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Ari
18-Jun-2020, 09:51
Having ordered everything needed to start making tintypes (or more precisely, alumitypes), I'm now waiting impatiently for everything to arrive by COVID-19-affected mail.

I'm starting with a Kodak 2D 8x10 camera, but I'll be shooting 4x5 plates for while, to get the hang of things.
To that end, I'm waiting on an 8x10/4x5 reducing back for the 2D.

I have a few Tessars (f/4.5) for 4x5 and a Wollensak Vesta for 8x10. I'd like to have a Petzval for 4x5, so if you have one, or suggestions on one, let me know.
The B&S kit just arrived yesterday, so chemicals are a go.
I'm going to use a converted Graflex pack film holder to shoot full-size 4x5 plates.
Beakers, a scale and a dark box are also on the way, and I've been re-reading Quinn's 2014 version of "Chemical Pictures" for reference.
Finally, the 108 4x5 aluminum plates I ordered from Lund should arrive tomorrow.
My only remaining problem is a visiting mother in-law, who would disapprove of this with my daughter around, so I have to wait until she goes back home (couple days - max, I'm told).

I started this thread so I could document my experiences, for better or worse, as I go through the learning process.
It's open to any and all commentary, advice, suggestion, and vicarious shenanigans. Hopefully, the experts will pipe up at the most needed times.
No cheap shots, please. I'm far too easy a target.

It's also open to anyone who's charting a parallel course, and starting out in wet plate photography. It'd be great to compare and see what we're getting right and/or wrong.

So let's see where this goes!

ghostcount
18-Jun-2020, 10:14
Best wishes to your new adventure. I'll keep watching this thread.

Good luck with MiL.

Ari
18-Jun-2020, 10:34
Thanks. Just got word she's leaving Saturday :(

paulbarden
18-Jun-2020, 11:47
Having ordered everything needed to start making tintypes (or more precisely, alumitypes), I'm now waiting impatiently for everything to arrive by COVID-19-affected mail.

I'm starting with a Kodak 2D 8x10 camera, but I'll be shooting 4x5 plates for while, to get the hang of things.

Congrats on collating the materials you need for this new adventure, Ari! You're going to love it (and hate it, when things don't behave as expected), but it will be a fascinating journey for you, I'm sure. You're wise to start with 4x5s on aluminum first. 8x10s are exponentially more challenging, believe me.

Sorry to hear the MIL wouldn't approve of your alchemist fiddlings - maybe a good snort of Ether will allay her fears? (kidding, of course)

Monty McCutchen
18-Jun-2020, 11:52
Ari,

Spoken from experience DO NOT take your MIL's picture. Collodion is the anti-christ to graceful aging portraiture. I feel my work here is done.

Monty

Ari
18-Jun-2020, 12:03
Thanks, Paul. She's fine, a little beer will take care of any lingering doubts, and she leaves Saturday, did I mention that? :)

Monty, your contribution, although small, is perhaps the single most important piece of advice I've ever received.
Thank you

dodphotography
18-Jun-2020, 12:41
I feel that as long as you stick with lab produced chemistry then WP is pretty easy... with one caveat, if your intention is to make PERFECT plates like the practitioners in those old days.

I taught myself via YouTube fairly easily, at least from a tech side of things.

Hard part is using the medium to make meaningful work.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Mark Sawyer
18-Jun-2020, 13:33
When you "season" the silver bath by letting a coated plate sit in it overnight, use a glass plate, not an aluminum plate. Silver nitrate will crystalize out on the aluminum and you'll be exhausting your silver. But that's not an issue for the few minutes the plates are in there when shooting.

Good luck!

paulbarden
18-Jun-2020, 13:50
Ari,

Spoken from experience DO NOT take your MIL's picture. Collodion is the anti-christ to graceful aging portraiture. I feel my work here is done.

Monty

Monty is quite correct. Don't go there if your goal is to flatter!


When you "season" the silver bath by letting a coated plate sit in it overnight, use a glass plate, not an aluminum plate. Silver nitrate will crystalize out on the aluminum and you'll be exhausting your silver. But that's not an issue for the few minutes the plates are in there when shooting.

Good luck!

Also good advice. I'm pretty sure Quinn states this very clearly in the book: use glass for the seasoning plate, always.

Ari
18-Jun-2020, 15:03
Thanks, guys.
Mark, that's gold! As I'm only a week away from getting going, I'll get a hold of some glass for this purpose.
Paul, I was just reading about this in Quinn's book today, but he didn't specify using glass. Maybe he does in another chapter, or in another edition of the book.
And sadly, or maybe it's for the best, there's nothing I can do to make my MIL dislike me more. I did marry her daughter, after all.
Dan, I'd like to pour clean plates like those I've seen here from Paul, Monty, Mark and Garrett (and others). Not interested in the art-ifacts.
And yes, as with any photographic pursuit, it comes down to "So what do you have to say?" That question is always on my mind, and will be while I work out the technical side of things.

Today, I received the 8x10/4x5 reducing back. It needs a little work to make it fit the 2D because it's a B&J back. Just a couple pins need to be moved, which means epoxy and waiting for that to cure overnight.
The extension rail also arrived today, as did some small timers, a digital scale and two boxes of gloves. I'm set!
All I need now are the plates from Lund, which should be here Tuesday/Wednesday.

Two23
18-Jun-2020, 15:20
You really don't need a reducing back. I made an insert for 8x10 holder to 4x5 using black foam core. I cut a piece of it to fit inside the holder, and then cut a "window" out in the center that fits 4x5. I used tape to hold the corners of the 4x5, and use the 4x5 sized plug as the backer. I use 4x5 in the 8x10 (and 5x7) holders to take exposure tests and this works quite well. As for mother-n-law, I suppose nothing will help if she's hostile but really unless your kids are very young and get into things you shouldn't have a problem. I keep everything in sliding plastic storage drawers. Don't have kids around but I do have a cat. If you are going to practice using your bathroom or something be sure to put down plastic sheeting or something and remember to not touch anything such as door knobs etc. with gloves that have silver on them. You wouldn't believe how sneaky silver is when it comes to making a mess.


Kent in SD

Tin Can
18-Jun-2020, 15:30
I wrote 'glass plate only' in my book, for "Iodizing, Charge, Exciting" adding your term, 'seasoning'.


Monty is quite correct. Don't go there if your goal is to flatter!



Also good advice. I'm pretty sure Quinn states this very clearly in the book: use glass for the seasoning plate, always.

Ari
18-Jun-2020, 15:46
Kent, the plate holder I have is a converted Graflex. I don't have an 8x10 holder to reduce to 4x5.
And this also lets me shoot my remaining stash of 4x5 film.

paulbarden
18-Jun-2020, 16:28
Paul, I was just reading about this in Quinn's book today, but he didn't specify using glass. Maybe he does in another chapter, or in another edition of the book.

On pages 45/46 of the 2015 eBook version of Chemical Pictures, he just says "flow a plate with collodion" but doesn't specify glass. Curious, that he omitted that detail, as its pretty much considered a given that you use glass for the overnight excitation of the bath.

Tin Can
18-Jun-2020, 16:32
Ditto

I wish all these books were annotated and indexed, I guess post its on pages is a way to find details a second time.

I used to just memorize all books....not anymore:cool:


On pages 45/46 of the 2015 eBook version of Chemical Pictures, he just says "flow a plate with collodion" but doesn't specify glass. Curious, that he omitted that detail, as its pretty much considered a given that you use glass for the overnight excitation of the bath.

Ari
18-Jun-2020, 17:21
On pages 45/46 of the 2015 eBook version of Chemical Pictures, he just says "flow a plate with collodion" but doesn't specify glass. Curious, that he omitted that detail, as its pretty much considered a given that you use glass for the overnight excitation of the bath.

Glad Mark pointed that out, then!

Two23
18-Jun-2020, 17:32
Glad Mark pointed that out, then!


I never did the soak overnight deal and everything worked fine.


Kent in SD

paulbarden
18-Jun-2020, 19:29
I never did the soak overnight deal and everything worked fine.


Kent in SD

Well, did you buy a pre-iodized bath from one of the suppliers? Some sell it that way. The idea is to get the bath loaded with iodides before you make any plates, to save you from dealing with a few low contrast, poor quality plates at the outset. If you make up a silver bath and don't "season" it before use, you will get images, but they will tend to be flat and fogged. Seasoning the bath beforehand prevents that.

Two23
18-Jun-2020, 19:32
I don't remember exactly but I think I probably used the silver solution that came with the B&S kit.


Kent in SD

Mark Sampson
18-Jun-2020, 19:56
As a (very occasional) wet-plate beginner, I've relied on Mr. Sawyer's generosity and expertise to achieve my few successful plates. I'd not have gotten that far (or anywhere with wet-plate) without his in-person help; I'll suggest that you can rely on his advice at all times. Best of luck!

Ari
18-Jun-2020, 19:58
Hmm, gonna have to check on this tomorrow.
I have the B&S kit as well.

EDIT: saw the B&S instructions online, no mention of seasoning/flowing a plate first.
They suggest that once you mix the chemicals, you're ready to go.

Stayfrosty
19-Jun-2020, 05:26
Great stuff Ari - I'm following this with interest.

I am also just getting started with wet plate and also with a Kodak 2D (funnily enough I had it shipped over from Canada)
My chemicals have all arrived, I've mixed up my silver nitrate and fixer and I'll start making some plates over this weekend.


When you "season" the silver bath by letting a coated plate sit in it overnight, use a glass plate, not an aluminum plate. Silver nitrate will crystalize out on the aluminum and you'll be exhausting your silver. But that's not an issue for the few minutes the plates are in there when shooting.

Good luck!

I don't have any glass, only aluminium - is this not suitable at all for sensitising the silver bath?

