Large Format Photography: Day 24 & 25 in the Netherlands

As the weather is turning colder and the days grow shorter, I took the fine sunny weather earlier this week as possibly the last opportunity of 2013 to create some wet plate collodion images.

I started day 24 in the backyard. The number of sunny hours had dropped from around 9 hours to maybe 6, covering only half the garden instead of the full space. I opted to shoot in the shade for most of the afternoon, adjusting for the sun once it hit my spot. The images taken of hands are my own hands, and I used an air release pump attached to the lens, operated by foot, to take the image. All these images have been taken with my modern Rodenstock lens at f5.6, exposures range from 5 to 12 seconds. I seem to have had some sort of light leaking onto my plates as all of them seem to have fogged over from a short side down to the middle. I actually like the way it looks on these images – especially on the images including the phone – but I should look into that before using the darkbox again.

 

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The next day, I opted to take the darkbox and camera on the road. I had wanted to photograph my hometown ever since I started on the wet plate process and – not unimportant – I needed to prove to myself that I would be able to work outdoors without my darkroom blowing over. I drove across the river and set the camera in place in a beautiful sunny spot after asking permission from the land owners, and kept the darkbox slightly sheltered from the winds by placing it alongside the car.

Despite some minor issues with my chemicals (The collodion sliding off the plate, the silver layer seems quite heavy, and the emulsion is showing a million tiny pinholes) I am happy to say that I got an almost decent image out of it, even if it cannot be viewed as a proper ambrotype… It also shows that the amazingly cheap projector lens would be capable of service and I need a bit more practice in the field.

 

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