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Thread: LF means heavy hiking. What's on your "not necessary" list?

  1. #81

    Re: LF means heavy hiking. What's on your "not necessary" list?

    I do a lot of day hikes in the Swiss, French and Italian Alps, and other parts of Europe. This summer has been difficult, partly because of the heat, but also because I had shoulder surgery earlier in the year, and it's been painful to carry the pack for long. Fortunately my son has been able to do this for me a few times, and I've been enjoying the hiking more as a consequence, and even discovered that taking simple panoramic photos on a phone is good fun! Because it's day hikes, sometimes via huts with food & water, there's only a need to carry enough water and a little food, a map & phone, and a light jacket in case it rains.

    I have a McMore pack, in which I carry a Sinar F with bag and normal bellows, a spot meter, a couple of filters, loupe, darkcloth, notebook and about 8 film holders at a time. Current lenses carried are a Rodenstock 75mm, a Schneider 180mm and a Nikkor 300mm (which also requires an extension rail to be carried - it's such a good lense, however, that I'm loath to leave it out). That's about it. Other lenses occasionally displace the standard selection, notably a 58mm lense which is small and light.

    I've been back in Europe for about a year, after spending a couple of years in Brazil. Now that is a challenging environment for LF photography, especially in areas like the Amazon or Pantanal where most of what you see and experience is from a small boat. Generally, I found it better to give up on the LF, and just enjoy what was around me. Nevertheless, there were times when the nature of LF photography really did complement the day, especially when we were able to spend several hours or most of the day in one location. You've got to take special care with your pack, though. On more than one occasion I found enormous spiders lurking in my pack after I had taken it off to concentrate on a photograph. Not recommended, and I tended to keep the pack on my back at the end.

  2. #82
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
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    10,557

    Re: LF means heavy hiking. What's on your "not necessary" list?

    There's always a trade-off when deciding which kind of gear to carry. I like the spontaneity of medium format gear for grab shots, but vastly prefer a view camera for image control, lens options, and of course, for the much more printable negatives in the darkroom. The pack weight of a basic kit comes out about the same, when everything is factored in. Lately I've been backpacking in the mountains with a younger fellow who likes to carry a lot of fancy food, so I've been eating a bit too well. But it means I can scale back a bit on the weight of my own packed food. Some of these newer ultralight tents also help; but I'd never trust them much beyond the summer season. I made out pretty good last week in torrential sleet and rain, but only because I was down into the edge of timberline with a bit of extra wind protection. Would have been electrocuted up on any ridge, anyway. Quite a light show.

  3. #83

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    San Joaquin Valley, California
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    8,186

    Re: LF means heavy hiking. What's on your "not necessary" list?

    Quote Originally Posted by goamules View Post
    And if you do wetplate, where you need water, collodion, fixer, and a darkbox, you use mules. Definitely necessary. Two of mine, Horace and Cricket.

    Nice looking longears there! I miss my mules---I still have the stock trailer and pack saddles but no truck to pull it nor mules to saddle up. Milly, Miss Stubby and Later.
    Later
    got shipped off to Molokai, lucky longears!
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  4. #84
    Zndrson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Longmont, Colorado
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    66

    Re: LF means heavy hiking. What's on your "not necessary" list?

    I was in Zion National Park this time last week hiking the Narrows top down with all my LF gear. For the whole 5 day trip (In Zion, not all in the Narrows) I only brought 3 film holders with the intention of bringing a box of film and a changing bag. That saved me some stress. Film holders get real heavy real fast. I also left the loup at home and relied on my eyes to focus on the ground glass. My vision is decent, so it worked out. I had the option of just taking the 3 film holders with me and leaving the changing bag/box of film at camp.

    I thought about leaving the dark cloth at home, but decided on bringing the Black Jacket. Its already lightweight, I didn't have a loupe so a dark environment was crucial for composing, and the waterproof material gave me peace of mind in case I had to wrap some gear up in it.

    The most important lesson learned was to bring a better bag. I had a Gregory 75L that held everything- food, sleeping bag/hammock, water, first aid kit, etc. on top of (or rather below) all my LF gear. That was fine enough, but carrying a smaller bag for the LF gear like the ICUs F-stop gear makes would have made my life a lot easier. Every time I wanted to stop while in the narrows I had to set the bag down and essentially unpack all of my LF gear at once, which was wrapped in cloth lens wraps. I had to take great care to ensure those wraps didn't get wet. With an ICU, I could just set that on the ground, unzip it, and take out items as needed. When finished, just zip it back up and plop it on top of the rest of my gear in the Gregory.

    We hiked to Angel's Landing the day before, and my meager LowePro 30L AW filled with just 20 lbs of LF gear nearly killed me, yet 45 lbs and 10 miles with the Gregory was fine... So I'll be picking up a F-stop Ajna and 1 or two ICUs as a Day Bag/Overnight Bag to replace the LowePro as soon as they're back in stock.

  5. #85
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Albuquerque, Nuevo Mexico
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    9,712

    Re: LF means heavy hiking. What's on your "not necessary" list?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Lesson no. 1, if you simply have to bring beer, bring cans, not bottles. Better yet, acquire a taste for natural mtn water. It's generally way cleaner than city tap water anyway. When in doubt, always filter it. And I agree with the less-is-more approach to camera gear. I remember stumbling onto someone in Titcomb Basin in Wyo once with a Tachi and seven lenses, and about twenty gel filters. I was packing a Sinar and exactly one lens. I got a nice shot, was all packed back up and headed out while that guy was still fussing around with too many choices. I think it got dark before he made up his mind. I'm not quite that Spartan anymore, but will probably carry just two lenses on the next backpack trip, with two glass filters. The most important piece of equipment is your eyes anyway, and if you're too busy worrying about gear issues, you simply won't have time to use them. I want 80% of my energy into just the experience itself, whether I bag a shot or not. Lots of time I have simply sat there watching the light and not even tripped the shutter because I didn't want the experience interrupted by
    anything ulterior. There will always be another shot.
    Yeah but his problem was not too many choices but not enough experience to be able to look at a scene and know what the right lens and filter is.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 67
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  6. #86

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Elko, Nevada
    Posts
    320

    Re: LF means heavy hiking. What's on your "not necessary" list?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    There's always a trade-off when deciding which kind of gear to carry. I like the spontaneity of medium format gear for grab shots, but vastly prefer a view camera for image control, lens options, and of course, for the much more printable negatives in the darkroom. The pack weight of a basic kit comes out about the same, when everything is factored in. Lately I've been backpacking in the mountains with a younger fellow who likes to carry a lot of fancy food, so I've been eating a bit too well. But it means I can scale back a bit on the weight of my own packed food. Some of these newer ultralight tents also help; but I'd never trust them much beyond the summer season. I made out pretty good last week in torrential sleet and rain, but only because I was down into the edge of timberline with a bit of extra wind protection. Would have been electrocuted up on any ridge, anyway. Quite a light show.
    Sounds as though the trip worked out even if the weather forecast did not. In those mountains even the best laid plans can go to waste. H... that happens just in Nevada period.

    Hope you were able to get some nice photographs. Never did make it up there myself as the camera is still in several pieces. Finished up the bellows but the extra screws never made it. That is kind of how life goes here in the Nevada outback occasionally.
    The Viewfinder is the Soul of the Camera

    If you don't believe it, look into an 8x10 viewfinder!

    Dan

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