I’ll be real: 2016 and I are off to a rocky start. The day before Easter Sunday, my grandfather lost his battle to cancer after months of high hopes, quoted medical statistics, and ineffective chemotherapy. It was the most drawn-out goodbye my family ever had the misfortune of experiencing, and it’s left a gaping hole in our hearts and homes. Every day since his passing, I’ve made sure to replay in my head the way he’d say “Love ya” when he said goodbye. I don’t want to forget that.
Although our trip to Maui was planned a few months before my grandfather’s passing, it’s a welcome escape. Our friends Shannon and Luke are getting hitched in Lahaina, so we have the perfect excuse to get the hell out of dodge and leave the stress of work and planning a wedding. We never really need an excuse to pack up and go, but when it's convenient, it's really convenient.
Since I’m doing myself a favor and no longer stressing about making every trip or outing a photo op, I’m keeping the bag light this trip. No DSLR, no backpack of lenses, not even a real camera bag to begin with. I have my secondhand Minolta x-370, five rolls of Ektar 100, and a GoPro Hero 3.
Along with the standard “nifty 50” lens, I packed my 28mm 2.8 wide angle. The lens is nothing more than a $20 last minute find on ebay, so it certainly has its bugs, but nothing truly undesirable like fungus or haze.
A lot of film nerds would advise me to take my medium format SLR instead because “it’s so much better for landscapes,” and “it offers so much more detail,” but I’d rather not ruin my experience hiking on Maui’s gorgeous trails with a metal brick around my neck. Plus, the Minolta has already seen me through dirt, rocks, and water; there’s no fear of taking it into swimming holes because honestly...who cares if I have to replace it? A couple of hours on eBay and I’m back in the game. And in defense of 35mm for landscapes: it only sucks if you’re trying to print gallery-sized images. I barely expect my trip photos to make it past a computer screen, let alone printed, matted, and framed.
Ektar 100 120mm was the film I used on last year’s trek to Colorado. Knowing its tendency to shift a bit on the warmer side, I’m excited to see what it produces in the 35mm format within a tropical location. My hope is that it doesn’t mute the beautiful green foliage too much.
My next setup is the GoPro Hero 3. This was a birthday gift from almost three years ago, and I’m just now getting around to using it this for more than just a fun fisheye picture here and there (sorry, Ty). I was told there’s not much of a learning curve for action cams but that didn’t stop me from scratching my head. One off-brand LCD screen and 3-way mount later, I’m confident that we’ll get some fantastic underwater and landscape shots with this power machine.
Although two cameras may seem a bit excessive, this setup is pretty light compared to what I’m used to carrying. I wanted a combo that met at the intersection of user-friendliness and quality. I’ve spent too many vacations chimping my DSLR and fearing damage during otherwise fun activities. Part of my hiatus from paid work is dedicated to finding and fine-tuning my other available photographic methods, and subsequently discovering what is actually fun for me.
Until my next post, aloha!