Landscapes take time.
Time to scout.
Time to learn:
– where to be to find an interesting subject and a composition.
– when to be there …. the season, month, day, and hour.
– what light you want …. morning, evening, or something in between.
So you go, armed with all your knowledge, and then you are still at the mercy of the weather.
Sometimes you get shut out, but sometimes you get lucky.
Having been to Vinales, Cuba only twice before, I considered myself lucky on the third trip.
We had some delicate valley fog one morning so four of us grabbed a taxi and offered the driver some money to take us about 4 miles out of town and drop us off. We planned to walk back and shoot on the way. It took some explaining to convince the driver that we were serious.
Simple things can provide genuine enjoyment and funny moments.
Bring some balloons and make a big deal out of blowing them up. You know, the old Tom Sawyer and the fence white-washing scene. (You tell them they cannot possibly blow up these balloons and they will tell you that they can.) Soon you’ll have a crowd of children and some adults wanting to get in on the fun.
Easy start with his hat on.
Soon realizes the difficulty and loses his hat.
Expressions are priceless.
Confidence. “I got this”
The hat goes back on.
Husband and wife
Their son actually has an easier time.
One evening, while sitting on the patio of our casa in Vinales, Cuba, I heard a very loud and strange sound. I looked up from my sip of rum and saw these beasts dragging something down the hill. A sheet metal and wooden box had been set on top of an old tire and chained to the animals. After the gentleman made a couple of stops it became clear that he was hauling away trash in this curious contraption.
There are several large, well-known caves in and around Viñales, Cuba as well as many that are smaller and less popular.
On a guided walk through the tobacco farms we had the option to explore a small cave. After descending a few meters from the farmland, our guide Richard, lead us through a narrow opening in the limestone. We all grabbed our small flashlights as we were assured the passage would open up and become a less claustrophobic scramble to the other end.
I’m not a big fan of caves, but this one was just my size … ten minutes long.
The way out
Richard hugs his son as our tour ended.
Viñales, Cuba is known for tobacco farms, but farmers also raise a few pigs and keep some hens. They are quick to point out that their farming methods are all natural.
I’m thankful for shoes.
I realize that millions of people in the world go without shoes, but other than children at play, I don’t recall seeing many in Cuba without footwear of some kind.
We were about two kilometers from the main street in Vinales when
We spotted this man walking on the paved road, in the hot sun, in the middle of the day.
He had no shoes.
How far had he come?
How far was he going?
We tried to communicate with him, but could not understand what he was trying to tell us.
The quaint name for do-it-yourself repairs is “Shade Tree Mechanic”, but in Vinales, Cuba its serious business. These tobacco farmers are rebuilding a three cylinder diesel engine for their tractor. No “Snap-On” tool chest, parts washer, or workbench here. These men will proudly make do with what they have and get the job done.