(Click on image to enlarge)
Vintage Cuba is all about color. But when I think vintage, I also think rustic. The original image was captured in vibrant color, but the cobblestone streets, rustic doors and windows and old Soviet Ural motorcycle, with sidecar, just screamed RUSTIC to me. I wanted to create an artistic vision that would replicate what a photographer would have captured in the late 19th Century or early 20th Century. To me that meant sepia (brown-tone). Nothing conveys rustic-age and time quite like sepia.
By removing the color, your eye automatically follows the curve of the road, focuses on the two men riding the motorcycle (one grabbing the spare tire for added balance), the man walking the bicycle on the left, the dog in the doorway on the right, the texture of the cobblestones, the grill work over the windows and finally the rustic wooden doors and interesting sky. Distracted by the color, your eye could easily miss these fine details. Click on the photo to enlarge it, and then take a second good look at all of the marvelous detail in this street scene.
Trinidad is probably my favorite city in all of Cuba; just marginally beating out Baracoa for that honor—Santiago comes in a close third. But each city has its own history, culture and charm—so do what I did, visit them all and do your own comparison and analysis.
Photographer’s note: The original digital image was captured as a JPEG file using my Canon PowerShot G-15 backup shooter. Because of the difficult lighting situation (extreme shadows and highlights), I processed the file HDR using Photomatix Essentials software. HDR processing typically over-saturates the already vivid colors, so I find myself more-and-more using the software’s sliders to desaturate the colors by a couple of clicks to create a more realistic look overall. Basic post-edit enhancements were completed in PSE11: Cropping, Sharpening, Exposure and Contrast. I converted the color image to sepia (brown-tone) to create the ‘Old Photo’ affect I was looking for, and boosted the contrast a tad for more detail and texture. Overall, I am very pleased with my artistic decisions and the final result. I finally added a Museum frame & matte (black frame/white matte) to complete the affect in Big Huge Labs. As seen above, it is ready to hang on a wall in your home or office.