My first day in Cuba; so many truly unforgettable moments. So much happened during my short time in country that this feels long ago, though little more than a week has passed since I took these. After our guide Gelin led us around for an hour or so to show us some major landmarks, I took off on my own to explore the city and soak up the vibe of Havana. I was excited to see a new part of the world, a place that, generally speaking, few Americans have been able to visit. At heart I am a nature photographer and while I looked forward to creating images of a different landscape and possibly some new species of wildlife, it was the culture and the people of Cuba that I felt most inspired to meet and photograph.
I spent hours walking the streets of Havana by myself that first day, taking advantage of the limited time I would have for solo ventures in the city. To me, there is no greater source of inspiration than to step outside my comfort zone, immerse myself in a foreign culture and interact with the locals as best I can despite the language barrier. Actions and expressions often speak louder than words and through mutual understanding, I was able to communicate with my limited Spanish vocabulary, so much that this lovely little girl, Stefany, approached me to have her picture taken. She was a great model and after several poses and smiles, her mother and grandmother were eager to have me over for dinner the following evening, an offer I had to decline since we had a full itinerary the rest of the week. I will email the photos to her mother and when I return to Havana, I hope to take her up on that offer.