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

Roll 13 Frame 1
Frame 1

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.

Roll 13 Frame 2
Frame 2

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.

Roll 13 Frame 3
Frame 3

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.

Roll 13 Frame 4
Frame 4

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.

Roll 13 Frame 5
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…

Roll 13 Frame 6
Frame 6

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.

Roll 13 Frame 7
Frame 7

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.

Roll 13 Frame 8
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 3

Down the street again.

After Roll 1 didn’t quite come off the way I had hoped I tried shooting in town again, only this time much earlier. I didn’t realize just how harsh the light was by 9:30am last time, so  this time I started about half an hour after dawn when the town was still more or less empty. I like to be able to take photos with out too many cars parked in the way, and this morning was a perfect time to work.

This roll was shot on Fujicolor Pro 400H film.

Roll 3 Frame 1
Frame 1

I like this picture. I like the way the eye is drawn into the background by both the angle of the street and it’s buildings and also the natural vignetting from the low angle of the sun. The bike against the telephone pole is a nice element in the middle-ground as well. The depth of color in this image is what I imagine when I am taking pictures here, I really like how it came out on this film. This is probably my favorite image on this roll, a strong start.

Roll 3 Frame 2
Frame 2

I seem to have held the camera ever so slightly askew here. It’s a habit I’ve noticed I have fallen into from time to time. One of my hopes for this project is that by working more slowly and deliberately my in camera framing will improve.

Roll 3 Frame 3
Frame 3

Is the house crooked or is the street on a hill in this image? I don’t believe the street is anything but flat here, but I’ve never noticed that building to be at any strange angle either. I also wish I had not clipped of the very end of the corner of the roof. I do like that the ramp and the telephone pole on the right were wholly included. Chopping off items at the edge of the frame is another aspect of composition to work on.

Roll 3 Frame 4
Frame 4

I’ve wanted to try a few images in a more close-up fashion. The GSW690ii has a minimum focusing distance of about 1 meter, so micro photography is out. But this image was taken at about 1.5 meters and the foreground is perfectly sharp. There are a lot of interesting varieties of bananas in Hawai’i and I’m not sure what kind these are. They were tasty however.

I am glad that the camera is able to work this close to the subject. I bought it with the intent to use it for more landscape and architectural work, but it’s nice to have some flexibility. Some day I’ll have to try portraits.

Roll 3 Frame 5
Frame 5

The Theatre (I know how it’s spelled, read it on the building for yourself) is the main landmark in town. I like the look of the building, and it often has very dramatic lighting. This morning wasn’t quite the best, but I wanted to give it a try. Because of the position of the sun just out of the right side of the frame things here are a little washed out. What I really want to do is to take a picture of the building at night with a little fog and the front lights on. I’ll need a better tripod for that.

Roll 3 Frame 6
Frame 6

I like that this image has a sense of motion to it, despite everything in it being static. The power lines and the cross walk (if you continue the line) meet up in the upper right corner and expand outwards. I also like how the cross walk leads straight up to the pay phone. Honoka’a is kind of an old-time town, and pay phones are still a going thing here, phone book and all.

Roll 3 Frame 7
Frame 7

In this photo I wanted the foreground element of the sign to bring the viewer into the photo. On the one hand the photo works because the sign’s arrow points into the interior of the picture and everything is still in focus. The problem is that there isn’t all that much happening farther into the image. Still, I am glad to be able to experiment with the technical capabilities of the camera.

Roll 3 Frame 8
Frame 8

This was a little later in the day, up at Pu’u Huluhulu just off the Saddle road. The clouds moved in while I was up there and stuck around all afternoon. It’s not what I expected, but sometimes you just make the best of things. No dramatic images of Mauna Kea to be found that day. More of this area to come in the next post!

I really like how the color came out in this roll. The Fujicolor Action 400H isn’t a film I have used before but it did such a great job here that I will defiantly be ordering some more. There are so many aspects of Hawai’i that need to be in color, and finding a good film to use is one of my priorities. This film is a strong contender. Having the flexibility of the 400 ISO was also very helpful.

I think for now I have taken enough photos here in Honoka’a Town, and that in the future I will probably be moving out around the island more. The last image on this roll was taken up on the slopes of Mauna Kea, and the next few rolls will be form that hike. More coming soon.

-Allen

Roll 2

Eight Frames from along Rt. 250 in Kohala.

This roll was taken along Rt. 250 in the north of Hawai’i Island. This is one of my favorite drives on the island, especially in the late afternoon. As the sun starts to set everything in the Kohala hills becomes covered in golden light. It’s like a dream land, like an endless summer. The one problem is that there are often no places to stop a car and take pictures. Some day when I get a bike I’ll ride over this way and take several rolls of film all at once. (But after I work-out some first, they are some serious hills for a novice biker.)

This roll was Kodak Portra 400. I had forgotten just how slow 100 speed film can be on all but the sunniest days, and even though this is a sunny place most days I’ll have to be careful when choosing to use slower film. 400 ISO film seems like a reasonable step up. With such large negatives the larger grain shouldn’t be much of an issue.

Roll 2 Frame 1
Frame 1

I finally found some places to safely pull over and work. The first image on this roll isn’t quite what I was hoping for however. The sun at this time of day can make some very dramatic landscapes, but it didn’t come through here. The land appears mostly flat despite the grass blowing in the wind, and the sky is not super engaging.

Roll 2 Frame 2
Frame 2

At the time when I took this image the road seemed like it would be an interesting element. I thought that it would help lead the viewers eyes into the distance toward the hills on the horizon. I suppose it does, but there are whole sections of this image that are dull and boring. The pieces do not add up to a whole.

