My last final and photo essay presentation in Black and White Film Processing & Printing ended at 10 pm Monday. 聽I was on the first flight to Amsterdam Tuesday morning at 8am. Whew! 聽聽馃檪 Amsterdam was not previously on my radar, but what a great city! 聽Initial impressions were canals on every corner, water everywhere, Tesla taxis, more bikes than cars, state regulated red light district, tall handsome people, cigarette smokers, non medicinal marijuana at coffee shops. 聽I’ve got to get out more. 聽馃檪

Visiting the Van Gogh museum was a real treat. 聽It houses the largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings in the world as well as letters to his family and paintings of his contemporaries. 聽I had forgotten how much I loved the art of 19th Century Europe. 聽What resonated most with me about Van Gogh was that he started painting late in life after a couple of unsuccessful careers. 聽He worked assiduously, took art classes, and studied with masters. 聽He must have painted 50 self portraits! 聽Hard to believe he only lived 37 years.

Below are some images of the city.


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Deadlines looming, still shooting

We’re winding down to the last two weeks; deadlines are fast approaching. 聽Patti Silverstein will review our images tomorrow and pick the strongest ones. 聽Next Tuesday chosen images must be printed and matted to be hung in the gallery. 聽The following Tuesday the portfolio, business cards, and promo piece are due. 聽“I’m doing my best. 聽I’m getting through this, I’m in school to learn”!

Below are recent candidates for portfolio. 聽Adan Alonso introduced me to John Marini, owner of Marini Music in Alhambra. 聽I’m SO glad he did. 聽As fate would have it a professional photographer (now drummer) was in the shop who was kind enough to assist me and give me portrait tips. 聽God is good!


I can always count on DJ Warapo for a photo shoot. 聽I even have full access to my favorite artist, Alexander Abreu, at a concert Warapo is promoting. 聽鉂わ笍


After critique of prior Amtrak engineer shot I decided to submit another shot from the session. 聽We’ll see how that goes. 馃槉


Mae La Plaza, Santiago de Cuba

There are several local markets in Santiago which consist of outdoor vendor stalls selling grains, fruit, vegetables, meat and chicken. 聽Everything is fresh and is sold with little or no packaging or refrigeration, including the meat. 聽I understand that the meat was slaughtered at 5am that morning and will be sold by noon. 聽I’m pretty sure the currency exchanged is the Cuban peso not the touristy CUC as 95% of the shoppers are Cuban.

I was intrigued by the monitored parking lot in the picture above that charged for parking spots out front. 聽The prices are listed under the “Servicio de Parqueo” sign on the wall.

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Mercado Plaza de la Revoluci贸n

Mercado Plaza de la Revoluci贸n is a marketplace located in Santiago de Cuba. 聽It is one of the most popular markets in Santiago with great prices and good selection of fruits, vegetables and meat. 聽It is also noted as a retail business and a commercial area.

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Orisha Dance Performance

Today I’m obsessing over the thousands of photos from my trip to Cuba last August that have not been culled, edited and published. 聽Although some have been added to my flickr account聽my goal is to publish a photo travel book after each international trip. 聽And I’m a couple of trips behind. 聽In an effort to complete the book 聽I’ll be blogging on certain sections聽starting with a fabulous Orisha dance performance in Havana de Cuba.

The performance accompanied by a historic group of聽all female drummers was held on the charming outdoor terrace of the Uni贸n de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba,聽UNEAC). 聽Uni贸n de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba is located at聽Casa Juan Gelats, one of Vedado’s finest early 20th-century mansions. 聽It is the site of cinematic events, lectures, and prose and poetry readings, as well as musical performances. 聽There’s nothing like viewing the Orishas performed in Havana in such a culturally and historically rich setting. 聽As an Afro Cuban dance student this was a super special treat for me.

Uni贸n de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba is located聽Calle 17 y Calle H, Havana, 10400, Cuba walking distance from our casa particular on Calle I. 聽Afro Cuban performances are on Wednesdays and costs CUC 5.

A special thanks to Kay Torres for providing the planning, guidance, and translations that make my trips to Cuba extra special. 聽Check out her web site, dedicated to creating a cultural crossroads between southern California and Cuba.