Helpful hint... : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

As my 5x7 is fairly old, nineteen hundred and thirty eight, some of the holders and slides were getting to the point of not working very well. The easy fix was to pull the slides out and rub both sides with a piece of crumpled up waxed paper. Also doing the outside edges of the holders makes them slide in and out of the camera nicely. Here`s the good part, at this point it does not appear to attract more dust than usual and seems to cut down on static electricity, which may in turn cut down on dust. Those of you that use large wooden holders may see the greatest benefit, as there is more surface area to deal with. I just tried this today, so your actual results may vary...

-- Steve Clark (, January 19, 2001


Thanks Steve. And I like thie idea of a "Helpful Hint's" thread too.

Here's mine. While travelling a month ago, I realized that Murphy's Law is no joke. I had two 8X10 dark slides crack on me. Using black cloth tape on both sides of the crack, I was able to make them light tight for the remainder of the trip.

-- William Levitt (, January 20, 2001.

My "helpful hint" is to suggest bringing a small fold up chair to a field shoot.

I usually want to have the camera as close to the ground as possible - just for stability reasons. Then I can take my little tripod camp chair and sit and have a good look though the groundglass. I find that when I'm in an awkward position or I'm kneeling on a pebble, then I rush through the shot. And to me, "that's good enough" has no place in LF photography. Since I'm taking more time for composition, there is also an opportunity for my eyes to get used to the dark under the focusing cloth. It's amazing how much more you can see when your eyes have adjusted to the dark.

-- David Grandy (, January 20, 2001.

Good hints, everyone.

Mine is one that seems fairly obvious, but most people never think about it until they have run into the problem.

I put a cable release on each lens, and curl it around the lens when stored away. This keeps the cable release handy, and avoids the inevitable searching through the bag for the CR.

However, even so, they sometimes fall off the lens and into the brush or whatever, normally at dusk, when it will be lost forever, unless you get bright RED or ORANGE cable releases. If you have a bunch of older black ones, you can wrap a couple of wraps of bright reflective or fluorescent tape on each one to help you avoid the loss.

This has saved me at least three losses in the last year and a half alone...


-- Michael Mutmansky (, January 20, 2001.

Here's my little piece of advice... It's always nice to carry a small portfolio of your work when you go out to shoot. Ten decent contact prints in a baggie can work wonders.

***** It gives curious onlookers something to do while you are working. *****It may result in a sale or a job.***** Most important of all, it helps explain what you are trying to accomplish. A great aid when you need permission to take a photograph.

-- Dave Richhart (, January 20, 2001.

My hint is, be careful where you park!

I travel through central South Dakota about twice a year on business. There is a photo opportunity that I have been wanting for quite some time. I have tried several trips but either couldn't schedule myself in the area at the right time of the day, weather didn't cooperate, etc. I had one decent shot but was not pleased with the composition. Scheduled my trip last summer with an extra day of slack time to assure the shot. Park my car, hike about a mile up the hill through the weeds. I set up my camera and realise why the composition was as it was. MY CAR WOULD BE IN THE SHOT. Back down the hill move the car further down the road, hike back up the hill, light has faded. Oh well, there's always next year.

-- Dave Schneider (, January 21, 2001.

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