Roll 13

I may not be the best street photographer ever.

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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Frame 5

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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Frame 8

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 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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Frame 2

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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Frame 8

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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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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Frame 6

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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Frame 1

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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Frame 5

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

Roll 6

Color makes a comeback!

This roll was taken on a hike on the slopes of Mauna Kea at over 9,000 feet (2,750 meters) above sea level. The air is thin that high up and I had to take frequent stops to catch my breath. That caused me to consider my surroundings and really appreciate where I was.

This roll was shot on Kodak Ektar 100. The bright light up high on the mountain really brings out the wonderful colors this film is capable of capturing.

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Frame 1

I love this dead tree. I photograph it every time I go by it. I haven’t gotten it just right yet, but this is the closest I’ve come so far. The branches up against the cloudy sky have a rather graphic element to them, almost like writing. I do wish that Mauna Loa would have been visible behind the tree, but you can’t have everything.

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I am so glad that I had this one last roll of color film with me on the hike. As I have said before, Hawai’i almost always needs to be seen in color. The hills on the side of the mountain are visually stunning in the afternoon light. In this image I like that we can see the trail going up the slope of the hill, and that the hill feels more three dimensional than in some other pictures I’ve taken. I don’t know if the rocks in the foreground are helpful however, they almost feel distracting. I think I’ll need to see it larger to really tell.

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Before this project I never really shot landscapes all that often or in any serious way. I am beginning to realize that there are more considerations while framing a landscape than I first thought. I never thought much about how distracting the foreground can be in an image when you want to make an object in the mid to background the center of attention.

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The road is a good element here, but I think the clouds don’t add as much to the composition. They overpower the landscape in a way that diminishes the grandeur of the valley.

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The clouds are a little better here, but overall it’s still not quite what I am looking for.

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The dirt road in this valley was a big influence on me while taking these photos. It is a strong and compelling element, and I think that this is the image out of all of them where it is the strongest. The clouds here also help to frame the valley without overpowering whole areas of it. This shows how just a small change in timing or composition can make a big difference.

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I am realizing now that one good reason not to take overly similar pictures is that it can become hard to say new and insightful things about each one. This image is also fine, but maybe not as interesting as the previous frame.

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The giant gash in the hillside here was very dramatic in person. I feel that it comes across reasonably well in this image, but that the scale of it is lost. This may be another example of an image that would need to be viewed very large and in person to have the full effect. Fortunately these 6×9 negatives make that a real possibility, unfortunately the cost for such large printing is still somewhat beyond my price range.

Editing this roll of film, after working on several rolls of black and white images, has really cemented for me the need to us color film. I think there are times when black and white film will be the best choice, but I think that for the most part my future film purchases will be color.

-Allen

Roll 5

Always take the lens cap off…

 

My hike around Pu’u Huluhulu continued and was followed up with a trip to the visitor center area on near by Mauna Kea. With the clouds intermittently covering the valley floor I was worried that there would be no visibility up higher. Fortunately I was able to get just high enough to be above the clouds for the most part.

I encountered a problem while shooting this roll that I never had before when using an SLR, I left the lens cap on when I shot the first picture. With the Fujica GSW690ii once the shutter release has been pressed you have to advance the film before you can press the shutter release again. Because of this I may have lost the first picture of the roll.

This roll was taken on Fomapan Action 400 film.

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The smooth paved road traveling through the rougher lava rock seemed like an interesting idea at the time. Looking at it now however, this picture doesn’t come together into anything really compelling.

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I came across this small shrine as I was hiking. It was down a side trail that I had not gone down before. I made sure not to disturb anything, and I didn’t stay long. I took one picture and offered a few coins into the small jar that had a few coins already in it. I like the subject of this image, but if anything this image comes into the classic, “if the picture isn’t interesting enough you are not close enough.”

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This is the first photo from up on Mauna Kea proper, up above 9,000 feet (2750 meters) and above the clouds that got in my earlier photos. The sun is bright and harsh up there, and the air is thinner. Some of these images, like this one, feel almost like pictures taken by a NASA rover on Mars.

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I tried to wait for some clouds to come in here to make a more interesting background. Taking images on a slope like this always makes me think that I held the camera at an angle, but I’m pretty sure that this is actually level.

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These photo’s have almost a Day for Night kind of feel to them. I think this image has a decent relationship between the foreground and background. It would have been nice if the trail on the far hill came a little closer toward the viewer.

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The clouds moved in and out the whole time I was up there. Clouds are surprisingly cold when they pass over you. I like this picture overall, though I would like to see it larger. There seems to be a good deal of detail here that would be interesting to see up close. The shadows on the hills are good and the clouds moving over the larger hill make an attractive element.

This was the first time I’ve used Fomapan film, and it will probably be the last time I buy it for this project. The Foma film is a good price, but it seems that there is slightly less film on the roll. Either that or when it’s loaded into my camera it doesn’t line up quite right and gets cut off before all 8 frames can fit. Whatever the case, I only got 6 frames on this roll. Even considering that I may have lost a frame when I left the lens cap on for the first picture I took that is still one image short. An upcoming roll that was also shot on Fomapan film also came out to only 6 images.

The more I look at these landscapes in black and white, the more I think that I should be using color.

-Allen