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What to Pack
Lance's suggestions for a first time nocturnal photographer:

by Lance Keimig
  • As for EQUIPMENT, you will need at a minimum, the following:
  • 35mm or medium format camera with manual controls and a bulb or time setting - (no point and shoot or automatic cameras, no pinhole cameras) - if you wish to work with a view camera, be prepared for very long exposures (up to 20 minutes to an hour in the City, and 1-3 hours in more remote spots with 400 speed film.)
  • Sturdy tripod
  • Locking cable release
  • Penlight or other small flashlight
  • Digital watch or other timer - you can get a nifty digital kitchen timer (pocket-size) with audible alarm at Walgreens for less than $10.00
  • Extra batteries for your camera
  • Plastic bag and rubber band to cover camera in case of fog
  • Lens tissue or chamois (same reason)
  • Paper and pencil for exposure notes (CRITICAL)

We recommend one of the following: (at first, it is best to stick to one type of film)

  • Ilford Delta 100 or TMax 100 for B&W (TriX and HP5 and Delta 400 are ok, but not TMAX 400)
  • Ilford XP2 C41 process B&W film - great for contrasty lighting, and people who don't have time to process their own film!
  • Fuji NPS or NPL - (NPL comes in medium and large format only) for color negative
  • Fuji NHG and Kodak PMC are good choices for fast color negative film. Please avoid amateur films, such as Kodak gold
  • For slides or transparencies, bring Fuji RTP or Kodak EPY (tungsten)
  • For heavily moonlit exposures (in which the moon is the primary source of illumination), you could also bring Kodak E100S, or E200 (daylight)

Other things that might be helpful are:

  • Lens hood to prevent flare - can be a big problem at night
  • Powerful, focusing flashlight - such as a big MAG Lite
  • Portable, battery powered flash and extra batteries (Vivitars are great)
  • A handheld exposure meter
  • Small colored gels or filters (bright colors) OR if you want to try:
  • Color correcting filters, 85A or 85B, 20,30, 40, 50 Magenta, Red or Blue can all be useful.
  • Thermos of coffee or hot chocolate

Lots of enthusiasm, an eagerness to look at the world from a different perspective, very warm clothes, and some chocolate BROWNIES!