Get Your Ass To Cuba :: April 15-23 :: And Other Stuff

January 17, 2014 | News

Tropicana in Havana

Greetings and salutations for the New Year to all of you! This is a quick post to let the internets know that…

• I’m still alive and kicking. 

• I’ve been on my annual social media break since November and I’m about to get back around these parts again.

• DEDPXL is in the final stages of launch. If the national healthcare site can have launch issues then so can I damn it! :)

• Get your ass to Cuba. I’m heading back to Cuba this year and you need to come with me. April 15-23 2014. 

Of course I’m going with the wonderful folks at the Santa Fe Workshops. They have fantastic relationships with amazing people in Cuba that makes these kinds of trips special. From the hotel to the food to the excursions to the people. Don’t buy that new lens. Spend that money on a week long trip you won’t soon forget.









So… there’s the sales pitch. We’ll be down there with Syl Arena as well. I can not begin to tell you how amazing a week in Havana can be. You have to experience Cuba now. Oh the people you will meet and the art you will see and the music and the food and the dancing and the rum and the food and the culture and the cars and the people. You get it. Spaces go very quick for these so if you want in, get in.

Now then. I know it’s been quiet around here for awhile. Goodness gracious do I ever know it. Sorry about that. I have a four burner stove and eight pots and pans in various stages of cooking. The biggest pot on my stove right now is DEDPXL. It is not vaporware. It is not just a handful of a few videos. It’s a new — thing. Platform? No. Maybe. Blog? Yeah. Resources. Critiques. Q&A. A few reviews here and there. Assignments. Tutorials. e-books. Did you hear that? Eeee. Boooooks. Print books are in the works but that will be later. :) E-books. I can’t believe it. 

FEAR NOT —  it’s not just e-books. You know how I kind of don’t blog often enough around here? My blogging schedule for DEDPXL is 64 posts long at the moment and it hasn’t even launched. DEDPXL is something I’ve been brewing for a long time. I think you’re gonna like it.

In related news, I’ve been working on OneLight v2.0 this winter. As always, I take these things very seriously….




What else? Being off social media is always a welcomed break at the end of the year. It clears the noise for sure. I have been told I missed some drama about a stolen workshop or something. Glad to have missed that. Otherwise I think everyone is doing okay. Yes? 

Oh… I’ll be at WPPI for some talks and classes and so forth. Looking forward to connecting with a bunch of you there. Now that Jason Groupp is at the helm I’m all for WPPI. It was becoming too much of a high school beauty pageant convention for awhile there. Jason Groupp is a good friend and I think WPPI is going to become a healthier and valuable convention again. Not saying it was useless before but the cult of personality sure did overshadow it for a number of years. Gulf Photo Plus is also right around the corner. Are you going? There’s another shoot out this year. Not sure how I’m going to top my entrance. You know, provided I’m in the shoot out this year. :)

Fuji news — The new XXXXXXXXX camera is about to drop this month. I may or may not have had a hot fling with it in the back room of a recent electronics show in Vegas. I did have a brief fling with the new 10-24 f4 and 56mm f1.2 lenses. OMG. OMG. Yeah, they’re okay. I guess. Maybe I’ll pick one of those up. OMG! Bye bye 60mm! 

In assignment news — I may or may not have had one too many Jager shots on the Born Of Osiris party bus. I was there for Revolver Magazine. It was a lot of fun.

Born Of Osiris

Fuji 14mm held over my head, hand held flash, hoping it all came out okay. It did. 

My authors series ran in Atlanta Magazine. This is where I tried stitching portraits for the first time and fell in love with that process. That’s one of the blog posts for the upcoming DEDPXL site. This is Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help, in her home in Atlanta. 

All of the authors I worked with were wonderful and Atlanta Magazine ran the whole series B&W! Yes! I was hoping they would!

I’ve been considering a massive yard sale of my camera gear. Like, breaking it down to the very bare minimum of gear. Like, three bag limit sort of thing. I wonder if I can do it. That’s my next experiment. 

Uhhhh. Oh. Last thing. Since moving to PhotoShelter for my site I have yet to get this damn blog refaced to match the site. That is now happening. Should be up in the next week’ish or so. Yay! Note that this blog will be more focused on showing new work and all of the photographer to photographer stuff will be on DEDPXL. 

