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Thread: Twenty+ Years of Architecture and Large Format HABS/HAER Photography taught me this:

  1. #1
    schafphoto's Avatar
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    Twenty+ Years of Architecture and Large Format HABS/HAER Photography taught me this:

    My top 12 gear lessons learned exposing thousands of 4x5 and 5x7 sheets for work:

    • I always use a geared head.
    • I have a cable release on every lens.
    • I have a LEE filter ring on every lens (for 100mm glass filters).
    • The edges of my lens boards are color coded so I can recognize a lens from color and so can my assistant. (White=55, Yellow=72, Black=90, Magenta= 120, Green=180) (300 and 450 are black but on a separate long camera)
    • I Put a carpenter's nail bag on my tripod that fits filters or a meter or whatever.
    • I use a film-pouch that holds 2-3 film holders clipped to the tripod to keep them out of the light while I get ready (this is a 10" laptop pouch, but finding one that zips on the top is tricky).
    • I put a Post-it note on my ground glass every time I execute a swing or tilt (so I remember to zero my camera for my next photo)
    • I no longer hit my film holders with the bare side of my dust brush, I now have wrapped the brush with a multiple layers of electrical tape. (I have many old, dented holders from back at Brooks)
    • I put cold shoes all over my camera to hold flags and accessories.
    • I wrapped my bellows with an extra white fabric wrap to keep it cooler and protect my bellows from getting skewered by a branch, etc. (I'm trademarking it the BellowsCondom)
    • I often travel with a Burro. (Or a wagon will do)
    • I always wear an orange surveyors safety-vest and have an orange dark-cloth to stand in the street and look official. (less important for portrait and boudoir shooters)(The surveyors vests have a huge pouch on the back that is perfect for the dark cloth)

    Most of these tips come from my on-location HABS/HAER photo workflow where I will capture 20 to 30 views a day.
    These tips won't be for everyone, not for every genre, probably not relevant in the studio.

    PS: If you have never heard of HABS, check out the Historic American Buildings Survey collection at the Library of Congress here: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/hh/ [just search your town or county or a landmark like Golden Gate Bridge]

    I'm looking forward to your opinions and observations and I hope to pick up some more tricks from all of you!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails HAER photograph schafphoto HABS HAER 1-3612.jpg   HAER photograph schafphoto HABS HAER-2239.jpg   HAER photograph schafphoto HABS HAER with Fuji.jpg   HAER photograph schafphoto HABS HAER-2020.jpg  
    `
    –Stephen Schafer HABS | HAER | HALS & Architectural Photography | Ventura, California | www.HABSPHOTO.com

  2. #2

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    Re: Twenty+ Years of Architecture and Large Format HABS/HAER Photography taught me th

    Schaf,

    I really like the flag in articulated arm to shade the lens. Excellent idea! I’ve been thinking of this and would love to hear details on the parts you used.

    Suggested #21: The platform on yiur vehicle roof — reminds me of Ansel Adams and his Infernational Travelall. On my old SUV, I set up on the (dented) roof. On my new Honda CRV, I am looking for a roof platform.
    Last edited by pchaplo; 15-Apr-2018 at 21:32.
    Dallas Texas HABS / HAER / HALS Photography
    Photographer/Author Marfa Flights: Aerial Views of Big Bend Country (Texas A&M University Press)
    Petroleum Oil Pics

  3. #3
    schafphoto's Avatar
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    Re: Twenty+ Years of Architecture and Large Format HABS/HAER Photography taught me th

    Hi Paul,

    The articulated arm is a Flare Dinkum. You can get them at B&H or Samys. One side is a shoe mount, the other is a thin black aluminum shade.
    This is my second truck platform. The first was a 4x6 foot sheet of marine plywood and an aluminum frame on my Toyota 4Runner. This time I had my new platform welded from a perforated aluminum panel and then had it powdercoated. The ladder is a GOBI ladder from my old 4Runner modified to it the Pathfinder.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails HAER photograph schafphoto HABS HAER 1.jpg  
    `
    –Stephen Schafer HABS | HAER | HALS & Architectural Photography | Ventura, California | www.HABSPHOTO.com

  4. #4

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    Re: Twenty+ Years of Architecture and Large Format HABS/HAER Photography taught me th

    Schaf,

    Great idea for the side mount for digital camera. Especially useful if your dslr has gps! I also always use geared head is yours Manfrotto 405?

    ps: glad that you’re practicing safe bellows.
    Dallas Texas HABS / HAER / HALS Photography
    Photographer/Author Marfa Flights: Aerial Views of Big Bend Country (Texas A&M University Press)
    Petroleum Oil Pics

  5. #5
    schafphoto's Avatar
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    Re: Twenty+ Years of Architecture and Large Format HABS/HAER Photography taught me th

    My geared head is a Manfrotto 405. I have the little 410, but it isn't up to the task for the 5x7 and the knobs are too small once you've used the 405 for a while. The 410 is fine for DSLR work. I bought the Arca Swiss Cube once and returned it because it seemed too fussy for a fast moving job, it was a beutiful thing to behold though. The 405 is a beast and durable and the cube didn't feel like something I wanted to throw around, I was too worried about damaging it in transit. The 405 has been through a lot. I used to have a big Cambo ball head for years but when I found the geared head I couldn't believe I hadn't been using it forever in the studio or on location. That's just the way I shoot... always things that don't move.

