"Sleeping bag" film holder loading

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I have read in a couple of places of folks use their sleeping bag for loading/unloading film holders. I would, of course, assume this is done at night. Beyond that I'm wondering if there's a special technique required and if it's a viable method? Advice, as always, is appreciated. Roger

-- Roger Rouch (rrouch@msn.com), May 05, 2000


Plenty of photographers have done it either routinely or in a pinch. I have only done it when nothing else was available--at night for sure and wrapped further in ponchos, dark cloths or other light barriers. There's a lot of lint down there which is trouble. You can do a mock up trial at home using photographic paper in the holders instead of film--then develop the paper to test for leaks. My best method involves making a replica of a changing bag out of the sleeping bag and other fabrics that you will have along.

-- C. W. Dean (cwdean@erols.com), May 05, 2000.

My advice is don't. Only use this method when they are no alternatives. it is better to save for even a crappy 'delux' bag from jessops -fine foe loading 35mm or 120/220 film into spirals fro developing, but a bit of a bugger for loading sheet film, I feel it neds to be a bit bigger, still I'd recomend the harrison changing tents as I have heard good things about them. Or another way is to track down one of those collapsable darkroom tents, now that will make it Very easy to load sheet film in and out of darkslides.

-- David Kirk (David_J_Kirk@hotmail.com), May 06, 2000.

If you're out in the middle of nowhere, at night with no moon, you can change in your tent. Dust is a monster problem when you do this. I remove everything from the tent and swab it out with damp cloths. Then I remove the outer layer of clothing,lay out a couple of fresh garbage bags cut open along side and bottom (inside up, of course,), lay everything out, blow out the light and begin loading. Holders were taken from their individual zip-loc bags, unloaded (which is not so dust critical) and cleaned with blower and natural-bristle brush shortly before. Inside the sleeping bag is not only hot and uncomfortable, but asking for dust spots. If you need it darker in your tent, drape those sleeping bags you took out over the top. I've had fair results doing this. However, I use this only as a last resort or when I am really far from civilization. I look for friendly photo shops with darkrooms or motel bathrooms with no windows first. Hope this helps, ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (ScudderLandreth@compuserve.com), May 06, 2000.

I know its not an ideal way to get the holders loaded...but it would be terribly expensive to own enough film holders for any situation. How can you anticipate how many you will need anyhow???

I have had good luck with using a fresh garbage bag as a changing-bag while inside the sleeping bag. Seems to help keep the dust bunnies under control.

It's not an ideal situation, but the entire experience of 8x10 photography seems to be a series of compromises. Never enough money, always too much to pack, usually too windy, occasionally an irate land-owner...

But when everything works it's tough to beat!

-- Dave Richhart (pritprat@erinet.com), May 07, 2000.

Your coat or anorak makes a better makeshift changing bag IMHO. It's usually slightly less dusty and more light-proof than a sleeping bag. You put your arms up the sleeves from the wrist ends and weigh the coat down with rocks anything that comes to hand to avoid it lifting off the ground. I've got away with it the couple of times I've been forced to use it without any fogging. (Once in shaded sunlight to unjam a 35mm camera with the film pulled off the cassette.)

If lack of space for filmholders is the problem, and you use 5x4, why not use a Graphmatic back? The slight concern I had about film plane accuracy hasn't proved to be a problem in reality.

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), May 08, 2000.

Sleeping bag makes a really bad changing tent. It's long and narrow, and there is no place to stick your hands in... Besides the dust, the major problem is static discharge. Most good sleeping bags are entirely synthetic nowadays (except those with down filling), and will light up with sparks every time you move around. Try this on a dry dark night - quite a show :)... Jacket will work better...

-- Andrei Frolov (andrei@phys.ualberta.ca), May 10, 2000.

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