ViewFinder Photography Forum

General discussion - our photography living room. Talk about aesthetics, philosophy, share your photos - get inspired by your peers! Moderated by another view and walterick.
ViewFinder Forum Guidelines >>
Introduce Yourself! >>
PhotographREVIEW.com Gatherings and Photo Field Trips >>
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 26

Thread: Cuba

  1. #1
    Re Member LeeIs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    3,403

    Cuba

    Well since nothing came of that travel section that was discussed a couple of weeks ago. I thought what the hey! Let me start a country here and see how popular it gets.

    Feel free to litter the viewfinder with different countries until the powers that be decide to group them in a..... a...aa.. a. a travel section!

    Greatest. Idea. Ever.

    But for now please do share your Cuba photos. I along with everyone else would love to see them!

    Mucho Gracias!





    Liban

    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have." Nelson Mandela

    Nikon Samurai #23 - The Alexei Ponikarovsky of PR

    Havana Cuba Photography

  2. #2
    Re Member LeeIs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    3,403

    Re: Cuba



    Liban

    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have." Nelson Mandela

    Nikon Samurai #23 - The Alexei Ponikarovsky of PR

    Havana Cuba Photography

  3. #3
    Re Member LeeIs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    3,403

    Re: Cuba



    Liban

    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have." Nelson Mandela

    Nikon Samurai #23 - The Alexei Ponikarovsky of PR

    Havana Cuba Photography

  4. #4
    Re Member LeeIs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    3,403

    Re: Cuba



    Liban

    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have." Nelson Mandela

    Nikon Samurai #23 - The Alexei Ponikarovsky of PR

    Havana Cuba Photography

  5. #5
    Re Member LeeIs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    3,403

    Re: Cuba



    Liban

    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have." Nelson Mandela

    Nikon Samurai #23 - The Alexei Ponikarovsky of PR

    Havana Cuba Photography

  6. #6
    Re Member LeeIs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    3,403

    Re: Cuba



    Liban

    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have." Nelson Mandela

    Nikon Samurai #23 - The Alexei Ponikarovsky of PR

    Havana Cuba Photography

  7. #7
    Re Member LeeIs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    3,403

    Re: Cuba



    Liban

    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have." Nelson Mandela

    Nikon Samurai #23 - The Alexei Ponikarovsky of PR

    Havana Cuba Photography

  8. #8
    Re Member LeeIs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    3,403

    Re: Cuba



    Liban

    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have." Nelson Mandela

    Nikon Samurai #23 - The Alexei Ponikarovsky of PR

    Havana Cuba Photography

  9. #9
    Re Member LeeIs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    3,403

    Re: Cuba



    Liban

    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have." Nelson Mandela

    Nikon Samurai #23 - The Alexei Ponikarovsky of PR

    Havana Cuba Photography

  10. #10
    Re Member LeeIs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    3,403

    Re: Cuba



    Liban

    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have." Nelson Mandela

    Nikon Samurai #23 - The Alexei Ponikarovsky of PR

    Havana Cuba Photography

  11. #11
    Re Member LeeIs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    3,403

    Re: Cuba



    Liban

    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have." Nelson Mandela

    Nikon Samurai #23 - The Alexei Ponikarovsky of PR

    Havana Cuba Photography

  12. #12
    Viewfinder and Off-Topic Co-Mod walterick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Phoenix AZ
    Posts
    4,655

    Re: Cuba

    Cool idea! Thanks for bringing some traval content to this forum and keeping the dream alive ;)

    I don't have any Cuba photos to contribute but I've enjoyed looking at your series. There are some great shots in there!

    Rick
    Walter Rick Long
    Nikon Samurai, Mamiya Master, Velvia Bandit


    Check out the Welcome Thread

    My photography on Myspace

  13. #13
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Middle Florida
    Posts
    3,667

    Re: Cuba

    Nice shots all, LeeIs, but I'm sure you realize this is an US-based web site (the vast majority of members being American) and for the last, oh, forty-five years or so our country has had some form of political and economic trade restrictions with Cuba.

    While the embargo does not flatly prohibit Americans from visiting (and photographing) the country, it does make it pretty difficult for the "average" US citizen to freely travel there.

