Thursday, December 18, 2014

Brazilian Birdies

Well, last week I returned to Washington DC after about 120 days away in 15 different countries.  I have mountains of negatives to sort through now, which is going to keep me quite busy until the next semester begins.

The first negs that I have had a chance to scan and edit (albeit roughly since I haven't gotten onto a very sharp scanner yet) are the photos I took alongside ornithologists in Brazil.  These are quite possibly the last bird photos I'll take before the publication of my book of ornithological photographs next autumn.  Which is kind of exciting.  And so, here they are, my bye-bye birdies...

The prize of the trip in terms of color is likely this Blue Manakin...  They're truly remarkable birds and they're really good dancers, which I most definitely appreciate:

Kingfishers are amongst my favorite species of birds, so I was very excited to have a chance to photograph this Green Kingfisher.  I've depicted him dive bombing, which is how this species hunts fishes:

White-throated Spadebills are weird little tyrant flycatchers with big broad bills and very tiny bodies:

It was kind of the trip of the flycatchers...  Here's an Ochre-faced Tody-flycatcher:

In the past it seems most flycatchers are pretty unphotogenic in nets. So I was pleased that so many were cooperating in Brazil.  Two more flycatcher species, the Small-billed Elaenia and a Fuscous Flycatcher:

And an Olivaceous Woodcreeper...

Two spinetails...  The Grey-bellied Spinetail and Spix's Spinetail:

And a fitting finale to my bird photographs, here's a Rufous Hornero mooning my camera:

Well, I still have lots of medium-format photos as well as garden photos left to scan.  So I'd better get to it.  More soon!  In the meantime, happy holidays.  -T.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Back in Cuba (with a Bit of Barbados on the Side)!

I've been lucky to have spent almost a year of my life in the Caribbean.  Back in 2006 and 2007, I twice visited Cuba to work as the architectural photographer for a book called Havana Revisited   And then I spent a good chunk of 2009 in Puerto Rico working on my bird photographs…  And my recent honeymoon in Trinidad and Tobago, plus a few other trips here and there.  

I love the people, the weather, and the culture of the Caribbean.  And I was very excited to reconnect with old friends in Havana and to photograph the organop√≥nicos, an incredibly impressive system of organic farms that are all harvest by hand—a working slow food movement.  Those photographs of the gardens are on film…  And I can't wait to get back home now and develop said film!!!!  

Cuba was our last port, actually.  And on my last day of photographing during this long journey, I shot my last sheet of film at about 4:38PM.  Nice to have purchased the exact right amount of film that I needed for the trip!  

Having been to Cuba seven years, and now being back again, I had a lot to reflect upon.  How the country has changed and how I've changed as a photographer.

It's interesting, but I think seven years ago when I was in Cuba I tried to avoid photographing a lot of things because they are just too picturesque.  Seductively picturesque.  Cuba is a photogenic place.  Since then, I've gotten over that fear and dove into photographing the romance and uber-wabi-sabi aesthetic of the island…  And I also dove into dancing badly, a lot.

Number one on my list of incredibly picturesque things about Cuba are all of the fabulous old cars.  Last time I was in Cuba I barely photographed them!  What was I thinking?!?  I made up for it on this trip.

Turns out that the old beat up tinted window of the car I was riding in made for an interesting filter to photograph this car that we were driving by:

Stuff like this is just all over Havana:

The orange peeler with a blue Mercedes:

Afternoon shower:


I did spend plenty of time photographing architecture my first time in Havana.  It was my job, after all.  But that was fairly rigorous photography: Recreating old pictures, essentially.  This time I photographed things a bit more free form, focusing on the details…  Like this kitten:

Here's "Found Cuban Sculpture #1"...

And "Found Cuban Sculpture #2":

Coming into the city by cruise ship is a surreal perspective…  To be so above everything:

The Capitol building is still being reconstructed:

Jose, pointing at the US Special Interests building:

Wonder what I looked like eight years ago?  Here's a photo of me with Esley (my best friend in Cuba), hard at work, back in 2006:

When I wasn't photographing gardens, I was enjoying Havana's vibrant street life...

After Hopper:

Too late:

Una bonita chiquita:

Late afternoon:

An old friend who loves to be photographed:

I love this guy, he spoke Spanish to me nonstop for an hour or two..  I didn't understand much of it, but I still laughed a lot:

Straight sass:

The first day was taken up by programmed activities at the University of Havana…  I was kind of amazed that they could herd all 700 of us over there…  Here's the throng with the Cuban five hanging above their heads:

Adam, looking confused:

Cafe Cubano:

Old injury from a mine in Angola, but he still goes jogging every day at 5:30AM:

Teaching the Brits how to dance:

Tree trunk:

Still life with Courtyard:

Esley took this picture:

Night club with lots of dancing:

My take on the US Embargo:

I wish I was more aware of the poster in the background when I took this photo:

Ohh yeah, I guess I'm supposed to show you some photographs I took in Barbados too.  A very different place than Cuba…

But I still photographed some architecture and some cars:

On the prowl:

He told me he was a cop:


Swimming with his pit bull:

Sunset in the water:

From up high:

Well, that's it.  My last stop during my semester at sea.  It's been a wild ride.  And incredibly productive photographically.  But now, I'm ready to get home to my bride!!!!