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What's In The Bag?

Film photographers have a lot of stuff in their photography bags, and I'm no different. I'll try to keep it short and on point. Obviously, I have a camera; primarily a Holga and Diana F+ but lately I have been shooting a lot with my Lensbaby Sweet 50 and Super Wide Angle lenses attached to my beloved Nikon FM2.

The Lensbaby is a tilt-shift lens and has a learning curve that anyone who shoots in manual mode, and without auto-focus will have no problem mastering. I've found that I get better results with these lenses on film than I do with my digital Nikon D5300. I think this is because the computer wants to make corrections, and on film the photographer has the last word, as it should be.

Finding your focus with the Lensbaby is the most time consuming and challenging part of the picture taking process, at least for me it is. This lens is so creative and so immersive that you're automatically making every shot count if for digital shooters. Film is expensive and forethought is used more often than not before the shutter is pressed.

O.k. back to the bag. I like shooting long exposure photography which is why there are so many night-time images in my galleries. I also shoot in daylight on infrared film, and so I use a 10-stop neutral density filter, and a polarizer with a shutter release cord, and of course a Manfrotto tripod. I almost always use Ilford black and white film. The term toy camera is so misleading because most people think that it's either junk or a camera that takes pictures as easily as a cell phone. It isn't on either count.

When I tell people that I'm a lomographer I usually get a quizzical look, and I'm then asked what is that? My definition is that It's a highly creative, and personal interpretation of what the photographer sees. Some of my images are tack sharp while others drip with dreamy surrealism.

I try to keep my bag light which is a big plus with using plastic cameras they weigh almost nothing, and don't take up much space. There's a lot going on when shooting film, so I keep an "essentials" bag packed which contains film, shutter cords, blackout cloth, and tape. To keep from forgetting needed equipment, I clean and re-organize my bag after every shoot. If you think that this is a lot, well it is, but in the end for me it's all worth it.

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