Roll 13

I may not be the best street photographer ever.

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Earlier in the year I was back on the mainland to attend my cousin’s wedding and I had some time to make a quick trip into New York City so I took my camera along.

This roll was shot on Kodak Ektar 100

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This image must fall under the category “it seemed like a good idea at the time.” I honestly cannot figure out now what it was that I thought was interesting when I took this picture. How real life looks and how a photo looks are not the same thing. When you come down to it, one will always look better than the other. Here I’m guessing that real life looked better.

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The sidewalk through a temporary flowery field was an interesting and unexpected scene, but the depth of field is not properly focused on the fore and middle ground. I love Ektar 100, but there are limitations to using an iso 100 film. I think in the future I may use more 400 speed film as a standard “go to” except on the brightest of days.

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I love the man in the door on the far left of this image, he’s a bit mysterious. If I were taking this image again I would be sure to include just a little more of the door frame to his left. I am also realizing that I am a sucker for interesting window displays.

I am starting to think that when shooting these street scenes it would be better to make sure I am either directly squared to the buildings on the opposite side fo the street or to be obviously not squared off. These images where the image is only “just” off are starting to bug me.

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I seem to still think I can hold a camera steady at a slow shutter speed against my better judgment and experience. I may also have gotten too used to being alone for miles while out shooting my photos, since the average pedestrian here was able to sneak up on me.

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Much better. I am still trying to keep to my rule about “not shooting the same image twice,” but with such rules there are exceptions. In this case I am glad I reconsidered and took the second picture.

I like the composition in this image, it feels better in landscape than portrait. the small curved pipes on either side of the statue have a sort of rather that I like. New York is a city of interesting small scenes, I’m sure that’s why it’s such a popular place for street photographers.

There is something about a “cigar store indian” being tied to a wall…

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I don’t super dislike this one, but I don’t love it either. This scene was much more appealing in person than in an actual photograph. Such is life, though hopefully we can learn from our mistakes. Perhaps I need to think more in a “pre-visualized” way, basically to think about the end product of the photograph while looking at the subject before pressing the shutter release.

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I should have been closer. To be fair, with the size of the negative I get from this camera I can easily crop the image to make the buskers more clearly the focus, and normally that is probably what I would do. But part of my desire with this project is to get better at using a camera through all steps in the process, which begins by properly framing a composition.

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This picture was taken almost five minutes later and everyone is in just about the same position. I don’t really have anything to say about it that I didn’t say already for the last image.

As usual I love the color that Ektar 1oo gives. I really enjoyed walking around NYC and I hope to get the chance again. I’m not sure about my prospects as a street photographer, I’m always uncomfortable taking pictures if strangers. perhaps I will get better with practice or find a style that suits me better.

-Allen

Roll 12

Ocean to farmland.

All though I have not always been the biggest fan of how black and white images of Hawai’i look, I decided to use a roll of black and white film here for a couple of reasons. The first was the time of day, since I got to the beach just after noon when the sun was very harsh and I have found black and white to be more forgiving in that kind of condition before. The second reason was that with the white coral rocks and black lava rocks that make up this shoreline. I thought that black and white would be a good way to capture the images.

This roll was shot on Arista 400 black and white film.

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I love the way the water looks in the tide pools here, the rippled pattern is a nice contrast to the harsh and jagged rocks.

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I need to stop trying to hold the camera when shooting at less than 1/60th. I am not sure how I managed to get camera shake into an image on a bright sunny day in the tropics while using iso400 film, but here we are. Hopefully this will be a lesson learned.

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I really love how the black rocks came out in this image, the gradation of tones is very appealing. I think these are the first people in any of my photos in this project. I like how small they look, Big Island has a lot of empty space, and seeing such small people helps give some sense of scale.

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This is the Akaka Iki waterfall on the Kole Kole stream. I am glad that the foreground grass was included in sharp detail along with the waterfall and valley in the background. Images like this do not do as well when viewed small, but for now I will have to leave it as is.

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I took this picture of taro leaves because I liked the pattern they make, but I should have tried to get a little more of the frame full of the plants. The grass on the side and bottom are not as interesting.

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These unfinished greenhouses have intrigued me for months. They are in a field just north of where I work and I see them almost every day. I think they could make an interesting subject matter, with the geometric patterns they provide, but like many of my subjects, they need to fill the frame more. I keep forgetting just how much the wide-angle of this camera affects the final images.

This post short by two images this time, and I am not sure why. The only issues I have had like this come from the non-Kodak black and white films I have tried so far. They happen in exactly the same way, with the first two or three images not appearing.

Arista has been a favorite film of mine in the past. I have used it often in my 35mm cameras and I love the gradation of tone it can achieve, especially in bright sunlight. But like the Fomapan it may just not be deigned for the camera I am using. I remind myself that this is still the early phase of this project and that these rolls of film are all somewhat experimental. I am learning a lot just now, and as is often the case, I learn more from failure than success.

-Allen

Roll 11

My issues with Fomapan continue…

This roll was supposed to contain 3 more images made on Pu’u Wa’awa’a, but the first three did not take. This has been a problem with the Fomapan films, and I doubt that I will buy more for that reason, but the image quality has been reasonably good when it does work.

