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The Depths of the Mill

A couple nights back we had the great fortune of going to an old Sugar Cane Mill. The folks did what they do best and pulled a couple strings, met a few nice people, and made it possible for us all to get into this mill. We were the first group ever to go into this mill. This is one of the original mills on the island. It was truly an amazing place to go into. The outside was filled with these old trucks. Two dump trucks and one semi truck had rusted out and were falling apart on the property. First impression of this place one would think that it would be good to shoot everything in a HDR frame of mind. Rc argued that due to the light, color of the building and complexity of the detail, HDR would be a bad idea. Single simple clicks would be best, at least for the outside.

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I walked around the outside quite a bit trying to find those neat little detail shots that really showed what the mill was. The truck out front was a great start but there had to be more. Back on the inside right was this valve plane. It had a very unique look. As you can see it’s not just square or round it’s a combination of octagonal and circular. It was kinda cool. The whole metal side was just a great rust color, it had to be shot. This is one shot that had very little post processing. Instead in the camera i raised the Calvin temperature in the auto white balance to A2 so that it brought out some of those warm yellowish brown colors.

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The truck kept drawing my eye back into it. It was at the very entrance of the place, had to drive around it to park and it was just rust beauty. The skies kept going back from being open blue to cloudy rain. It’s Hawaii that’s what it does here. Naturally by keeping an eye in it i was able to get a decent shot with some clouds. The one side of the truck had some great light on it making a simple clean lead in for the landscape.

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In all honesty i didn’t spend much time in the inside of the building. It was dark, patchy light and truly complicated to shoot. The inside was filled with old parts, siding, tools you name it. The problem was with the amount of available light the best options was either flash or HDR’s. Having little experience in the HDR fields i didn’t have a very creative outlook. As I’m slowly learning from RC, a really good HDR isn’t just a series of images put together to condense the dynamic range of light. It is more about finding what pieces of the photogrpah, composed in the camera, work well togethor when more than one image is merged. In essence instead of composing for one shot, it is using say a bracket of 5 images, composing the best pieces of those five into one. It’s hard to get the head wrapped around but it’s starting to make sense. I still just like the simple clicks though. So i stayed outside a lot. Towards sunset the clouds lifted and we got one nice end to working with the mill. It was a great day!

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Images captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 70-200, AF-S 24-70, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

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