Participant Showcase: George Cathcart


Cuban Flag with Opera House and Capitolio by George Cathcart.

Cuban flag with Opera House and Capitolio by George Cathcart.



George made this image of the Cuban flag, Opera House and Capitolio from the rooftop terrace of the property we often stay at with my People-to-People programs while in Havana, the Hotel Inglaterra.  I’m told it’s the oldest hotel in the whole country, but you’d never know it because of its modern amenities…and its location right on Havana’s “Parque Central,” and at the foot of the Paseo del Prado, which leads to the malecon and incredible views of Morro Fortress, make it the ideal place to stay while in Havana.  The reason I mention this is that I love the fact that George made an effort to show a small slice of Havana from a higher vantage point by getting up high in the Hotel Inglaterra and taking full advantage of this fairly unique perspective that most people don’t see.

The layering effect of the flag, Opera House and Capitolio give the image depth and walk the viewer through the scene step by step, and the way the flag frames the buildings below is a very pleasing effect in my mind.  I always say that flags and birds (which George is an expert at photographing) are extremely difficult to photograph because they’re always moving, so it takes some patience to capture the flag furled out in the right position, and I think George got it just about right in this image.  The Cubans are extremely proud of their flag and visitors will see it displayed throughout the country, and so I always suggest making Flags and other icons of a location a part of one’s shot list, and George did a very nice job of that here.

Additionally, because of the nice exposure that George chose to use here, the detail that we can see in the Opera House and Capitolio add even more interest to the image, and I like the fact that he chose a position from which to shoot this scene so that the Opera House isn’t overlapping the Capitolio, and from experience I know that this is rather difficult to do from this perspective.  Finally, choosing to make this image on a day with nice, puffy clouds as a backdrop was another good decision, and points to the fact the good photography is about making a lot of small, and not so small, choices that often result in an image that captures the essence of a place.

It was a pleasure to get out and photograph with George during our People-to-People program in Cuba, and I really enjoyed listening to his stories of being a photojournalist, as well as his enviable adventures photographing wildlife around the world, both above and below the surface of the sea.


George Cathcart drinking from a coco shell in Viñales, Pinar del Rio, Cuba, by Ralph Velasco.

George drinking from a coco shell in Viñales, Pinar del Rio, Cuba.



I am a wildlife and nature photographer based in the South Carolina Lowcountry, traveling the world to capture images of the creatures we share the planet with, including the ones that live in the liquid 75 percent of the Earth. My work has taken me to Indonesia, the Galapagos, Africa, Palau, most of the Caribbean, including Cuba, Europe, the Middle East and all over the U.S. I have been a photographer more than 40 years, starting as a photojournalist in the 1970s, more recently specializing in wildlife, nature and travel.


Be sure to visit George’s websites to see more of his work, especially the wildlife scenes he’s so expertly captured around the world.

Personal business site:


Fine Art America




I traveled to Cuba on a PhotoEnrichment program led by Ralph Velasco in January 2013 because I wanted to go to Cuba legally. At the time I knew nothing about Ralph or his programs, but by the end, we had become friends. Ralph is a thorough tour operator, ensuring that all our basic living needs were taken care of. He is also an excellent photo coach, patiently providing advice for all participants with due respect for the varying levels of experience represented. I hope to travel with him again some time.



  1. Tony Pond says:

    Nice “take ” on the image, Ralph.

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