Ari
19-Jun-2020, 05:33
Frosty, welcome!
Which format will you be starting with?
I'm sure you can get a cheap sheet of glass at the local hardware store.
By the sounds of it, it's preferable to use glass for an overnight dunking so as not to deplete your silver too quickly.
Post some pictures, please. I'd love to follow everyone's beginning steps!

Tin Can
19-Jun-2020, 05:50
I am following here, but not in a big hurry to start

I will get there at my pace

Stayfrosty
19-Jun-2020, 06:22
Frosty, welcome!
Which format will you be starting with?
I'm sure you can get a cheap sheet of glass at the local hardware store.
By the sounds of it, it's preferable to use glass for an overnight dunking so as not to deplete your silver too quickly.
Post some pictures, please. I'd love to follow everyone's beginning steps!

Thanks Ari :)
Noted, I'll find some glass.

Like you I'll be shooting 4x5 to begin with, the camera came with a reducing back.
I'll definetly throw some photos up when I get going.

Two23
19-Jun-2020, 06:26
A quick and cheap source of glass is found on picture frames at a discount store.


Kent in SD

paulbarden
19-Jun-2020, 06:28
Great stuff Ari - I'm following this with interest.
I don't have any glass, only aluminium - is this not suitable at all for sensitising the silver bath?

Welcome to the process, StayFrosty! There’s lots to learn, and most of it is going to be great fun!

“Charging” or “exciting” a virgin silver bath requires leaving the collodion coated plate in the bath for several hours (most leave it overnight) to let the iodides leach from the plate into the silver solution. Without this step, your first few plates will likely be flat and lifeless, and tend to be fogged over. You can use an aluminium plate if that’s all you have, but the silver will react with the aluminium plate and form metallic crystals on the exposed surfaces of the metal plate. This chemical reaction can have an adverse affect on the silver bath, so it’s best to just use glass. Maybe you’ve got an old picture frame kicking around that you can pirate the glass from?

If not, you can use your aluminium for the task, but I suggest leaving it in the silver bath for a shorter time: maybe 3 hours rather than overnight. Even a couple of hours will get some iodides into the bath, sufficient to charge it well enough, I would think.

Curiously, none of the various editions of Quinn’s books state that glass must be used for this step, but John Coffer’s manual clearly says NEVER use an aluminium (or any metal) Plate for this step.

There is one other option, which is mentioned in both the aforementioned books: you can simply add a pinch of either Potassium iodide or (preferably) Ammonium iodide to the bath. Neither book says how much “a pinch” is (wouldn’t it be nice if they simply stated a gram weight??) but I imagine a literal pinch is sufficient.

goamules
19-Jun-2020, 06:36
ANY piece of glass will work. Even an old bottle if it will fit in the bath. Just pour some collodion on something that won't get eaten by the silver, glass is a known substance. You just do it once, from then on your bath will work fine, for years.

By the way, I used an aluminum dipper made out of trophy plate for a while for my silver bath. No problems...

Stayfrosty
19-Jun-2020, 07:36
Thanks for all of the info! Very insightful to a newbie here. One last question for the sake of hijacking this thread. (Apologies Ari!)

Do I need to worry about coating the glass plate with egg white before pouring the collodion on to sensitise the SN bath?
All of my research to this point and the course that I did has been focused on Aluminium plates so my glass knowledge is zero.

Ari
19-Jun-2020, 08:03
I'll take a stab at this, and no, it's not a hijacking. It's the purpose of this thread.
Applying egg white is done so that the emulsion adheres to the glass plate. You want this when you take a photo.
Since the intention with flowing the plate is only to "excite" the silver bath, there's no need to ensure that anything sticks to the glass plate.
Anyone, correct me if I'm wrong.

paulbarden
19-Jun-2020, 08:24
Since the intention with flowing the plate is only to "excite" the silver bath, there's no need to ensure that anything sticks to the glass plate.
Anyone, correct me if I'm wrong.

Actually, Ari, that's not true! That collodion has to stick to the glass for several hours while in the silver bath, and for that, the plate has to be meticulously clean.

StayFrosty, have you looked at videos instructing how to correctly prepare a glass plate for pouring collodion? (See: https://youtu.be/B0rvfo71ZNM) You need some Calcium carbonate (whiting, or powdered chalk. The B&S kit includes some, I believe) and alcohol to mix a thick solution to clean the plate. The idea is that the Calcium will abrade the glass slightly, making a surface the collodion can more easily adhere to. If you skip this step, there is risk the collodion will slough off into the silver bath, and then you will have some serious clean-up to do.

If you perform this cleaning step properly, you will not need to coat the glass with albumen, and in fact, its probably not ideal to introduce albumen into your silver bath for hours and hours. Just clean the plate properly.

Two23
19-Jun-2020, 08:26
The collodion will stick well enough without egg whites for this.


Kent in SD

Ari
19-Jun-2020, 08:56
Good save, Paul. I'm glad to have people much more knowledgeable than I answering critical questions here.

ghostcount
19-Jun-2020, 09:20
Find someone who does wpc near your area, ask for a few ml of used silver nitrate, drop it in to your freshly made silver bath, then carry on. :cool:

paulbarden
19-Jun-2020, 10:31
Find someone who does wpc near your area, ask for a few ml of used silver nitrate, drop it in to your freshly made silver bath, then carry on. :cool:

That sounds like much more effort than just putting a collodion coated plate in the silver bath for a few hours. Frosty is in Scotland, so finding another Collodion photographer nearby may not be easy.
Also, if the silver bath is a substantial volume (like a liter) then its going to take more than "a few ml" to season the bath properly.

ghostcount
19-Jun-2020, 10:36
That sounds like much more effort than just putting a collodion coated plate in the silver bath for a few hours. Frosty is in Scotland, so finding another Collodion photographer nearby may not be easy.
Also, if the silver bath is a substantial volume (like a liter) then its going to take more than "a few ml" to season the bath properly.

As far as the amount Dunniway says about 5-10mL for a liter should be sufficient.

Still an option to consider if available and I only mention because Ari might know someone - best to know options and let them decide. Besides he wouldn't have to wait the next day. The way these guys sound they are anxious. :)

paulbarden
19-Jun-2020, 13:43
As far as the amount Dunniway says about 5-10mL for a liter should be sufficient.

That's very interesting, and surprising. I wouldn't have thought 5-10 ml of well-used silver bath would be enough to kick start a fresh one! Thanks for that info.

jmdavis
19-Jun-2020, 14:04
Several years ago, Sally Mann said, "You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a wetplate photographer." It was, of course an exaggeration.

I have posed for two wetplate portraits by "Worlds Fastest" Bob Gibson. Actually they are one wetplate and one tin type. They can certainly be great looking.

Ari
19-Jun-2020, 14:08
The way these guys sound they are anxious. :)

Pretty much, yeah. :)
Quite anxious to start, but still willing to take it slow and do it right.
In my case, I don't think I'll need to season a plate, the B&S kit makes no mention of it.

EDIT: Just spoke to Dana at B&S, he recommends exciting the silver bath for 5 minutes, and he even went so far as to question the usefulness of doing so.
I think I'll still use a piece of glass and leave it in overnight.

Tin Can
20-Jun-2020, 09:41
A 2014 view of learning wet plate

Well written and documented

https://medium.com/vantage/a-first-timers-foray-into-wet-plate-photography-495680004324

Tin Can
20-Jun-2020, 13:12
One question, 2 parts

Converting film DDS to Wet Plate

Is SS 304 or 316 wire good enough of do I need find somehow pure silver wire?

Mark Sawyer
20-Jun-2020, 13:27
Historically, leaving a plate in overnight is the accepted method. At worst, it's harmless. I've noticed well-used silver baths behave nicer than brand new ones.

BTW, I've used a number of different collodion bottles, and here's what I settled on as my favorite, a 250ml pyrex media bottle with a wide mouth. The cap seals very well, so you can keep it in the fridge with no odor, (it will last maybe 2-3 times longer if kept cold when not being used). It's graduated, making mixing quick and easy, for Poor Boy, just 80ml raw collodion plus 100ml salted alcohol, shake and let set a couple of days. The literature says add the alcohol to the collodion, not the other way around, but I've done it both ways without issues.

Here's the bottle I mentioned:

Tin Can
20-Jun-2020, 14:22
Ordered Corning PYREX #1395-250, 250ml Round Media Storage Bottle, with GL45 Screw Cap (Pack of 2) and not the ones with bad caps, as described for a cheaper version.

Ari
20-Jun-2020, 14:36
Thanks for the suggestion, Mark. I'll try to find it.
I was looking for wide-mouth clear bottles online, but nothing reasonably-priced came up.
These are one candidate for collodion: https://www.amazon.com/Drinking-BPA-Free-Airtight-Smoothies-Beverages/dp/B07RJYV7G7/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Travel+Glass+Drinking+Bottle+Mason+Jar+16+Ounce+%5B6-Pack%5D&qid=1592688712&sr=8-1
But the Pyrex is always a better choice, at least for safety.

Mark Sawyer
20-Jun-2020, 15:27
Also, don't put collodion in plastic containers. The collodion seeps in and bonds with it. But it's not an issue with acrylic silver tanks, dippers, developing trays, etc. as the collodion sets up when it hits the silver bath. Maybe ten years ago I tried to mix a small batch of collodion in a plastic graduated cylinder and it clumped up on the walls. I threw the whole mess out. Now I just mix it in the pour bottle using pre-salted alcohol and collodion.

Oh, and those 16 oz. bottles Ari linked to are awfully large unless you're doing really large plates and going through a LOT of collodion. 180ml batches in the 250ml bottles is just right, as Goldilocks would say.

paulbarden
20-Jun-2020, 16:11
I've come to like Erlenmeyer flasks for my collodion pour bottles: the way the spout is configured, you can get the lip as close to the plate as you like to pour, and that translates into greater control of the pour action. The downside is that the black rubber stoppers can be forced out of the flask mouth by vapor pressure, but to get around that problem, I use a strong rubber band stretched over the stopper and all the way round the bottom. (this only works with 250ml flasks and smaller) Its a bit of a compromise, but I find its worth it for the advantages the Erlenmeyer Flask offers. YMMV of course - everyone has a favorite pour bottle for their own reasons.

