PHOTOGRAPHY ADVENTURE VACATIONS
The World’s Most Creative and Inspiring Photo Adventure Vacations
Ron was kind enough to invite me to dinner in Miami on the eve of our Classic Cuba Photo Adventure. What I learned about Ron that evening was an indication of what was to come. Ron is professional in every sense of the word. Precise, inquisitive, intelligent and detail oriented. Well-read, a quick learner and serious about whatever his sets out to do. At the same time, Ron is kind, endearing and a lovely person. Where this became most evident was in the way Ron embraced the Cuban people and culture, his appreciation for their fortitude and his compassion and caring for their struggles. But the way Ron embraced photography is what really impressed me. I watched Ron explore and hunt for each photo, engage the opportunities and seek out the possibilities. As our 9 days together came to a close it became very clear, that although Ron considers himself an aspiring photographer, he will soon be able to drop the word “aspiring”. For a businessman turned photographer, Ron possesses all the skills and talent to become a truly great photographer. See for yourself.
© Ron Cooper | Trinidad, Cuba | Photo Workshop Adventures | Canon 5D Mk III | Canon 24-70mm f2.8 ES at 33mm | f8 at 1/160th sec | ISO 320
This image was made in Trinidad, a small city in south central Cuba. Trinidad has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site and is characterized by Spanish colonial architecture, a beautiful historic plaza, cobblestone streets, and pastel colored houses, many with wrought iron grill work. Cuba in general, and Trinidad especially, is one of the most compelling places to make photographs of people. Almost to a person, the Cubans I met were friendly, warm, open and curious about the United States. As I wandered through Trinidad, I came across these three kids, and they saw me with my camera. I speak Spanish so, before even I attempted to make a photograph, I started to chat with them. They were surprised that I spoke Spanish and they became very animated, asking me to take their picture and practically posing themselves. I was able to shoot about a dozen images and ultimately moved them around, arranging them with sister and brother on the right side of the frame, and their friend to the left. They loved seeing their pictures in the LCD but, like so many Cubans, had no email address to which I could send them copies. (see more photos below)
For the past 30+ years, I’ve worked as a corporate executive in the media, telecommunications and advertising industries. I’m now “semi-retired”, continuing to work on a part-time basis, providing consulting and Board services to several clients. But, more importantly, I’m an aspiring photographer. I thrive on the combination of artistic and technical challenges required to make great images. And I find photography rewarding and satisfying in ways very different from the work I do in the corporate world.
A CONVERSATION WITH RON
Why did you choose Photo Workshop Adventures?
I’ve had Cuba on my wish list for some time. I enjoy Latin culture, speak Spanish and have had the good fortune to travel and work in a number of countries in Latin America – but, because of the embargo, never had the opportunity to visit Cuba. The Photo Workshop Adventures (PWA) trip promised a genuine, in-depth and hands-on opportunity to meet and interact with Cubans in a way that didn’t seem possible on a typical group charter. The small size of the group, the degree of detail in the itinerary and my conversations with Michael prior to the trip convinced me that this would be the best way to experience Cuba as both curious traveller and photographer. And, of course, I expected to make some wonderful images. I was not disappointed!
What did you enjoy most about the adventure?
Cuba is amazing and unlike anyplace else I’ve visited. The history and politics are fascinating. The people are open, warm and friendly. The photography opportunities are endless – from beautiful tropical scenery to the chaos that is Havana, to the richness of Cuban culture, music, and sport. But, for me, the people were the highlight. As I look back over my images, I find that my favorites are of the Cubans I met and who were always gracious in allowing me to photograph them.
What do you enjoy most about photography?
I enjoy (and I’m sometimes frustrated by) the creative challenge of effectively integrating subject matter, composition, light and “moment”. I particularly like the opportunity to combine travel and photography. I find that travel photography enables me – forces me – to slow down and really appreciate the details. And in seeing those details, one develops a much greater appreciation for the place, the people and the culture.
What are your goals and ambitions as a photographer?
As a relative newcomer to photography, I’m striving to make better, more impactful and more beautiful images. I hope my photographs convey a sense of place, personality or emotion… and sometimes prompt questions, observations or critical examination of our world.
A complete collection of Ron’s photography can be viewed on his website at ron-cooper.com