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Star-Bulletin Features

Friday, February 9, 2001

Photographs from Dennis Callan's
travels are displayed in collage form similar
to this in his exhibit,"World at a Glance."
Can you place these photographs in the world?
Answers are here.

Dennis Callan photo

What I did on my vacation

A world traveler uses his camera
to capture images of the world --
and turns them into works of art

By Burl Burlingame

HE came, he saw, he took a picture. Actually, thousands of pictures. A smorgasbord of traveling images by the Hawaii Geographic Society's Dennis Callan is on display through March 3 at Borders Books & Music, Ward Center.

As president of the HGS, Callan has traveled all over the world as a tour leader for nearly two decades. In addition to capturing still images, he also shoots video for his TV show, "Worldtraveler."

"I prefer slide film for purely technical reasons -- I'm always putting on multimedia presentations that require three or four projectors going simultaneously, and slides are the best way of doing that," explained Callan.

Dennis Callan

"I see people all the time on
tour with cameras locked away in their
suitcases. The idea is to preserve a
memory, so take pictures of what
you want to remember."


Bullet What: "World at a Glance," photo exhibit by Dennis Callan
Bullet Place: Borders, Ward Centre
Bullet Hours: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily through March 3
Bullet Opening reception: 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday; there will be light refreshments and a short video presentation
Bullet Call: 591-8895

Slides are notoriously fickle when it comes to getting the right exposure, and after using Kodachrome for years, Callan has settled on Ektachrome 400.

"It's a versatile film, fast enough to shoot almost anything, and I really like the blue skies it gives. I do most of my pictures in cities, and you need to be prepared for all sorts of lighting conditions."

The age of digital photography is simplifying all that, said Callan. "You can shoot pictures, then immediately edit out the ones you don't want, and essentially the 'film' is free.

Dennis Callan photo

Dennis Callan photo

Dennis Callan photo

Dennis Callan photo

Dennis Callan photo

Dennis Callan photo

Dennis Callan photo

Dennis Callan
Open-air markets make colorful shots no matter
where they are around the globe.

"They even make 'digital wallets' now that hold 6 gigs worth of pictures! And if the lighting is a little off, you can fix it in PhotoShop on a computer."

His advice for traveling photographers, both digital and analog, is to shoot, shoot, shoot. "I see people all the time on tour with cameras locked away in their suitcases. The idea is to preserve a memory, so take pictures of what you want to remember.

"Cameras don't have to be fancy, but it helps to have some creative control, which you can't get with fully automatic cameras. Like, you need to deal with backlighting on occasion, or you need to turn on the flash in daylight as a fill-light."

Callan's exhibit uses nearly 2,000 images arranged by location, printed from his computer and juxtaposed artfully in busy compositions, similar to his slide shows.

Callan has been a world traveler since the age of 4. "I lived in England, California, Long Island; by the time I went to college in Rhode Island, woo!, I was out of breath already."

The world traveler put down roots in Hawaii in 1967 simply because, he said, "Hawaii is so special. It's a whole world in itself, and it keeps getting better and better. It's getting crowded, but with that comes better restaurants, better shopping, more culture, more arts."

Even so, he says, "I live on this rock so it's good to get out once in a while.

"Time on an airplane is the one big hurdle we all have to face, and a lot of people complain about it, but I see it as a time to relax."

Callan says he loves leading tours from Hawaii because "our travelers are so mellow. They're good to travel with."

He's been to Europe about 25 times in 15 years and says his favorite cities include:

Bullet Rome and Venice: Cities known for their history, food, casual ambience and preservation efforts. "There are wonderful old neighborhoods that transport you back in time four centuries."

Bullet Paris: "It's the most fabulous city in Europe due to its comprehensive, uniform beauty. I mean, I love New York, but I think Paris has the edge because of its architecture, abundance of little parks, food, art and great neighborhoods.

"I really loved London, but over the past 15, 20 years, it's really gotten crowded. It's so popular, tourism has doubled. We're loving it to death."

In addition to picking up photography tips over the years, he's also learned to maximize vacation pleasure by avoiding crowds at attractions' peak hours and getting off the main drags in favor of side streets where discoveries await. "It just maximizes the whole experience," he said.

Callan generally avoids winter chills by staying home from late November through early April, which gave him time to pore through the thousands of slides in his photo show. But already, he's rarin' to go. His next trip, from April 17 to May 5, is his favorite, hitting Rome, Florence, Venice, Lucerne, Paris and London.

"That's the perfect trip," he said. "I never get tired of it."


Where in the world?

The photographs were shot at these sites:

1. Bronze jockey at the Athens Archaeological Museum in Greece.

2. Sculpture at a train station in London.

3. Roses at Berwick Street Market in London.

4. Ramses sculpture in Memphis, Egypt.

5. "42nd Street" production in London.

6. Boats in Mykonos, Greece.

7. Mule in Mykonos, Greece.

8. Bundled up at the summit of Haleakala, Maui.

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