And what Mark said is important: DO NOT store Collodion in plastic bottles!

Ari, I'd be careful about storing Collodion in those jars you saw on Amazon. There's no telling what the Ether vapors will do to the plastic lids. Maybe they'd be fine - maybe not. The Pyrex media bottles are made to store chemistry. I use those for some chemicals also (namely my spare silver bath)

paulbarden
20-Jun-2020, 16:11
One question, 2 parts

Converting film DDS to Wet Plate

Is SS 304 or 316 wire good enough of do I need find somehow pure silver wire?

Sorry, what is a "film DDS"?? OK, now I know.

I know that some have used certain variants of stainless steel for this purpose, yes. Lund uses stainless steel for their film holder mods.

Ari
20-Jun-2020, 16:26
Double dark slide, or film holder.

Paul, you're right, I'm going to order the Pyrex bottles, maybe one larger (500 mL) as well for storage purposes.

goamules
20-Jun-2020, 16:41
I may have missed it or forgotten, but you've bought and you're referring to some guidebooks right?

Tin Can
20-Jun-2020, 17:30
I have/bought May 31 2020 Quinn, not watched any videos yet, there may be an issue there.

SS 316 18 gauge aka 1 mm is easier to get than 1 mm .999 Silver which is full soft usually...

Two23
20-Jun-2020, 18:57
Historically, leaving a plate in overnight is the accepted method. At worst, it's harmless. I've noticed well-used silver baths behave nicer than brand new ones.

BTW, I've used a number of different collodion bottles, and here's what I settled on as my favorite, a 250ml pyrex media bottle with a wide mouth. The cap seals very well, so you can keep it in the fridge with no odor, (it will last maybe 2-3 times longer if kept cold when not being used). It's graduated, making mixing quick and easy, for Poor Boy, just 80ml raw collodion plus 100ml salted alcohol, shake and let set a couple of days. The literature says add the alcohol to the collodion, not the other way around, but I've done it both ways without issues.

Here's the bottle I mentioned:


I keep my unmixed collodion in a refrigerator but my mixed one in my basement on the floor. It's pretty cool there. As for collodion bottle, I'm using a square corked one. It fits my hand very well and is easy to control, the opening just the right size for flow control, and it's short and squat which makes it a lot less tippy. For my fixer I'm using a 500ml bottle like the one you showed. For developer I'm using an amber round bottle 500ml that came with the B&S kit. I tend to go through developer faster than collodion and go through fixer pretty slowly.

https://www.specialtybottle.com/glass-bottles/corked/250ml-cksq250

Kent in SD

Mark Sawyer
20-Jun-2020, 20:01
One question, 2 parts

Converting film DDS to Wet Plate

Is SS 304 or 316 wire good enough of do I need find somehow pure silver wire?

I use a silver-plated stainless steel wire from the Michael's craft store with no issues. I put a thick drop of epoxy on each one and run it to the edge of the opening. The rounded bump helps guide the plate in.

Here's one of my converted holders. First mark out the plate-sized opening, and drill a big hole in the middle of each line. The little divot it leaves in the center of each line is harmless, and actually comes in handy as a place you can get your fingertip around the edge of the plate to take it out. (I keep telling myself I'll grind these out a little larger to make it easier still, but haven't yet).

The flap to keep the plate from falling out backwards in 4-ply matt board hinged with duct tape. Be sure to mark the back dark slide prominently on both sides or you'll lose track.

Tin Can
20-Jun-2020, 20:31
Thanks Mark,

This type of thing I have done for a long time.

I like the epoxy tip!

Two23
20-Jun-2020, 20:33
The flap to keep the plate from falling out backwards in 4-ply matt board hinged with duct tape. Be sure to mark the back dark slide prominently on both sides or you'll lose track.


Last winter I was demonstrating wet plate at our monthly camera club meeting. I was using my Gundlach Korona 5x7 and a Chamonix holder. I put the holder into the camera and pulled the slide. I heard a soft "clunk" sound. I realized that was the sound of the plate falling into the bellows and said, "Oh crap!" I had put the holder in backwards. Turned off all the lights in the room, put the the plate back in, and did things correctly.


Kent in SD

Mark Sawyer
21-Jun-2020, 01:19
I can clearly see the markings on the back dark slide through the ground glass after I put it in the camera, so it's completely foolproof. With my system, only a complete idiot would put the plate holder in backwards and pull the wrong dark slide.

Yeah.

I did...

:rolleyes:

Ari
21-Jun-2020, 09:13
A few questions about chemistry and storage, if you don't mind:

1. Do you keep the silver bath in the tank when not in use? Or do you pour it into a glass bottle then in the fridge in between plate sessions? I'd definitely prefer to keep it in a bottle in the fridge when not in use.
2. Filter the silver bath after each session?
3. Is developer one-shot?
4. Is fixer one-shot?
5. Are there any chemicals NOT allowed in the fridge for longer-term storage?

Thanks!

Stayfrosty
21-Jun-2020, 09:44
So I poured some plates today.

First things first, after doing some reading on here and the collodion FB groups I decided to not sensitise my silver bath.

I left my first plate in for slightly longer, 5mins. I shot some plants outside in full sun @ f6.3 for 6 seconds. WAAAAAY overexposed, no fogging though.

Decided to move indoors for more control over the process, below is the second plate. Very underexposed and also a slightly short pour, my collodion pouring vastly improved throughout the day until I found the sweet point of surface tension and was much more in control. You'll notice in this first plate (and possibly others) that there are some hesitation lines from the silver bath. I don't currently have a vertical bath, rather I'm using a horizontal dish which does the job but makes the lines if the drop in isn't smooth.

204980

3rd and 4th plate below.

Is this a case of fogging on the below plate?

204981

204982

The trickiest part that I found today was pouring the developer on, I think I had the plates too angled and had most of the developer run off before I could catch it.

All in all a successfully learning day to get started with. Any advice that you might have based on the above plates will be greatly appreciated - I'll be back at it tomorrow! :)

Two23
21-Jun-2020, 09:52
A few questions about chemistry and storage, if you don't mind:

1. Do you keep the silver bath in the tank when not in use? Or do you pour it into a glass bottle then in the fridge in between plate sessions? I'd definitely prefer to keep it in a bottle in the fridge when not in use.
2. Filter the silver bath after each session?
3. Is developer one-shot?
4. Is fixer one-shot?
5. Are there any chemicals NOT allowed in the fridge for longer-term storage?

Thanks!

1. Yes. Everytime I pour it in and out it risks making a mess.
2. I don't because I don't make that many plates per outing. I filter about every 50 or so. Others filter with every use but that seems excessive to me.
3. Yes. Some advise to save the poured off developer and mix it 50/50 with fresh. I haven't tried that yet.
4. No. Reuse until the clearing time starts getting long.
5. No. I only keep my unmixed stock supply of collodion (anything containing ether) in the refrigerator. I use a small 200ml bottle to keep my mixed collodion in and it doesn't stay in there very long. I store that in my bag with other chemicals on my basement floor, which right now is about 60 F degrees.


Kent in SD

paulbarden
21-Jun-2020, 09:58
A few questions about chemistry and storage, if you don't mind:

1. Do you keep the silver bath in the tank when not in use? Or do you pour it into a glass bottle then in the fridge in between plate sessions? I'd definitely prefer to keep it in a bottle in the fridge when not in use.
2. Filter the silver bath after each session?
3. Is developer one-shot?
4. Is fixer one-shot?
5. Are there any chemicals NOT allowed in the fridge for longer-term storage?

Thanks!

1: Since I have a Lund travel tank, I keep the silver bath in it at all times, except when filtering or performing maintenance. There's absolutely no reason to keep the silver bath in the fridge, as that will require that you warm it up before you need it. I don't think anyone has suggested the silver bath be refrigerated.

2: Ideally, you will want to filter the silver bath after each usage, yes. But if I only make 2 - 5 plates in a session, I may opt to skip filtering till the next time. A lightly used bath may not NEED filtering every single time.

3: developer is one shot, yes. Some of the literature suggests you can get better density on a plate by "seasoning" your developer by adding a portion of used developer to your unused, fresh developer. (John Coffer mentions this in his book)I did experiments with "seasoned" developer and found it offered no meaningful advantage, so I don't do this anymore. Developer is cheap, Ari: use it once and discard it.

4: Fixer can be used for several plates. It isn't exhausted after one plate. Of course, this depends on how much fixer is in the tray relative to how large your plates are. If you are fixing 8X10 inch plates and using only 300ml of fixer, then you should limit that fix to maybe 2 plates before changing it out for fresh. As Quinn has stated before, if you are doing work you plan to sell and/or wish to be archival, then use fresh fix for every plate. Fix is cheap too. I buy 15 pound bags of Sodium thiosulfate, which is very cheap indeed. I can afford to use a fixer bath only once if I am making important negatives that I wish to make as archival as possible. If you opt to work this way, use the minimum volume of fix for the plate size you are making.
But during the learning phase, there is no reason to make fixer a one time deal: use the fix until it takes 2X as long to clear a plate as it does when the fix is fresh, then discard it.

5: Depends. Is there food in the fridge as well? If you are sharing a fridge with food items, then none of the core chemistry should be in that fridge. (Core chemistry = collodion, both plain and salted, and ether. There's no reason to put acid and alcohol in the fridge) If you want to keep Collodion and Ether cool, then get a dedicated fridge, and make sure the caps on the bottles are extremely good at preventing vapors from leaking from the storage vessels. There is a less-than-zero risk of igniting Ether vapors in a fridge if the act of opening the door (which turns on a light) creates an electrical spark of any magnitude. This is why there are special "spark free" fridges made for storage of volatile chemicals.
I store my collodion and ether in a thick styrofoam cooler. In the summer, if its going to be a HOT day, I will throw a cooling pack from the freezer into the cooler, and that will keep it under 80F for the rest of the day. It doesn't take much effort to keep your chemistry storage at an acceptable temperature. Of course, taking your portable darkroom out on the road is a different matter: cooling your chemistry becomes a lot more difficult when the temps go above 90F.

