Do you keep a notebook in your camera bag?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Hamster, Jan 26, 2009.

  1. Hamster

    Hamster Member

    Messages:
    202
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Shooter:
    Med. Format Pan
    I am just wondering, do you keep a notebook in your camera bag? If yes, what information/data do you keep in it?

    Also if there is one piece of information from your notebook that you would give a young starter analog photographer, what would that information be?
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,516
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    No but I should, and used to.

    Well I kept a Zone system log, that recorded aperture, shutter speed, extension (LF), Meter readings for Zone system, filters, reciprocity, film EI, development & results.

    Ian
     
  3. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,341
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Dearborn,Mic
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Do you keep a notebook in your camera bag?

    Yes.
     
  4. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,231
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    Location:
    Kyoto, Japan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes, but I don't usually use it.:wink:

    It's a good thing to do, especially if you're trying to learn something. My shooting style can often be quite fast-paced and I find it difficult to keep track sometimes. I usually have a pretty good memory though, and can write enough information after finishing the roll to be useful to me afterwards. Not that that's what I would recommend you do...

    If you're systematic about it I think you could learn a lot from it.
     
  5. Toffle

    Toffle Member

    Messages:
    1,798
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Location:
    Point Pelee,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Guilty. :rolleyes:

    I do keep a detailed log of every film developed and every print made. Not the same thing, I know, but it is a system that works for me. I suppose if I was as methodical about my exposures, I'd have a lot less film to develop... and a lot more keepers.

    Cheers,
     
  6. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,698
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2006
    Location:
    SE Pennsylva
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes I do. Alas, I confess my use of it is a bit haphazard. Since Canon A1s, Bronicas and Perkeos don't embed "EXIF" data, it is nice to have something to refer to after the film is developed. In theory at least, one can refine one's process that way. Sometimes it's also useful to record information about the subject that seems to vaporize from memory in an alarmingly short time after the photo sessions.

    (First the short term memory goes, then ... I forget what happens after that.)

    DaveT
     
  7. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,824
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Shooter:
    35mm
    A while ago I made this:

    http://www.lulu.com/content/2045656

    ...mostly for myself. It's geared towards large format. You can make one of your own pretty easy, or many folks use those waterproof notebooks (the name escapes me). Some kind of log is essential for large format, or any kind of work like night photography where it is useful to know what you did in hindsight, so you can do it again, make intelligent adjustment based on observable results with known facts, or at least half the time in my case, what not to do again :smile:
     
  8. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

    Messages:
    1,063
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Location:
    Westport, MA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    With LF, I keep post-it notes.. very handy.
     
  9. Kent10D

    Kent10D Member

    Messages:
    73
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    Yokohama, Ja
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Dang, you've prodded my guilt complex! I do keep a notebook in my bag, but don't use it enough.

    I'd suggest starting with the basics: date, time, location, lens (if you use more than one), shutter speed, and aperture. As you gain experience you'll probably discover things you want to add on your own. If you use a spot meter you might also want to note the meter reading so you can see how well your choice of exposure worked in relation to the meter reading. In the latter case it might also be a good idea to note the dynamic range of the scene – especially if you're into or planning to get into the zone system.

    Now all I need to do is take my own advice ... :smile:
     
  10. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

    Messages:
    1,063
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Location:
    Westport, MA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Once I went on a photo expedition with two friends, one a photographer and the other a woodworking furniture artist guy.
    The woodworking furniture artist guy ran around me with a little notepad and pencil and would sketch things. It looked like fun, I wanted to trade my camera for his notepad.

    Maybe if you give up in the middle of a shoot you can just sketch out some stuff to clear the smoke from your head?
     
  11. mikebarger

    mikebarger Member

    Messages:
    1,934
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2005
    Location:
    south centra
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I use Fred Picker's little red notebook in my Hassey bag and one of Jason Brunner's LF books with my Zone VI 4x5. Seems backwards?

    Mike
     
  12. CPorter

    CPorter Member

    Messages:
    1,662
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2004
    Location:
    West KY
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    absolutely------it's where some of your best learning will take place, if you find you made a particularly good negative and print, it's helpful to look back on some notes to see what contributed to it----the same if you make a particularly poor negative. Like JBrunner mentioned, LF is especially suited for it because a single sheet of film can be exposed and developed to a very particular set of circumstances that apply to just that sheet. For roll film, unless the roll is exposed to pretty much the same conditions of contrast, your development of it may ideally suit only a few frames, but less extreme differences can be compensated for in the printing phase, however to arrive at a satisfactory print.

