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Packing Up

Lesson 14 from: Introduction to Large Format Photography

Daniel Gregory

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Lesson Info

14. Packing Up

Lesson Info

Packing Up

Okay, so, once that piece is done, I'm now ready to disassemble everything, get packed up, and move on. So the question becomes then well, this looks like a lot of stuff. From a pack and carry standpoint, what do we actually need to do that? So I'm going to go ahead and get all my gear. I'm going to get it assembled. So Gina, can you bring me that backpack? So I just have a regular camera backpack. So this is just an old camera backpack. Padded dividers. So I have little cases that my lenses fit in and then I have a little padded case that my camera fits in. I used wraps for a number of years. I just happened to find these from an online seller who was clearing out inventory, and this holds my camera. So basically if I was going to pack the camera up, what I would do is I basically have to take the camera and before it comes off the tripod, I take everything back to zero the camera. I pull the lens off. The lens is going to get packed away into its little case. So lenses get packed in ...

their individual cases. Lens caps would go on, all those pieces. Bag gets put back in here. I usually don't carry more than one or two lenses just because of the weight, so one or two lenses. The camera now has the lens off. I make sure that there's no film left in it. And then I'm going to go ahead and basically close the camera down. And if it was on a rail camera, I'm going to cinch it up and get it back in its case, but everything gets loosened up and then these field cameras basically just fold up. So it will get all nice and folded up. I'm going to take it off the tripod and that goes into its little case. Case gets closed up. If I was just to put it in the backpack, I would still close it up, tighten things down. Goes in the backpack. Now you can see I took up about two-thirds of my backpack, half my backpack. So between that and the lenses, I'm pretty much locked off there. The other thing I have is this is where my film sits. So in this case I've got five film holders. If I'm working in the studio, I just use them like this but if I'm going outside in the field, I like to put my film holders into quart size Ziploc bags or plastic bags because this way I can keep rain and dust off of them. So if it's raining out, I can leave it in its plastic sleeve and I don't have to worry about getting dirty or dust. When I'm traveling on the road, if I don't have a pelican case, my film all goes into a cooler 'cause dust, if you go down a dusty road or something like that, dust will blow into the car. So I usually keep my film in a cooler. But the film I usually keep in there, that gets packed away like that. Dark cloth. So the other piece I like to do in packing is I like to take my dark cloth because this is a little bit of extra padding and I have to have this. So this isn't frivolous padding. But I like to cover my camera and my camera lenses so they're covered across like that. This is a little bit of extra padding for the camera and the lenses. This is the most fragile part of the whole system so I want to make sure they have as much padding as possible. Other than that I'm going to have my meter and the other components I'm going to have, I'm going to put my focusing element. I'm going to take and put my (zips) thing that measures things, tape measure. I'm going to put that in there. So each little thing gets its own little component. The thing I would do when you get started out, I would recommend so you don't have any crazy problems going forward is a little checklist. So you're going to have a notebook because you're going to be writing your exposures down that you shot on film 414 was this shot with this exposure. In that notebook you write down every piece of gear you have in your bag that day. And before you close the bag back up, you go through and make sure, do I have both lenses. Do I have my large format camera? Do I have my dark cloth? Do I have my tape measure? Do I have the loop? I would like to say that those focusing glasses are solely about the convenience. They're also about the fact that I've bought four loops. Somewhere in Bryce Canyon, somewhere in the Hoh Rainforest, and somewhere in Downtown Seattle, our loops. Don't know where they went. I was in a hurry, in a rush, gettin' packed up. Didn't go through my checklist and actually lost a piece of gear. So having that checklist happens. But what I really wanted to show you is from a bag standpoint, two lenses, a four by five camera, and five film holders basically fills a backpack. So you're not going to have a lot of superfluous gear you're going to be taking out, and not a lot of extra things you're going to be taking out. If I'm going out and I know kind of what I want to do, I can take my four by five and one lens and kind of get that in a shoulder bag, like a bike messenger bag with the dark cloth and a couple of sheets of film. So that's not a problem but you're not going to have a lot of room on packing. This thing actually fits in a full, it's an osprey 40 volume, 40 liter volume backpack is what this actually fits in for me to actually carry around 'cause it's super heavy and I need the weight and support of the backpack. The other thing I would encourage is a backpack over a shoulder bag because of this, it's heavy. This right now is probably about 18, 20 pounds. So go on ahead and make sure you've got the support of both shoulders would be a great thing for that.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Large Format Gear Resources
Slide Deck and Instructor Notes

Ratings and Reviews


Daniel is an excellent teacher. His approach of teaching common mistakes and then explaining the proper way to do something is very helpful. The entire film series is excellent. I can't say I have a favorite over any of the others classes in the series. Each class covers great information. I learned photography back when digital didn't exist. Even after shooting film for so many years, I still learned some great tidbits from these classes. I highly recommend this series for anyone considering learning film or getting back into film.


Very detailed Large format Course. Learnt a lot. Great job Daniel. Would love see in the future an in depth course building on this but for studio portraits and camera movements for portraits in different situations explaining why. Happy i purchased this.

Art Majerus

Shooting medium format since the 70’s on Whidbey Isand. Recently bought a 4x5. This class helped me clarify all the little things needed to get going. Well presented. Thanks

Student Work