Regarding chemical storage: I have often thought about digging a hole in the yard somewhere out of the way that I can drop my styrofoam cooler into for summer chemistry storage. But I've found the cooler itself is a good insulator and tossing the occasional cold pack in on hot days has sufficed. However, a makeshift "cold cellar" in the ground would probably work nicely, as long as you could engineer a way to prevent it filling with water during a storm.

Two23
21-Jun-2020, 10:06
So I poured some plates today.



You are off to a good start. For the outdoor exposure try a 1 sec. exposure if the light is about the same. Yesterday I was shooting f32 and 10s. Yes, pouring on developer is the hardest part for me. I started with an easier method and got better results. It's called the "tip tray" method. You need either a 4x5 or 5x7 sized tray. Place plate in the tray and move it firmly against one of the narrow (side) edge. The idea is to expose the bottom of the tray at the other long end. Tip the tray up at a slight angle. Pour in about 15-20 ml of developer at the lowest point of the tray, the area that doesn't contain the plate. Drop the tray down on a flat surface or even at angle so the developer will flow back over the plate. This method is much more even and easier than the in-hand method and is a good way to learn. I eventually started going to the in-hand method this year but it's taking me awhile to learn. I started using a little more developer for 4x5 than I was, say about 18ml instead of 10ml. I use a small 100ml beaker and pour from the rounded edge, not the pour spout. This broadens the flow.


Kent in SD

Two23
21-Jun-2020, 10:14
If I didn't already have a left over dorm sized refrigerator, I would probably buy one of these miniature refrigerators for collodion/ether:


https://www.gourmia.com/item.asp?item=10252

I've seen them at Walmart.



Kent in SD

paulbarden
21-Jun-2020, 11:08
So I poured some plates today.

First things first, after doing some reading on here and the collodion FB groups I decided to not sensitise my silver bath.

I left my first plate in for slightly longer, 5mins. I shot some plants outside in full sun @ f6.3 for 6 seconds. WAAAAAY overexposed, no fogging though.

Decided to move indoors for more control over the process, below is the second plate. Very underexposed and also a slightly short pour, my collodion pouring vastly improved throughout the day until I found the sweet point of surface tension and was much more in control. You'll notice in this first plate (and possibly others) that there are some hesitation lines from the silver bath. I don't currently have a vertical bath, rather I'm using a horizontal dish which does the job but makes the lines if the drop in isn't smooth.

204980

3rd and 4th plate below.

Is this a case of fogging on the below plate?

204981

204982

The trickiest part that I found today was pouring the developer on, I think I had the plates too angled and had most of the developer run off before I could catch it.

All in all a successfully learning day to get started with. Any advice that you might have based on the above plates will be greatly appreciated - I'll be back at it tomorrow! :)

Questions for you: what developer did you use, and how long did you leave it on the plate before washing it off?

Yes, learning how to flow a plate with developer is indeed quite tricky. But you WILL figure it out. Practice is all it takes. You're off to a good start!

Stayfrosty
21-Jun-2020, 11:33
Questions for you: what developer did you use, and how long did you leave it on the plate before washing it off?

Yes, learning how to flow a plate with developer is indeed quite tricky. But you WILL figure it out. Practice is all it takes. You're off to a good start!

Thanks for the encouragement, about 15 seconds give or take. I'm going to practice with some plates and water over the sink.
It's premixed developer from wetplatesupplies here in the UK - WD1 positive developer.


You are off to a good start. For the outdoor exposure try a 1 sec. exposure if the light is about the same. Yesterday I was shooting f32 and 10s. Yes, pouring on developer is the hardest part for me. I started with an easier method and got better results. It's called the "tip tray" method. You need either a 4x5 or 5x7 sized tray. Place plate in the tray and move it firmly against one of the narrow (side) edge. The idea is to expose the bottom of the tray at the other long end. Tip the tray up at a slight angle. Pour in about 15-20 ml of developer at the lowest point of the tray, the area that doesn't contain the plate. Drop the tray down on a flat surface or even at angle so the developer will flow back over the plate. This method is much more even and easier than the in-hand method and is a good way to learn. I eventually started going to the in-hand method this year but it's taking me awhile to learn. I started using a little more developer for 4x5 than I was, say about 18ml instead of 10ml. I use a small 100ml beaker and pour from the rounded edge, not the pour spout. This broadens the flow.


Kent in SD

Thank you Kent, I'm going to try pouring from a different vessel next time but will stick with this method for now :)

Tin Can
21-Jun-2020, 11:42
I tried Thermoelectric (https://www.google.com/search?q=thermoelectric+cooler+warmer&sa=X&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS850US850&sxsrf=ALeKk02Qge5yUDzy4lAI-BZ8auWfRcFYQQ:1592764112276&source=univ&tbm=shop&tbo=u&ved=2ahUKEwiU3P3YxJPqAhXUbc0KHZwQARYQsxh6BAgOECw&biw=1229&bih=608)cooler warmer long ago, they really only keep cool things cool or warm, if contents have enough initial thermal mass when turned on.Meaning temp will stay cool or warm.

24 hours later while 'on' not much happens. Beer is a sad example.

I gave 2 away and will not waste any more money on those.

My Engle Fridge (https://engelcoolers.com/collections/powered-fridge-freezers) works very well and draws more power, but less than any other. I have one running right now in my very hot closed up trailer. This model. The beer is cold and i am going to drink one npw. (https://engelcoolers.com/collections/powered-fridge-freezers/products/sr70-rv-camping-fridge)


If I didn't already have a left over dorm sized refrigerator, I would probably buy one of these miniature refrigerators for collodion/ether:


https://www.gourmia.com/item.asp?item=10252

I've seen them at Walmart.



Kent in SD

Ari
21-Jun-2020, 12:09
Thanks, Paul and Kent.
I have a small fridge in the basement, it only has film in it, and there's room for chemicals if needed.
I also have a cooler for moving about.
Thanks again

Mark Sawyer
21-Jun-2020, 12:16
On filtering the silver bath, I filter mine "as needed", when the floaties build up. I have a red LED cluster on a swinging-arm lamp fixture I point directly into the silver bath. As I raise the plate, I see if any floaties are on the surface, and if one sticks, I just quickly re-immerse the plate to wash it off and raise it again. Monitoring how many floaties there are visually, I know when I need to filter it.

For a filter, I use a 500-line screen glued into a plastic funnel with epoxy around the edge. Most people use cotton balls, but they absorb a lot of silver nitrate every time, and sometimes leave little cotton fibers in the bath. Lab filter papers run very slowly so you have to pour and pour a little at a time, and again absorb silver nitrate so you lose some each time, though not as much as with the cotton balls. Coffee filters put a lot of little paper fibers in the bath. The silver bath flows quickly through the 500-mesh screen, you lose nothing to absorption, and it filters the floaties quite effectively.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1-diameter-extrusion-screens-100-per-pack-500-mesh-screen-packs-sieves/112568557587?hash=item1a359be013:g:g54AAOSw0e9UtFHK

Mark Sawyer
21-Jun-2020, 12:23
Also, I keep my silver in the tank, though I wouldn't on a tank larger than 11x14 or so if it had glued seams. Too much constant pressure from the larger amount of liquid over time. But you'll want a sealed cap that prevents evaporation.

If you build your own tanks, scab on extra acrylic strips over the seams to add strength and prevent leaks. My main whole-plate silver tank has had the bath in it for ten years straight, no problems:

Tin Can
21-Jun-2020, 12:23
Like that screen tip Mark

Thanks

Ari
21-Jun-2020, 13:11
Gold again, Mark! Thank you

EDIT: I ordered this one: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074XDVNLY/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Ari
24-Jun-2020, 11:04
I assume it's ok, but thought to ask anyway: if I don't have glass handy, but I do have acrylic, can I use that instead to excite the silver bath?
Any drawbacks?
Thanks

paulbarden
24-Jun-2020, 11:14
I assume it's ok, but thought to ask anyway: if I don't have glass handy, but I do have acrylic, can I use that instead to excite the silver bath?
Any drawbacks?
Thanks

I don't recall anyone using acrylic for this purpose, but I think its pretty safe to say that acrylic should be entirely inert and won't create problems in the silver bath for the 4-8 hours needed to "excite" the bath. But I have no personal experience making work on acrylic. Quinn has mentioned several times that he enjoys using black acrylic for making positives.

Two23
24-Jun-2020, 11:59
Most tanks are made from acrylic so I doubt one more piece will cause trouble.


Kent in SD

Ari
24-Jun-2020, 12:42
Noted, thanks fellas.

paulbarden
24-Jun-2020, 13:53
Most tanks are made from acrylic so I doubt one more piece will cause trouble.


Kent in SD

Oh, of course! Duh! I should have made that connection lol

goamules
24-Jun-2020, 14:34
A few questions about chemistry and storage, if you don't mind:

1. Do you keep the silver bath in the tank when not in use? Or do you pour it into a glass bottle then in the fridge in between plate sessions? I'd definitely prefer to keep it in a bottle in the fridge when not in use.
2. Filter the silver bath after each session?
3. Is developer one-shot?
4. Is fixer one-shot?
5. Are there any chemicals NOT allowed in the fridge for longer-term storage?

Thanks!

Again, you ARE referring to a guidebook or manual aren't you? You seem to be asking every question for every step of the process. You seem to be asking VERY basic questions that suggest you haven't done much reading yet.