    I guess my point is don't be surprised if there is not a great response to your thread, as good an idea as it is...
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

    -Steve
    Studio & Lighting - Photography As Art Forum Moderator

    Running the Photo Asylum, Asylum Steve's blogged brain pipes...
    www.stevenpaulhlavac.com
    www.photoasylum.com

  14. #14
    Ex-Modster Old Timer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    KY, USA
    Posts
    16,849

    Re: Cuba

    Some very interesting, dramatic and beautiful images. Nice tour of a counrty we don't see much of here in the states even though It is one of our closes nieghbors.
    Don't forget about the Gallery. Are your photos there??


    Nikon Samurai #13

    "A photographer is known by what he shows not by what he throws. The best photographers have the biggest trash cans." Quote from Nikon School sometime in the early 1970's.

  15. #15
    Re Member LeeIs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    3,403

    Re: Cuba

    Crap! Sorry guys. Bad country to start with, I'd have agree after reading Steve's post.

    I think the reason I overlooked it unconsciously is that I've come to know that travel to Cuba for Americans isn't really as difficult or rare as some think. I've met many Americans there. Some even on the plane while on my way there.

    There are many ways of getting there and back and one if the easiest is through Toronto. Others do it through Mexico and other destinations that fly to Cuba a lot but by far Toronto is the safest.

    There's a (I think daily) flight from Toronto direct to Havana. Cuba doesn't require Visas for American, CDN or most EU members. Just grab a ticket from a toronto out let and hop on the plane and fly to havana! That's it. Cuban authorities are so used to this that they don't even stamp people's passports on the way in or out. They didn't even stamp my CDN passport but slipped a card in there with my arrival and departure dates. Thay way by the time you get back to toronto from your lovely stay in Cuba there's nothing that proves you were anywhere but Toronto.

    I believe it's such a common thing that it's 99% problem free. The only for seeable problem that could occur is if the Cuban immigration guy is being a dick because someone treated him badly and decides to stamp your passport upon leaving. And even then, that's no problem because you'll be in friendly Toronto by that time and you won't need a passport to fly back home to the U.S. so you can just put it in your suite case or rip it to shreads and just apply for a new one once you get back home.

    My apologies for starting with a less visited country though. I'd totally overlooked it.

    My dreams of a travel section just took a huge set back!


    Liban

    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have." Nelson Mandela

    Nikon Samurai #23 - The Alexei Ponikarovsky of PR

    Havana Cuba Photography

  16. #16
    Viewfinder and Off-Topic Co-Mod walterick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Phoenix AZ
    Posts
    4,655

    Re: Cuba

    No worries Liban! It was great looking at your posts. And your commentary on getting to Cuba through Toronto was new info to me, I really appreciated that.

    Don't give up hope on finding more Cuba travelers yet. But in the meantime, do you care to comment on some of your impressions of the country? As you're aware, there aren't that many Americans who have been there. I think many of us would be interested in hearing about this mysterious and ominous island 90 miles to our south. If I may be so bold:

    What were some of your criteria for choosing Cuba?
    How many times have you been?
    How were treated as a traveler there?
    How do you compare and contrast the culture to your own?
    What was the cuisine like?
    What are some tourist spots you recommend?
    Other travel tips for seeing Cuba?

    I am interested in hearing about yoru trip. I'm sure others would be too

    Thanks
    Rick
    Walter Rick Long
    Nikon Samurai, Mamiya Master, Velvia Bandit


    Check out the Welcome Thread

    My photography on Myspace

  17. #17
    Re Member LeeIs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    3,403

    Re: Cuba

    Quote Originally Posted by walterick
    I am interested in hearing about yoru trip. I'm sure others would be too
    I'll give it a go. It's been a couple of years.

    Duration: a little over a week
    when: July 2004 (I believe)
    Cities: Havana & Santa Maria

    It was my first trip to Cuba. I didn't know what to expect. It was one of those mysterious places that one reads about but one can't really imagine before actually experiencing it. Well, I did a bit of imagining but as I later found out it was totally different than I expected.

    In my mind, I was sorta expecting to land in a police state with picture of Castro on every block. I thought even maybe people would be hostile to everything that looks American to them, etc. My mind was full of preconceptions.

