Behind the Scenes – Twin Falls, Maui Hawaii

Fine Art Photography

I thought I’d share with you a look behind the scene on one of my latest releases – Twin Falls. With the first snow of the season falling outside (its not even Thanksgiving yet!) and the temperature dropping because of the polar vortex or something or another, my mind has been wandering back to last year’s trip to to the Hawaiian island of Maui.

I hadn’t been back to Hawaii since I was born and even then I only spent four months there before my Dad was sent to Vietnam and my Mom moved us back to Connecticut to be closer to the support of family. It took me over 40 years to get back to the tropical islands of Hawaii and I made the most of our time there. We stayed on Maui and explored just about every inch of it from the top of Mt. Haleakala with wind driven hail filling up our ear cavities to the beautiful sandy beaches and muddy jungle trails.

The Hāna Highway is a 64.4-mile (103.6 km) long stretch of Hawaii Routes 36 and 360 which connects Kahului with the town of Hāna in east Maui. On the east after Kalepa Bridge, the highway continues to Kīpahulu as Hawaii Route 31 (the Piilani Highway). Although Hāna is only about 52 miles (84 km) from Kahului, it takes about 2.5 hours to drive when no stops are made as the highway is very winding and narrow and passes over 59 bridges, 46 of which are only one lane wide.[5] There are approximately 620 curves along Route 360 from just east of Kahului to Hāna, virtually all of it through lush, tropical rainforest. Many of the concrete and steel bridges date back to 1910 and all but one are still in use.

One of the first sites along the Road to Hana is Twin Falls.  Twin Falls is on private land owned by the Wailele Farm but is open to the public.  There is a small parking lot at the trail entrance as well as a cute little food stand selling smoothies and fresh coconuts.

 

In honor of the traditional uses of Ho’olawa valley, Wailele Farm – Twin Falls Maui is dedicated to keep free access open to the public as an inspiration for all.

The trail takes one to the first falls which we found full of swimmers so we decided to hike on to the second falls.

Sell Art Online

When we finally reached Twin Falls, conditions were less than ideal and down right challenging.  Other hikers as well as the rough terrain of overground jungle and slippery rocks and mud made it tough to find a good composition that included decent foreground as well as keeping people out of the shot.  Bright sun lit the upper jungle canopy but created deep shadows round the pool.  Straight out of the camera, the RAW color version of the image is dull and lifeless.  Not exactly the mystical landscape quality I pre-visualized.

 

The before shot. This photograph has a lot of problems.

The before shot. This photograph has a lot of problems.

Here is a breakdown of some of the problems I had to overcome in in post processing.

1.  People.  A steady stream of hikers were coming and going from the spot.  Some of them ventured into the water but they were mostly likely to walk along the banks and have their picture taken under the waterfall.  They went right but I went left and positioned myself across from the waterfall finding a fallen tree as a good foreground subject.  The tree was nicely illuminated by a shaft of light which penetrated the deep jungle over the pool.  I was using a six second exposure to blur the waterfall and give the pool a calm feeling so it was almost inevitable that some would move into the frame during the exposure.  The frame I eventually used was the one after this one when the hikers were out of the frame.  In this shot you can see the hikers blurring as they move during the exposure.

2.  The dynamic range of the scene was high between the bright highlights on the water at the top of the falls and the deep dark cave under the falls.  I had to crop out some of the top as well as dodge and burn to lighten shadows and darken highlights.

3.  Despite using a tripod and trying to level the camera before the shot, the legs were sunk in jungle mud and managed to move out of level.  The “horizon” was leveled in post.

4. Leaves and debris.  I found the floating stuff on the water distracting so I removed most of it in post processing.

5. Muddy water.  The water in the pool was cloudy and rather uninviting.  Keep in mind that these waterfalls in a rainforest come and go during rainstorms and all sorts of mud and silt from the jungle finds its way into the water.  Plus human activity from walking around the water and swimming in the pools stirs up the muck.  By going with black and white the water becomes just a liquid and you don’t have the color cues to tell you its not crystal clear blue water.

6. What the heck is that?  Some weird shape in the lower left.  Either my lens cap wasn’t oriented correctly or something else crept into the frame.   I cropped to 8×10 aspect and eliminated this distracting element.

