In your bag No: 1473, Russell Young
Today we have a bag that is not a bag. It is a rather dapper jacket. Check it out.
“My bag isn’t a bag…”
In contrast to most of your contributors, I’m not:
own a photo-bag worth more than the contents
Au contraire, I was born in the 1940s, and live on an isolated farm accessed by a dirt road built before 1798, situated in a county with precisely one stoplight.
I see color perfectly well, but I’m just not artistically interested in it, thus the cameras are loaded with Fuji Acros in 120 format, various Ilford films for 35mm. These are developed in my darkroom using mostly Adox FX-39 or under very flat light, Kodak HC-110 1:15.
Equipment is stuffed in a tres gauche Domke vest or coat pockets (criterion: utilitarian pocket configuration), depending on the weather conditions. The crows, squirrels and cows aren‘t impressed by expensive hand made bags – or maybe they are totally awed but just never told me so. Except the Mamiya 645 1000s and monopod, all else goes into pockets.
Temperatures here in the Blue Ridge Mountains range from zero Fahrenheit (-18C) in the winter (not counting chill factor) to the low 90s in the summer; I shoot in drizzle, fog, snow and, if unavoidable, boring sunshine. Ambling a mile or more over hilly terrain, either along the dirt roads or across my farm, weight, volume and ease of carry are paramount but not at the price of image quality
The equipment carried sans bag:
I. quickly accessible beater aka Yashica T4 Super D, weatherproof, 35mm Zeiss T* lens, dangles from around neck where it can be accessed on the instant, having displaced the Olympus Stylus Epics used previously. Not quite as compact but a better lens IMHO, fast auto-everything, super-light and tough as a tank (I’ve managed to destroy three Stylus Epics). If conditions are mild and stable, a Contax T2 might be substituted. Because both are battery powered, low temperatures can require them to be carried in an interior pocket to keep it warm and the voltage at a usable level.
II. Mamiya 6 Automat (6x6cm folding camera w/75mm Zuiko Tessar lens) with hood and filters unless I’m feeling more rectangular than square, then a Voigtlander Bessa II (6x9cm folder w/105mm Color-Skopar lens) is substituted. Either would be loaded with Acros unless the weather is dodgy then Delta 400 is more flexible. Having owned and tested maybe thirty 6×6 folders, the Mamiya Automat is the best of the lot for my needs.
III. Mamiya M645 1000s (6×4.5 cm) with Mamiya 145SF lens on a load bearing strap or on a monopod rested over my shoulder like a hobo‘s bindle. An unusual lens, it can be configured as either sharp or soft focus by rotating a ring. When sharp, very sharp, when set to maximum softness, very diffuse. A weight and volume hog but worth every gram. Always fed on a healthy diet of Acros. The Yashica is a moderate wide angle, the Mamiya 6 is almost normal focal length and the M645 rounds out the kit with a telephoto, albeit in three different formats.
IV. Miscellaneous: lens brush (dirt roads = copious dust), micro fiber cloth (removing finger prints, water droplets, whatever), three rolls of 120 in light tight containers, one canister 35mm, maybe compact binoculars to bird watch or check if that’s a poacher in the tree line, a red cowboy handkerchief for many uses (especially useful to mark a location for a return engagement in different lighting or with other equipment).
V. snack food (energy bars or cookies from my sweetie’s kitchen) since duration is a minimum of an hour or more, sometimes three or four hours, and all that walking can make a person peckish. At a bare minimum, a tin of Altoids. Alas, there’s no Fair Trade 120ºF decaf dry soy frappucino with gluten free stevia sweetened biscotti available anywhere along these jaunts. So very daunting-
Optionally, if the mood dictates and weather conditions encourage, panoramic 120 format pinhole camera + very compact tripod in a canvas army surplus gas mask bag.
You may have deduced the absence of a light meter. After five decades of shooting, I just don’t need one in natural light. OK, I blow it every once in a while, usually in densely foggy/snowy conditions. Still, not worth carrying a meter.
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/strathedenfarm/ (no, I don’t have a web site, takes too much time away from photography)
Thanks for sharing your bag with us, Russell. That is a lovely setup you have there. Very classy.
Keep them coming folks, we need more submissions, so get your bag on Japancamerahunter.com
Send me a high resolution image of the bag. Optimum size is 1500px across. Please ensure there is a bag in the shot, unless you don’t use one. The more you can write about yourself the better, make it appealing and tell us a story. Snapshots of your gear with a camera phone and no words will not be featured.
Oh and don’t forget your contact details (twitter, flickr, tumbler et al). Send the bag shots here. Please understand that there is a long wait now as there is a backlog of submissions. Not all make the cut, so make sure yours is funny/interesting/quirky. And please make sure the shot is of good quality, as the ones that are not do not go up.
Thanks Russell, that’s a photographer to my liking! Who needs a bag dangling from one’s shoulder when you got just the necessary gear and an assortment of pockets.
Inspiring article. Stunning photographs from Flickr.
Thank you for sharing.
Thank You Russell for one of the best written articles I have seen so far and one which puts into words my philosophy exactly. Your photos are also wonderful.
Best one by far. Funny, sincere, direct, and cutting through the bs like a knife through butter. Great photos, too.
Great photos on Flickr. I live in Southern California, and I’m so over the boring sunshine.
Handsome jacket! Thank you for the thoughtful and engaging story, Russell. I hope to see more contributions from you. Keep shooting!
I loved the opening of your story with what you’re not and that in itself is very refreshing.. Loved your work on Flickr.
II too was born in the 1940s, and easily relate to you. Like yourself I am not artistically interested in color. Always pass the color blindness test to renew my driver’s license here in the Philippines. My personal weapons of choice are two 67s. I do use a Gossen meter.