Destination: Havana, Cuba

Today’s Post by John Larsen

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While I have been to Cuba a few times, this would be my first visit to the capital city of Havana. Almost as soon as we exited our 1955 Chevrolet taxi we were faced with a photo shoot as a young lady was celebrating her fifteenth birthday by modelling for a photographer with an assistant and stylist!

Photo01Within one block, the poor conditions of the local residents of Old Havana was apparent as many apartments and small shops did not have glass windows while classic cars scoured the streets.

Within a few more blocks the Plaza Vieja was a surprising sight as the buildings encompassing the perimeter have been refurbished as part of a significant UNESCO project. Unexpectedly, a gallery overlooking the square hosted an exhibition of photos by National Geographic photographer, Steve McCurry, which we visited. The gallery had a balcony that provided an excellent vantage point to take a panoramic photo with my Fuji S1. As I walked down the stairs from the gallery the entrance to the “Laboratorio Fotografico” stared me in the face. It reminded me of the hours I used to spend in the darkroom…

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As we exited old Havana to meet our awaiting Chevy taxi, the parking lot was filled with classic Cuban cars—this was the photo opportunity I had been waiting for! Most of these cars are not as mechanically original as expected. The Cubans have to make use of whatever they can obtain and, as such, most of these classic cars are powered by Russian and Chinese-built diesel engines. What the Cubans lack in resources they more than make up for with ingenuity.

All photos taken with Canon 7D and Canon EFS 18-135 with the exception of the panoramic image which was taken with a Fuji S1 in panoramic mode.

John Larsen is located in the Greater Toronto Area, whose PhotoGraffics website contains samples of motorsports and hot air balloon photography from numerous Canadian balloon festivals. John says that “I don’t just photograph these subjects, I am an enthusiast in that I have crewed for over one hundred flights and even been aloft for many balloon flights. I have been to numerous motorsports events and even attended a racing school.”

Author: Joe Farace

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