Monday, December 13, 2010

Hawea Film Trip Results Part1.

Had a fantastic weekend away at Lake Hawea in Central Otago - where film photography was the focus. I went away on my own to attend a book launch, so for the rest of the time I was totally free to shoot where and when I wanted... luxury!

The drive down wasn't very eventful, with drizzly rain most of the way. So I consigned myself to the fact that Friday was a no-shoot, hoping that Saturday would be a different story.

I set my alarm for 5.00am, for a 5.30am sunrise. It rained heavily through the night, but when I pulled the curtains back in my Motel on Saturday morning I was greeted with a perfectly stunning morning!

I grabbed my Bronica S2, Canon EOS 50E, and Olympus EES-2 and headed out the door to Lake Hawea.

The previous days travel had wiped me out, so I hadn't really scoped out the area (and don't know the region very well). I therefore felt that the Saturday morning was a bit hit and miss. This was a bit unfortunate, since it was the best light of the whole weekend - but I still got some really good images. The best were from Lake Wanaka - shot in Black and White, on my EES-2.

Traveling around on the Saturday morning did mean that I came across some locations that I earmarked for 'next time' - locations that I wanted to get to in different light. For example, I came across a field full of abandoned old cars that looked perfect subjects for 6x6, but the early morning light was creating a heavily backlit scene, and I wanted more subdued lighting. Mental note to self... "come back later that evening".

Unfortunately, Hawea has a reputation for high nor-easterly winds, and rather maddeningly lived up to this reputation by the Saturday afternoon. My scheduled trip to the abandoned cars would have to wait for another time as I resigned myself to no photography on Saturday evening.

Fortunately Sunday morning dawned calm and peaceful - and rather more subdued with low cloud cover. Just what I wanted for the cars in the field! I raced out to the township of Luggat where the cars were situated, and the conditions were perfect!

I spent a fantastic morning shooting everything from medium format 6x6 on the Bronica, to 35mm slide film on the Canon EOS 50E and b&w print film with my Olympus Trip. I still have to get the slides back from processing, and will have to develop the b&w myself at home - but the 120 has been processed and I've scanned them on the Epson V700. In a word - fantastic!

I'm really enjoying using the Bronica, and this type of subject matter and lighting conditions were perfect for it. Seems I've also got the focus issues (see a previous post) sorted out now too. Focusing and sharpness for all the scans from the negatives on the roll have been bang on the money. And I just love the images I got. I left the field that morning a very happy man - and am even happier now that I can actually see what I got.

This is my favorite image from the whole trip (that I've got back so far). I love the light, the mood, the composition (really suits the square format) and the subject matter. Maybe I could have cropped it tighter - which I can still do if I want, but have shown it here as the full image as shot. I'm from the 'old school' of photography that says you should frame in-camera (whenever possible) and I find that I rarely crop any of my images.

Sunday was also my day for traveling back home, but I was in no hurry. I literally had all day, and meant to stop off at as many places along the way as I wanted to (another luxury I don't often afford myself when traveling with others).

I discovered several small walking tracks, made it to a few stunning waterfalls, and shot another two rolls of film before arriving back home later that evening. The fern shot was taken with my Canon EOS 50E on a 28-80mm lens I bought my daughter for her birthday (she uses it on her 10D digital SLR). The film was Fuji Superia 400, which scans beautifully (and easily) on the V700. In comparison, the Kodak Ektacolor 160 film for the Bronica has a very strong Cyan color cast that can be a bit of a nightmare to get rid of.

I've called this post 'Part 1', because there are literally dozens of other images that I want to scan and post from the trip - no to mention the two rolls of slide and one of b&w that I haven't even developed yet! I know there will be some keepers amongst them as well.

To begin with, I was very nervous only taking film away for the weekend - and I did have to juggle what I took and when. For example, on the Saturday at Lake Wanaka I only had b&w film with me, where I wish that I had color - and on a couple of occasions I went on a forest walk and ran out of film! But on the whole I'm delighted with the way it worked out, and the results I got from the weekend.

Would I do it again...? Yes, I would. Only next time, I'll take more film! :-)

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