    But I'd also heard great things about the culture, the people & the land. It was after all a huge vacation destination for many people.

    I bought my tickets directly from air canada for about $550 CDN return. Hopped on the plane and was in Havana about 4 hours later.

    I'm not a hotel kind of guy. I'd rather immerse my self in the experience and live among the inhabitants of the country that I'm going to than be surrounded by Germans, Italians etc. in a hotel where the locals aren't really allowed in.

    And so, prior to my departure I had set up an apartment that I wanted to rent while I was there through an internet site. I met up with Octavio (the cuban gentleman from the rental agency) and he drove me to the apartment I wanted.

    It turned out to be the better choice in more ways than one. My apartment was cheaper than a hotel room, was also bigger and on top of all of that I had Cuban neighbours all around me in my 8 story building.

    Cost me $25 a night for a two bedroom, dining room, furnished den with a TV, a formal living room and a furnished balcony!! Humble setting but spacious and comfortable.

    I felt bad for other tourists paying $100 a night to stay in a hotel room the size of a prison cell. NOT!! lol.

    At first I agreed with the lady that was renting out the apartment to pay a couple of nights at the time (just incase if I found a better apartment) but after my first night there I just payed her in full and stayed there for my entire stay. I was very happy with it.

    Anyways, so I had my base of operation. And it was time to discover Havana!

    Here's a few shots of my shack.

    The Dining



    The Living Room



    The Den



    The Balcony


    My first impression about Cuba:

    I remember my first day there, I decided to walk out of my apartment and towards the city along the "malecon" which the sea wall. I was some what shocked. The first thing that caught my attention was a group of young guys one of which was wearing a T-Shirt with the American flag. I was thinking "the cops are gonna come wisk him away". I was very naive at the moment. It went against everything that I thought.

    Then a few minutes later, an old beat up taxi drives by with an american flag sticker, then I see a bunch of other kids with one wearing I love NY. lol. I had to let go of my old ideas and just adapt. It wasn't after all any different than any other place I've been. It was just fashion, those shirts was probably just the in-style. Knock off Nike shirts every where. Gosh I was so naive!

    As time went by I didn't even see one picture of Castro anywhere. Lots of other posters and statues of revolutionaries that I don't really know. Though I've seen one huge poster with Bush complete with Hitlers mustach and a Nazi symbol. But as I said before the people went they didn't seem to care at all. I think deep down inside they're sick and tired of Castro and his philosophies.

    The People:

    The more time passed by the more I realized how great Cubans were. Very smart educated and geniunely nice people. I haven't seen one fight while I was there. Didn't even hear anybody yelling at anyone. Just extremely relaxed and easy going people

    Safety:

    Cuba has to be the safest place I've been. There's a noticeable police presence but it seemed that they were only doing their jobs and not harrasing people. They'd come to your rescue though if one of the locals is bugging you and begging for me, they'd tell him to go away.

    I was drunk most nights and I've never felt any sort of unease. I was walking the streets of Havana till 4 am most nights on my way home and I felt safer than even here in Toronto at that time of night.

    Annoyances:

    The most annoying thing is when young kids come and beg you for money. Saying that they need milk or whatever. As heart breaking as it is to say no to a little kid, you gotta do it or you'll soon be surrouned by a lot of them. Just say no and keep walking. You'll also encounter young men telling you that they'll find you an apartment or take you to a club etc.. just don't listen. If you get involved you'll just end up losing money. Nothing bad will happen to you but your wallet will just be a little lighter. For example, they'll take you to bar and have a beer with you and when the bill comes back they'll be 4 beers on it when you've only had one and the other guy would say that he drank 3. when you know that it didn't happen. Just don't involve your self with these guys but don't be shy to ask "regular" folks for help.

    Money:

    At that time the U.S. $ was the most widely accepted currency in Cuba. I've heard that things have changed recently as the U.S. $ isn't accepted any more since the Cuban government introduced the CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos ). Which is basically a currency made for the tourist to use. It's slightly higher than the U.S. $ about $1.11 for 1 CUC.