    I was addicted to Polaroid and then Fujiroid and now with a dwindling stash, I have calibrated to a Fuji XT-2 as a Digiroid camera for metering and histogram. I can move my Lee filters over for exact representations on the Fuji of what each scene will look like at f22. I set the display to monochrome view but the RAW files still have color later when I download them into Lightroom. That way I can deliver the Large Format film views and scans and a set of color field views from the same tripod position with similar framing. I can get the draft photos to the client faster that way too. The Digi mount makes use of an old METZ 60CT-4 flash mount added to the bottom of the quick release of the 405 head. I found I could never get a sharp image indoors handheld with long exposures but I was reluctant to remove the LF camera and put it down to use the tripod head for the Fuji. This way I can use both.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails HABS PHOTOGRAPHY Stephen Schafer.jpg  
    `
    –Stephen Schafer HABS | HAER | HALS & Architectural Photography | Ventura, California | www.HABSPHOTO.com

  6. #6

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    Re: Twenty+ Years of Architecture and Large Format HABS/HAER Photography taught me th

    Great tips and ideas -- thanks for sharing!

  7. #7
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Twenty+ Years of Architecture and Large Format HABS/HAER Photography taught me th

    For a quick and cheap way to stabilize a vehicle with a platform on top, I cut lengths of 1x2 wood to prop at an angle between ground and vehicle frame. The vehicle is moved to make these props vertical. A plywood pad beneath the props is necessary in soft ground.

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    Re: Twenty+ Years of Architecture and Large Format HABS/HAER Photography taught me th

    Monorail fall restraint: I always loop a thin bungee cord with a caribiner over the rail between the 2 standards and secure it on the tripod head. In this way, if my quick release mount ever suffered rare operator error the camera will only fall about a foot, and the shock attenuated by the stretchy bungee. I started doing this after mis-mounting my Canon 1Ds on an Acra Swiss dovetail an catching my camera in mid-air as it fell to the ground with my tilt shift lens. My client was impressed but I vowed never to repeat that feat.
    Dallas Texas HABS / HAER / HALS Photography
    Photographer/Author Marfa Flights: Aerial Views of Big Bend Country (Texas A&M University Press)
    Petroleum Oil Pics

  9. #9

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    Re: Twenty+ Years of Architecture and Large Format HABS/HAER Photography taught me th

    About your “HABS a la Cart” that’s a great idea when terrain allows. I’m thinking that a garden cart would work well for me. Also I’m been toying with the idea of getting an aluminum Mag-Liner hand truck/dolly so that I can keep my gear on the cart overnight n hotel room during travel. Could also be used to haul gear on-site.

    What is the yellow-headed device on the side of the cart? It looks like survey equipment. Do you make laser scans?

    ps: saw the cup holder for coffee alleluia!
    Dallas Texas HABS / HAER / HALS Photography
    Photographer/Author Marfa Flights: Aerial Views of Big Bend Country (Texas A&M University Press)
    Petroleum Oil Pics

  10. #10

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    Re: Twenty+ Years of Architecture and Large Format HABS/HAER Photography taught me th

    Schaf,

    Your post is a gold mine! Lots of shared tips and lessons learned here! I like the bellows wrap yet most time I shoot with bag bellows and always concerned about "bellows pucker."

    Here, my kit has to include snake boots, and I am partial to Rocky Mountain with zipper and laces. I can walk all day in them, and besides snakes. they protect from thorns and briars (and chiggers, too).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Small note: how do you attach the cold shoes to your camera? I am going to add a Dinkum -- is yours the "Compact"? - thats the only one I see with cold shoe mount.

    THANKS!
    Paul

    Quote Originally Posted by schafphoto View Post
    Hi Paul,

    The articulated arm is a Flare Dinkum. You can get them at B&H or Samys. One side is a shoe mount, the other is a thin black aluminum shade.
    This is my second truck platform. The first was a 4x6 foot sheet of marine plywood and an aluminum frame on my Toyota 4Runner. This time I had my new platform welded from a perforated aluminum panel and then had it powdercoated. The ladder is a GOBI ladder from my old 4Runner modified to it the Pathfinder.
    Last edited by pchaplo; 19-Apr-2018 at 20:38.
    Dallas Texas HABS / HAER / HALS Photography
    Photographer/Author Marfa Flights: Aerial Views of Big Bend Country (Texas A&M University Press)
    Petroleum Oil Pics

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