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

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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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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.

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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 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.

-Allen

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.

Roll 6 Frame 1
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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Frame 4

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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Frame 5

The clouds are a little better here, but overall it’s still not quite what I am looking for.

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Frame 6

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 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.

Roll 4 Frame 1
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.

-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.

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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.

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.

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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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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.

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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