This image sat on my hard drive for about 10 months before I attempt to work on it.  The original just looked so terrible that I almost never saw its potential.  I’m glad I gave it a second look!

…..

About the Hana Highway or The Road to Hana

Maui’s famous road of twist and turns and over 600 turns within 52 miles plus forty something one lane bridges makes for an adventure of a lifetime.  Every turn is another stunning view be it waterfall, jungle or seaside cliff plunging down into the ocean.  I’ve been on the Beartooth Highway in Montana which traverses a mountain range and I’ve driving up Mt. Washington in the White Mountains of New Hampshire but neither road prepared me for the crazy roller coaster ride that is the Hana Highway.  At some points the road has a posted speed limit of 10 miles an hour because you simply can not see what’s coming around the bend ahead of you.  Other times as the passenger you can literally stick your hand out the window and touch the cliff wall.  Add to this the limited parking at popular stops, the back up of cars behind you and the local flying down the road in late model pickup trucks full of coconuts and it adds up to the true white knuckle ride.

The maps all warn people not to travel beyond Hana.  But rather to stay over (very much recommended) or head back the way you came preferably before it gets dark.  Some rental car companies even state that you can’t take their cars on the other side.  Mostly I think because they don’t want to have to send a repair truck to find you if you get stuck.  We didn’t head the warning….

…Wanting to see the sun setting on other side of the island we headed out in our little lawnmower of a compact car and wished we had brought along some window cleaner.  One stretch of the road hugs a series of sea cliffs that plunge down to the ocean.  How anyone in their right mind thought they could build a road here is beyond me.  Besides the terror of the drop off and the rough road conditions, at one point we turned the corner to be blinded by the setting sun.  We couldn’t see a thing!  Right at the point of a hairpin turn.  Thank goodness no one was following us or they’d have slammed into the back of us and probably shoved us off the cliff.

I was glad we ventured on the backside because we were able to see this amazing church just as the sun was setting.

Hawaii Photography Prints

 

Formatting Artwork for Print on Demand sites

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Available on Fine Art America

Available on Fine Art America

I’ve been offering my artwork as open editions on a number of online “print on demand” sites.  These sites serve as storage for the artist’s high resolution files, to be printed as high quality Giclée or archival ink jet prints on paper, canvas, metal, acrylic and even on products such as greeting cards, pillows, phone cases and clocks.

Usually the arrange is a win win all around because it allows the artist to reach a larger audience for their work, showcase a deep catalog or portfolio (unlike at a show or gallery where one is limited by wall space).  I currently have open edition offerings on Fine Art America, Society6, RedBubble and SaattchiArt.  This are strictly unsigned, unnumbered open editions or reproductions suitable for decorating ones home.  For collectors wanting limited editions I offer them here.

So I have found Fine Art America to be the most flexible in terms of ordering a large selection of mats and frames, as well as canvases, metal prints and more.  Fine Art America was built as a front end to pictureframes.com which is the online store for Graphik Dimensions Ltd. ofHigh Point NC who have been framing artwork for artist for something like 65 years.  They do an excellent job in fulfilling the orders from Fine Art America and while you don’t get 100% customization of your artwork, it get rather close.  I’ve been inspired by a number of my customers as I get to see the final creation as orders come through Fine Art America.  For example on farm landscape was ordered with a mossy green mat and a beautiful hardwood frame.  Had I done it myself I probably stuck to the standard museum type of combination, white mat, simple black frame, but the customer’s order was an outstanding combination.  I was happy to see it done up so nicely.