Wait....you didn't set up this section of the LF forum, and these threads to avoid doing that did you?! The best method to learn is to read a guidebook that is ONE person's techniques and chemistry, and then to possibly take a workshop if you still have questions. Although many people on the internet do just ask a myriad of questions and get a free "community workshop" out of it.

Ari
24-Jun-2020, 14:38
Garrett,
Not everything is spelled out in Quinn's book. I like to be sure about what I'm doing so as to develop good habits going forward.
Yes, I set up this thread to ask questions, for others to ask similar questions, and to provide look at the WP process through the eyes of a novice.
Is there something wrong about any of that?

goamules
24-Jun-2020, 14:46
Nothing wrong for you to ask. I just didn't know if you were following a book. It's like learning to fly an airplane really. You need to study first, from an expert instructor. Then you need to practice with an expert. Then you need to solo. Some people try to jump into the soloing without ever having done steps 1 and 2. It's like a student pilot at the controls, taking off, and asking questions like "is this the throttle?....what does that knob do?...should I pull back now?"

Or if learning to fly by the "ask the community" learning method, you hear "always take off into the wind....a cross wind is easier to learn from...don't go to full burner on takeoff...always go to full afterburner on takeoff..." etc.

Ari
24-Jun-2020, 15:40
Of course, understood.

By the way, it's been proven that a newbie can't land a plane, but a newbie (like Quinn and others) has figured out wet plate alone.

I had a local instructor lined up for last month. She's a big deal in the art world and I sold her her first 8x10 camera, so she would have been great to learn from, but she had to cancel due to the Coronavirus.
I'm kind of forced now to go it alone, and if all goes well, I'd happily take a workshop later on, to refine what I've learned.

The big plus on the forum is having access to years of experience, and getting some home-made tips from the likes of Mark and Paul, and others, which help enormously with the big picture.
Quinn's book (2014 edition) is excellent, I've read it front to back a dozen times during the lockdown, but some finer details are vague or missing. Or maybe they need to be updated, too.

Two23
24-Jun-2020, 15:53
I'm kind of forced now to go it alone, and if all goes well, I'd happily take a workshop later on, to refine what I've learned.

The big plus on the forum is having access to years of experience, and getting some home-made tips from the likes of Mark and Paul, and others, which help enormously with the big picture.
Quinn's book (2014 edition) is excellent, I've read it front to back a dozen times during the lockdown, but some finer details are vague or missing. Or maybe they need to be updated, too.


I live in the middle of nowhere and did fine learning on my own. You'll be OK. Honestly, this stuff isn't that hard.


Kent in SD

Ari
24-Jun-2020, 19:08
Cheers, Kent.

Tin Can
25-Jun-2020, 05:31
I did enjoy 'flying' on Windows Flight Simulator (https://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/microsoft-flight-simulator) long ago

But I never tried a real airplane and know the difference

and I always crashed any big airplane, but with a Jenny I was successful

Curtiss JN-4D "Jenny" in Microsoft Flight Sim 2004 (https://youtu.be/rEiEJV_TdRE) 18 second YouTube




Nothing wrong for you to ask. I just didn't know if you were following a book. It's like learning to fly an airplane really. You need to study first, from an expert instructor. Then you need to practice with an expert. Then you need to solo. Some people try to jump into the soloing without ever having done steps 1 and 2. It's like a student pilot at the controls, taking off, and asking questions like "is this the throttle?....what does that knob do?...should I pull back now?"

Or if learning to fly by the "ask the community" learning method, you hear "always take off into the wind....a cross wind is easier to learn from...don't go to full burner on takeoff...always go to full afterburner on takeoff..." etc.

paulbarden
25-Jun-2020, 08:02
The big plus on the forum is having access to years of experience, and getting some home-made tips from the likes of Mark and Paul, and others, which help enormously with the big picture.
Quinn's book (2014 edition) is excellent, I've read it front to back a dozen times during the lockdown, but some finer details are vague or missing. Or maybe they need to be updated, too.

My understanding is that the main reason Quinn rewrote Chemical Pictures was to fill in the many gaps in the previous edition. Ari is correct: there are many seemingly basic questions that are not answered in the 2014 edition - questions that may seem simple and basic to an experienced practitioner, but modern manuals often omit the minutiae in favor of making the content as easily digested as possible. Quinn's 2019 edition does a much better job of addressing the smaller details, and yet manages to miss some of the little things too. (For example, the 2019 edition still doesn't say whether or not you can use an aluminum plate to "excite" the silver bath for the first time) The instructional videos that accompany the 2019 edition are a huge asset to the content. There is something about having a person demonstrate something in front of your eyes that can make the content much easier to grasp than a written description is. John Coffer's Doer's Guide also has DVD content accompanying the book and his video demos are equally valuable. In fact, both of those books are great wet plate guides, and both have unique content: I refer to each of them fairly regularly. If cost is no obstacle, then I would recommend to new practitioners that they own a copy of each.

Tin Can
26-Jun-2020, 04:18
Are Coffer's videos that we can buy better than his YouTube videos of his classes?

John offers a lot for free on YouTube. I really like his Mammoth Plate camera cart in this video

John Coffer - The Tintype Recaptured (https://youtu.be/MUvgCKmAv6I)

paulbarden
26-Jun-2020, 06:31
Are Coffer's videos that we can buy better than his YouTube videos of his classes?

Yes. The videos that accompany the book are tutorials specific to the book content. John's YouTube videos are more overview than instructional - the DVDs that support the book are very specifically and thoroughly instructional, and very detailed.

goamules
29-Jun-2020, 12:06
...and entertaining, I like the one where he is talking about mixing chemistry, and a chicken walks by at his feet.

Ari
30-Jun-2020, 20:12
Hey! Thought I'd post a brief update, and I hope that others starting out are getting close to producing some plates as well.
The last few items I needed finally arrived: 4x5 aluminum plates and the storage box I'll use as a dark box.

I've re-purposed a cooler to securely hold the chemicals I'd need to use, and made the necessary modifications to the dark box (sleeves, rubylith top).
Chemicals all mixed, silver bath is almost as excited as I am.

Once again, my mother-in-law is visiting for a week, starting tomorrow. Thanks to the newly-minted dark box, I'll take the show on the road and make some plates not-at-home.
That should be tricky enough so that when shooting at home, it will feel quite easy.

Two23
30-Jun-2020, 20:38
Hey! Thought I'd post a brief update, and I hope that others starting out are getting close to producing some plates as well.
The last few items I needed finally arrived: 4x5 aluminum plates and the storage box I'll use as a dark box.

I've re-purposed a cooler to securely hold the chemicals I'd need to use, and made the necessary modifications to the dark box (sleeves, rubylith top).
Chemicals all mixed, silver bath is almost as excited as I am.

Once again, my mother-in-law is visiting for a week, starting tomorrow. Thanks to the newly-minted dark box, I'll take the show on the road and make some plates not-at-home.
That should be tricky enough so that when shooting at home, it will feel quite easy.



Show us pictues!


Kent in SD

Ari
30-Jun-2020, 20:50
Show us pictues!


Kent in SD

Of course!

Ari
8-Jul-2020, 11:14
Finally got outside and shot some plates today. The heat outside is intense, feels hotter than the advertised 97F.
I kept my chemicals in a cooler with an ice pack, this caused the collodion to form a skin as soon as it was poured.
Later plates were fine as the collodion warmed up a bit.

The pouring and silver bath were quite easy for me. The hard part was the developer because I couldn't see much in the dark box.
I may have a dark rubylith, or maybe the reflections made it hard to see, even with a bicycle lamp inside the box.

Got three plates done, with varying degrees of success, and I'll post them later, as soon as they dry.

Two23
8-Jul-2020, 11:52
Must place box in shade to see into it. I think you need more light too. Mine is really bright, and I shine it into the box.


Kent in SD

Ari
8-Jul-2020, 14:00
I worked out of the back of my hatchback, which is probably too bright, but that's what I have to do.
The bike lamp is inside the box, but I should probably get a couple more.
Thanks, Kent.

Ari
9-Jul-2020, 10:52
Here are scans in the order I shot them, CZJ Tessar 250mm on 4x5 plates.
I've heard many times that beginners usually over-expose, but I underexposed.
Collodion pours were pretty good, I think, my problem was developer. I couldn't see anything inside the dark box, which led to uneven development.
But I kept development times to a steady 15s, and sensitized my plates for 3:00 each time. I couldn't see how the solver rolled off the plate, so I had to assume it was ok.

It was 97F yesterday, my first plate had collodion problems, was like an egg getting cooked too quickly.
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50094600086_c99868450b_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jjFVku)

Second plate was better for collodion as it warmed up a bit by then. You can see a face at the top, but 1s at f11 in open shade wasn't going to cut it
Big developer problems here, as well as severe underexposure.
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50094019513_fc23aa00fe_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jjCWKB)

So I went for 8s at f11, it was still underexposed, but by this, my third plate, I was exhausted and at least felt like I'd gotten somewhere that day.
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50094600091_a80531c79a_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jjFVkz)

Two23
9-Jul-2020, 10:59
You are making progress. The relationship between developer and exposure is the key to the whole thing.

Ari
9-Jul-2020, 11:00
Indeed. Thanks, Kent.

Tin Can
9-Jul-2020, 11:07
Ari that portrait is great and 1 billion steps ahead of my empty portfolio

I am cogitating...

and doing too many projects simultaneously

Ari
9-Jul-2020, 11:08
Thanks, Randy. Don’t think too much!

Tin Can
9-Jul-2020, 11:09
today I am completing my UV Print box


Thanks, Randy. Donít think too much!

Ari
16-Jul-2020, 11:13
More stuff from a couple days ago.
I feel like I've made some improvements, but mostly think I've made lateral moves.

I added more lights to the dark box, and can see better, but it's still not easy to see inside.
Even though I'm only shooting 4x5 plates, it feels tight in there, too.

The consistency of the pouring is getting better, but I'm still badly messing up the developing and exposure.

