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…

Noctilux visits Little Havana

So we finally went and done, got the Leica Noctilux f/0.95, with DOF so razor thin, sometimes we need to focus bracket, shooting a few while slightly moving back and forth, to make sure we get what we want.
Here are but a few of what we got last Sunday morning, with our friend Ramon Casares, visiting from Argentina. Most of them were taken wide open.


Leica goes Calle Ocho

Calle Ocho, as SW 8th St is sometimes referred to, is the heart of Little Havana, one of the oldest Cuban communities in Miami. There is the Domino Park, a club for seniors sponsored by the City of Miami, where there are games, mostly domino, although you can also see chess.
We decided it would be a good place to try out the new equipment, although we are not very savvy when it comes to people photography. We know how to approach a bird, but this is unfamiliar territory for me. Alfred has done it more often. I felt right at home the minute we stepped in the little but crowded park. And not because we are seniors :-0 but because of our Cuban ascent. Now, pointing the camera boldly to peoples face was quite an adventure. I have done candids before and I enjoy them, but these people were seating right in front of us and unless you wanted a wide angle of the whole park, you had to get close and point at them.
Guess what, they were so totally in to their game, they paid us no mind. The fact that there are a lot of tourist buses unloading tourists with cameras certainly helps. They have been there, done that and had no intentions of ruining their next move in the game because of us. After a bit, an older lady seating by herself on a bench got up and started shouting at us: “Photography, pictures, enough, stop”. I looked at her and was almost tempted to tell her I was looking for interesting face and she wasn’t one, but another couple close by quickly told us to ignore her and told us to take as many pictures as we wanted.
After a couple of more minutes, we started walking back to the car stopping at a very cool store full of cuban souvenirs, and had some cafe cubano.
Here are some pictures, taken by either Alfred or myself. Both with Leica M9-P, and lenses were Leica Elmarit 90mm f/2.8, Leica Summilux Asph 50mm f/1.4 and Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2
You can easily guess at the f stop by the depth of field. Needles to say, Leica lenses are manual focus and the M9 is a range finder that has no provision for an electronic viewfinder, as will be the case with the model in production M type 240.
So the trick is to pair the lines in the little rectangle in the center of the lens. Looking for a contrast area, and making the lines merge. If you are shooting horizontally, you pair the lines vertically and viceversa. Piece of cake. Yeah, right!
Anyway, it is a fun experience, the contrast and color of the files are unbelievable out of camera. You can only shoot Aperture, manual or bulb. The f/ stops are in the lens, together with the depth scale in the focusing ring, and the shutter speeds are on a dial on the top of the camera. If you are shooting Aperture priority, you can set the compensation to be on the ring in the back, avoiding to go to the menu.
Alfred is more conservative when it comes to editing, but I like to play around, so bear with me.
Here they are: