Hope for Cuba’s Future!





Exciting news from President Obama this morning. I especially liked his statement that ” we do business with China… and we have relations with Vietnam… so why not Cuba, too?” I agree that engagement, exchange of ideas, and bringing to the forefront ways we can help Cubans is a good direction to take. How will it change things? Will McDonald’s start popping up in Havana or Trinidad? yikes, I hope not. And besides, that sort of business is probably not high on the list with the current admin in Cuba. But hopefully it can help Cubans in their private enterprises, in healthcare, education, etc. I think it will be an overall good thing for our Cuban friends. We have always been warmly greeted and our interactions with the people have been wonderful, and I’d love to see them prosper in all ways. It’s time that America has a positive presence.

It will be very interesting to see how things unfold in the coming year(s) as travel opens up to the country, too. It’s about time. I’m glad we’re going back in October.





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The Cutest Grizzly Bears




“Mom? What are those things on two feet back there? They have HUGE glassy eyes pointed at me. There are at least 8 eyes. I’m not sure about this, can I hide behind you?”

OK, so we’re not supposed to anthropomorphize with wildlife, right? But how can we resist when one cute cub peeks out from behind the safety of Mom to watch us? I mean, you can tell it’s so curious, but timid. It hasn’t learned yet that we come in peace, to watch, enjoy, and photograph its antics. And with all those glass lenses pointed at it, no wonder it’s uncertain of things! It flicks an ear and motor-drives whir…

I have such a good time on these bear tours that I lead in Alaska. The bears are very habituated, which makes for photographic opportunities that you would not easily get elsewhere, such as Sows letting their cubs get close to us and having her wander off to feed while we “baby-sit” the cubs! That’s pretty unheard of unless the bears have a trust in us.

For this tour, you don’t have to have extreme telephoto lenses, although they can be useful. I found that my 500mm on a full frame camera was often too close and had to resort to using the 100-400mm on that camera body instead. I used my 70-200mm on my 7D body and the 100-400mm on the Mark III and that setup worked great.

You also don’t have to be an expert at wildlife photography – I’ll be there to help you with settings and techniques for handling longer lenses and shooting action. (It does help to have a good working knowledge of photography and your particular camera, however).

I have only 4 spaces left at this point for the July 2015 tour.  It promises to be another great year for bear photography!


Enjoy, and thanks for visiting,







 “I can see my toes!”

Categories: Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, nature photography, Photo Blog, photography, The Blog, wildlife photography, workshops & photo tours | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

The Power of Juxtaposition


We need it, we look for it, and we’re delighted when we get it! Travel and documentary photographers are always seeking the moment when things come together – be it light, gesture, or juxtaposition. As I was walking in Camagüey, Cuba last February, I spotted this interesting statue by a Cuban artist, but what really caught my eye was the woman walking up to the phone in the background. I waited for some gesture from her to bring out the moment, but it was the juxtaposition that really grabbed me. Did the artist place the sculpture in this square with that phone booth in mind? I may never know, but it was a perfect opportunity for me to make this picture.

I love photographing in Cuba. There’s a raw beauty to the place, with it’s faded elegance and decay, the rugged landscape holds it’s own natural beauty, and the people are resilient, Cuban-proud and beautiful. I’ll be running another people-to-people photography tour October 24-November 2, 2015, in partnership with Strabo Tours.  If you haven’t been, it really is time. Cuba is changing, slowly but surely. And who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Thanks for visiting!


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