Feel free to comment, I need and welcome the feedback. No holds barred please.

Here they are in order of shooting (first to last):

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50119443818_fb66e7eda6_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jmTfvG)

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50120234297_bbf148b1fb_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jmXiuD)

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50119443738_1d88fe714d_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jmTfuj)

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50120234222_99a61624d5_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jmXitm)

Two23
16-Jul-2020, 14:13
When using the box, I set it up for each step. For the silvering step I have the silver tank, holder, and a few paper towels in the box. After pulling the plate out of the tank, wiping the back, and loading it into the holder, I fasten the tank's lid and pull it out of the box. I then put in a tray to catch the developer, the small beaker with developer already in it, and the tray with water. I don't keep things in the box that I won't need.


Kent in SD

Mark Sawyer
16-Jul-2020, 14:32
Pretty sure most people know this, but just in case, you can pour the plates and put them in the silver tank in daylight outside the box, then move the whole tank into the box before taking the plate out. Much easier than pouring the plate inside the box.

The only things done inside the box are:

1.) Taking the plate out of the silver bath, drying the back, and putting it in the plate holder.

2.) Taking the exposed plate out of the plate holder, developing it, and immersing/rinsing it in water.

Everything else can be done more easily in daylight. And working in a darkbox is always more difficult than working in a darkroom.

Two23
16-Jul-2020, 14:39
Pretty sure most people know this, but just in case, you can pour the plates and put them in the silver tank in daylight outside the box, then move the whole tank into the box before taking the plate out. Much easier than pouring the plate inside the box.

And working in a box is always more difficult than working in a darkroom.


Yes, I always pour the plate outside the box. Since I only work outdoors what I end up doing is putting down a pretty big piece of cardboard down on the folded down rear seat of my car, and pour the collodion inside my car. I park my car so the wind is blocked. The silver tank is in the box but I just load the plate with the dark box top off.


Kent in SD

Ari
16-Jul-2020, 16:14
When using the box, I set it up for each step. For the silvering step I have the silver tank, holder, and a few paper towels in the box. After pulling the plate out of the tank, wiping the back, and loading it into the holder, I fasten the tank's lid and pull it out of the box. I then put in a tray to catch the developer, the small beaker with developer already in it, and the tray with water. I don't keep things in the box that I won't need.
Kent in SD

Thanks, Kent. I'm quite well-organized, I'll post some pix below.
Essentially, I do everything you do.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50120851571_4c94f16edd_w.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jn1sZi)
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50120851601_d510bae271_w.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jn1sZP)
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50120851551_686a2ac719_w.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jn1sYX)


Pretty sure most people know this, but just in case, you can pour the plates and put them in the silver tank in daylight outside the box, then move the whole tank into the box before taking the plate out. Much easier than pouring the plate inside the box.

The only things done inside the box are:

1.) Taking the plate out of the silver bath, drying the back, and putting it in the plate holder.

2.) Taking the exposed plate out of the plate holder, developing it, and immersing/rinsing it in water.

Everything else can be done more easily in daylight. And working in a darkbox is always more difficult than working in a darkroom.

Thanks, Mark.
I've been doing that, but today switched in order to fix the problems I'm having.
I put the plate in the silver bath under the safelight, and changed many other things. See below.

Ari
16-Jul-2020, 16:21
After those plates yesterday, I gave it all some thought and decided to change what I'd been doing, since it was leading me nowhere.


I put some white plastic in the bottom of the dark box and added two more lights. It's better, but still kinda murky.
I decided to put the plates in the silver tank while under the safelight, which is not what I'd done before.
I brought a small tray and went with tray development, I suspect I've been having more problems there than anywhere else. Kept to the same 15s for development.
I left the plate in the silver bath for 4 minutes instead of 3 minutes.
I increased the fixer concentration to roughly 1:2.5 instead of 1:3.

Here's the result, which is a world away from yesterday, and I now feel like I'm getting somewhere (these are iPhone pix):

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50120283183_3f9cc194d0_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jmXy2v)

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50121073127_082f82be49_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jn2ARe)

Still looking for better blacks in the first photo, but these are a good signpost of progress for me, and I can live with these. I suspect that exposure was the culprit there.
Both taken on 4x5 with projection Petzval.

Tin Can
16-Jul-2020, 16:42
Great!

and very good documentation of changes

Thank you!

Two23
16-Jul-2020, 17:13
I have found it's always two steps forward and one step back. Still like that for me after a year.:) For developing I'll mention the "tip tray" method. Place tin in the plate, and move it all the way down to one of the ends. Slightly raise that end. Pour your developer into the low end of the tray. Lower the tray flat, and shake it from side to side briskly.


Kent in SD

Ari
17-Jul-2020, 07:10
Wanted to update with scans of the two images above.
They're a lot flatter contrast than the iPhone pix, which were taken of the plates right after washing.
The scans very closely resemble the plates as they look right now.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50122106748_29ecef2fa7_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jn7U7h)

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50122106728_1f1bc92eb0_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jn7U6W)

Tin Can
17-Jul-2020, 11:03
Don't forget honesty never gets you anywhere

Many 'tune' in PS

Honest

Ari
17-Jul-2020, 11:07
I'm sure many do, but it's important to get it right "in camera". Or at least as good as possible.

Tin Can
17-Jul-2020, 11:09
of course Ari

just sayin

I appreciate your honesty

really


I'm sure many do, but it's important to get it right "in camera". Or at least as good as possible.

Ari
17-Jul-2020, 11:49
Thanks, Randy. Mistakes always have something to teach.

goamules
18-Jul-2020, 15:04
They look like they were overexposed and/or overdeveloped. It's hard to tell which. When you get a plate like that you are close, but try cutting the exposure by about a stop or so. Make sure you have restrainer in your developer in hot weather, don't leave the plate in too long, you it will "blow out" and look flat. They'll look better when varnished, if you use Sandarac. If synthetic, they don't darken much at all.

Ari
18-Jul-2020, 15:43
I kept development to 15s without exception. Exposure may be the issue, or could it be fixer?
I did leave these in fixer for about 10 minutes, and they didn't look this flat when they were first fixed.
Thanks

Two23
18-Jul-2020, 16:45
I kept development to 15s without exception. Exposure may be the issue, or could it be fixer?
I did leave these in fixer for about 10 minutes, and they didn't look this flat when they were first fixed.
Thanks


I typically leave the tins in fixer for about twice the time it takes for the blue to clear away. Leaving them in too long does seem to hurt the image. I would guess about 3-4 minutes tops for me.


Kent in SD

Ari
18-Jul-2020, 16:55
Right.
Just read in Quinn's book: wait for the image to clear completely, count to five, remove the plate from the fixer, and into water.
This is probably why the image looked great at first, but has now withered away into a flat gray soup.
Lesson learned!

goamules
19-Jul-2020, 08:16
Quinn is probably referring to KCN fixer, which is usually done in about 25 seconds. If you are using Hypo, I've never had fixing wash out an image, and have left them in accidentally for 30 min or so. I usually let a little blue remain on a drip edge where it's thick though. I'd say that requires about 2-3 minutes of time.

You likely overexposed it. Unless you were using KCN, then possibly the fixer did it.

Ari
19-Jul-2020, 09:12
I don't use KCN, so over-exposure is the culprit.
Thing is, it looked much better after it cleared and the next day, it had faded to this.
Look at the difference in the two photos taken of the flowers.
I took the first one when it had just cleared, and the second one the next day after washing and drying.

Mark Sawyer
19-Jul-2020, 14:16
I took the first one when it had just cleared, and the second one the next day after washing and drying.

Tintypes change considerably between wet and dry. Just as silver gelatin paper prints dry down (darker), tintypes dry up, (lighter). Part of the challenge is looking at the still-wet tintype and predicting how it will look dry.

Ari
19-Jul-2020, 15:32
Tintypes change considerably between wet and dry. Just as silver gelatin paper prints dry down (darker), tintypes dry up, (lighter). Part of the challenge is looking at the still-wet tintype and predicting how it will look dry.
My other plates may have dried up by 5% or hardly at all.
What’s surprising about this one is it’s dried up by 30%, maybe more.
The other plate I did 10 minutes later lightened much less as well.

goamules
19-Jul-2020, 18:49
Apples to oranges. You took a photo of the plates when wet. White balance and exposure settings based on that camera.
Then you scanned the plates when dry. You need to adjust the scan settings and post processing contrast settings, scanners have a lot of trouble with shiny silver nitrate on metal.
When you varnish the plates, do us a favor and take a photo with the same camera used before, with the same lighting. I have a hunch it will look about like this one, I've adjusted:

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50132055117_207124b7f4_z.jpg

Ari
19-Jul-2020, 20:16
Will do. Thanks, guys.

Ari
22-Jul-2020, 12:57
I'd love to post in the image sharing section, but I'm not there yet, not by a long shot.
Shot a few plates yesterday, and veiling seems to be the problem now. Temperatures were not bad yesterday, low-to-mid 80s, cooler than it's been for a while.
In the next few days, I'm going to go through everything, filter and clean all the chemicals.
It seems odd to have to do this after only about 15-20 plates, but my technique isn't yet refined, so there may be lots of crap in my silver bath already.
Anyway, here are the examples. Straight scans, no manipulation as always.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50141198503_a08c26e35b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2joNKqt)

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50141736516_11290d4fc8.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2joRvmy)

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50141977157_b57243dd92.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2joSJTx)

goamules
23-Jul-2020, 10:45
They're looking better exposed now to me. The bottom one seems the best. Veiling, spots, islands and all that are just technique generated, but getting the right exposure and development time is critical.

