This post was inspired by John Hollenberg's comments about the Gitzo leveling base in the Ebony Counterpoint thread. Rather than post my comments there, I thought I'd start a separate thread on techniques and equipment that make shooting in the field faster and more convenient. I know large format is supposed to be a contemplative medium, but when the lighting conditions are changing fast, speed of operation often takes priority over deep thoughts.
While I've listed my post in the "Technique" category, it could have just as easily been listed under "Accessories", "Cameras - Brand-independent" or even "Carrying Equipment". I would like to see this thread evolve into a compilation of techniques and equipment that people use to speed up the process of photographing in the field. For example, some people have stated in the past that they leave a dedicated cable release attached to every lens to save time installing and removing cable releases every time they change lenses. I'll start by sharing a few tidbits of my own.
First a little background... Most long time readers of this forum probably know I shoot color landscapes, often in remote loactions, including on multiday backpacking trips. In the past, I've been a bit obsessed about keeping the weight of my kit down. This is still true when I am backpacking. However, as I've gotten older, I've come to favor convenience and ease of operation over weight when it comes to moderate dayhikes (up to 10 miles round trip on maintained trails), and especially when shooting close to my vehicle. For backpacking and longer dayhikes or when traversing more challenging terrain, I still prefer my Toho FC-45X and a set of three or four lightweight lenses.
Too keep this initial post from getting too long, I will make several separate posts over the next few days that describe the gear and methods I'm using these days to make my life easier in the field. Of course, other folks will have other preferences and working styles. So, don't take my particular equipment suggestions and working methods as the gospel truth. Please join in and tell us what works for you.