Slide Film for Lava Flows on the Big Island?

Discussion in 'Travel' started by eye-of-searle, Oct 23, 2006.

  1. OK, I know this is one of the those threads that everyone hates to see but, I
    am trying to decide on a couple of films for a trip to Hawaii in December. I
    am planning on taking my digital P&S and my Nikon F100 with various lenses
    loaded with my favorite print film Fuji Reala but I am also toying with the
    idea of some nice saturated slide film like Fuji Provia 100F or maybe Velvia
    50/100. My main main shooting interest with the slide film is the lava flows.
    I have hired a private guide for my wife and I and we will be in Volcanos
    National Park for about 12 hours with him. So, plenty of time for photography
    without the hassle of a group tour. We can take as long as we like whenever
    and wherever we want.

    I plan on shooting Reala most of the time but thought the bright orange lava
    flowing at night would really be special on slide film. I have a little
    experience shooting slide film but never in darker conditions with hot bright
    orange subject matter.

    So any suggestions on a specific slide film? I know Velvia or Provia would
    probably be fine but was hoping someone might have some ideas or personal
    experiences with shooting lava and the use of slide films, Kodak or Fuji. I
    plan on bracketing every shot and I will have a small travel tripod that is
    actually quite sturdy so fairly long exposures should not be a problem.

    Of course I could just go with what I know and stick with Reala. But where's
    the adventure in that?

    Again sorry for the lame "which film should I take" post. I am cringing as I
    write it. Just looking for evening and nighttime specific slide film
    suggestions for lava flows.

  2. Your choices seem fine. Provia is not all that saturated but is a fine chrome. Kodak 100VS packs a punch. Also, your lava pics may feature more than lava. You might have sky and floe landscapes or ocean meets lava = steam images to capture. You may have more creative ideas. Anywhere in Hawaii you may see the OMG!, I have to shoot this scenery or closeup moment. The films you mentioned will be good. Perhaps some Astia will be good for realistic colors too.

    If you don't have a favorite slide film, don't sweat it. Use what seems best for the situation and bracket. Post some pics when you get back!
  3. If you want to play it safe, then stay with what you know. If you'd like to branch out and see what slide film offers, I'd lean towards Provia. Here's why: Since you have only a little experience with slide film, Provia is fairly forgiving as far as slide films go (Remember that one typically has to have exposures right on with this slide film). Contrary to John's initial recommendation, I would shy away from the VS film. It's quite contrasty to begin with and you'll be shooting with very contrasty elements (bright lava and black volcanic rock from previous flows).

    The time to be out there is near dusk. The lava is not particularly visible or photogenic during the day. But as the day's light fades, the reds of the flows are bright reds, yellows and whites.

    Yes, bracket the heck out of these shots. I'm very comfortable with determining the correct exposure for 95% of the shots that I take but I was thrown by this scene as there's nothing to meter on and feel comfortable with. Your digital P&S should help.

    Check out G. Brad Lewis' work in this park, too.

    Lastly, bring a lot of water as you'll be sweating in the heat and be aware that the rubber tips of your tripod are going to melt! The odor that you'll be smelling will be that of your shoe's soles melting but not to worry, they won't be any worse for the wear. The rock is also very sharp as it is so new. If you have diffulties walking on uneven terrain, bring walking poles, etc. to aid in balance since you won't want to fall against this stuff.

    Have fun!

  4. Thanks Bob and John for the tips. I think I will try the Provia and bracket.

    Bob, what increments would you suggest for bracketing in regard to dusk and night shooting the lava. I have read to bracket 1 stop?

    I feel we will be in good hands. We have a pro guide recommended by a friend. It will just be my wife, me and the guide and we will be hiking into the lava flows just before dusk. Bought a cheap travel tripod with the intention of it getting trashed, melted, bent, destroyed if needed. Can't wait!

    I did check our G. Brad Lewis' work and was amazed.

    Thanks, Jim
  5. Jim, I was there last Thanksgiving and used only digital. You might want to check out the Volcanoes NP folder in my portfolio to see a little of the terrain. All of my photos were taken from a helicopter tour which is a fast but expensive way to see the park. I hope to return some day to see it from the ground. All my photos were taken around 8AM, give or take an hour. Have fun. I'll look forward to seeing your results posted here!
  6. Thanks GungaJim,

    I can't wait to get there. I decided to go ahead and spend some pretty good money for a private guide to show us around Volcano National Park. It ain't cheap but I think it will be well worth it. I did not want to be rushed or constrained by a group tour. The guide is also a photographer and has told me he can hopefully get us to some great photo sites. Lava permitting of course.
  7. Kodachrome 64 withOUT a filter of any kind will do fine - sharp.
  8. David, I thought about Kodachrome but it's not the easiest film to scan with my Coolscan V. I guess I should have mentioned my post processing digital workflow.


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