    There is a two class system of payments in Cuba. The locals' prices are different than the tourists. You won't be able to use the local currency.

    Food:

    You might as well bring some from back home. lol. Terrible!! The beauty of the land offset this but I really didn't have 1 nice meal while I was there. Simply put Cuba isn't known for fine cuisine. Everyone I met while I was there was also complaining about the food.


    Night life:

    You'll find it all in Havana, wether you're into the bar setting, the disco tech or just chilling out side and drinking.
    The Malecon is also a great spot at night were the locals take their bottle of rum and sit on the sea wall, play music, chat and dance all night. It was my favourite spots specially after I've met a couple of Cubans and hung out there a few nights. There is also Casa la musica (If I remember correctly) which is more of disco and holds concerts once in a while. There is a thousand little bars with great music all over Havana. Finding one won't be troublesome at all.

    Places to see:

    Lots of Museums in Havana.

    The Cigar factories (which will give you tour and show the process of making them)

    Capitolio - the capital building and lots of other government buildings.

    The things I enjoyed the most about Havana is just strolling through the streets and walking all over the place. Great photo oppurtunities at every turn. 50-60's style cars all over town.

    Santa Maria Beach. about a half hour to 45 minutes drive from havana. Great sandy beach though it could be very busy at times. It has lots of hotels if you wanna stay the night, I didn't I took a taxi back right after the sunset.

    Don't forget to go the fortress in Havana at night before 9 pm. where fire the canon every night at 9 pm. Be ready to be shocked. The firing isn't so loud but you can feel the power, the thud almost took my breath away. The ceremony is also gorgeous. It's also very popular among the locals as well.

    They've been doing this for a few hundred years since the Spanish days 1600 or 1700 and it's been done the same way since. complete with the old style clothings.

    Here a few shots of the ceremony.










    That's all I can think off for the moment.
    Liban

    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have." Nelson Mandela

    Nikon Samurai #23 - The Alexei Ponikarovsky of PR

    Havana Cuba Photography

  18. #18
    Senior Member cyberlord's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    FWB, FL, USA
    Posts
    577

    Re: Cuba

    Awesome commentary! I've heard similiar from cruising sailors that have visited Cuba.

    Great stuff!

    Tim
    My blog - Photography Rulez


    'Slim' - K10D and *ist DL w/ SMCP DA 70mm 2.4 Limited, SMCP-DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, SMC M 28mm f/2.8, SMC M 50mm f/1.7, and Tamron AF75-300mm f/4-5.6 LD Macro
    Slim of the Clan O'Canon - A1 w/ FD 28, 50, 70-210 & Sigma 500/1000 f8/f16

  19. #19
    Viewfinder and Off-Topic Co-Mod walterick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Phoenix AZ
    Posts
    4,655

    Re: Cuba

    Aw, man. Now THAT'S a travel story! Well done. That is exactly what I had in mind when I envisioned a travel forum. Story, and pictures interlaced within the text. Well done!

    You leave me eagerly awaiting the end of your story I do have one additional question: do you speak Spanish? I assume your native language is English? Did you find it easy to communicate with the locals?

    Again, I enjoyed your story immensely. Thanks for taking the time to tell it to us.

    Rick
    Walter Rick Long
    Nikon Samurai, Mamiya Master, Velvia Bandit


    Check out the Welcome Thread

    My photography on Myspace

  20. #20
    Re Member LeeIs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    3,403

    Re: Cuba

    I know what you mean Rick. I thought I wrote so much but when I read it back to check for typos and the such, It was still a hanger and not a complete story.

    I get by with my spanish. I didn't have any problems getting by and getting the jist of what was said to me. That's because I've travelled a lot to spanish speaking countries and I've learned as I went. I wished I would've knew more though. It would've made my trip that much better.

    I'm learning Portuguese now and getting ready for my next trip to brazil. This time I'll be much better prepared and hopefully it will my travel much better.

