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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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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Frame 4

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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Frame 6

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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Frame 7

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 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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Frame 2

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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Frame 3

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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Frame 7

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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Frame 8

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 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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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