    If you are just starting out and learning the process, take lots of notes------but if I were to suggest the one thing you should take particular note of, it would be the apparent subject contrast that you subjected the roll to----and with film development, take note of your time and temp, always stay consistent with your temp, but you will learn that alteration of dev time adds another dimention of control to the final outcome. Generally speaking, increased development for low subject contrast and reduced development for high subject contrast. Keep note of these things.
     
  13. bowzart

    bowzart Member

    Messages:
    1,219
    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    Location:
    Anacortes, W
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Usually not in my camera bag. I need it all the time, whether a bag is with me or not. Sometimes I don't even carry a bag. If it fits in my coat pocket, that's where it is. If not, I carry it.

    I almost always have a sketchbook with me. Right now, I like those cult books, you know, Moleskine. I buy the ones that have unlined pages that are much thicker than a "notebook" would have. Light paper doesn't hold up. Sometimes I erase as much as I mark.

    I have probably a dozen or so such sketchbooks of various sizes and type from past years. Some of them have blank pages left. Some of them overlap because I might need one, grab one that is lying around, and use it. I try to remember to date the entries. I'm rubbing some acrylic color onto the covers now to provide some modicum of identification.

    If I have any ideas (once in a while, I actually have one) I will write it down. Observations. Or I will draw, which can take a variety of forms. Regarding stuff like f/stops, shutter speeds, zoney baloney, etc. I will record it if there is a reason to do so. Usually there isn't, so very little of that gets in. For awhile, I would draw what I THOUGHT my weird pinhole camera would see. Every once in awhile I will go through one of the books. It is invariably amazing.

    My avatar, "Lizard Man at the Crossroads" was scanned from one of the books.

    One could ask how what I put in these books differs from what would go into a stack of loose papers on my desk. Good question!

    Larry Bullis
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2009
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. climbabout

    climbabout Member

    Messages:
    225
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Location:
    Fairfield Co
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    notebooks

    For years I've carried a notebook or post it notes, and used them less than half the time - either I was in too much of a hurry, or it was too cold, or I couldn't find a pencil, or some other reason kept me from keeping accurate notes. I recently got a small digital recorder and it's far more convenient and much faster to just press a button and talk into it - it's a big improvement for me.
    Tim
     
  16. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

    Messages:
    1,749
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    Tufts Univer
    Shooter:
    35mm
    My photo teacher started us out taking field notes on every F stop and shutter speed. Since we were shooting B+W negative film with something like 10 stops of dynamic range the usefullness of such notes was limited. I think something else like EI for the roll and development time are more critical.

    Once I start shooting more slide film I'll probably take notes that say something like the "metered LV" but more importantly how much I chose to deviate from the reading based on the scene in terms of stops. That would probably help more. Though these days with these zone system 3D matrix meters built into any 35mm camera there is less and less need. Maybe I might record especially long exposures to figure out reciprocity of various films. Of course the problem with buying whichever film happens to be the cheapest is that you always have a different film.

    One problem I had was that I learned to shoot color on digital (blah) which made me mad because I'd start losing color saturation around zone IV, which would make me underexpose until I saw the correct colors on the LCD and add a curve to the images in "photoshop". This procedure does not work with color slide film. I had such a bad habit of instinctively pulling the exposure back on every shot that all my slides come out uniformly underexposed.
     
  17. bowzart

    bowzart Member

    Messages:
    1,219
    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    Location:
    Anacortes, W
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    What REALLY is useful is what decisions you make and why you make them.

    When I do write photo stuff in my book, it usually is about conditions, what those conditions call for, what I might need when I come back to shoot, etc. The recording of f/stops and shutter speed that many photographers so often perform without the rationale is most often, seems to me, a more or less meaningless exercise.
     
  18. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

    Messages:
    3,941
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Location:
    ɹǝpunuʍop. F
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Additional to a small refillable notebook, I've kept a 2-hole journal in my pack since 1996 and virtually every exposure is accounted for.

    The journal (my "Little Red Book") contains information on location, position/triangulation, route info, exposure, camera body, lens, filter, film and any extra observations about light and the environment, the latter recorded separately.

