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Twenty+ Years of Architecture and Large Format HABS/HAER Photography taught me this:

Gear - www.largeformatphotography.info
My top 12 gear lessons learned exposing thousands of 4x5 and 5x7 sheets for work:

• I always use a geared head.

• I have a cable release on every lens.

• I have a LEE filter ring on every lens (for 100mm glass filters).

• The edges of my lens boards are color coded so I can recognize a lens from color and so can my assistant. (White=55, Yellow=72, Black=90, Magenta= 120, Green=180) (300 and 450 are black but on a separate long camera)

• I Put a carpenter's nail bag on my tripod that fits filters or a meter or whatever.

• I use a film-pouch that holds 2-3 film holders clipped to the tripod to keep them out of the light while I get ready (this is a 10" laptop pouch, but finding one that zips on the top is tricky).

• I put a Post-it note on my ground glass every time I execute a swing or tilt (so I remember to zero my camera for my next photo)

• I no longer hit my film holders with the bare side of my dust brush, I now have wrapped the brush with a multiple layers of electrical tape. (I have many old, dented holders from back at Brooks)

• I put cold shoes all over my camera to hold flags and accessories.

• I wrapped my bellows with an extra white fabric wrap to keep it cooler and protect my bellows from getting skewered by a branch, etc. (I'm trademarking it the BellowsCondom)

• I often travel with a Burro. (Or a wagon will do)

• I always wear an orange surveyors safety-vest and have an orange dark-cloth to stand in the street and look official. (less important for portrait and boudoir shooters)(The surveyors vests have a huge pouch on the back that is perfect for the dark cloth)

Most of these tips come from my on-location HABS/HAER photo workflow where I will capture 20 to 30 views a day.

These tips won't be for everyone, not for every genre, probably not relevant in the studio.

PS: If you have never heard of HABS, check out the Historic American Buildings Survey collection at the Library of Congress here: [just search your town or county or a landmark like Golden Gate Bridge

I'm looking forward to your opinions and observations and I hope to pick up some more tricks from all of you!


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