Large Format Photography – Day 13 & 14 in the Netherlands

Day 13 did not get any better than day 11 & 12. The weather had continued to be hot and muggy – and my collodion, even though it should have been ready for use, did not seem clear enough just yet. The work on the dark box finished, so the wooden construction is done. I still need to get the blackout fabric and the little red acrylic plates that will make up the windows. I cut some glass panes to classic Daguerreotype, Ambrotype and Tintype sizes and decided to go with 3 of them, to be able to get sizes to create dip tanks and such.

 

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Then, finally, day 14. The weather was still warm and muggy *sigh*. I started fresh and early, beginning with the testing of the collodion – and it was looking good! I shot several plates throughout the day and managed to find a little extra energy to shoot a little comparison; a normal plate, and overdeveloped plate (3 minutes instead of 15-20 secs) and a over sensitized plate (25 minutes instead of 3). I will have to add, that since I’m working with an open silver tray, some light may have come onto the plate as I carefully exited and entered the darkbox to shoot the other plates. I did not test over fixing as I should have. I already have the tendency to leave my plates for 15-20 minutes in hypo, a lot longer than necessary, and I would have benefited to see the results. Perhaps next time eh?

 

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The last plate I shot, I tried to take a closeup of some flowers. Not easy as the exposure times was between 10-20 seconds and there was a light breeze. The moment I started development, half of the collodion just let go of the plate! I carefully  developed, fixed and rinsed the image, then peeling the layer carefully off the plate as best I could before scooping it up onto a wet piece of black paper. I then let it dry naturally. I tried to re-create this effect with a failed plate I was going to wash for re-use. I put the plates in water and added a little drop of washing-up liquid to it. Gently moving the water to and fro, the images flew off the plates! The only issue I had with these was the drying process and the washing detergent somehow prevents it from adhering to the paper. I will try further on this, as the solution is possible quite simple. Let me know if you’ve already figured it out!

 

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