First Thoughts on My Visit to Cuba

Antique car driving down a street in Havana, Cuba


I just returned from Cuba  and my mind is still reeling.

What an amazing place. The people were extraordinary. The resilience, the ingenuity, the kindness and the laughter in the face of significant hardship was an inspiration.

The trip was made all the better by the luck of the draw, meaning the other guests I was traveling with on this Santa Fe Photographic Workshops adventure were a lot of fun. You can’t always count on that and I feel lucky that our group was so in sync.

Pro photographer Jennifer Spelman was an enthusiastic and thoughtful leader, providing the group with some great insight on how we might approach the city and the locals photographically. We also had the benefit of three very talented Cuban photographers, Jorge, Eduardo and Pepe, (more about them later) who worked with us everyday showing us their Havana and the nearby towns of Bejucal, Casablanca and Cojimar, through their eyes and lenses.

I did want to leave you with the above image. An iconic—and admittedly often shot—perspective I couldn’t help but indulge in.

I took it on our second day across from the nation’s capital in Havana near our hotel (The Parque Central) after a long rain. The wet pavement reflected the rainbow hues of the buildings and the myriad of antique cars driving past begged for a panning shot.

I’m really going to miss those vintage cars. They made traffic a visual delight with their sassy silhouettes and bright colors. It’s amazing their still running. Cuban mechanics are incredibly industrious and as my new friend Donna Aceto quipped as we walked about, “They can take a clothes hanger and turn it into a carburetor.”

She wasn’t kidding.



Categories: Cuba, Culture

83 replies »

    • Thank you!

      re: Changes. A few things really. The country is getting it’s first taste of capitalism in over 50 years. Since Raul Castro took over, laws have changed. People can now own and buy housing. They can own private businesses, etc. So that is having an effect on the country’s previous time-capsule status. The influx of tourism is also bringing more money into the country so there is an increase construction, fiber optics are being put in. There are internet parks now where there were none a year ago. Those are just a few things but you get my drift. The culture that was is evolving.

  1. This is a very good report on Cuba. I have known people who visited Cuba on business in the past, but they never wanted to discuss their trips. I assumed they had to keep their business trips inside Cuba a secret. I’m glad to see America and Cuba working towards a better relationship, business and social, in the future.

  2. Cool shot!!! I was there 10 years ago and absolutely loved it. Looking forward to reading your story that will for sure remind me about this amazing trip 🙂

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