Rad A. Drew Photography: Cuba! November 2017

Continental Divide at Dawn

Continental Divide at Dawn
Continental Divide at Dawn

Cuba! November 2017

Steam Engine, Australia, Cuba, iPhone 7 Plus
© Rad A. Drew

Cuba 

Pearl of the Antilles 

with 
Rad A. Drew

November 5 - November 13, 2017
Addendum, February 10, 2017

Our small group just returned from the best trip to Cuba that I've experienced in the 4 years I've been traveling there. Yes, there is more tourism. But that did not diminish in the least our enjoyment of authentic Cuba. We avoided heavily touristed areas and opted instead for side streets in Old Havana, marinas, and rural villages. Our focus was on contact and connecting with people, and in doing so, the photo opportunities created themselves. Our group is small (no more than 8 participants) and that, too, helps to create a positive experience when photographing in Cuba. Here's a link to a recent blog post about the portrait opportunities we encountered.


I hope you'll consider joining me in November for what I anticipate will be another extraordinary photography experience.

Best,



Rad

*******
Hi, everyone,

As relations between Cuba and the US evolve and more tourists visit the island known as the Pearl of the Antilles, the country is adapting to rapid changes. Since first traveling to Cuba in 2013, I've observed these changes and the challenges that increased tourism brings for both Cuban citizens and visitors alike. 

I created these trips to take us off the typical tourist path, where we'll be close to Cubans in Havana, Trinidad, and points in between.  We'll observe and experience some of the joys – and witness the hardships – of daily Cuban life. 

Each trip is limited to no more than 8 participants. As a small group, we'll be able to move more freely, and be less conspicuous, maximizing opportunities for genuine, authentic, and intimate interactions with local people as they go about their daily lives.

We'll stay in Casas, Spanish for houses, – similar to our B&B's – not in fancy hotels.  In recent visits, I've met a talented local photographer who will share his thoughts and experiences of photographing in Cuba, and who will guide us to locations in Havana rarely visited by non-native people. His suggestions on how to approach subjects and how to respectfully conduct street photography in Cuba are invaluable.

I hope you find the description inviting and will chose to join me in this beautiful country full of extraordinary people and unique photo opportunities.

Best,

Rad A. Drew, 2016

Patricia, Dancer with the Cuban International Ballet
© Rad A. Drew

A photography tour for traditional and iPhone photographers


Old Havana, Cuba
© Rad A. Drew
Experience the Pearl of the Antilles in all its glory and grit during this extraordinary photography experience with a small group of fellow adventurers.  Imagine yourself in Cuba, looking through the camera lens, warm air on your skin, a smile on your face, and the excitement of shooting in one of the most beautiful and fascinating regions of the world, one that has been off-limits to most Americans for decades!


Night Game, Trinidad
© Rad A. Drew
Our experience begins in Miami, Florida, where we meet and fly directly to Havana, Cuba. We'll explore historic plazas and architecture in Havana and Trinidad.  Most importantly, we'll have the opportunity to meet and enjoy the hospitality of our neighbors to the south.


Sea Weathered Casa, Cojimar, Cuba
© Rad A. Drew
From the moment you set foot in Havana, you'll feel that you are in another world; in place, in time, and in history. Once one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Havana is today a city with a rich culture, a complex past, and an uncertain future.


Havana, Cuba
© Rad A. Drew
On this trip, we'll stay in "Casas" in Havana and Trinidad, where you'll have the opportunity to interact intimately with our Cuban hosts. Our Casas have been vetted by our travel agent and afford modest but clean and private accommodations, similar to what you might expect at a Bed and Breakfast in the United States. You will have your own private bath (no sharing). 

We'll roam the streets of Old Havana, stroll down the Prado, and walk along the Malecon, the boulevard by the sea. In the evening, old cars from the 40s and 50s cruise along the Prado providing opportunities for "Panning on the Prado!"


Panning on the Prado!
© Rad A. Drew

Our exploration of Havana will include numerous sites that prompted UNESCO to name Habana Vieja (Old Havana) a World Cultural Heritage site.


This old center of the city contains a mix of Baroque and neoclassical monuments, and includes many homes with arcades, balconies, wrought-iron gates and internal courtyards.

We'll visit the five plazas of Habana Vieja – Plaza de Armas, Plaza Vieja, Plaza de San Francisco, Plaza del Cristo and Plaza de la Catedral – each with its own unique architectural character.

The image below was made in Central Square shortly after sunrise before many people were out.
Central Square, Old Havana
© Rad A. Drew
We'll explore the Jose Marti Stadium, built in 1940 under the new government of Fulgencio Batista. The field and track are still used by residents today but the structures are in a state of disrepair.


