Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Testing 8x10 :)

My new camera needed a little work with a black electrical tape :  I fixed the lens, shutter and lens board all together and to the camera, as they were loose, there was a light leakage in the bellow and its corners were threadbare, so I fixed them in advance too.
Although my release cable is damaged and I'm waiting for a new one, I managed, finally(!), to do some test shots.
 black glass ambrotype, 8x10, 305mm ilex paragon f6.3, 20s

black glass ambrotype, 8x10, 305mm ilex paragon f6.3, 35s

Everything is working OK. Camera is very light as for its size (similar weight to my 4x5 Toyo), nice to work with.

My dark box became a bit tighter and generally it is a bit more difficult to work with a plate which doesn't fit the hand, but for example the developing process is much nicer - the appearing image is so well visible! It is a big pleasure to watch it. I love the process even more now and think
8x10 is quite a decent size photograph that should satisfy me for a while :))

Sunday, 22 May 2011

RHA Annual Exhibition

Just a short announcement : this plate takes part in the Royal Hibernian Academy Annual Exhibition, taking place
25th May - 30 July,
15 Ely Place, Dublin 2.

Today there was a very vibrant varnishing day, all is looking great!!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Springtime collodion season

When the warmer weather started in Ireland, Collodion served me a few lessons how to treat it in these conditions. My winter time confidence vanished together with a higher temperature, but now is slowly rebuilding, (not because it's cold again, but because I've learnt a bit)
Spots, stains, streaks, fogging, ridges all of this happened on my plates. Results were very inconsistent and each session revealed something new.
I won't bore you with all the details, but will just mark, also for myself, a few points important to remember:

- silver bath is the least likely cousing problems. It is good to prepare a proper amount of the bath from previously checked silver nitrate source, get myself a hydrometer and only replenish the silver when needed.
My problems started with the new silver bath mix and I stubbornly suspected it as a main reason of the problems, testing it, measuring pH, etc....
At least I bought myself litmus papers, so now I can be sure my pH is somewhere around 4 to 5 for ambrotypes, (and 6 might be better for negatives) and I've got some baking soda in stock to be able to increase alkalinity.
It's good to sun (expose to sun) the bath from time to time to get rid of contamination.

- developer is very sensitive to temperature and  won't work properly above 18 Celsius degrees. Especially in the dark box it is very easy to get the developer to be too warm. It will cause fogging and stains and many different strange things

- overdeveloping the plates (especially in warm weather) will result in a faded image and stains again. If it's impossible to develop the plate within 15 seconds the exposure time should be extended accordingly

- even though in Irish weather the temperatures don't go to extreme, they are high enough to make my collodion drying too quickly, I think I'd need a separate mix for warm days, with bigger amount of ether and alcohol.

- some sort of mobile/tourist fridge is a necessity for work on location
(not only for keeping collodion cool, but developer and plates as well)

I hope that's it for now. Now I'll be moving to 8x10' format and I guess - new challenges :)

I'd like to thank Gwen Wilkinson - 'Irish collodion guru' :), and Tomasz Mielech, my collodion workshop teacher, for help in resolving these problems!!!

Here are some better plates I managed to make in this period :

and here are the examples of plates with stains,  :)

Monday, 2 May 2011

World Wet Plate Day, 1st May 2011

The 3rd Annual World Wet Plate Day took place yesterday 1st May 2011. I've invited my friends for a presentation of the technique and sitting for portraits. Here are some plates I did to celebrate the day.


Calin and Andrea



Artur on bike and with mustache ;)  
/by the way well done on comming to Glencree by bike from Dublin!!!!/
As recently the collodion is serving me lot of lessons how to treat it in warm weather ( I'll write about it more soon) , this time it was very kind and only got too thick (I guess that's the reason of the thicker lines on plates, and looks like adding some alcohol helped a bit)
But generally it was a great day. Thank you for joining me!