View Full Version : A little tip for collodion photographers...

Mark Sawyer
12-Mar-2014, 15:33
There was a post by Mark Osterman on Facebook today about "Oysters on Your Plates?!", recommending letting the plate drip for a couple of minutes between taking it out of the silver bath and putting it in the plate holder. (This minimizes the residual silver solution on the plate, keeping it from dripping into the holder, which besides staining the holder can contaminate the next plate, or even the current plate if it gets back on the plate before development). I replied with my method for minimizing that residual silver solution, and thought I'd post it here as well.

When pulling the plate from the sensitizing bath, pull it very slowly and smoothly from the silver solution, allowing the surface tension to pull most of the solution off the plate's front and rear surfaces. Doing this, I never get more than a single drop of silver solution to drip back into the tank, and often not even that. I take about 2 to 3 seconds per inch of plate, then dry the back and go straight into the holder, no waiting. No oysters, I almost never have to wipe drips out my holder, my fingers have fewer stains, the paper towels I use to dry the back of the plate last longer, and it's actually quicker than drip-drip-dripping after a quick pulling of the plate.

This is an old trick with spoons after stirring coffee, so you don't have to lick the spoon dry. I tried it with tintypes a few years ago, and it helped a lot. Try it!

12-Mar-2014, 21:05
A similar process is used to dry semiconductor wafers commercially, a technique called Marangoni drying.

12-Mar-2014, 21:23
Thanks Mark for the tip ... I'll definitely give this twist a try ... if it works for spoons, it works for plates ;)