In your bag No: 1692 – Simon Ford

Simon Ford shares with us not one, but two setups. And I say setups as there is not what you could call a conventional bag in sight.

My name is Simon Ford and I am a patent attorney living in San Pedro, CA, USA (coastal Los Angeles).  After getting back into film photography some years back, I bounced around through 35mm and medium format until I decided to focus on large format portraiture.  I specifically enjoy the wet plate collodion process, and my pictured rig is my preferred setup for creating 8×10 tintypes.

‘Bag’ 1

My “bag” is a waterproof Condition 1 hardcase that has foam cutouts to fit my mid-20th century Deardorff V8 8×10 field camera and late 19th/early 20th century Dallmeyer 2A Petzval portrait lens.  I salt my own collodion and mix my own developer, which are tucked away in a separate box (along with my apron, gloves, silver nitrate… you get the idea).  If I want to shoot film I keep a couple 8×10 holders in a separate padded case (I usually shoot Kodak Extascan B/RA ortho or Ilford HP5+ film) and use a couple darkslides as an impromptu shutter.  The camera goes up on an old heavy-duty Gitzo tripod.
I also have room to tuck in my trusty Olympus Stylus/Mju 1, and load hand-rolled Ilform HP5+ into canisters hand-coded to ISO 1600.  This gives me the opportunity to take some candid shots during a wet plate shoot.

‘Bag’ 2

My other “bag” is an old 6 gallon home brewing bucket in which I throw my wet gear after I get out of the water.  It’s early fall here in socal so my Nikonos II is resting on my 2mm longjohn wetsuit.
Speaking of the Nikonos, it is an uncommon ‘Exchange Post’ version – I looked it up and these cameras (marked with an <EP>) were originally sold in Japan only through stores in military bases.  Mine gets a lot of use, and has regularly been put through its paces in overhead surf over the years.  I shoot with the standard 35mm lens and load it up with hand-spooled Ilford HP5+ film.  Since the Nikokos uses zone focus, I set a hyperfocal distance at f/16 and adjust shutter speed and film rating based on available light.  This setup works well for my purposes.
I use a homemade paracord strap and titanium rings to keep the Nikonos on my back and not at the bottom of the ocean.
My instagram handle is @qedimagery

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