Latinoamerican Stadium
© Rad A. Drew
Outside of Havana we'll visit the small village of Cojimar. This charming village was a haunt of Hemingway's while he wrote the Old Man and the Sea. This is one of the most serene and picturesque spots in all of Cuba.

Sea-Side Home in Cojimar
© Rad A. Drew

Cojimar Castle
© Rad A. Drew

As we travel from Havana to Trinidad, we'll stop at interesting sites along the way, some planned, others serendipitous, spontaneous. The image below is of boats at a small fishing village near Trinidad.

Fishing Boats near Trinidad
© Rad A. Drew
And then there's Trinidad herself! Founded by the Spanish in 1514, Trinidad is one of the best-preserved cities in the Caribbean from the time when the sugar trade was the main industry in the region. We'll walk the cobble-stone streets of the city and visit the Plaza Mayor at the center of town and eat in small restaurants, some in the homes of Cuban families.


Patricia, Cuban International Ballet
© Rad A. Drew
The woman pictured below was selling straw hats in front of her home. When asked if she made them herself, she invited me into her modest home and began to show me. Her hands flew as she demonstrated her art.

Hat Maker, Trinidad
© Rad A. Drew
This shot of the city is an iPhone panorama taken from a rooftop restaurant owned by a local family. It was the rooftop of their home, and meals were prepared in their family kitchen. This was not only one of the best views afforded of the city, but some of the best food as well! 

iPhone Panorama of Trinidad
© Rad A. Drew
These trips will be my 6th and 7th since 2013. I've learned where to go, and when, what to see, and how to spot spontaneous opportunities. My goal is to provide you with an experience of authentic Cuban life and culture. We'll avoid heavily touristed areas and visit some sights at times selected to avoid large numbers of tourists.

Butcher, Trinidad
© Rad A. Drew
As an added treat on this trip, you'll meet and shoot with renowned Cuban photographer, Ramses Batista. We'll visit Ramses' photography studio in Old Havana where he'll show his work, and then we'll walk the streets of the neighborhood under Ramses' guidance. Ramses will take our group to areas rarely visited by non-Cubans, and we'll have the opportunity to photograph dancers from the Cuban International Ballet.

Merci, Dancer with the Cuban International Ballet
© Rad A. Drew


Workshop Leader

Rad A. Drew
Rad A. Drew lives with his wife, metalsmith Nancy Lee, in an historic community in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. He has come to know and love Cuba and her people through trips there since 2013. 

Although a passionate traditional camera photographer much of his life, since 2010 he's explored and harnessed the capabilities of the iPhone. His creative and imaginatively processed iPhone images have fared well in international mobile competitions and have prevailed in traditional photography events as well, leading to numerous awards and showings in galleries around the world. He is author of the fine art books, In Good Light, Images of the Circle City, and Rural Indiana, A Beauty all its Own, and is a contributor to today’s most comprehensive volume of iPhone instruction, The Art of iPhone Photography: Creating Great Photos and Art on Your iPhone. Rad enjoys teaching photography around the world serving individuals, corporations, and professional organizations. His destination tours are great ways to learn while photographing beautiful areas of the world.


Travel Itinerary Overview

Day 1 – Arrive in Havana
Days 2, 3 – Havana
Days 4, 5, 6 – Trinidad
Days 7, 8 – Havana
Day 9 – Depart for Miami



Tour Cost
$4,599

Fees include:
  • 8 nights in Casas in Havana and Trinidad
  • ~ 80% of meals
  • Ground transportation in Cuba
  • Spanish Speaking Guide 
  • Medical Insurance

Fees DO NOT include:

  • Travel Insurance (for cancellation and trip interruption; highly recommended) 
  • Personal Expenses 
  • Luggage fees 
  • ~ 20% of Meals 
  • Alcohol
  • Gratuities


Important


Documentation Requirements
A valid passport, and an Entry Visa (provided) is required for Cuba. 

Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC)
Trips to Cuba are strictly governed by the OFAC. We work with an experienced travel agency to ensure that all of the appropriate documentation and OFAC licenses are obtained for each participant for travel to Cuba. 


Terms and Conditions
A non-refundable deposit of $500 per person is required at the time of booking. Once fees are paid-in-full cancellation penalties apply.


Cancellation
60 Days prior to arrival date, deposit $500.00 
59 to 45 days prior to arrival date - 50% of total cost.
44 days to arrival date - 100% of total cost

Registration

Email Rad Drew for payment instructions.