The best teams or groups or whatever you want to call it are the ones where everyone is equally generous of spirit and knowledge. Learning, listening and sharing in the company of good people is always an amazing experience and this was such a group. I was surprised at how fast this group bonded, but perhaps I should not have been as David Hobby curated the participants who turned out to be a great bunch of some of the most intelligent, considerate and genuine peeps and I look forward to many more adventures with them.
This image above, made by David Hobby (more on that below) is of our group that went to Havana, Cuba. On this trip, we got to visit the Rafael Trejo Boxing Gym, we visited a ballet school, saw lots of amazing automobiles, traveled to the mountains of Cuba where we visited a tobacco farm, and covered most of Havana it seems on foot.
To David Hobby: Thanks for curating this group, inviting me along and the opportunity for a life changing journey. Also, thanks for the admonishment to look for layers and for demonstrating that stunningly simple, yet effective group shot in Viñales on the top of this entry with two strobes and a Fuji X100s in full afternoon sunlight… That was kinda a mind blower.
To James Duncan Davidson: Thanks for your friendship over the years, plugging me in, sharing rooms and being an all around good travel companion. The tricks and tips were also much appreciated. Looking forward to many more adventures and seeing where this new little venture will go.
To Erik Couse: Dude, thanks for the ride out to Udvar Hazy and the airport the week before Cuba. That was a tremendous amount of fun. Also much obliged for your excellent company in Havana. You are an absolutely good, and reliable travel companion who always seems to have your buddies back. Trust… That means alot to me.
To Dave Kile: Another excellent travel companion. Thanks for your company on this trip and the conversation. I look forward to shooting with you more and hearing about fly fishing. Those are some skills I’d love to continue to develop. By the way, you know we have some amazing rivers and streams out in the West, yeah? Amaaaazing fly fishing.
To Mark Heaps: Dude… Thanks for sharing music, playing some hoops with the kids in Havana and discovering with me perhaps the best guitarist in the world, hidden in Viñales, Cuba. Look forward to more adventures…
To Parisa Tabriz: Thank you for being a most pleasant travel and dining companion and for sharing some of what it is you do behind the security scenes. Its fascinating work. Also, thanks for providing translation assistance a being a lovely distraction from “that guy”… More adventures plz.
To Aaron D’Souza: Thank you for the stimulating conversations on modeling of neuronal systems and on some of the cool stuff that Google is doing. You work for one of the rare companies out there right now that understands the importance of basic research and is willing and able to let their people participate in it. So cool.
To Brandon Downey: Thank you for the lesson in computer security, both networked and in physical access. Also, thank you for sharing your street photography. You are an amazing talent in street photography and absolutely blew my mind with some of your work. Also, thanks for not getting us all thrown in Cuban jail. ;-)
To Dave Cohen and Vincent Mo, the dynamic, hipster duo: Thanks for sharing some phenomenal photography and what you guys are doing at Google. Photography is such an amazing way of communicating. I can’t wait to see what you guys have up your sleeves…
To Jennifer Spelman: Thank you so much for acting as a local fixer, guiding us to cool places, tasty mojitos and for the most excellent conversation. This trip obviously would not have been possible without you and for that, I am grateful.
To Dana Wagner: Thanks for sharing 7 year old Cuban rum and teaching me the value of legal council in a tech company. That was a lesson I’ve already started to implement. What you and Bob are doing at Square is so, excellently cool.
To Matteo Slanina: I loved your new school/old school approach to digital photography. Wish we had more time to talk logic and implementation of neural systems in silico… Perhaps another time?
To Bob Lee: Dude, you do live up to your moniker, Crazy Bob. Thanks for the laughs and the good conversation. Its amazing what a small world this is and meeting you was another closure in a nodal loop that united a bunch of folks, just that much closer.
To Waldemar Horwat: You are one, scary smart dude. Had fun listening to your adventures on the playa at Burning Man and hoped to have seen more of your photography. Perhaps next time I visit the Bay Area, we can get together with the Google clan and talk more?
To our two local Cuban photographers who were part of our entourage for the week, Ramsés H. Batista and Leysis Quesada who helped us to understand some of what we were seeing and experiencing, thank you. You will always be in my Cuba memories and I hope to meet you both inside and outside of Cuba in the future.
To Laura Norat Machín: Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your hard work and translation services. If we come back to Cuba for the medical research mission, we will absolutely hire you to help us out. You were amazing and I hope we get the chance to meet again.
22 Replies to “Cuba: The Team”
Damn what a week. Thanks so much for posting this, and right back atcha. I can’t remember a better trip, ever.
What a week, indeed. Looking forward to the next op. Perhaps we should scheme some…
Reading this makes me want to gather up my buddies and go for a shooting spree somewhere… Bring out the old *istD just for the sake of it :)
Taking a trip exclusively for photography is highly recommended… The take can be amazing.
Thank you Hendrik.
Amazing trip and couldn’t have asked for a better group to travel with. Thank you so much for posting this.
It was an amazing group. I’d say once in a lifetime, but I want to repeat this… with the same people.
Great shots of the team Bryan! Love the outtakes; I think my man looks extra handsome with a suit on ;-)
Thanks Katerina. I’d agree with you on that. Bonus is that you should be able to tell your man that in person, pretty darned quick.
I don’t know him, but Dave Cohen with cigar on the bull made me laugh. These are great pictures. Looking forward to Cuba opening up, or rather the USA dropping its travel and commerce restrictions. But as you mentioned in earlier posts: With how fast things are changing there, I’m wondering if these places are going to be recognizable.
Walking out of the restaurant and seeing Dave on that bull totally made me laugh. Hysterical would be a good description.
I hope that the things that give Cuba its unique flavor will not change so much, but other things, for the Cuban people, I hope do. There are dangers there for sure, but also much promise if properly handled.
impressive portraits :-)
What camera and lens was used to take these shots? If I may ask! Thanks
The introductory shot was made by David Hobby with a Fuji X100S. The other shots I captured were made with a Canon 1DX and *mostly* a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens. There may have been some other lenses in there. You can look at the metadata from the images to be sure, but I am pretty sure the Sigma lens was the lens I used most. All of that said, for most of my travel photography, from after this trip, I’ve been using a Fuji X-1 Pro and a small collection of lenses that I talk about here: http://prometheus.med.utah.edu/~bwjones/faq/ The Canon 1DX only gets used rarely these days.