Now other sites typically have less framing options.  For example Society6Society6 is a very beautifully designed website.  It really puts Fine Art America to shame with its design.  The artwork looks outstanding and everything seems hip and modern.  Society6 also stands out in terms of their product offerings.  They have some really cool products like throw pillows, laptop skins, mugs and they handcraft the items to order as they come in – all in house.  Their weakness comes in the framing department.  Unlike Fine Art America who choose to offer a dizzying array of framing options, Society6 pairs their framing and matting down to some standard sizes.  No doubt this keeps the inventory headache to a manageable level but unfortunately it leads to some weird matting of some sizes of prints.  I just started paying attention to this recently and some of the ways their back end system tries to mat my work is just horrendous.

pillow_promo

At this point I’m sworn to myself only to upload square formatted images to Society6 going forward.  They seem to be able to handle squares both in the portfolio views (squares display the largest on the pages) and in the product offerings.   Plus so many of my images look great on pillows and clocks which require a square file, so its easy to offer these along with my prints.

http://edward-fielding.artistwebsites.com/

http://society6.com/EdwardMFielding

Welcome to Downtown Metropolitian Etna New Hampshire

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Copyright by Edward M. Fielding

Copyright by Edward M. Fielding

Does it feel strange to have to give directions to someone in this modern age?  In the age of smartphones and GPS units?   Well whenever I have to give directions to someone, like the gravel delivery man or a lumberyard delivery (for some reason these guys just do it old school), I have to tell them to travel through “Downtown Metropolitan Etna and then look for the SECOND Dogford Road. Not the one buy the cemetery but the one past Hanover Center green.  And don’t miss it because then you’ll be cursing me when you end up in Lyme.

You see Dogford Road is a five mile loop with two entrances on Hanover Center Road.  Plenty of times I’ve had a UPS driver or someone mutter under their breath about driving the long way around.  Hey, at least its a scenic trip past beautiful farms and woods!

Back to Downtown Metropolitan Etna, what’s there you might ask?  Why gives it such a lofty nickname.  Well long before Hanover, NH became such a bustling little village with all of its stores, restaurants and Dartmouth College, Hanover Center was the center of town.

Hanover Center today is just a big white church, a green where they have Oxen pulls and charity auctions and an old car parade each summer at Founder’s Day, a cemetery and bunch of nice old houses around the green.  In other words a whole lot of nothing.

Etna Center in contrast is the big city.  It sports a post office inside the old school house, a branch of the Hanover library and a general store where you can get anything from a hot lunch, coffee, beer, sandwiches and even video rentals.   There is also a B&B and some beautiful houses.

Etna Center also boasts a scenic farm complete with a beautiful old barn, cows, chickens and a farm stand in the summer.  You can pick up fresh eggs here and gardeners can buy big old potato bags full of aged cow manure.  I stop by all the time to take pictures of this beautiful spot as you can see here:

DOWNTOWN METRO ETNA GALLERY

 

ETNA FACTOIDS:

Etna, originally named “Mill Village”, is a small unincorporated community within the town of Hanover, New Hampshire, in the United States. It is located in southwestern Grafton County, approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) east of Hanover’s downtown and 2.5 mi (4.0 km) south of the village of Hanover Center, on Mink Brook. Etna has a separate ZIP code (03750) from the rest of Hanover, as well as its own fire station, church, and library.

Commerce revolves around the Etna General Store and the Etna Post Office for the 814 residents and occasional visitor in what a small blue-and-white sign in a yard along the main road humorously calls “Metropolitan Downtown Etna”. The Appalachian Trail passes a mile or so north of the village before it turns northeast to cross Moose Mountain on its way to Lyme. Etna can be accessed from NH Rt. 120 via the Greensboro Road or Great Hollow Road (Etna Road, north of the Lebanon exit from Interstate 89), or from Hanover via Trescott Road (E. Wheelock Street).

Etna was the site of the 2001 murders of Dartmouth College professors Half and Susanne Zantop, dubbed the Dartmouth Murders.

Every summer, the village holds the Old Timer’s fair on the Hanover Center green, 2 miles (3 km) north of the center of Etna. For many years, Dave Laware, former operator of the Etna General Store, organized a parade consisting of local residents riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles (along with the Etna Fire Department trucks and other colorful vehicles), with their children riding behind them scattering candy to the crowd. The legend “Etna General Store – Warm Beer, Lousy Food, Poor Attitudes” appeared on shirts worn by all of the riders

Notable Residents include C. Everett Koop, 13th U.S. Surgeon General,  Jodi Picoult, author (My Sister’s KeeperThe Pact, and Nineteen Minutes), Mary Roach, non-fiction author, Edward Fielding fine art photographer, author The Last Resort photographs of Maui.