Roll 2 Frame 3
Frame 3

The angle of the sun and the time of day in relation to the direction of this picture make it seem flat and uninteresting. I have to remember that the camera sees differently than my eyes.

Roll 2 Frame 4
Frame 4

Now this image has some more of the dramatic afternoon light that the Kohala hills so often exude. There is a little more shadow and highlight interplay and a better sense of depth.

Roll 2 Frame 5
Frame 5

Out of focus. It’s not a great picture, and being out of focus only detracts further. Using a rangefinder clearly takes practice. Also, standing in the middle of the road isn’t usually a great idea anyways.

Roll 2 Frame 6
Frame 6

Here we are getting somewhere. Hawai’i offers some beautiful huge sky some days. Being up in the mountains gives a new perspective on clouds by putting them directly in front of you, and the land here is so saturated with color if you get just the right sun.

Roll 2 Frame 7
Frame 7

I actually kind of like the road in this image. It manages to add to the composition with out overpowering it as happened in some of the earlier images on this roll. Even the power lines kind of work. They both draw your eye into the image. The tilted stop sign is a nice touch too.

Roll 2 Frame 8
Frame 8

The deep rich colors here make this my favorite image on this roll. The composition is pretty basic, but it works here I think. The atmospheric distortion is somewhat enhanced by the vog (volcanic fog, it’s a whole thing) but not too badly.

Not a bad roll over all, I can feel that color is going to be important in my work here. Hawai’i often just needs to be in color. When I lived in New York City I almost never used color, black & white just worked there. Also the color on this roll was over all better than on Roll 1. That roll had some “storage discrepancies” that probably effected it’s end result.

I also feel that using the 400 ISO film helped give me more options here. I’ll be trying various ISO’s in the future, plus I’ll have to get a new tripod. The $50.00 tripod that I have now just isn’t going to be able to support a camera of this size.

I think frame’s 7 & 8 are the best on this roll. They were also the latest images taken that day, so perhaps I need to wait for the sun to move into a more dramatic position before I begin shooting. When shooting film on a camera like this, patience is a virtue.

-Allen

Roll 1

The first roll of film from the Eight Frames project.

The first roll to come out of a new camera is always very exciting. I was a little nervous about it, this is after all a camera that is over 25 years old and traveled across the ocean to get to me. Would it function properly? Will the images be in focus? Will I be paralyzed with the fear of making bad photos? But it seems that everything is working fine. Now that my first couple rolls of film have been processed and scanned I can start this project in earnest.

This first roll is Kodak Ektar 100, one of my favorite color films. I have to confess that this particular roll was not stored properly before use, and that in fact I had left it in the side pouch of a camera bag that I then left in the trunk of my car for several weeks. It gets rather hot and sunny here in Hawai’i, and it’s possible that the quality of this roll was thrown off just a bit. Overall though the colors don’t seem all that bad.

Roll 1 Frame 1
Frame 1

Seeing this image first made me worried that the heat had messed up my film more that I thought it would, but it was probably just the strong morning light coming in my direction.

Roll 1 Frame 2
Frame 2

The flooded skate park caught my eye as an interesting subject, but I chose too low of a shutter speed and got a blurry image. Also I noticed the white truck in the background too late…

Roll 1 Frame 3
Frame 3

So I broke my rule about not taking the same photo twice. They are only guidelines anyway. This image came out in focus and with out the truck driving by, so over all I am happier with it. There may have been better, more interesting, ways to photograph this subject however.

It rains quite a lot here, so I am sure I’ll get another chance at it if I really want to.

Roll 1 Frame 4
Frame 4

I like the effect that the wet road has in this image. I was a little worried that the trees and foreground would be completely blacked out, but I like the little detail that showed up on the film. I’m not sure why there is a black bar at the top of the image, maybe it was a scanning error? I haven’t seen it show up in any other images so far, I’ll just have to keep an eye out in the future.

Roll 1 Frame 5
Frame 5

This seemed like a good idea at the time, now it really doesn’t.

Roll 1 Frame 6
Frame 6

This is a good example of when a scene in front of you as a photographer seems like it would make a wonderful picture, but turns out not at all how you imagined it. It can be hard to remember that a camera doesn’t see the world in the same way your eye does, but in very bright or very dark situations it’s important to think about. By this point it was getting late in the morning and the sun was quite strong.

The small grave yards in the area where I live are very interesting subjects, but I want to make sure that I am not being disrespectful when I photograph them.

Roll 1 Frame 7
Frame 7

This small building is Seventh Day Adventist Church building. There are a lot of small churches scattered around Hawai’i Island, and I think that many would be good photographic subjects. They could be a coffee table book all on their own. Now that I am looking at this image, I wish I had gotten the door to be more in the center of the steps and porch.

Roll 1 Frame 8
Frame 8

Power lines are something that I feel detract from an image about 90% of the time, but here they might be OK. I wasn’t really thinking about the power lines when I made this image, I was just looking at the store fronts across the street. That is often the problem with power lines, you forget they are there until well after the you’ve clicked the shutter button. Oh well, it’s just something to try to be aware of in the future.

Over all I am happy with this roll. There aren’t any really stand out images, but this was something of a test roll. Now that I know the camera is in good working order and that the light meter app on my phone is at least in the ball park on it’s readings I can start photographing with more confidence. I’ve got several more rolls waiting to ship out today, and my second roll just needs a little Photoshop touch-up to be ready for posting.

-Allen