Mango Madness!
Mango Madness! 19 varieties...

Take 700 fruit trees. 19 varieties of Mango. Plus, throw in some Polynesian dancing, and what do you get? Sheer Mango Madness! The Big Island adventures continues. This time Loni checks out the ever popular–even famous some might say–South Kona Fruit Stand perched hillside overlooking scenic Captain Cook. I am not making these names up. All true… of course.

Owner Beth Smith followed her dream, when she and her husband decided to buy the fruit stand seven years ago. The move from New York City to the Big Island would result in quite the change of lifestyle, not to mention the prospects of working the land, and growing a business. Talk about a change of career. Beth hit it off with Loni almost immediately, and I suspect this is largely because of her gregarious and warm personality. You might even call her a passion fruit.

Beth’s husband, who apparently had a mid-life crisis, played a big role in their relocation. “Very cleverly, he packed all my belongings and my in the container and shipped it all here,” she recalls. “So I couldn’t change my mind!”

Unfortunately we only visited the stand towards the end of our trip, otherwise I suspect we’d be eating mango and papaya 7/24. It seems like when we weren’t searching for Sushi, we were searching for fruit.

Loni with owner Beth Smith
Loni with owner Beth Smith

While I watched World Cup Loni would hold mango taste-offs. You can see some of that after our visit to the shop. Warning: slurping and carnal animal fruit-eating behavior caught on tape. Pop quiz: what’s a White–please no squeeze–Sapote?

Also in this video, previews of what’s in store as the Kona tour includes stops to check out shave ice, a Macadamia manufacturing plant, a Luau (where Loni inexplicably ends up performing on stage before thousands!), a literal pig of a feast, volcanoes, fireworks, and much more. Who said Hawaii was a tranquil getaway? SSC style is all about the action, the people making it happen, and the unexpected.

Shooting video up and down the island was more of a chore than normal, courtesy of a certain torn MCL. I hobbled behind Loni; limping through the northern rain forests, trying to keep up as she headed to the zip line. That my hockey injury happened just two days before our work/vacation was a bit of a letdown… but the show must go on. And on it did! In future episodes you’ll see the Luau we attended. Not surprisingly I tell myself, we end up on stage, me filming Loni performing at the show in front of thousands of tourists. How do I get into these situations?

On the technical side, the Rode Videomic is still my best audio friend. Two problems though: must watch battery life, and rubber band noise. Early in the interview with Beth, the 9-volt was dying. As a result the pickup is not great, although I switched it midway through and it reverted to its normal range. Also, the little plastic bands that hold the mic in place, and provide a shock absorber-like mechanism, started to make noise. So when I was filming, the mic would pick-up little squeaking noises. It ruined some footage, at least the audio portion. The solution? Olive oil! I’m sure WD-40 or regular oil would be even better, but we didn’t have any. Net-net, problem solved. Note I cheated with the establishing shot of the fruit stand: not enough b-roll, so improvised in Premiere Pro (not the first time… why don’t I ever learn?). Meanwhile, the Canon T2i is a brilliant piece of kit as they might say over the pond.

I used to detest all the manual focusing you can occasionally see in the video. I made the decision when cutting these to leave some of them in. Think of it as indie cool. Or art school. It’s all the rage, you know, The Office style camerawork. I know, I have a long way to go, and a follow-focus rig wouldn’t hurt, but one step at a time. Next up on the accessory list: Zoom H4 field audio recorder (with XLR) for better on location audio. All in time.

Don’t forget: Squeeze your honey, not the fruit.

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Clinton Stark
Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear