Category Archives: Photo Blog

Even the Pigs Pose in Cuba

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It’s true. Everyone seems to want to be in the photographs we make when we’re in Cuba. Even the pigs. Perhaps they are just as curious about us as we are of them. Just like many of the people. And how long will that last? No one knows, for sure. But if we, as photographers, behave, and photograph everyone and everything with respect, it will last longer than if we just point and shoot and move on. If we can have a dialogue with the people, the true people-to-people exchange that Obama set in motion a while ago, it will help. You might have to do it through your guide/interpreter, if you don’t speak Spanish. But don’t let that deter you.

This farm is a Unesco heritage farm site. We visited on my first trip to Cuba, and subsequent trips thereafter. I have photographed Juana Gamacho, Francisco, their dogs, and now their pig! They welcome us each time, and we come bearing useful gifts – things like sewing kits, pens, batteries, first aid supplies, etc. Maybe that’s why they keep welcoming us, but it’s a win-win. They are truly willing to be photographed and they offer us coffee every time we come.

No matter where you travel, the experience is often made better by the connection you create when you are photographing the people or their homes/farms. We take a genuine interest in how they live; we ask what things are used for; we tell them (and mean it) how special their country is, and how glad we are to be there. We ask them how their crops are doing or did last season. I’m convinced all of that matters, I’ve seen it in the reactions we get on the faces of the people we photograph. Even the pigs smile.

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Rockin’ Around in Zion

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Anyone who has traveled with me probably knows I LOVE rocks. I’m not sure why I didn’t choose geology as a major in college, but regardless of that, I have continued to be excited by rocks, rock formations, and how it all formed, wherever I go.

When our photo tour in Zion Nat’l Park was finished, a few were around on Sunday morning so we went off to explore a little more. We climbed up high on a rocky plateau to look at the landscape opportunities for afternoon light, but soon we all found photo opps that were at our feet – literally! There were patterns and swirling lines and tiny bonsai’d trees and these cool rounded rocks that you see here. Referred to as moqui marbles, they are concretions of various minerals, and they were stuck here and there in the sides of larger boulders, but hundreds of them had washed out over time – geological time – and scattered on the flatter surfaces we were standing on. With wind and rain, they’d roll around, and pile up in crevasses, or get stuck in a water-filled depression that then dried up. They were so neat to photograph, I was doing my happy dance that afternoon!

 

 

 

Thanks for visiting, and don’t forget to share this post with friends!

 

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Hope for Cuba’s Future!

 

 

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Exciting news from President Obama this morning. I especially liked his statement that ” we do business with China… and we have relations with Vietnam… so why not Cuba, too?” I agree that engagement, exchange of ideas, and bringing to the forefront ways we can help Cubans is a good direction to take. How will it change things? Will McDonald’s start popping up in Havana or Trinidad? yikes, I hope not. And besides, that sort of business is probably not high on the list with the current admin in Cuba. But hopefully it can help Cubans in their private enterprises, in healthcare, education, etc. I think it will be an overall good thing for our Cuban friends. We have always been warmly greeted and our interactions with the people have been wonderful, and I’d love to see them prosper in all ways. It’s time that America has a positive presence.

It will be very interesting to see how things unfold in the coming year(s) as travel opens up to the country, too. It’s about time. I’m glad we’re going back in October.

 

 

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The Cutest Grizzly Bears

 

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“Mom? What are those things on two feet back there? They have HUGE glassy eyes pointed at me. There are at least 8 eyes. I’m not sure about this, can I hide behind you?”

OK, so we’re not supposed to anthropomorphize with wildlife, right? But how can we resist when one cute cub peeks out from behind the safety of Mom to watch us? I mean, you can tell it’s so curious, but timid. It hasn’t learned yet that we come in peace, to watch, enjoy, and photograph its antics. And with all those glass lenses pointed at it, no wonder it’s uncertain of things! It flicks an ear and motor-drives whir…

I have such a good time on these bear tours that I lead in Alaska. The bears are very habituated, which makes for photographic opportunities that you would not easily get elsewhere, such as Sows letting their cubs get close to us and having her wander off to feed while we “baby-sit” the cubs! That’s pretty unheard of unless the bears have a trust in us.

For this tour, you don’t have to have extreme telephoto lenses, although they can be useful. I found that my 500mm on a full frame camera was often too close and had to resort to using the 100-400mm on that camera body instead. I used my 70-200mm on my 7D body and the 100-400mm on the Mark III and that setup worked great.

You also don’t have to be an expert at wildlife photography – I’ll be there to help you with settings and techniques for handling longer lenses and shooting action. (It does help to have a good working knowledge of photography and your particular camera, however).

I have only 4 spaces left at this point for the July 2015 tour.  It promises to be another great year for bear photography!

 

Enjoy, and thanks for visiting,

 

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 “I can see my toes!”

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