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Monday, 19 September 2016

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Going to Cuba at Christmas. Have been planning this for a while. Maybe see you there? :-)

A psychologist friend recently mentioned that a great many people of indeterminate, vaguely unspecified more-or-less mid-life age-range share a common wish—they wish they could break out of their settled precincts and scheduled routines for once, and go on a bonafide adventure. Even if—perhaps especially if—they lead fulfilling, accomplished, prosperous lives they're very satisfied with.

I've been doing that with middle-aged, like-minded, friends for some time now in our land Downunder. And in the last two years have been documenting those adventures, past and present.

Cuba would be interesting, but quite unaffordable.

Mike, I can unequically recommend Peter's Cuba workshop. I took it in March shortly before President Obama's visit and it was great! He has posted my testimonial on his web page and it summarizes my opinion of the experience.

It was my second trip to Cuba in about a year. And even in those twelve months, I could see some changes in the country as tourism just started ramping up. Now that regular flights and giant cruise ships are arriving daily, it won't be long until things change drastically in the country. So now is the time to go! Peter's workshop is the perfect vehicle to see the real Cuba while getting some first class photography instruction and advice.

And yes, Peter has some great stories to tell.

Cheers, Dick Nugent

Mike, I wish I could go, and I hope someday I can have an adventure like that. Short of me going I wish you would go. I can't think of anyone better to relay the experience in the written word. Go.

You know, when I saw the photo, and saw Peter, my instant thought was "Annie Leibovitz". She's been on my mind lately, which is surely part of it, and the picture was quite small on this little screen, but still.

There is more to Cuba than Havana and it's peculiar state of suspended decay and 50's cars. They also have very nice, very modern beaches and resorts, so if the non-photographer in you, or in your family, just wants to escape the winter, there are few better options – I've been several times. It's also one of the least expensive places in the Caribbean. Canadians have been going there for decades (and have a major ownership in the resorts), but it is going to change radically and soon. And that is mostly going to be a good thing for Cubans.

I spent a week having an 'adventure' with Peter Turnley at one of his New York workshops. I leaned more in one week than in the previous year. So I highly recommend his Cuba workshops, (even though I haven't been on one so far). Perhaps you should consider a 'Mike and friends of TOP' workshop with Peter in Havana. I'd be VERY tempted.

I lived for 20 years in Mexico and also have a Mexican passport making the trip to Havana was logistical routine, The experiences (and Photography) were spectacular. People are very friendly and open. Receptive to candid shots and staged, sometimes for $1 dollar. Speaking Spanish helped, but not necessary. There is no freedom of speech, so conversations about politics can be a little uncomfortable.

I spent a week wandering around Havana with a
film camera. The only other street photographer I met stayed in one place.


See See Havana

Cuba is an amazing place but much of what appeals to us as photographers is in dire need of change as it stems from poverty and dictatorship.

The character and pride of the people in their situation wonderful. I have a bit of Spanish which was a very helpful tool in engaging with some of them, so I'd suggest getting a few conversational phrases under your belt before a visit.

My mouse hovered over the Register link for 10 minutes while I considered the pros and cons (mostly pros). Then I realized I should probably discuss it with my wife first. Time to practice my salesmanship.

"With international relations relaxing, it's easier and safer than ever to travel there, yet the inexorable changes that will surely overtake Cuba soon have barely begun."

Funny you should say that. My barber has another view. He's been visiting Cuba twice a year for the past ten years. He's now worried that the influx of americans tourist will make it less safe and costlier to visit Cuba.

I see a Leica hanging from Peter's neck, but what is that other thang in his hand? I'm cancelling my reservation to the workshop.

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