The last four images of this roll were taken one morning before work when I took a short walk down the road into a more dense rainforest area.

This roll was shot with Fomapan 100 black and white film.

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This was the last image I took on my hike up Pu’u Wa’awa’a, though there should have been three more images preceding it. For what ever reason the first three images I took on this roll did not show up at all, making this my shortest roll yet. I am a little sad since Pu’u Wa’awa’a is such a beautiful and dramatic place, but it gives me all the more reason to go back and photograph again.

I like this image well enough, though I feel that some of the ground  comes off a little flat. I might be able to fix that with more time editing, but I am trying to keep my post work and retouching to a minimum level. I do really like how the wooden features come out in the black and white, old wood texture is always a good go-to.

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Taken a little later, the next four images were taken just outside of Honomu town on the wet side of the Big Island. What I like most about this image are the details of the vines growing up the tree and falling down off its branches. The curve of the branch in the middle of the image is also very attractive, it gives some sense of motion to the whole thing.

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I think this picture has several good focus points for the eye to rest on or follow. The white line on the left edge of the image is a good one, I like how it moves toward the edge then sweeps back into the image. The street sign in just about the center is a good focal point, and in a larger printing could be easily read. Another element I like are the vines, especially on the right side, giving the upper half of the image a real vertical sense, while the bottom half is so flat.

I am surprised by how much I am enjoying these images in black and white, especially since I have been almost totally in favor of color images for Hawai’i so far. I suspect that it may be because I see areas like this every day, and viewing it in black and white is a surprising shift in perspective. Then again, I have always liked a good forest scene in black and white.

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This day was actually pretty sunny, but under the cover of the trees it easily got dark enough for me to need much slower exposure times. I was lucky that I could brace the camera on the edge of the bridge for this and the next picture.

I think that perhaps by removing color from the equation helps these images because it removes some level of distraction. all the patterns of the leaves might just turn into uninteresting noise if they were in color as well.

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I like this frame a little better than the previous image, I think because the flow of the stream is not quite coming directly at the viewer. I also like how the fallen trees move with the direction of the water and help frame it.

I like that this roll has shown me that there is really a place for black and white photography here on the Big Island. I may in the future try more monochrome images in the jungle on the wet side where I live. If these few images are any indication, then in the jungle is a good place to start. Though I may switch to Kodak.

-Allen

Roll 10

A few color landscapes, and some cows.

My trek up Pu’u Wa’awa’a continued with a roll of color film.

This roll was shot on Kodak Ektar 100.

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As I came up around the bend of the trail here there was one cow who had gotten out of the fenced in area somehow and was standing directly on the trail between me and the gate I had to go through. I may have taken this picture just for the sake of buying myself time to figure out if I could edge my way around the cow.

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OK, I admit, I didn’t really need two pictures of this same cow, but they are such big animals when you are unexpectedly on the same side of the fence as them. She just stared me down the whole time as I carefully edged by her.

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Pu’u Wa’awa’a is just on the dry side of the island, and has the golden yellow grass to show for it as I moved up in elevation. I think the composition of this image works well enough, It’s very “rule of thirds” but sometimes that can work. The yellow grass and blue of the sky work well together, and I like the relationship between the dead tree and the path that goes into the distance.

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I guess I’ve never met a dead tree I didn’t want to photograph. I like the foreground, middle ground, distance relationships in this image, it feels more like a complete landscape than other images I’ve taken. This image feels like it should be printed large.

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More cows, but seemingly less aggressive. Or at least, less interested in me. I feel this image is somewhat less successful. The detail in the hill in the background is interesting, but the foreground is rather bland. The cows in the middle don’t really add much to it either. This would have been improved by more sky and less grass being shown.

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Did I tilt this image? I do have a habit of unknowingly tilting my camera when I am concentrating on some small aspect of composition, but not in an interesting, Garry Winogrand kind of way. On the other hand the way the hills on the Big Island are formed it’s possible that the landscape itself is sloping on an angle. Not that it really matters, it isn’t as if I could go up to every viewer and say, “no no no, the camera was level it was the landscape that was uneven.” To some degree the end result has to stand on it’s own, and it doesn’t always matter what my intention was or “what really happened.”

It’s something that I will have to keep an eye on in the future.

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This view is from the highest point of Pu’u Wa’awa’a and shows Mauna Kea in the distance. I had hoped to get a more clear shot of the mountain, but the clouds were only getting denser.

I like the color and tone that I got on this roll, and I feel that the UV filter I added before this trip has really helped clear up some of the atmospheric haze I was seeing before. I am also glad to be back to having all 8 frames on the roll, it makes the project seem more like I know what I am doing.

-Allen

P.S.

I made it to double digits with out giving up!

Roll 9

Out on another hike.

I went out early one morning to the Pu’u Wa’awa’a forest reserve, with a quick stop in Waimea along the way. Pu’u Wa’awa’a is a nice 8 mile round trip hike up to the top of an old cinder cone in the north/middle of the island.

I have added a UV filter to my camera at this point, which I think has helped cut through some of the vog in the landscape images. The images on this roll don’t have quite as much distance shown, but later rolls will defiantly take advantage of the hopefully increased clarity.

