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  1. #1
    mealers's Avatar
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    Any tips on Cuba?

    I'm going for a 2 week holiday to Cuba with my girlfriend at the start of November. Its not really a photo trip but my girlfriend says shes happy enough to soak up the sun by the pool while I go out and shoot.
    We're staying at Guadlavaca in the south but plan on going to Havana for a few days for my birthday.

    I plan on taking my Hassleblad and using a mix of Porta NC, HP5 and FP4 probably only taking around 40 rolls in total (I'm not a big shooter).
    Since I'm not taking a huge amount of film I was thinking a getting a few of these http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hama-Film-sh.../dp/B00005QFA1 has anyone had any experience with film safe bags?

    Of course, if anyone has got any other tips of interesting places to visit in Cuba I'd really like to hear them.

    Thanks
    Mike

  2. #2
    Schlapp's Avatar
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    I really loved Vinales in the north - wonderful landscape, terrific people. Cienfuego too. We stayed with local families and that seemed to the way to meet others.
    Hope the place doesn't change too much as it opens up.
    No idea about film bags. I didn't use one and had no problems.

  3. #3

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    Yes, Vinales is great (it's in the west)! But IMO Cuba is really about the people; they are wonderful. I was there in 2005 for a couple of weeks and have many fond memories. If possible try to learn a bit Spanish and get out into the streets, that will enhance your experience significantly. By the way, I stayed in the "casa particular's.

  4. #4
    hughitb's Avatar
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    Haven't been to Guadalavaca so can't really comment on that but ....

    Havana would be a fantastic spot for photography. I really regret that both of the times I have been there was well before I got seriously interested in taking pictures. The only thing is, you are going to have to fly there because you are based at the other end of the island and it's quite a distance.

    I spent a few days in Baracoa (which is near where you will be) and ended up having to get a flight on one of those tiny ex-Soviet prop planes to get out of there and back to Santiago. Quite an experience but not one I'd be in a hurry to repeat ....

    Speaking of which, Santiago De Cuba is really good as well. It doesn't have the grand elegance/architecture and sheer variety of things happening on the streets that Havana would have, but it's got great life to it, and if you are into the music it's the place to go ...

    I would second the previous posters comments about Cuba being all about the people too ...... but also the scenery .. and the buildings .. and the history ... and the politics .... and the music. More or less everything except the food in fact.

    In short, I think Cuba is photographic heaven. Try not to drive your girlfriend completely nuts by spending all of your time with a camera shoved in front of your face

  5. #5
    Schlapp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ooze View Post
    Yes, Vinales is great (it's in the west)! But IMO Cuba is really about the people; they are wonderful. I was there in 2005 for a couple of weeks and have many fond memories. If possible try to learn a bit Spanish and get out into the streets, that will enhance your experience significantly. By the way, I stayed in the "casa particular's.
    Ah. I wasn't a geography graduate for nothin Eh?
    BTW; I noticed there were quite a lot of photography exhibitions around the place and books too. And don't forget to have a look at/talk to the photogs around Havana who use paper negs in old view cameras with the chemicals slopping around the bottom of them!

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schlapp View Post
    And don't forget to have a look at/talk to the photogs around Havana who use paper negs in old view cameras with the chemicals slopping around the bottom of them!
    Indeed! There always are a few of them in front of the Capitol in Havana. Do get a picture taken by them...great fun.

  7. #7
    arigram's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ooze View Post
    Indeed! There always are a few of them in front of the Capitol in Havana. Do get a picture taken by them...great fun.
    ... and argue about the merits of the Zone System, glass plates, cyanotypes and if you are feeling really adventurous sneak in some Pt/Pd for them.
    aristotelis grammatikakis
    www.arigram.gr
    Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
    no digital additives and shit




  8. #8

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    Keep in mind that Cuba got hit really hard about ten days ago by Hurricane Ike. It first hit in the southeast and then "rode" up along the entire northern "spine" of the Island.

    The early news reports here in the US as to the damage were sketchy. And when Ike then made landfall in TX the media here, obviously, focused on the destruction of Galveston and its environs. So I haven't heard much more of what the aftermath is in Cuba.

    I would suggest firstly that you make sure your accommodations are still available and also inquire about local conditions and amenities.

    The Cubans are renown in the Caribbean/Gulf region for their preparedness to preserve lives in hurricanes. But they cannot prevent property damage any better than anywhere else.

    Since the storm traced the northern "spine" of the Island - it's likely that Havana was spared the brunt of the storm and resulting damage.

  9. #9
    Colin Corneau's Avatar
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    I talked to those photogs, as well. Interesting guys, and every one is a real character.

    I tend to think there's no such thing as too much film - Cuba is such a rich place, unlike almost anywhere else, that normal notions of adequate amounts of film don't really apply. Best to err on the side of caution, I'd suggest.

    I'd love to go in December sometime, tentatively. It'd be great if any other APUG'ers were there at the same time.

  10. #10
    mealers's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your responces, l'll be sure to post some results when I get back.

    Mike

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