Thursday, June 4, 2015

Life after the Boston Globe, my beloved Cuba and future photo workshops

I thought after having worked for newspapers for two decades that I'd miss the daily hustle and bustle of being a photojournalist but interestingly enough that has not been the case. 

I really haven't had much time to ponder upon the fact I no longer have a job. It seems I've been too busy to even notice. I've been doing lots speaking engagements, photo contracts, and teaching street-photography photo workshops, and I've even taught a couple of classroom-style photo workshops on "Creating Sophisticated Images." 

But most of my time has been spent working out logistics and promoting the  Road ScholarCuba a Photographic Journey photo workshops. 

Just this past week, I finished my first Havana-Trinidad Cuba trip. This one was extremely important because it set up the structure and format to follow for other future photo workshops to Cuba. And most importantly because I got to travel with my good friend and Pulitzer prizewinner photographer Cyrus McCrimmon. 

Back when I had just started to work for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, CO Cyrus was one of my mentors and we fast became best of friends. He is not only a talented photographer but he is also a great human, salt of the earth, and a pure-soul kind of guy.  

Ours had been a trip in the making for 18 years. Right before his son, my godson, Sebastian, was born; he and I had planned to travel to Cuba for the pure enjoyment of making photos. 

However one day I asked him, "So CyDaddy, how are the preparations for our trip to Cuba coming along?" He just stared back at me with his mouth half open looking like a fish out of water. In that moment I knew his wife Had to be pregnant because I knew that would've been the only way he was not going to make that trip. And I was right. 

So after almost two decades, our trip finally came together. I had the opportunity to bring him along because my workshops on the island have been such a resounding success that I now have a waiting list for many of the upcoming departures.

So when it came time expand the teaching staff with like-minded shooters of the highest possible caliber and who love photography and have a love for teaching,  it was only natural for me to reach out to my original mentors. All of them are world-class photographers and the majority are Pulitzer prizewinners too. Cyrus is the first of the chosen few talented photographer/ instructors we will be adding to our team. 

I’ve always considered myself blessed for having had the opportunity of learning from some of the best in my industry. Photographers like Cyrus, who have proven their mettle over and over again when it counted the most, in real life covering real events. But most important of all, they are professionals who were never stingy with their knowledge and who were always ready to answer all of my photographic questions.

This team is completed by a great Cuban photographer named Joel Hernandez who works as an assistant with us while we visit the island. He is kind, soft spoken, with shoulder-length curly black hair framing a handsome and welcoming face. Participants love his teaching methods and by all reckoning he has the patience of saints.

These are members of the team I’m bringing to this program and I hope you give me the chance to show you how good they truly are at passing on their knowledge. I can promise you will not regret it and you will have a blast.

Here are just a few comments from recent participants:

Deborah C, “I just returned from Cuba where Essdras was our amazing photo leader. I learned more in one week than I’ve learned in a long time.” 

M-j: “The best week ever - so much warmth - so much shared - a dream trip where one can learn from 4 incredible professional, giving and talented photographers - we were blessed - thank you for an unimaginable week - and putting the joy back into my photography - bless you Essdras!”

Rosemary G: “Thank you for exposing us to such a variety of scenes from Cuba… everywhere we looked there was something begging to be photographed. I felt safe and appreciated everything that you and your team did to make our time in Cuba memorable.”

The above images were taken between May 20th through 28th of 2015. 

TECH STUFF/ Two camera bodies: Nikon D4 and a Nikon D810/
Two lenses: 17-35mm 2.8 and a 70-200mm 2.8/ ISO: range from 100- 800/ WB: Mostly Cloudy, some Sunny and perhaps a bit of AWB/ Format of files: JPG Fines (I don’t shoot Raw unless I am doing a commercial job)

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