    You're welcome guys. no problem. I love to talk about traveling and reading travel stories too. Hopefully I'll share more and read more around here.
    Liban

    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have." Nelson Mandela

    Nikon Samurai #23 - The Alexei Ponikarovsky of PR

    Havana Cuba Photography

  21. #21
    Viewfinder and Off-Topic Co-Mod walterick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Phoenix AZ
    Posts
    4,655

    Re: Cuba

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeIs
    I'm learning Portuguese now and getting ready for my next trip to brazil. This time I'll be much better prepared and hopefully it will my travel much better.
    Oh now you're killing me. Brazil is near top on my list of places to see! Would also love to see the falls in Chile - I forget the name at the moment. Make sure you post a Brazil travel story if you go!

    That's good to know you speak a little Spanish. I should really brush up on mine. I learned it in high school but haven't really spoken it in a few years.

    Rick
    Walter Rick Long
    Nikon Samurai, Mamiya Master, Velvia Bandit


    Check out the Welcome Thread

    My photography on Myspace

  22. #22
    Re Member LeeIs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    3,403

    Re: Cuba

    Quote Originally Posted by walterick
    Oh now you're killing me. Brazil is near top on my list of places to see! Would also love to see the falls in Chile - I forget the name at the moment. Make sure you post a Brazil travel story if you go!

    That's good to know you speak a little Spanish. I should really brush up on mine. I learned it in high school but haven't really spoken it in a few years.

    Rick
    Yeah, I think every able person should go to Brazil atleast once. Only a few other nations are so diverse. U.S., Canada, Russia, China and all are mainly due to size. You got the Amazon jungles to the north, the tropical north east where it's hot hot all year round, and the more temprate south (some what with a European like climate).

    But that's also the drawback as I've come to learn, because it takes so long to travel between cities, one really needs a few months to see a bit more of the country. It's not a one week or a two week vacation spot if one really wants to experience it all.

    I only have 3 weeks and will only be able to go from Rio as far north as Salvador and that's it. I could do more but then I'd spend the majority of my time on buses, bus terminals or airports. Not likely to relax that way.

    I'll definately do a write up on Brazil and the places I've gone while there.

    I'm not sure what the falls in Chile are called. But one of the largest falls in the world are located in the tri-border between Brazil, Paraguay & Argentina. They're called the Iguazu falls
    Liban

    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have." Nelson Mandela

    Nikon Samurai #23 - The Alexei Ponikarovsky of PR

    Havana Cuba Photography

  23. #23
    has-been... another view's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Rockford, IL
    Posts
    7,649

    Re: Cuba

    Great thread, and a great story - thanks for sharing!

    Interesting to hear a "real" account of what it's like to spend some time in Cuba as a traveller. I'd heard it was not difficult to get there but didn't know it was that easy. I think that the time to see Cuba is now - before politics between the US and Cuba get straightened out to the point that direct travel is allowed. I think that'll happen eventually, and then you'll see the McDonald's, Holiday Inn, Hard Rock Cafe, etc just like so many other places. Right now, it's a very unique place.

  24. #24
    Viewfinder and Off-Topic Co-Mod walterick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Phoenix AZ
    Posts
    4,655

    Re: Cuba

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeIs
    But one of the largest falls in the world are located in the tri-border between Brazil, Paraguay & Argentina. They're called the Iguazu falls
    Iguazu, that's the one I was thinking of. For some reason I was thinking they were in Chile?! Oh well, at least I got the region correct
    Walter Rick Long
    Nikon Samurai, Mamiya Master, Velvia Bandit


    Check out the Welcome Thread

    My photography on Myspace

  25. #25
    Viewfinder and Off-Topic Co-Mod walterick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Phoenix AZ
    Posts
    4,655

    Re: Cuba

    Quote Originally Posted by another view
    I think that the time to see Cuba is now - before politics between the US and Cuba get straightened out to the point that direct travel is allowed. I think that'll happen eventually, and then you'll see the McDonald's, Holiday Inn, Hard Rock Cafe, etc just like so many other places. Right now, it's a very unique place.
    Steve, that's a really good point. I got the sense from Liban's travel story that Cuba had an "untouched" feel to it. I think you phrased it up well - once the tourist industry takes hold there, it will certainly change the face of the nation. Damn, now I feel like I should hustle on down there ;)
    Walter Rick Long
    Nikon Samurai, Mamiya Master, Velvia Bandit


    Check out the Welcome Thread

    My photography on Myspace

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •