Photoessay: Havana reflections

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Imperial purple

A conceptually simple photoessay today, focusing on the difference between the real and virtual, hard and soft. Usually, the reflection of something is soft because it is indistinct and formed in a physical object that is clean, polished, crisp, and thus well-defined; however, in the case of Cuba, it’s the opposite. The physical objects are old, not always clean, have decaying or faded edges, and it’s the reflection that becomes more solid thanks to the hardness and intensity of the sun reflecting off them. The idea becomes more tangible than reality; it can be simply an interesting visual juxtaposition, or perhaps a metaphor for something politically stronger – especially in the case of Cuba. Beyond that, Havana itself becomes very visually interesting after a rain: the clouds don’t linger thanks to the sea breeze, and we land up with either a clear or Magritte sky and great texture in everything else. Enjoy! MT

This series was shot with a Nikon D800E, 70-200/4 VR, Zeiss Otus 1.4/55 and Ricoh GR.

Finally, for those who haven’t seen it: How To See Ep.5, Havana is here, free and in full. 🙂

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Where the cigars grow

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Cleanup after the rain

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Tete a Tete

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Lurking behind the yellow diamond

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The corner

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Restaurant solo

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It’s just beginning at the edges

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Yellow nudge

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Continuity and transparency


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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | 2012 onwards. All rights reserved


  1. Reblogged this on Eileen Lyn Wah.

  2. daleallyn says:

    Wonderful images of Havana, Ming. I love the perspectives of Cleanup After the Rain, It’s Just Beginning at the Edges, and Camouflage. Nicely seen and captured.

  3. Absolutely fantastic images….the reflections are beautiful and the compositions inspired… happy new year! !

  4. Happy New Year!
    Restaurant solo is mesmerizing; its like it depicts two realities; one of a gorgeous view where I say “I wish I was there”, and one that’s moody, introverted, ominous, lost in the sea. The slanted line in the middle of the pic bugs me, but it can’t be helped.

  5. Ming,
    Once again you have shown us how to perform “the art of seeing”, terima kasih banyak dan selamat tahun baru 2015.

  6. Beautiful shots and an amazing place! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Outstanding and inspiring MT.

  8. Lucy March says:

    What a lovely way to end 2014.
    Selamat tahun baru, MT!

  9. Great set to end 2014! Also, thanks for the How to See Havana video. I think I have been to this blog every day in 2014, and hope to continue to learn and be inspired by it going forward. “Camouflage” is especially cool in imho, and the young lady on the veranda looks very elegant and timeless. Happy New Year!

  10. This is great style ❤ Best wishes for 2015

  11. Ron Scubadiver says:

    Your post reminds me of the objective when traveling. Take pictures that don’t look like they were taken by a tourist. Happy New Year, Ming. The puddles await me. May the rain be gentle followed by perfect light.

  12. BTW, which shots were with the Ricoh?

    • ‘Where the cigars grow’, ‘cleanup after the rain’, ‘lurking behind the yellow diamond’, ‘the corner’, ‘restaurant solo’, ‘untitled’, ‘camouflage’, ‘continuity and transparency’ – quite a few, I guess 🙂

  13. Wow just stunning compostion and colours. Speechless.

  14. Wonderful way to close the year 2014. A review of past reflections that became tomorrows reallity.

    Ming thank you for sharing your photographic work and wisdom on these pages. What you are doing is priceless hence hosting us for free dinner here on your blog almost every day. It is a reflection how generous you are.
    So how can I thank you enough bringing all this for free to learn from, get inspired from and to please the eye.

    Happy 2015 and all the best!

  15. Wonderful subset of a wonderful set Ming. Thanks for the photographic inspiration through 2014.

  16. Beautiful set of photos. Made my morning coffee time perfect. As the year draws towards its end, I would like to thank you for being an inspiration.

  17. Most of those shots were really good. Your work in Cuba is probably my favorite. I have one issue though and not with just this set of images. I am constantly distracted and somewhat put off by your titles or comments below each image. Not in that they could be better, but that their not necessary and can be distracting at times. All well. I will still check them out either way. Good day.

  18. Excellent reflections on your visit to Havana! Happy New Year, Ming!

  19. Those are really beautiful. The ones with the cars are my favorites. Happy new year!

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