travel with sheets : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hi all,

I am shooting 5x7 BW. Ive just 6 holders. Using Zone system too. Now. When I am far from home and shooting somewhere in forest. So I exposed all the 6 sheets and at night change with a unexposed ones. The problems began know. If I put the exposed ones to some box I can lost the information how to develop them. Understand? So I used a little note papers and write on them the correct developing and put them together with the exposed sheet to the box. When I arrived I just put (I made there 18 sheets) out the sheet together with little "gluenote" and used the defined developing. Is here someone with similar problem ? Some rocommands ?


-- Martin Kapostas (, May 21, 2001


Martin: There is no really convenient solution. What you are doing is a hassle, to be sure, since you can't turn on the lights and read the post-its. Suggestions: (1) Get more film holders. There is a number which is enough, based on your shooting habits. Would 2 more allow you to work, then return to the darkroom, without reloading? 4 more? If you use so much film that this is unaffordable, then I'd suggest (2) Have three boxes to put the film in when you reload at night. You can have a normal box, an N+1 box, and an N-1 box. More boxes if you are pushing and pulling more than plus ones and plus twos, obviously. Or maybe (3) when you are reloading, slightly clip the film corner to identify it as a push or a pull. With the film held for loading (notches upper left, emulsion up) make a tiny cut off the corner top left if it is a push, bottom left a pull, etc. Like I said, none of these are particularly convenient.

-- Kevin Crisp (, May 21, 2001.


I use a similar method for my B+W film. I shoot 8x10, 7x17 and now 12x20, so bringing multiple boxes for film into the field is sometimes impractical and very bulky. Additionally, with the BTZS method, you can easily develop between +1, +2, etc., so I like to keep close tabs on the negatives.

So, I use small Post-It notes from 3M. I use a hole punch to put a version of roman numerals on the Post-It. (Sticky edge up, bottom right is ones, bottom left is fives, and left side is tens.) If you punch the edge of the note, you can drag your finger over the punchhole, and count the number of punches. I punch a half circle out of the edge of the Post-It. You can punch the notes in the roomlight and then get them all set up for putting on the film. You could even prepunch the notes if you are travelling light.

Then, take notes in a notepad as to what each sheet corresponds to as far as development, and any other notes you wish. I use a Palm device, so my notes are all recorded for later use.

When you get back, write up a piece of paper with each sheet of film, and the development required. You can then group the sheets together for processing. Then, turn off the lights, pull the negatives and load them into you preferred processing tank, tray, or tube. Once you have pulled them from the box, cross them off the list. Since each sheet has a Post-It on it, you don't have to worry about renumbering, or be too concerned if you get them out of order, although for obvious reasons, you should try to keep them in order.

I just finished processing 40+ 7x17 negatives that I filed that way on a trip, and it worked out perfectly, so I think I will use this method until something better comes to my attention.

Some notes on this method:

Don't forget to pull the Post-It off the back of the film before processing. I check once I have the lights on to make sure I have the proper number of Post-Its sitting on the conuter. I then figure out the development ime, and write it on one of the Post-Its, and stick it to the outside of the Jobo tube

Put the Post-It on the back side of the film, to avoid leaving any adhesive residue on the emulsion side.

The hole punch is better than pencil notes on the Post-It because you can feel them in the dark, and ensure you have the right negative.

Don't use Post-Its that are too large, they become easier to accidentally pull off the film while you are working on the stack of undeveloped film. I use the smallest I can get that will give me the room to punch (the second smallest size, I think.)

I have not noticed any residue or foging or any other negative side effect of this method so far, but you may find that the adhesive will give of light when you pull it off the film. The 3M adhesive does not do this, but some adhesives do, so be careful.


-- Michael Mutmansky (, May 21, 2001.

All LF photographers with limited resources (that's just about all of us) have this problem. I do a variation on Kevin's method. I use the film cardboards that come in the film envelopes as separators in a single film box. N-2 on the bottom, N-1, then N. The filmholders are marked at exposure, and then put between the proper separators.

-- Joe Lipka (, May 21, 2001.

Black bags of the sort used for photographic paper are less bulky than boxes. I travel with one or two spare boxes, a roll of masking tape, and several of these bags, which I keep inside the spare box. Each bag is labeled for planned development, and I might have separate bags for, say, a series that I want to be sure to develop as one batch. If you don't have enough of these, you can purchase them from B&H. They are packaged by Delta.

-- David Goldfarb (, May 21, 2001.

I just wrote something about this, posted on the main page. On my last trip, I exposed 170 sheets of film and kept 80 as backups. I shoot color, but the ideas are easily transposed to BW and ZS.

-- Q.-Tuan Luong (, May 21, 2001.

The above methods work well. I have used them, but alas always err-- comes from changing film too late into the evening.So I devised this plan. Imagine you are looking at the negative with the notch code in the lower right corner. That is a N development. Snip the bottom right notch; that is an N-1.; Top right notch n-2. Bottom left notch n+1, upper left notch N+2. Extreme N-, both bottom and top right corners notched. No I have not cut into the image area, nor have I left notches in the film box to scratch the film. I did practice with some very outdated film and bad negs so I got the feel of notching. The system works, for me. Bob

-- Bob Moulton (, May 21, 2001.

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