Roll 5

Always take the lens cap off…

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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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Frame 1

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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Frame 2

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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Frame 3

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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Frame 4

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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Frame 5

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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Frame 6

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

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.

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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.

-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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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