That’s it for now. I’m back to the kitchen to get all this stuff done. WPPI hang out? Yes? There’s an awesome pub at the Riviera that I just found when I was there for CES. I know it’s a bit of a haul from MGM but they actually have real beer so it’s worth it. It’s called Wicked Vicky or something like that. I think a meet up there is in order. I’ll be back on Twitter by then so let’s find each other there.

Shout out if you’re coming to GPP!

And you are coming to Cuba right? Say you are. You don’t want to miss it. I swear. You’ll regret missing Cuba. 

More. To. Come!





  • Anthony Grisier said on January 17, 2014

    Welcome back, good to hear from you again!

  • Edward said on January 17, 2014

    It’s gotten to the point where I’m genuinely excited for what you’re coming out with. I LOOK FORWARD TO GIVING YOU MY MONEY!

  • Lucky said on January 17, 2014

    Welcome back, Zack! Looking forward to DEDPXL :)

  • Craig Marshall said on January 17, 2014

    So you haven’t just been tossing it off since November? Good man hehe. I will be seeing you soon :)

  • nathan brayshaw said on January 17, 2014

    Good to have you back online. Cuba looks great…definitely on my to do list. Have to do it next time though as we’ll be exploring China.

  • Fred Windholz said on January 17, 2014

    Glad to see this blog! Hope to see you at WPPI……and would love to do the Cuba trip.

  • Patrick said on January 17, 2014

    I’m a bit worried that gentleman on the bus isn’t getting his five portions of fruit and veg a day ;-)
    Welcome back Mr Arias – looking forward to seeing what you’ve been up to.

  • Bart said on January 17, 2014

    Damn.. Going to Cuba in June. Still really pumped about that, of course :D . Good to hear you’re still alive and coming with you’re new project! Wooh!

  • Tom Bricker said on January 17, 2014

    I’d love to go, but I’m expecting my first, a baby boy on Tax Day! But I cannot wait to see the images you create.

  • Brian Powell said on January 17, 2014

    Would LOVE to do Cuba, but no way I can swing $4,000 plus another $X,000 for travel :(
    Actually trying to decide if I can do a $500 roundtrip I’ve been planning for April!

    Looking forward to seeing Dedpxl at last.. and the new Fuji stuff /drool/

  • Ed said on January 18, 2014

    Wow…Cuba. I want this. No, I mean I REALLY want to go. I need to run around the house this weekend and figure out what I can sell to fund this trip. I hope I have enough stuff. Freakin’ Cuba!? Wow!

  • Sara Lando said on January 18, 2014

    Zack’s baaaack! *snoopy dance*
    Hey, I’ll be at GPP. Let me know who I can throw water at for you, this year ;)

  • Tony said on January 18, 2014

    HE IS ALLLLIIIVVEEEEEE! Hey Zack, great to hear from you! I am a massive fan of your work, both photos and words, and will be buying the X100S in black when it comes out. In the meantime, looking forward to more blog posts!

    Happy new year!

  • Martin said on January 18, 2014

    My copy of Dedpxl One Light Field Guide is well worn and a constant source of inspiration. My One Light DVD is pretty abused, too. Keep up the great work, Zack.

  • Michael R said on January 18, 2014

    Cuba? Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yay!
    Tell us more.

  • Brian Rodgers Jr said on January 18, 2014

    Awesome to see you back at the helm. You’ve really been a huge source of inspiration in my career as a commercial photographer. Really looking forward to seeing what DEDPXL has to offer. I’m digging the new branding you had been posting late last year. Also cool to see that you are Shooting some metal bands! I’d really liked to see you do some work with Sevendust, they are Atlanta natives. They frequently stop into my home town of South Bend, Indiana. Real cool guys. Glad to see you back online bro \m/

  • Joe Pyle said on January 18, 2014

    Who is this Zack Arias people talk of. Didn’t he fall off of the planet midsummer last year. Good to see you made it through your season. Cheers, man. Hope you are well.

  • John Wangelin said on January 18, 2014

    Good to see you back on the grid Zack. I’m looking forward to Dedpxl and now One Light V 2.0.

  • Sugando Pulando said on January 18, 2014

    Welcome back păsărel!

  • LOL said on January 18, 2014

    $4K to go to Cuba to take the same pictures as everyone else on the tour? LOL No thanks, I’ll take two international trips instead.

