wedding!

While in the military, I was taught to always conduct an AAR or “After Action Review” after every significant training event…in this case, the Wright’s wedding was my training event.  I self-critiqued myself - what could I have done better, what did I do well, what areas could I fine tune; I had a few, "next time I will" moments. 

Overall this was a great experience. It was a ton of work and something I may consider doing in the future. 

So here is to capturing their moments “in between the dash”.