DIY: Transporting wet plates out in the field

Today, I’d like to share a little secret with you. Well….little……..I had been pondering and pondering on how to keep my wet plates safe whilst being out in the field. Granted, my camera isn’t exactly the sort of size you’d happily take out to shoot some snaps at the beach, but still. I absolutely hate not being able to do something because of technical or practical limitations.


when it came fresh into our lives

my Reproduction camera when it came fresh into our lives – and yes – that’s me 🙂


I will warn you now – this is possibly the highest-tech solution I could come up with: trays within a bucket of water! Well? Isn’t that great? I know it’s exactly what print washers do – but I have neither the funds to just go out and buy one – nor do I have the patience to build one properly. 

The other difficulty would be the varying sizes of the plates that my camera takes. I decided to take the half plate (12 x 16 cm) and full-plate (16.5 x 21.5 cm) sizes as a starting point, to order and test my super-complicated idea.


What you need:


(Large) plastic storage container + lid

Plexiglass / acrylic sheet, 2-3 mm thickness, cut to size

Tools to cut / order to size online or in-store

Drill with large bit for holes

Acrifix / other acrylic glue


Take your (large) plastic storage container with a lid. A square one (or as square as you can get) without any holes, slits, gaps or damage. If it has a solid closing lid, perfect – because you’ll be needing that. Take the measurement of it’s smallest point – for me that was on the bottom as it tapers out slightly towards the top – and check what size plate it will hold. Mine would hold 2 full plates next to each other with space to spare, or 4 half-plates. Taking the measurement of the plate + a little space around it, this will be the size of the bottom. Now, you need some sides; I placed them on top of the bottom plate (easier to measure) and made them 1 cm high.

So, calculate the measurements of the pieces you need (this example is for 3mm thick acrylic). I ordered all my pieces from and even though they state in their disclaimer that any tiny measurements may be slightly off, all cut pieces I received from them were perfect. They do charge £10 shipping as a minimum per order, so make sure you get all you need in one go!


I ordered additional acrylic sheets for a massive silver bath – all the bits for the tray are at the back wrapped in dark blue, with the measurements written on them


I made 8 x full-plate trays: Plate=16.5 x 21.5 cm, Tray bottom plate (8 of these)=18 x 23 cm, Long sides (16 of these)=23 x 1 cm, short sides (16 of these)=18-0.6 (2x thickness) x 1 xm

And 16 x half-plate trays: Plate=12 x 16cm, Tray bottom plate (16 of these)=13.5 x 17.5 cm, long sides (32 of these)= 17.5 x 1 cm, short sides (32 of these)=13.5 – 0.6 (2x thickness) x 1 cm

Apart from that, you’ll need some 2 mm acrylic sheets, roughly the size of your tub to cover the trays between layers. With the amount of tubs I have, I can make 8 layers, I would be wise to order 9 divider sheets (1 to go on top).



trays inside the tub – 1x full plate, 2 x half-plate


trays in front of the box – I only fill it to about half-way when I wanted to use all of them


The only thing I have yet to do is drill thumb-sized holes in the bottoms, to make taking the plates out a little easier.It is also not advised to use a large tub this size and fill it up completely. Not only will it be amazingly heavy, it might break and / or spill water all over you, the car, your camera etc.

I have now used this system once – I transported my glass in the trays to begin with, to make sure I could fit them all in when done. On location, I took all trays out and filled the bottom of the tub with a layer of tap water, which I brought with me in several plastic bottles. It’s easy to keep your plates wet when they are immersed! After each layer, insert a plastic divider, so the tubs don’t sink into each other, damaging the plate below. Add more water as needed. When  done, close the lid securely, place the tub into your car and gently drive it home. Stick it under a slowly running shower and presto – safely transported and washed plates!


My dear all,


I’m sorry for the radio silence. You will all have noticed (hopefully!) that the sun has finally come out, the temperatures have gone up, and that means I’m not one for being stuck inside the house all day. Still, I suppose it’s no excuse for not keeping up-to-date with my blog….

I will be honest with you – since my last wet-plate shoot with Alice I have not done much in the sense of photography. I know, I know, I should be ashamed of myself! But it was so NICE and WARM outside so I started to focus on my Etsy shop.


….My what?



My Etsy shop. You must have heard of Etsy by now. Large marketplace for vintage and handmade goods? Well, You’ve heard about it now! After a little bit of thought but mostly on a whim, I called mine  1000crows <— just click and it’ll take you there. I’m selling antique and vintage goods, some up-cycled items and some of my own photography. There is still plenty to learn, but I think I’m getting there. Last Friday I joined team Cambridge at the Etsy HQ Craft Party in London – which was great fun – but it was also blogged about on Etsy UK. You can find it  here. I’m on the team photo (holding the UK sign). The crafty photo with the lady’s head sewn up is also mine – the finished result looked like this.






On that happy note, I did do a little in the way of photography – After my last shoot, I put all my chemicals in boxes and left them in our conservatory – and I know what your thinking – the heat will have gotten to them. My thoughts exactly, so I set about testing them yesterday on some little bits of plexiglass. I’m happy to say that it looks like they were unaffected. I do have to say that it’s weird working with plexiglass as it’s so hard to judge the development / density if you can’t see through your material. As I’m planning to do tin typing in the future, I suppose I’d better get used to it.




Some of my latest salt prints over these last couple of weeks were also a success. The coloration on some of them is nice and cool whilst maintaining the deep blacks and detail. The solar prints are a hit-and-miss, it might have something to do with the chemical balance or the way I’m putting the silver nitrate mix onto paper, for the results keep varying – with paper being very sensitive and evenly coated to it only being half sensitive and not even properly at that.


contact printing none none