This roll was shot on Fomapan Action 400.

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Frame 1

This old farm building in Waimea is interesting, but the placement of it in the frame could have been better. I feel that it is a little muddled and obscured by the trees in a way that makes it less clear what the subject matter of the image was supposed to be. I would like to try this image again sometime, but I’ll have to wait for the light to be just right, probably dawn.

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Frame 2

Telephone poles and lines are a tough element for me. Most of the time I find them to be distracting and often ruin an otherwise decent image. On occasion they can be a benefit to an image,  but they are such a strong graphic element that you have to be careful when you include them. I don’t hate them in this image, but beyond that I’m not sure. I think I would need to see this image printed large to really make up my mind. I’m not totally sure I like where the horizon line in the image is either.

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The contrast levels of this image might need some adjustment.

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I wonder how big I would have to print this image to easily make out the three goats standing in the road in the distance.

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I think I need to remember to get closer to small elements if I want them to be interesting in the composition. Being in color would have helped the dented trash can pop some as well, but I’ve noticed I have a tendency to assume that smaller objects will be easier to see in these images than they really are.

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Not a bad view with a few (wild?) sheep grazing. You can get some really good clouds up here, someday I’ll try going back on a clear day closer to sunset.

Looking at this roll I think I need to concentrate on my subject matter more closely. If I want a smaller object to be the focus of an image I need to make it larger in the frame. But if the landscape itself is the subject than I will have to be more careful in my compositions. This roll feels betwixt and between.

-Allen

Roll 8

Sunset on a tripod.

This was the last roll of film I shot up on Mauna Kea that day, and it was just as the sun was setting. Because of the light situation I decided to use my tripod to stabilize the camera. These images were all shot with as high of an f stop as possible, 22 or 32 mostly. Even though it seemed quite bright to my eyes I had to use much lower shutter speeds, and the tripod became necessary.

This roll was shot on Fomapan Classic 100.

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I feel the overall composition of the images was good, I like how both the hill in the mid-ground and Mauna Loa in the background both are rising out of the clouds.

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I think I nudged the camera on this exposure, the details are slightly blurry through the whole image.

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With the sun setting to the right of the frame this was as close as I could get to shooting it with out blowing the sky totally out.

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Not too much more to say about this image.

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Now this shot got the dramatic lighting I was looking for. The foreground may be a little dark, but the clouds really pop here.

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By the end of this roll I was getting cold, even though it was still bright out the wind was really getting to me now. With this last image taken I packed up quick to get back down the trail before it was too dark to see.

As I have stated before, this was really a job for color film. My recent film purchases have been color, and I am looking forward to using them in the near future.

This film stock is too short for proper use in this camera, with only 6 images per roll when I should get 8. If I want to do black & white in the future I’ll have to buy T-Max or Tri-X. I still have one roll of Fomapan left, I’ll save it for my Holga.

-Allen

Roll 7

Up the hill for sunset..

It was getting late in the day by the time I put this roll in the camera, and I had to move quickly (or as quickly as I could in such thin air) to get to the top of a hill for the sunset. This roll is mostly images I took along the way before I got set up for the sun to go down.

This roll was shot on Kodak Tri-X 400.

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The dramatic and alien landscape so high up on the mountain is in stark contrast to what you see at lower altitudes on the island. I like the “feel” of this photo more than anything specific about it. It feels like an establishing shot for an Indiana Jones adventure.

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These rocky dark hills can really work in black and white sometimes. I think the gradations in this image add a lot to the sense of depth and help draw the eye in.

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By this point it was getting to be late in the day and the shadows were getting long and dramatic. I was rushing up to the highest available point to photograph the sunset and would stop to catch my breath along the way. I’m glad I did because it let me see scenes like this one happening behind me.

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There is a pattern in the sky in this image that came out when I was adjusting it in Photoshop. I suspect it is an element left over from the lower quality scan that I had done on these negatives. I have seen it in a few other images, mostly in the sky, but not this prominent before.

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The clouds rolling in were a real challenge for photographing that day. On the one hand they did offer a very dynamic element to the images, but conversely they required extra patience to get the images just right. In this image I wish that I had not clipped the end of Mauna Loa off in the background.

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This image has a nice sense of drama to it, if only it were in color.

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This image is rather flat despite having the sun at a decent angle. If it were in color it might have better depth, but in black and white there doesn’t seem to be enough information to give a three dimensional impression.

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I think that this image almost works, but I can’t quite put my finger on what is wrong with it. It might be that it should have more sky and less foreground. Maybe it’s because the foreground is so harshly and brightly lit compared to the soft gradations of the clouds and sky.

I like the way the Tri-X 400 film handled the lighting conditions in these images. Towards the end they were very contrasty in places, but that was more to do with the angle of the sun than anything else. I will definitely use this film again.

I have decided to print out a few of the images from the first 6 rolls that were most promising. Because of the size of the files the largest I can print them is at 8×12 inch (20×30 cm), but that’s OK, it keeps the cost down. I should have them in a few days, I’m really looking forward to seeing the images in a physical form.

-Allen