Also, scanning requires some post processing. If you mean by "no manipulation" you aren't despeckling or such, that's great. But you usually must adjust the contrast, color cast, and several other things to get a scan to match a plate in hand. Here is a plate from last year, first in water so "as is", but taken with a cell phone and I did not mess with the contrast curves. Here is is after scanning and adjusting it, to look very close to what the final, dried plate looks like. But if you hold a varnished plate in a dark room, it will look dark, closer to that fresh plate in water. If you hold it in bright sun, it will lock much more vibrant, like my scan shows. It's a real skill to try to make a scan look like the real plate.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47775969712_455a80a76c.jpghttps://live.staticflickr.com/65535/33955798718_a24cc9ab66.jpg

paulbarden
23-Jul-2020, 11:10
I'd love to post in the image sharing section, but I'm not there yet, not by a long shot.
Shot a few plates yesterday, and veiling seems to be the problem now. Temperatures were not bad yesterday, low-to-mid 80s, cooler than it's been for a while.
In the next few days, I'm going to go through everything, filter and clean all the chemicals.
It seems odd to have to do this after only about 15-20 plates, but my technique isn't yet refined, so there may be lots of crap in my silver bath already.
Anyway, here are the examples. Straight scans, no manipulation as always.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50141198503_a08c26e35b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2joNKqt)

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50141736516_11290d4fc8.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2joRvmy)

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50141977157_b57243dd92.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2joSJTx)

Ari,
I don't believe your technical problems (as evidenced above) have anything to do with unwanted material in your silver bath, unless you are really, horribly sloppy with technique (which I doubt). My question is about the developer: did you either 1) use a warm weather recipe, or 2) keep your developer chilled to at least 70F before use? Because I think I'm seeing veiling, the type caused by development of unexposed shadow areas. This happens if you develop the plate too long, or don't use an appropriate developer for the warmer weather. Anything over 75F is heading into veiling/fogging territory, IME. If you are still under 80F, then you can get by with adding more acid and diluting the developer, but over 80F you have to take more steps to keep things working well.

Ari
23-Jul-2020, 11:36
Thanks, Garret and Paul.

Garrett, the scans I do are neutral as possible, so they do look like the plates, or very close. Nice shots, both before and after.
I agree, the last one looks best, and I thought so after it had cleared. Then it veiled over and after drying, it got quite a bit lighter.

Paul, I spoke to a friend yesterday, her first question was about the developer. I realized that I'd been on the same bottle for over 2 weeks, and it was probably old.
The weather probably played into it as well, as you say. Even though we had low 80s this week, I didn't make the adjustment. I'm still using the B&S developer.
As for development time, I'm keeping it to a strict 15s, every plate, and adjusting exposure. Not development time.

Thanks again, I'll mix up some new developer, keep it cool, and post some results as soon as I can.

Ari
24-Jul-2020, 15:35
Ok, it was the developer, which was about 3 weeks old.
Mixed a new batch today and things went better.
From now on, I'm going to mix about 15% more than what I think I need for the day. No more long-term developer storage.

Here are two shots from today:

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50149366246_effc15b082_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jpwBpC)

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50149366151_89b73c5957_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jpwBnZ)

And here they are again, now with very minor tweaks in Lightroom:

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50149366201_e52af0a949_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jpwBoR)

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50149366191_2997bfbcbc_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jpwBoF)

I'm also now a firm believer in tray developing, at least as long as my dark box is what it is: very dark and quite small.
The tray adds a level of consistency that is greatly appreciated by this beginner.

Two23
24-Jul-2020, 16:01
I started out with the tip-tray method and it did reduce a lot of frustration.


Kent in SD

Ari
24-Jul-2020, 16:14
I started out with the tip-tray method and it did reduce a lot of frustration.

I know, right?

Mark Sawyer
24-Jul-2020, 18:38
For what it's worth, I mix big batches of developer, stored at room temperature in Arizona (80+ F in the summer), and have had no problems with developer over 6 months old.

Ari
24-Jul-2020, 18:54
Hmm, I can't argue with you, Mark. But I also can't argue with the results today.
I'm still using B&S pre-mixed developer (add water, makes its own sauce!), could that be the reason my developer went south?

Two23
24-Jul-2020, 20:04
i've not had a problem with B&S developer screwing up because of age myself. I've had some that was months old before I used it, and that was both before and after mixing. I have been adding a bit more water and acetic acid now that temps are in the 80s and 90s.



Kent in SD

Ari
24-Jul-2020, 20:37
Hmm, ok. So perhaps humidity, then? Was I just shooting when temps were too hot, and did not compensate for it by adding acid to developer?
Maybe you're right, Kent.

Mark Sawyer
24-Jul-2020, 23:45
Hmm, I can't argue with you, Mark. But I also can't argue with the results today.
I'm still using B&S pre-mixed developer (add water, makes its own sauce!), could that be the reason my developer went south?

I don't know what B&S have in their developer, but mine doesn't have water, just vinegar, ferrous sulphate, and sugar, with a little alcohol to help the flow. So anything I have to say about developer doesn't apply to you! I'll go stand quietly in the corner... :(

Ari
25-Jul-2020, 05:44
No, please don't stand in the corner, we/I need your input!
The B&S developer has everything but water, and in any case, I'm sure the heat and humidity combined with my inexperience, were the causes of my problems this past week.
Also, I've found that plates look better if I've shot before noon. More UV in the morning, I guess.

Tin Can
25-Jul-2020, 05:53
Agree Mark

Two23
25-Jul-2020, 07:23
Evening light is reddish. Supposed to be 94 F here today. I have added a bit more water to my B&S developer. You could email or call them for suggestions. I also keep alll my chemicals in a cooler iced down. This seems to help a lot, especially developer and collodion.


Kent in SD

Mark Sawyer
25-Jul-2020, 10:26
Mid-day light has the most UV, as that's when it passes through the least atmosphere. Working early morning/late afternoon is tough because the UV level is reduced and changing fast. I doubt humidity has much effect on a wet process.

Can I at least wear a dunce cap?

Ari
25-Jul-2020, 10:35
Can I at least wear a dunce cap?

No!

What's more, after I finish the B&S chemicals, I'll be mixing my own, and that's the long-term plan.
So what you said is very relevant to most people doing who're already wet plate.

Mark Sawyer
25-Jul-2020, 13:19
So what you said is very relevant to most people doing who're already wet plate.

So what you're saying is that if the current pandemic of people doing wet plate continues to grow and eventually destroys civilization, I will be partly responsible? :confused: :confused: :confused:

Duane123
25-Jul-2020, 13:32
Just saw this thread and was looking to find out about shipping a kit from B+S to Canada. Ari are you in Ottawa ? Was there a charge for dangerous goods and what did it cost you for the chemicals. Would you recommend the B+ S kits?
Thanks in advance
Wailing for delivery on my Eastman #2

Duane in Nanaimo bc

Ari
25-Jul-2020, 13:47
So what you're saying is that if the current pandemic of people doing wet plate continues to grow and eventually destroys civilization, I will be partly responsible? :confused: :confused: :confused:

Only if they destroy civilization.


Just saw this thread and was looking to find out about shipping a kit from B+S to Canada. Ari are you in Ottawa ? Was there a charge for dangerous goods and what did it cost you for the chemicals. Would you recommend the B+ S kits?
Thanks in advance
Wailing for delivery on my Eastman #2

Duane in Nanaimo bc

Hi Duane,
Yes, I'm in Ottawa. Last time I bought the kit in May, it was 15% off, so with shipping and taxes (Import taxes) it was $370.00 USD.
Worth getting once, as it provides a good introduction to the process without getting too technical or complicated.

Ari
25-Jul-2020, 13:50
Made one plate today before I was cut short by a family visit.
I deliberately underexposed to compensate for dry-down, but it didn't dry down (or up) as much as a slightly over-exposed plate did earlier this week.
I wanted to do more plates this way, but, hey, family first. Anyway, I think it's not a bad way to proceed, a darker plate is easier to correct in PS/LR.
This scan is not quite faithful to the original, I added some contrast and boosted the whites and blacks a touch.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50152001578_bfcbe3087c_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jpL7No)

goamules
25-Jul-2020, 13:54
As soon as you think you learn a "rule" about wetplate, it can be proven wrong! The last time I shot plates I got pretty good results. My developer was close to 2 years old.

Duane123
25-Jul-2020, 14:04
Great thanks for the info I plan to start next year. Iíll watch your thread to pickup some tips.

Ari
26-Jul-2020, 06:53
Read up some more on developer, and while Quinn recommends mixing fresh each time, he acknowledges that it isn't always practical to do so.
He goes on to say pretty much what Mark said, that it can keep for a year or more and still work fine. Dilute with vinegar or distilled water in the hotter months.

Duane, if you're not in a hurry, wait for another sale at B&S and buy the kit then. It will keep for a long time until you're ready to use it.

Mark Sawyer
26-Jul-2020, 10:06
All the chemicals are available online and very simple to mix. Much cheaper than the pre-mixed kits, and you're going to do it sooner or later. The best help is to take a workshop or find someone to informally show you the ropes.

Ari
26-Jul-2020, 14:25
Three plates today, all taken around 1130pm-1230pm. All were shot at f/4.5, wide open.

The first one is with an Ilex Paragon Anastigmat, which is quickly becoming a favourite of mine:

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50156120083_c05db349ed_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jq8e66)


Same lens, this time with the diffusion dialled up to 20. It's also out of focus, and I had a difficult pour as I let the collodion warm up too much in the 90F+ weather.
I wiped the first pour as it looked bad and was causing a big ridge, so I wiped it down with water and re-poured.
I like the effect here, it's not unappealing, so I kept it.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50156910187_d4b37f6ef2_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jqcgXz)


And last one is with a B&L Zeiss Tessar, which gives excellent sharpness and a nice even contrast:

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50156910067_487a5210cf_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jqcgVv)

This time I kept everything cool with an ice pack in the cooler, and it helped.
I'm getting more comfortable with the whole process, and can now go about 4 minutes between fixing a plate, cleaning up and being ready for another plate.
But lots of small details to work on, chiefly the scratches, fingerprints, streaks, etc etc. The dark box I have is excellent, but I do bump into the top or slides often, even if I'm being careful. Too much handling of the plate also.
I'd love to be able to make a perfectly clean plate, and then if I ever want to, be sloppy and show the imperfections.

