Large Format Photography – Day 22 & 23 in the Netherlands

On the Thursday and Friday the weather was fine and warm, without a single cloud in the sky. Since I could be sure all my materials were now in working condition, I set to testing my collodion speed and creating some images. I started with something simple: flowers.

I picked up a bunch a bright yellow ones, the cores being a deep brown. After a few small test plates, it seemed my collodion was not by far as slow as I thought it would be and I got a couple of fairly clear images. After having finished the plates, fixing, rinsing and drying – I did however notice some strange elements on my plates. The first one (apart from being just a slight underexposed) had a bright grey line going across. The other was more seriously affected. Initially I considered it was over fixed, but I am now leaning more towards ‘having been stuck against the dipping tank side’. Thank goodness I thought the plates were a little dull in any case but I would be more careful on the next ones.

 

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On my last visit, I had collected a small branch with some good looking chestnuts. I didn’t get to shoot them at that point, so I figured now would be a perfect time. The chestnuts had browned a little and opened op halfway, making for an interesting subject. I tied them to a stepladder, placed them in front of the lens and used about ¾ of my roughly 2m bellows extension.

 

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When photographing the little seahorse, I used the same stepladder to tie a piece of bright white lace-like cloth to. I figured it would make a nice contrasting background to the dark brown taxidermy seahorse which was gifted to me by a German charity shop (seeing they can’t legally sell them). Lucky for me, this specific seahorse was once made into a brooch and still had enough metalwork on the back to secure it to the lace fabric. In the late afternoon sun, I used a gold reflector to light up the stripes on the flanks of the seahorse and about 2/3 of my bellows extension.

 

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The knife and ‘fork’ I had bought at a medieval festival, and I had waited to photograph them until a nice bright day would come along. The icy cold steel came out well in the sunlight, and the shadow of the hand hovering over the handles gives the images a nice cinematographic touch. I find it interesting to see what the dark brown stain on the background does for the depth of the shadow. This image is a little more conceptual than what I have shown so far – and I hope to start doing more of it!

 

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