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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Trip to Cuba
« on: August 29, 2017, 08:52:54 PM »

Looks like I'll have the pleasure of accompanying my daughter on her university's study-trip cruise to Cuba mid-December. Two days in Havana, one in Bahamas, from Miami.

I plan to take what I currently have: Canon 5Ds, 6D, 16-35/4, 24-105/4, 70-200/4 IS. I wonder if it is worth replacing 70-200/4 with 100-400/4-5.6 II and maybe adding the good, old 135/2? Or forget everything and get a camera like Sony RX10 III?

Any tips about locations, equipment, etc. welcome.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2017, 07:35:09 AM by Slobodan Blagojevic »
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David Eckels

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Re: Trip to Cuba
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2017, 10:45:59 PM »

Yeah, get a Nikon D850! Wish I was going with you!

hogloff

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Re: Trip to Cuba
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2017, 10:56:47 PM »

I've been to Cuba 3 times, Havana twice. Personally I think you are carrying too much gear. My most used lenses when in Havana are a 25mm and an 85mm. I normally shoot environmental street and architecture images. I really don't see the need for any telephotos in Havana.

A few ideas shooting in Havana:

- stay away from the plazas as they are not the real Cuba...they are made for tourists and you'll see all sorts of locals doing things for money.
- walk the side streets of old town, the dirty run down areas...take your time and things happen as Cubans go about their daily lives.
- many Cubans use the street as entertainment...they sit in their doorways watching life pass by. This makes for great images if you can melt into the alley and not be seen.
- take a taxi out of the old town into some other area and walk those streets for an afternoon. You'll see a different view of Havana and it's people.
- Cubans are very friendly and out going. Everyone has a university degree...very well educated and knowledgeable. Strike up a conversation with them and it just might lead to great photo ops. I got into a dance rehearsal by talking with a gal who just happens to be a member of this dance club.
- foods the same everywhere...choose your restaurant by the service. Stay away from the state run restaurants as you'll get lousy robot service. Eat at the private restaurants where the server is a daughter, the dad the cook and the mom sings.
- Havana...in fact all of Cuba is very safe. Head out in the evenings to side streets for some shots of locals having a beer in their doorways or down at the end of the street at the local open bar. Get out early before it's light to see the locals heading to work, people selling bread and coffee from their front doors, catching bicycle taxis to get to work.

Overall, I'd sleep very little in your 2 days in Havana and get out in all hours to experience and photograph the Cubans doing their daily life.
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jeremyrh

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Re: Trip to Cuba
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2017, 03:29:37 AM »

Overall, I'd sleep very little in your 2 days in Havana and get out in all hours to experience and photograph the Cubans doing their daily life.

Sound advice - Havana is photo heaven!!
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stever

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Re: Trip to Cuba
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2017, 10:01:01 AM »

i haven't been to Havana, but in similar city locations (most recently Cartegena, Colombia) i end up with about 90% of the images from 24-70 or 24-105. i really like the 35 f2 IS at night but found enough light in Cartegena to use the zooms with 5D4. 

there is certainly no need for anything longer than 70-200, but i really don't like carrying a big white lens around for street shooting.  i sometimes also carry a pany GX85 with 35-100 f2.8 in a Thinktank belt pouch even though it comes up a bit short in low light. In places where people are camera shy i just use the GX85 with 12-35 or 35-100.
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brianrybolt

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Re: Trip to Cuba
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2017, 12:41:31 PM »

I spent 2 weeks in Cuba this past April.  One in Havana and one in Trinidad.  I had my X T-2 and shot mainly on my 18-135 (27-202 35mm equivalent).  Hardly used my 10-24 (13-36mm equiv) but very glad I had it when the moment was right.

Don't expect good food in Cuba - it sucks but the people, colours, music and dereliction are visually & aurally fantastic.

Enjoy,

Brian
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hogloff

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Re: Trip to Cuba
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2017, 09:21:11 PM »

I spent 2 weeks in Cuba this past April.  One in Havana and one in Trinidad.  I had my X T-2 and shot mainly on my 18-135 (27-202 35mm equivalent).  Hardly used my 10-24 (13-36mm equiv) but very glad I had it when the moment was right.

Don't expect good food in Cuba - it sucks but the people, colours, music and dereliction are visually & aurally fantastic.

Enjoy,

Brian

Fish, eggs ( omlettes ) fresh fruit and fruit juices, cheeses, fresh bread are all excellent. Might not have steak and potatoes, but then that is why we travel to other parts of this nation.
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LesPalenik

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Re: Trip to Cuba
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2017, 04:43:44 AM »

Slobodan,

In Havana, I'd mount 24-105mm lens on one camera and 70-200mm on the other. On some narrow streets or inside some buildings you might switch to 16-35mm, but you'll get most use there from your 24-105mm lens.  The main streets are quite wide, and for shooting across the street I found 70-200 very useful, as well for street portraits and architectural details.

As to the most interesting locations, I would stay both days in the Old Havana. Start walking on Paseo del Prado (Paseo de Marti) and Malecon and then walk the side streets. Most tourists stay in the east part of old town around the Hemmingway's El Floridita and La Bodequita bars. Those streets are very narrow and more crowded than the streets in the west portion. To get a feel of the city or when you get tired from walking, you can take also the red double decker sightseeing bus. It used to cost 5 dollars for all day, and you can get on and off anywhere, but I didn't find it very suitable for photography.

Enjoy your trip!
   

drmike

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Re: Trip to Cuba
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2017, 02:55:10 AM »

Looks like I'll have the pleasure of accompanying my daughter on her university's study-trip cruise to Cuba mid-December. Two days in Havana, one in Bahamas, from Miami.

I too am going to Cuba mid December but for a couple of weeks. I was wondering if it was worth taking anything other than my Fuji X100 :) 

I trust you still look like your avatar so I stand a chance of spotting you.

We plan Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Vinales all by public transport.

Mike
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Mike D. B.

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Re: Trip to Cuba
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2017, 03:34:38 AM »

I too am going to Cuba mid December but for a couple of weeks. I was wondering if it was worth taking anything other than my Fuji X100 :) 

Mike
Mike, I traveled to Italy often with just my X100T and haven't missed any other gear.  It will depend mostly on your style of photography.  I spent years with "just" a Leica M3 and 50mm lens.

My photographic vision snaps into a certain focal length and I see only that angle of view.  I greatly enjoy "just" one (prime) lens.

If that's for you as well, only you can will know.  No matter what, enjoy your trip - I'm envious!

drmike

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Re: Trip to Cuba
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2017, 03:46:04 AM »

We are digressing somewhat but I find 80% of my keepers are taken on the X100 as the 23mm (35 FF) focal length seems just right so the more comprehensive X-Pro system stays at home used for more specialist purposes. The whole camera feels 'just right' so much so I am wary of the upgrade to the X100F.
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