  • Zack said on January 18, 2014

    It’s not like that at all. If you saw how much work Santa Fe puts into the trips and factor in all the paperwork it takes to travel from the States to Cuba it’s actually a really good value.


  • adam said on January 18, 2014

    there’s a much much better pub just down the road from the mom on tropicana – the crown and anchor. the one at the riviera is pretty lame and their beer is too expensive. if you’re into obscure beers and whisky, then try the freakin frog on maryland parkway, just a stones throw away from the crown and anchor. they have 1k beers and 600 odd whiskies. plus they have one of the hottest burgers you’ll ever taste.

  • Zack said on January 18, 2014

    Thanks Adam!


  • Kris M said on January 18, 2014

    Can’t wait for One Light v2! I learned so much from the first one. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise! A new Fuji X camera is coming this month? Should I wait to see what it is or purchase the X100s now?

  • William Beem said on January 18, 2014

    Good news! My ass is going to Cuba with Sante Fe Workshops. The only difference is that I’m going in March with Joe McNally. Joe, being the good guy that he is, will make for a good guide and host on the trip. Would have loved to had your experience on the trip, too.

    The folks at Sante Fe Workshops have been great at providing information and making this trip possible. If any of you are wondering about it, don’t worry. They have it covered and it’s one of those trips that will give you a lot more opportunities than buying a new lens to shoot squirrels in your back yard.

    Love these photos. Hope to have something as nice to share when I come home.

  • Zack said on January 19, 2014

    @William – You are going to have a kick ass time for sure!


  • Anna Fey said on January 19, 2014

    That opening picture is terrific and Kathryn Stockett is the best of the bunch. Enjoy your travels!

  • Zack said on January 19, 2014

    Thanks Anna!


  • Devorah said on January 19, 2014

    Welcome back Zack! Wish I could join you in Cuba, but I grew up in Miami with too many people whose parents left behind everything they had because of the f****r who ruined that beautiful island. Will go there & dance when he’s dead & buried and everyone can sing Guantanamera in the streets! :)

  • Sergio said on January 19, 2014

    I’m just gonna say: fuck yeah!

  • Jack said on January 19, 2014

    Sorry to be that guy but… stolen workshop? Whuh? Sounds juicy.

    Good to see you back, Zack. Not that I’ve been checking for updates every single day…

  • Zack said on January 19, 2014

    @Jack – Simply google “the stolen workshop” and watch the carnage.


  • Will Keown said on January 20, 2014

    “Don’t buy that new lens. Spend that money on a week long trip you won’t soon forget.”

    This workshop costs almost exactly the same amount as the new Zeiss Otus lens that I want so badly. If I had the means to buy that lens, I’d go to Cuba with you guys! haha. It looks like it’s going to be a pretty amazing time.

  • Jan said on January 20, 2014

    Happy New Year!

  • Ferry said on January 20, 2014


    IS there going to be a review about the 56? For me it wil be the thing to decide to go fully fuji or go Nikon and bye bye Canon

  • Zack said on January 20, 2014

    @Ferry – Yep! On the new site when A) it launches and B) when I get one in my hands. :)


  • Ferry said on January 20, 2014


    I was About to but a xe1 and xpro1 but nog wait for the xt1 specs :p
    Do you still use the 5DII? And do you know a wat to Theter with de fuji for teaching? Or do you use something else?

  • Simon said on January 20, 2014

    Hey Zack, just a quick question regarding the Cuba trip, I am from the UK and would like to know if you can skip the Miami meeting? So I can fly direct to Cuba and save a little mojito money ;)

  • Zack said on January 21, 2014

    @Simon – I’m not sure. I think you should call or email Santa Fe and ask them. I don’t see why not being you aren’t dealing with the US paperwork to enter the country but I can’t speak to it for sure since I’m not organizing the trip.


  • Rick Lewis said on January 21, 2014

    Love that B&W image of Kathryn Stockett. So clean and uncluttered. B&W makes that image. Love it!! Welcome back Zack!

  • Bazo said on January 21, 2014

    Welcome back Zack :) I can’t wait for next new blog posts/news from you :)

  • Jim Robertson said on January 21, 2014

    Oooohhhh… if only I wasn’t in the process of buying my 11 acre dream homestead in the country, I’d be all over that Cuba trip! Dang!

