Travel Tales from The Hub

Miami, FL: A city of many different Sights, Sounds and Photographs

Ken Hubbard

By Ken Hubbard

Miami and its surrounding area are incredibly diverse in both culture and subject matter, like the spectral colors of South Beach to the sights and sounds of Little Havana you can always find a great photo opportunity. Even if you decide to venture outside the city limits, beautiful locations can easily be discovered in every direction. From Butterfly World to the north to Everglades National Park to the south and west, there are so many accessible subjects to photograph you really need to plan your time well especially when you only have about 36 hours to do so. 

First Stop, Little Havana
Little Havana is the home to many Cuban immigrants as well as people from both South and Central America who bring an amazing array of visual experiences and tastes on the tongue. One of the subjects I wanted to photograph touched both senses, and that was the cigar shops and their professional hand rollers. After a little research I found two very accommodating establishments in town, Havana Classic and Guantanamera, both on SW 8th St. A nice surprise when walking into Guantanamera was the coffee bar that served their own blend of Cuban coffee which was simply delicious. 

I chose one Tamron lens to capture the images inside the shops because of the low light conditions and the dramatic effects I could create with its minimum focus distance of 7.9”, and that was the SP 35mm F/1.8 Di VC USD.

© Ken Hubbard
SP35mm, 1/800 sec, f/1.8, @ ISO 800

© Ken Hubbard
SP35mm, 1/1000 sec, f/1.8 @ ISO 800

It Seems Like Every Color In The Spectrum Exists In South Beach
It’s hard to believe that only 140 years ago what is now known as South Beach (SoBe for those in the know) was just farmland. It was eventually sold off around 1910, starting its somewhat slow development into the vibrant cultural experience it is today. What amazes me is the easy blending of the Art Deco architecture of a time gone by and the modern dance music and fast paced lifestyle of the young that spend their days and nights flowing through this part of town. It is truly a colorful mixture of so many cultures and lifestyles.

One of the more simple but beautiful images in this part of town is the play between the colors of the lifeguard stations along the crystal like sand beach and the blue and white partly cloudy skies. I once again chose to capture these images with one lens, the Tamron 35mm model F012.

© Ken Hubbard
SP35mm, 1/100 sec, f/11 @ ISO 100

Butterflies as Colorful as South Beach
If you have a little time and a car, there are many photographic opportunities just outside the city limits of Miami. One place that is only a quick 45 minute drive north of downtown, is Butterfly World in Coconut Creek, just off the Florida Turnpike. Opening in 1988, Butterfly World has a total of 3 acres of butterfly aviaries and research areas, making it the largest butterfly park in the world.

If you have ever tried to photograph butterflies you know it is incredibly difficult and frustrating. One suggestion is to go to an aviary either early in the morning when it is cool or later in the afternoon after the butterflies have finished feeding. They will be a bit more docile and inactive making it easier to photograph. I tend to shoot them hand-held and without a tripod. First, I set my camera for a good exposure then I put the camera on a continuous shooting mode. I then slowly rock towards the butterfly and then back, firing my camera. I may have to take a dozen or so images of one butterfly but this technique allows me to capture 1 or 2 images with each attempt.

© Ken Hubbard
Tamron 90mm, 1/250 Sec. F/6.3 @ ISO 640

© Ken Hubbard
Tamron 90mm, 1/50 Sec. F/6.3 @ ISO400

Continue to read about Ken’s trip to Miami on Facebook @TamronKen.Hubbard