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.

Roll 11 Frame 5
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.

Roll 11 Frame 1
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.

Roll 11 Frame 2
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 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.

Roll 10 Frame 2
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.

Roll 10 Frame 3
Frame 3

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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Frame 5

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.

Roll 10 Frame 7
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.

Roll 10 Frame 8
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.



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.

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.

Roll 9 Frame 2
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.

Roll 9 Frame 3
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.

Roll 9 Frame 6
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 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.

Roll 8 Frame 1
Frame 1

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.

Roll 8 Frame 2
Frame 2

I think I nudged the camera on this exposure, the details are slightly blurry through the whole image.

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Frame 3

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.

Roll 8 Frame 4
Frame 4

Not too much more to say about this image.

Roll 8 Frame 5
Frame 5

Now this shot got the dramatic lighting I was looking for. The foreground may be a little dark, but the clouds really pop here.

Roll 8 Frame 6
Frame 6

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.


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.

Roll 5 Frame 1
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.

Roll 5 Frame 2
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.”

Roll 5 Frame 3
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.

Roll 5 Frame 4
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.

Roll 5 Frame 5
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.

Roll 5 Frame 6
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.


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.


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.

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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.

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.