View Full Version : wet plate collodion - cool toned chemistry

13-Apr-2018, 20:13
Hello everyone,

First time posting in the Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing sub forum.

I want to eventually get into tintypes and I've been doing lots of research.
Michael Shindler's work has really stood out.

Does anyone know how he gets these "cool toned" images?

Is it a step at the end or is it a process that starts near the beginning of coating the plate?

Thanks so much in advance for reading this and for any help/opinions offered!

Have a great weekend!

13-Apr-2018, 20:22
I strongly suspect that the more neutral/cool values shown in his web gallery are the result of color corrections done in processing the scans. Tintypes don't display such cold tones. However, you can "cool" the look of a tintype by burnishing the plate after its fully dried, but before varnishing. Burnishing removes the "patina" layer and reveals more of the silver metal below. But burnishing doesn't render the color as neutral as shown in Schindler's gallery.

13-Apr-2018, 21:11
I'm using Bostick and Sullivan's wet plate developer at 1:3 for 20" and then fixing in Photographer's Formulary TF-5 at 1:1 for 20". The result is an extremely close to neutral image. If burnishing will remove a little of the warm color, you'd end up with a dead neutral result. Never heard of burnishing before. How do you do it without damaging the image?

14-Apr-2018, 01:10
Apparently, thiosulfate fixers will yield cooler tones than cyanide, with ammonium thiosulfate being the most pronounced. I wouldn't know really; all I know is that I get a mix of slightly warm and slightly cool/neutral positives. Since I'm not very interested in positives, I haven't looked into it, but speed and duration of development and speed and duration of fixing may be relevant factors. I can imagine that faster processing with more concentrated chemicals results in more neutral tones.

Burnishing: I think Paul means gently wiping the plate with e.g. a cotton pad. I've done it several times to remove a slight haze. It does affect the tonality of the image a bit, and it won't destroy it.

14-Apr-2018, 14:11
Hi people,

Thanks paulbarden, williaty, and koraks!

I'll look into this fixing process (or keep it in mind for future tests/calibrations).

Have a great weekend!