Wet Plate Portraits

It has been a little while since my last post and I do apologise. I hope you all had a great Easter weekend! My folks came over to visit us in Cambridge and I think we have seen and done more over the course of 3 days than we would normally in a month. Especially the R.A.F. base in Duxford was a great day out, but I might tell you more about that on another occasion.

Since my portrait session with Chris I have been inspired to get some practice in, and I have been asking people to sit for portraits. I am now up to a half-way point for the people I still have on my list and the results have been interesting. Some good and some… not so good. I had a light leak in my main plate holder that took me a while to find, resulting in light streaks on the plates. The sitters were a little varied in understanding what was expected of them – but I am proud of all of them for putting up with me 😉

Rui and Krisztina were both photographed in the same position near our front door, using a small metal garden chair, an old Victorian library table for support and a mid grey background. They were photographed on different days, and the overcast skies on the day I shot Rui were preferred for the final results. I had some trouble keeping the sun spots of Krisztina’s face and kept putting her in different positions to aid that. Both were photographed using my antique reproduction camera, using a no-name brass lens. Exposure times were between 7 and 12 seconds at roughly f5.6.

 

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Sanchari and Francisco were both photographed on the other side of the house, in our small front garden. Francisco against the wall of the house, Sanchari on the opposite side, against the wall towards the street. Both their days were sunny and quite bright, but I still had some trouble keeping the sun out of their eyes. Francisco managed to find a shady spot and we shot a clear glass plate, which turned out OK, but I felt the development was too long on it. We shot a small black plexiglass plate which works very well but I’m not sure I like the ‘plasticky’ look and feel to it. We shot one with an exposure time of 1:20 ‘just because’ at f22. Apart from being overdeveloped, it didn’t come out too bad! The other images were exposed between 8-12 seconds.

Sanchari’s face had to be shielded with a transparent reflector, and we can tell where we had some clouds before the sun – I did not think of using the reflector then and the contrast shot right up. The lines on her plates are a light leak (the long stripe) and developing lines (the watery waves) and I don’t really like where they ended up, near her eyes and forehead. It is quite amusing to know that the blouse she was wearing was a normal modern day blouse, but on the plates it turned right into period wear!

Both were photographed using my antique reproduction camera, using a Rodenstock 320mm lens. Exposure times were between 8 and 14 seconds on f5.6 and f8, apart from the one of 80 seconds on f22.

 

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