The Story Behind "Red Car, Two People" Havana Cuba

By the third day of our adventure in Cuba, I had earned the reputation as "the car guy." I was always the one craning my neck to watch a classic Fords and Chevys zip by.

One afternoon in Havana, we had just finished visiting the Museo de la Revolucion and were gathering to head back to the hotel. Some of us were taking this opportunity to capture a few more street shots while the group slowly congregated in this fascinating and beautiful part of the city.

I was working one shot when a fellow photographer called out, "Derrick, did you see that one?" I looked in their direction and saw this magnificent 1950's red Chevrolet with a bowtie hood emblem. It was parked against a colorful wall bathed in the late afternoon light.

And no one else was shooting it. I felt like they were saving it for me.

I repositioned and pointed my Olympus OM-D E-M10 with Olympus 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 EZ zoom in that direction, then composed the shot at 42mm.

At first it wasn't quite right. There were too many people gathered around the car. I keep shooting because I never know what's going to happen next, and I want to come away with something. Frame number two was interesting, with the girl walking by in the green dress. But it still didn't feel spot on. Then, on the eighth and final frame, the composition came together.


All the people had cleared out except for a man and a woman at the rear of the car. They were in the shadows, and the car was in the light. I knew I could go with a larger composition using the backdrop of Havana architecture because the red Chevy was such a strong presence.

By the time I had captured the eighth frame, our group had come together. I saw them looking at me in the distance. I walked back over to them with my camera in hand.

"Did you get it?"

"Yes, I did!"

When I returned home, I posted a preliminary version of frame eight on my Flickr page. It was picked up for Flickr Explore. I've cleaned up the image a bit more and am featuring it in my fine art notecard set, The Cars of Cuba, which is available now for preorder in The Nimble Photographer Store. (You can see the current version of it there.) Those who preorder the set will receive two versions of "Red Car, Two People." One version will be signed by me on the back, and the other will be unsigned and ready for sharing.

More About Cuba

I've also published the following articles about Cuba:

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