Little Havana: tourist trap?

Little Havana.-

It all started as an outlet for Cuban refugees to play dominoes and forget about their Caribbean paradise that was no more.

Years have come and gone. Miami is now the beacon for Latin-American refugees seeking the ever elusive American dream.

It is not only us Cubans, it is all new world blood, humiliated, stepped-on, diminished . We are nothing but cheap labor.
The “carrot” of good behavior is paraded in front of our eyes. If we are humble and obey, maybe we will be allowed to reside in Wonderland of Wonderlands.

Big fallacy. We did not grow up to worship the gold coin. We grew up to value family and justice. And we burn our wings to come to a land that promises that, the joke is on us!

But, we are here. Strong, invincible, with roots that go beyond the cortex.
Proud, hard working, forgiving of the culture that we do not understand, not totally believing the false promises, but there is always hope.

What would people be without hope? Annihilated before even takinge the first step forward.

Do we have a chance? Only time will tell.

In the mean time, we are vibrant, alive, full of joy and pride of our heritage.
Hopefully that prejudice will die one day. That our warmer colored skin does not make us target of hatred and intolerance.

One day, maybe, people will be appreciated for what they are, their intrinsic right of birth to be unique ant part of a big collective at the same time. No fake oppressor.

Face value: the way we are born.

I present to you Little Havana, the Latin-American tourist trap in Miami.

All images were captured with Sony a7rii and Sony 24-70/2.8 G Raw capture, converted to B&W in Lightroom.












But then, there is our music…

Oaxaca in B&W

We came to Oaxaca for the second time to enjoy the Dia de los Muertos celebration as part of Raul Touzon’s photo workshop. Arriving a couple of days ahead of time gave us the opportunity to hang around town, enjoy the great food and hospitality of the locals.
It is a beautiful, colorful city, with all the Mexican flavor you can expect in a provincial town. Very interesting architecture, vendors, clothes typical of the holiday, even street musicians and kids going on the Halloween part of this, which is just gathering candies and or small coins.

Oaxaca BW-2

Oaxaca BW-3
Getting busier by the day, the city is beaming with tourists here for the occasion,the locals getting the supplies for the home altars and one or two political demonstration, if small are peaceful.
The people here are quick to smile, easy to talk to and fiercely proud of their culture. I would be too.

Oaxaca BW-4

Oaxaca BW-5

Oaxaca BW-6

Oaxaca BW-7

On our small explorations, we were in the big church by Plaza de Santo Domingo, not the Museo de toas las Culturas yet, since it was closed Monday, and yesterday, the Benito Juarez market.
That was an experience in itself and although considered a bit “touristy”, a feast for the eyes and senses, with flowers, vegetables, fruits and the local drink of choice, mezcal, a close relative to tequila, but not yet produced commercially in a big scale because of the difficulty in carrying the plant down the hills, where they like to grow. It is produced by artisans and a big chunk of the local economy.
Oaxaca BW-9

Oaxaca BW-10

Oaxaca BW-10

Chocolate is a big thing here and so are is the “quesillo”, a white cheese great for warming up, sold in balls of long threads. Mole is another big thing here, having various colors. Very typical are the “chapulines”, grasshoppers.
I will prepare another post showing the colorful market.
Today, the first project here, B&W photos.
This make not make sense at all and I need to run it by my on-line mentor, Sean Duggan, but I have been converting in Lightroom, using the color filters to get the tones precisely as I like them, then taking the resulting image to Silver Efex Pro 2 for the extra punch. IF I try to do it straight to Nik, the results feel different to me. No scientific proof of this though.

So here are some of the images, the subjects have all agreed to let me take their picture, except one or two obvious cases, no asking for compensation from any, but, the question of what do I want the picture for, which makes sense to me. I just tell them that because I like their look or smile. And being the truth, it works like a charm.

Oaxaca BW-11

Oaxaca BW-12

Oaxaca BW-13

Oaxaca BW-14

Tonight we will have the welcome cocktail, and then crazy schedule I hope to be able to comply with. Last year I could not make to all field trips because of fatigue. But I feel stronger, at least mentally 🙂 and hope I can keep up.
I don’t want to miss the night at the graveyard, a mystical experience despite the party-like atmosphere.

Click on the images for a larger view.

Be back soon and enjoy!

Miami Mystery

So Art Basel Wynnwood was here again, and we took Maggie Steber’s workshop again, Miami Mystery, to Miami Noir as I like to call it. It was great, very good at motivating Maggie is. Although Wynnwood is certainly changing, less wall writers and more galleries, it is still a spectacular place to view art, interesting people and enjoy yourself, if a little warm for December.
Here is a short slide show of my story line. You may interpret yo your imagination:

Leica Monochrom


The only way to know if a Monochrom is worth it for you is trying it. No amount of reading will be able to

Make your decision easy…… so I went down to the Leica Store and got one for using overnight.   Sweet.

Nothing but good vibes at the  store and  Kirsten and Peter could not be nicer.


First, test it at Miracle Mile with a 50 Summilux, then to  the Grove with the Noctilux for nighttime shooting.

Got enough images to get a feel for what the camera could do. First obvious difference is the clean ISO,

10,000 is usable with work. For general shooting would set to 3200 without having to worry about

noise, hardly any at that setting.   Made images thought to be impossible before (action wise).


50mm Noctilus f/0.95, 1/125, ISO 10,000
50mm Noctilus f/0.95, 1/125, ISO 10,000

The Monochrom files are much better than the M9 but only marginally better than the M type 240.   Still

Feel there is enough different to make it worth the effort.   The sharpness produced at high ISO needs to

Be seen to believe.


Will post some images from the two shoots and will be posting lots more in the very near future.

90mm f/4 Macro Elmar. F/11, 1/125, ISO 800
90mm f/4 Macro Elmar. F/11, 1/125, ISO 800


50mm Noctilux f/0.95, 1/60, ISO 1250
50mm Noctilux f/0.95, 1/60, ISO 1250
50mm Noctilux @ f/2, 1/125, ISO 320
50mm Noctilux @ f/2, 1/125, ISO 320
50mm Noc  f 1.4  1/90 sec  ISO 1600
50mm Noc f 1.4 1/90 sec ISO 1600
50mm Noc  f 0.95   1/125 sec  ISO 320
50mm Noc f 0.95 1/125 sec ISO 320