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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Frame 1

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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Frame 2

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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Frame 3

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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Frame 4

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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Frame 5

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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Frame 6

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.


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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Frame 1

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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Frame 2

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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Frame 3

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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Frame 4

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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Frame 5

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.


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.

Roll 9 Frame 1
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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Frame 3

The contrast levels of this image might need some adjustment.

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Frame 4

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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Frame 5

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.


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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Frame 2

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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Frame 3

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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Frame 4

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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Frame 6

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

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Frame 7

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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Frame 8

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.


Roll 4

A little black and white adventure.

This roll was taken up on Mauna Kea at about 6,500 feet (1,980 meters) above sea level on the Pu’u Huluhulu hiking trail. Pu’u Huluhulu is an old cinder cone, a remnant of Mauna Kea’s volcanic past, that rises up a few hundred feet above the valley floor between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. The best feature of the hill is normally it’s views of both of those mountains, but the clouds rolled in and I had to look for other subjects.

For this roll I chose to use Kodak T-Max 400, an old favorite of mine.

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Frame 1

Pu’u Huluhulu (meaning: hairy hill in Hawaiian) is mostly covered with native trees. This is in stark contrast to the land around it which is almost completely barren lava rock with the occasional tree and a little yellow grass.

The T-Max film has more contrast to it than I remember, but I enjoy the effect. The sky is a little blown out here, I may have metered the wrong area. I’m still getting used to using a light meter* that isn’t built in to the camera.

*By “light meter” I mean the free app I downloaded to my phone.

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Frame 2

Cliff faces often look good in black and white. This bit of the exposed edge of the hill has some really nice contours and I’m glad the overcast day allowed me to see it like this. There are still some bits of the image that have a washed out gray look. I may need more practice in post processing to work on that. Or maybe the negative is too thin.

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Frame 3

Normally this would be a nice view of Mauna Kea, but the clouds were sticking to the valley floor and blocking the shot. I do think the one clump of trees across the valley is a decent element however.

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Frame 4

This image is too similar to the last one. It can be so tempting to “try to get it just right” as it were. Once in a while I suppose it works, but when you are shooting 6×9 there really isn’t the film for it. I want to have more discipline when taking my photos in this respect. That being said, I do find this image slightly more compelling than Frame 3.

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Frame 5

I like how in this shot the distant landscape is free of low hanging clouds, it was nice to have a hard horizon line. The area up here is very dry and desolate, and I like how the highway seems small as it moves through the old cinder cone hills. This is the first frame on this roll where a real sense of space comes through.

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Frame 6

I like the silhouette of the tree against the clouds, but that is about the only element that really works for me in this image. It might be more interesting if I were to crop out some of the foreground.

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Frame 7

The branches do a good job of framing the landscape in this image. I am a sucker for natural framing, even when there isn’t anything in particular being “framed” like here. There is a lot of detail in the branches and I wish I could see it more clearly. Unfortunately at a small size there is only so much that can be done.

Roll 4 Frame 8
Frame 8

The more I look at Frame 8 the more I like it. The complex detail of the trees and plants at the bottom of the image gives way to the calm sky in the upper third of the image. The one tree that is clearly outlined against the sky has a sort of a bonsai tree feel to it. I am not sure how I feel about the small group of leaves sticking into the upper left corner.

I wonder if some of these images would look better if printed out at a larger size. I think that there is a lot of small detail in the trees here that would benefit from being larger and easier to see. It could be that this is a real detriment to getting the lowest scanning option done. For now it will have to stay that way, higher quality scans are too expensive for me at the moment. Someday I will go through this project and have the better images scanned at a higher resolution and print them out.