I had been to Cuba about five times since 2014 before my most recent trip last year to Viñales, in the far western province of Pinar del Río. Cuba is a big country, with varied landscapes and cityscapes, and a range of economic regionalization. The one commonality I’ve found is people who are outgoing and eager to engage you in conversation, especially away from tourist areas – in a city park or while hiking through farmland or to a hidden beach. It is the best Spanish language immersive experience!
On previous trips, I shot cross-processed EKTACHROME in a Mamiya 6 to create street panorama montages. And I always have my phone with the Vignette app set to its toy camera setting (that does a great job of emulating a Diana toy camera). This time I decided to bring my Rollei 35S, generously gifted to me by a good friend a few years ago.
It’s a zone focus camera and to get maximum depth of field, I decided to shoot 400-speed film. I love Portra 400 from other projects with my Mamiya, so the choice was easy. The first three shots are from Pinar del Río, and the last two are from the Malecón in Havana. For the most part, I shot at f/16 and 1/500.
I’m happy with the results. The lens is sharp but not clinically so. And the colors…I love Portra.
The one drawback with zone focus is nailing focus when you need or want to shoot a close subject at f/4 or f/2.8. But I recently discovered external coldshoe-mounted rangefinders. My circa 1950s Watameter rangefinder is on the way and I can’t wait to use it to shoot more Portra 400 in my Rollei 35S.
Submit your 5 Frames... today
Get your own 5 Frames featured by submitting your article using this form or by sending an email via the contact link at the top of the page.
Share your knowledge, story or project
The transfer of knowledge across the film photography community is the heart of EMULSIVE. You can add your support by contributing your thoughts, work, experiences and ideas to inspire the hundreds of thousands of people who read these pages each month. Check out the submission guide here.
If you like what you're reading you can also help this passion project by heading over to the EMULSIVE Patreon page and contributing as little as a dollar a month. There's also print and apparel over at Society 6, currently showcasing over two dozen t-shirt designs and over a dozen unique photographs available for purchase.