    Last Sunday night I photographed star trails and diligently recorded the descent of Venus, shortly after observing a quite striking flash as a star fell from the glittering chandelier in the heavens to the silent depths far below. Exposure wise, I recorded: 1hr, 15min Bulb exposure on Provia 100 @EI125 with additional –0.3 (to add contrast for the stars given the light from Venus), TS-E 24 with +8mm shift and +4° pan tilt aimed 45° up at the Small & Large Megallanic Clouds, skylight 1B, position markers at 20m intervals (flashing red LEDs so I can locate the camera through trees: I stayed on a friend's 69acre property and it was a long walk from the cottage to the location), 3 snakes ("identity unknown"), 6 curious kangaroos (these big guys pose a hazard to an unattended camera by knocking into it on their night rambles, so I attach an iPOD to a tripod leg belting out Puccini's Nessun Dorma to shoo them away), a dry, 24°c temp at 10.40pm, light ESE wind and a starry, starry night! :smile: It was gorgegous, like so many hundreds before it (and to come...).

    Much of this information is separate from exposure info (that is, there are 2 notebooks with links to exposures). I don't keep a record of exposures made with digi camera.

    So, a notebook in your bag can serve as a repository for memories that may have faded but could well be nurtured back with great nostalgia in years / decades to come.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2009
  19. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,257
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2002
    Location:
    British Colu
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Rite-in-the-Rain, or Kimdura.
     
  20. yardkat

    yardkat Member

    Messages:
    170
    Joined:
    May 24, 2006
    Location:
    Salt Lake Ci
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I meant to today while I was out, and forgot to grab a notebook. So I ended up texting myself some quick notes on exposure and meter readings. Worked pretty well! Even if I didn't have service, I think the phone would have saved my texts for later, so I wasn't going to lose the information.
     
  21. ArtO

    ArtO Member

    Messages:
    263
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Location:
    Florida
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm attempting to relearn photography. I have a notebook and record camera, lense, film, iso setting, shutter spd, apature and then spec notes such as +1/open shaded areas, etc.
     
  22. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,257
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2002
    Location:
    British Colu
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    :D
    Actually I've heard that's the second thing to go.
     
  23. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

    Messages:
    1,062
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2005
    Location:
    Prospect (Lo
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    This being an analog forum and all, is it permissible to discuss the digital solution I came up with? :smile: Sorta, that is?

    I started carrying with me my little digital voice recorder (used at my real job) to make verbal notes about exposures, etc. Then I found I hadn't figured out a foolproof way to distinguish which film sheet came from which numbered holder, and therefore which film (processed in a Jobo, so all mixed up and out of order) corresponded with which verbal note. Then of course I had to listen to the notes and try to find THE note in question, or transcribe them in all a sitting. Not that there were that many (despite the logorrrhea that is my affliction both here on APUG as well as in real life); but it was rather a PITA. Plus, fishing the voice recorder out of the dank recesses of my photo-vest- or overcoat pockets, or leaving it out and handy but not lost (like the Sekonic 358 and monopod I walked off and left once), proved to be beyond my limited mental means.

    Naturally, I reached for a gear-intensive solution: one of those voice-activated microphones I could attach to my lapel (photo vest neck, that is) and speak into like some silver-halide secret agent. Can't recall if it was unavailable for my particular voice recorder, or merely ruinously expensive. Either way, the whole scheme got deep-sixed.

    My LF activities are currently on hold pending the arrival of a Chamonix from the Middle Kingdom, so my chief MF record-keeping task is getting the date and location correct for frames on rolls which span several days of shooting around life's less pleasant activities--like that real job, for instance! For this, I record the basic info, plus shooting dates, on the little film-box top in the memo holder on the back of some of my MF gear. But since I buy film in pro-packs, I often don't have boxes! So I used some rewriteable labels originally designed for floppy disks that allow you to write with a Sharpie, and erase with their special eraser. Put one on every film back or camera-body back. Great--but where in the name of all that is holy DID I PUT THE #($*%@!! eraser?

    A notebook and pencil are looking better all the time. Gotta drag out my old Picker notebook.

    BTW, perhaps for another thread---how do you all notch or groove or otherwise modify your film holders so that a holder number will appear in the film rebate, assigning each film a discernible holder number?
     
  24. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,257
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2002
    Location:
    British Colu
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I use a small saw blade for an I (1), a small triangular file for the V (5) and a round file (like a power saw file) for a U (10). I mark the wooden or plastic flap the dark slide slides into, and the marks come out on the edge of the film (if I loaded it properly). So UVII would be number 17.
     
  25. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

    Messages:
    1,504
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Westminster,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Yes. Small, not 8 1/2 x 11"
     
  26. Kent10D

    Kent10D Member

    Messages:
    73
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    Yokohama, Ja
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Brilliant!!

    Thanks for that ... (rattling sound as Kent rifles through tool box looking for kit with variously shaped little files ...).