    Welcome back, Zack! Looking forward to the rise of DEDPXL and I sincerely hope there will be t-shirts with that kick-ass logo.

  • Simon said on January 21, 2014

    Hey Zack, I contacted Santa Fe but they are saying the program is on hold due to visa issues?

    I just thought I would show you the email, incase you want to put notice on your blog, really hope it pulls through as the wife said I could go!

    Here’s a copy of the email I got.

    Hello Simon,

    We are currently on hold for our Cuba program in April. The complication
    in obtaining travel to Cuba (visas/air-tickets) is due to the closure of
    the account that handles the Cuban diplomatic affairs in Washington D.C..
    I have copied the article below. I can hold your contact information in
    the case that the situation is resolved and we can move forward with our
    program with Zach Arias.

    Best Regards,

    Mignon Ohmura
    Santa Fe Workshops
    505.983.1400 extension 111

  • Zack said on January 22, 2014

    Good to know! I had not heard about that. Hopefully it gets sorted soon!


  • E. Bjorn said on January 21, 2014

    Come on, Zack.
    I’ve seen some images of it and I know you have it.
    How does it feel, all of does lovely buttons, food!
    Come on, bro, don’t let me wait until next week. :(

    I’ve been trying to find your Critiques with Meg, but most are no longer available on “blip”.
    Are the old ones back? (on DEDPXL or on your lil’ youtube channel)

    Keep up the good work.

  • BILBO BAGGINS said on January 21, 2014

    Greato have you back at the keyboard!

    Dude; didja’ have to incorporate “xxx” in the dedpxl logo? wife is gonna’ wonder why I always have a tab open marked “XXX” dedpxl “xxx” on my task bar…
    But She’ll get over it.

  • Zack said on January 22, 2014


  • Charles J. Tice said on January 23, 2014

    God Damn it!
    That first photograph is so legitimate.

  • John Grubb said on January 24, 2014

    Welcome back Zack. Really hoping to hear what you think of the 56mm f/1.4 as a portrait lens. I have learned the 60mm and it’s working well for me and did use it quite a bit on my last trip to Mexico.
    Been to Cuba twice and truly love the place. Would love to go back someday.
    Really looking forward to checking out DEDPXL.

  • Brian Bulemore said on January 27, 2014

    Damn. Now I have to completely rethink my decision to skip WPPI this year. And then find lodging. And prep for what is always an awesome road-trip from Bend to Vegas. And figure out how to pay for a trip to Cuba. Damn. =)

  • Philip Thomas said on February 2, 2014

    Welcome back. Much enjoyed the One Light dvd too. Looking forward.

  • Norman said on February 4, 2014

    My wife and I are signed up for 2 of your workshops @ GPP. Looking forward to it.

  • Zack said on February 4, 2014

    Looking forward to it Norman!


  • Ricardo said on February 12, 2014

    will play in the lottery every week until april….master of styles Mr. Arias and Cuba on the end of the view finder….how i wish..

    safe trips uayqui..

  • Dave Wilson said on February 15, 2014

    Welcome back Zack. I look forward to some cracking stuff to come as always.

  • adam said on February 16, 2014

    that pub at the riviera is now gone

  • Zack said on February 19, 2014

    That sucks! It was a good pub.


  • Bernhardas said on February 16, 2014

    I will participate in one GPP workshop and I am happy like a squirrel!

    You mentioned about 6 months ago that you consider buying a Leica Summicrom 90. You might have pulled the trigger on that one already (I would have). If not there is a cheap alternative.

    The old lenses from Leica slide projectors go for a pittance these days and the Colorplan 90 2.5 is optically identical to the Summicrom. Disadvantage is no aperture. But that lens delivers wide open. I use it with A VNEX mount system on my NEX, but any heliocod will do.

  • Philip said on February 16, 2014

    God thank you are alive , man! What took you so long…? :-)
    Glad you are back! Greetings from Belgium.

  • Jon Holtz said on March 2, 2014

    Cuba is amazing people. That price IS NOT a ripoff!
    I have gone with Santa Fe. You will get images like no other and have a freakin blast.
    Do it, stop making excuses. I support a family of four on a teaching salary and I found extra work and saved like crazy! You can do it!

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