DLWS Kauai – Koloa Sugar Mill

We were privileged to get permission to shoot at the old  Koloa Sugar Mill – said to be the first commercially successful sugar mill of Kauai island.  Founded in 1898, this was the happening place back then; unfortunately, all there is left now are some abandoned structures.  We were told all these will be torn down soon.  Locals call this place the ghost town.  You can hear all kind of weird noises as the wind howls through the mill.

The first thing that greeted us as we entered the gates was an abandoned truck.

Another truck can be found at the far end of the compound; blending into the horizon.

Prior to our arrival, the owner of the mill had the vegetation around the structures trimmed; else it would look pretty much like this; except may be the whole semi would be fully covered up by bushes.

We were given permission to photograph the inside of the mill, but restricted to one room only; for safety reasons.  Prior to the shoot, we were warned about mosquitoes; which really gave me the creeps – I am basically a mosquito magnet.  So I came prepared with long sleeve shirts, long pants, mosquito repellents, … you name it.  Fully protected, I foolishly marched into the room.

Inside of the mill was actually very dark.  Which makes dynamic range a problem.  The trick to a situation like this is bracketing and HDR. Then pray that the exposures are wide enough to recover the details not visible to our eyes.

I processed these with Photomatix and decided to make them black and white.  I feel that it adds to the nostalgia and it reminds me of the mood at the moment.  Unfortunately, I had to make a quick exit from the mill because within seconds after I entered, I started to get mosquito bites.  I was inside 5 minutes max, and I came out with 10 to 15 bites.  Yikes!  The mosquitoes  followed me even I was outside of the room.  Darn!  But I had to hang around so I can get the other side of the abandoned semi.

As usual, I got bored of shooting rusty buildings and trucks really quick.  Then I decided to experiment with some filters I had.  I pulled out my Sigh-Ray Blue and Gold polarizer; look what it did to the windshields – one blue, the other gold.  Pretty weird eh?

Honestly, I really don’t know how to use this filter.  The results are really wacky; it’s kind of a love-hate situation for me.  I was told it works well on water.  May be I will try it some day.

This was pretty much what I saw from the view finder.  The fun part was it made the sky completely saturated in blue; but it also made the color for everything else off.

Anyway, I am glad we did it.  Didn’t like the mosquito part a bit at all.

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