Tin Can
26-Jul-2020, 14:37
Very helpful Ari with great progress!

I am learning from you, I need to internalize any process I attempt before I can try/do anything

Thank you

Ari
26-Jul-2020, 15:23
Thank you, Randy.

Two23
26-Jul-2020, 17:45
Three plates today, all taken around 1130pm-1230pm. All were shot at f/4.5, wide open.

The first one is with an Ilex Paragon Anastigmat, which is quickly becoming a favourite of mine:

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50156120083_c05db349ed_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jq8e66)


Same lens, this time with the diffusion dialled up to 20. It's also out of focus, and I had a difficult pour as I let the collodion warm up too much in the 90F+ weather.
I wiped the first pour as it looked bad and was causing a big ridge, so I wiped it down with water and re-poured.
I like the effect here, it's not unappealing, so I kept it.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50156910187_d4b37f6ef2_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jqcgXz)


And last one is with a B&L Zeiss Tessar, which gives excellent sharpness and a nice even contrast:

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50156910067_487a5210cf_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jqcgVv)

This time I kept everything cool with an ice pack in the cooler, and it helped.
I'm getting more comfortable with the whole process, and can now go about 4 minutes between fixing a plate, cleaning up and being ready for another plate.
But lots of small details to work on, chiefly the scratches, fingerprints, streaks, etc etc. The dark box I have is excellent, but I do bump into the top or slides often, even if I'm being careful. Too much handling of the plate also.
I'd love to be able to make a perfectly clean plate, and then if I ever want to, be sloppy and show the imperfections.



Keeping developer (and collodion) cool is a big deal in the summer. It's been so hot here that I keep my developer in my cooler bag until I have an exposed plate and am ready to develop it. I find that taking the same shot over and over and perfecting as I go has helped me a lot. As for scratches, easy to do with the dipper in the silver tank if you aren't careful.


Kent in SD

Ari
26-Jul-2020, 18:03
Thanks, Kent. It is indeed satisfying to shoot the same thing over and over and work out problems from that.
There are so many ways to mar a plate, it's something that I'll have to be extremely careful with (I thought I was being careful already) in order to get rid of defects.
Space in the dark box is certainly a factor, maybe I'll get one of those 1-man grow tents to work with and see if it's an improvement on the bumping and fiddling inside a dark box.

Two23
26-Jul-2020, 18:25
Thanks, Kent. It is indeed satisfying to shoot the same thing over and over and work out problems from that.
There are so many ways to mar a plate, it's something that I'll have to be extremely careful with (I thought I was being careful already) in order to get rid of defects.
Space in the dark box is certainly a factor, maybe I'll get one of those 1-man grow tents to work with and see if it's an improvement on the bumping and fiddling inside a dark box.



If you have a hatchback car, this has been working quite well for me doing 8x10.


Kent in SD

Two23
26-Jul-2020, 20:55
On Saturday I drove a few hours north and took a photo of a couple of classic churches. It was hot and not very pleasant to be outside, and I kept my developer & collodion in my cooler unless actually using them. I was shooting 8x10 tin with my Kodak 2D and an 1854 Edward Wood pillbox lens. I used 4x5 test plates as usual. I didn't like the results and thought I could do better so I went back out today and shot the same churches. This time the results were an improvement.

Here's the Lone Rock Lutheran Church near Eagan, SD. It's no longer active--it's a retired church. I'm finding that 8x10 is considerably harder than 4x5 and 5x7 and have been slowly working out my technique. The shot I took today is much better but I still need to work on developing. I've figured out I haven't been pouring on enough developing solution (25ml) to adquately and quickly cover the surface and upped it to 30-35ml. That has helped a lot. I've also begun shaking the plate back and forth much more violently to prevent "islands" from forming. This is work too. Still not perfect but it's "acceptable" now.


Kent in SD

Two23
27-Jul-2020, 18:53
Here's the second pair of photos I took last weekend. These are of Singsaas Church, west of Hendricks MN on the South Dakota side. I've been taking photos of this church for the past 20 years; it's one of my favorites. When I pulled up on Sunday the pastor was just locking up. He gave a tour inside--it's beautiful! I look out the windows on the north side and see a corn field up close. Yup, country church! The pastor, Rev. Jason Hartung, said the church was doing quite well despite the epidemic. Membership is growing. I was happy to hear that.

The first photo was taken on Saturday, and again I wasn't using enough developer for an 8x10. I upped the amount to 35ml and the second tin was much improved. I'm not "there" yet but I am making progress once again. Lens was an 1854 Edward Wood pillbox, FL = 14 inch. Camera was my Kodak 2D. I have a modern Chamonix 4x5 which is lightweight and easy to use, but for 8x10 I prefer something more solid and "old school." It holds my heavy 19th C. lenses that would crush a modern camera.


Kent in SD

Ari
27-Jul-2020, 20:23
If you have a hatchback car, this has been working quite well for me doing 8x10.


Kent in SD
I do, but it needs to transport a large wolf/Malamute every day.
The dark box has been great, but I don't know how you'd do 8x10 in it. I can't even fit two 8x10 trays in there.
FYI: Kent and I use the same dark box, a converted folding storage box from Box Warehouse.

Two23
27-Jul-2020, 20:36
I do, but it needs to transport a large wolf/Malamute every day.
The dark box has been great, but I don't know how you'd do 8x10 in it. I can't even fit two 8x10 trays in there.
FYI: Kent and I use the same dark box, a converted folding storage box from Box Warehouse.

Ari--

I was mostly doing 4x5 in the blue box, and also 5x7. My tank is a 5x7 Lund. The one I'm using in the Subaru easily collapses and folds into the big black tub it's based on. Very quick to take in & out. Here's a view of it without the covering, and with just the PVC frame. The PVC is not glued together so it can all come apart and stores in the box. I'll mention I've since add a second big red light, positioned six inches lower.



Kent in SD

Two23
27-Jul-2020, 20:40
These are 5x7 trays I use in the blue box.


Kent in SD

Ari
28-Jul-2020, 08:47
Thanks for showing us, Kent.
I use an 8x10 and a 5x7 tray in the box. The 8x10 is a catch try when the silver tank is out, and for when I pour water on a plate to stop development.
The 5x7 tray is for development.
There's some adding/removing of stuff as I work each plate, which I've gotten used to.

I like your church photos very much.

Ari
29-Jul-2020, 14:43
Only got two plates done, but the goal today was to try and eliminate the many scratches I've typically been getting on my plates.
This is mostly due to my poor handling, the small dark box and the plates banging into each other when they're washing.

Thanks to the little slot washer I made (see photos above), I can report that most of the scratches are gone. I was also more conscious and careful of how I was handling the plate each time I touched it.
Washing with the acrylic tank was a breeze, and it also held the plates in water while I kept working outdoors. Less chance, or no chance, of them touching and scratching each other.
And lastly, I discovered that my silver bath needs topping up. You can see that the right edge of each plate is dark.

Continuing to under-expose a little, but the second photo is a bit too much.
I like the blacks I'm getting now, and the contrast has magically appeared.
Shot on 4x5 with a Vesta Petzval type. Straight scans, photos very lightly edited for contrast.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50167237523_2f4aa6579a_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jr7cV6)

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50167237513_aefa8b80a9_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jr7cUV)

Two23
29-Jul-2020, 15:54
Huge improvement. I generally just add some distilled water to my tank to top it off. Every few months I'll check the specific gravity to see where it's at and add some silver if needed.


Kent in SD

Ari
29-Jul-2020, 16:01
Thanks, Kent. I feel like it's always moving forward, and it's exciting.
I'll likely do as you recommend and top up with water.

Also, in trying to get a cleaner image, I'm now going to focus on the swirly, wispy stuff in and around the image center.
Could this be the way I'm putting my plate into the silver bath? Or the way I'm removing it?

I have a good tank, and it's new, but the plate lies flush against the dipper. Maybe it's causing micro-eddies when I extract the plate.
Maybe I should add a small piece of acrylic so there's some space between dipper and plate?

Two23
29-Jul-2020, 16:22
Also, in trying to get a cleaner image, I'm now going to focus on the swirly, wispy stuff in and around the image center.
Could this be the way I'm putting my plate into the silver bath? Or the way I'm removing it?



Possibly. I've heard of this on another forum. My Lund tanks have steel hangers and I don't see any swirls.


Kent in SD

Ari
29-Jul-2020, 19:29
A friend called it "developer sweep", but I tray develop. Or I'm unsure of what he meant.

cuypers1807
30-Jul-2020, 08:15
Also, in trying to get a cleaner image, I'm now going to focus on the swirly, wispy stuff in and around the image center.
Could this be the way I'm putting my plate into the silver bath? Or the way I'm removing it?
I have a good tank, and it's new, but the plate lies flush against the dipper. Maybe it's causing micro-eddies when I extract the plate.
Maybe I should add a small piece of acrylic so there's some space between dipper and plate?

Those are development errors. You have to pour the developer on in a slow wave or it will start to dig channels into your plate and cause uneven development. The green at the bottom of the 2nd plate is from not washing the developer entirely off before fixing.

Ari
30-Jul-2020, 09:01
Thanks, much appreciated.
I develop in a tray: place the plate in the tray at the far end of the tray. Pour developer in the bottom of the tray. Tilt the tray so the developer hits the plate quickly and keep tilting the tray during development.
I always use 15s for development (and adjust exposure accordingly), then I pour water on the plate before fixing it.
Thanks to your suggestion, I'll add a tray of water and keep the plate in there for a minute, then I'll fix it.
And next time, I'll slosh the developer over the plate more slowly and gently, not so abruptly as before.

cuypers1807
30-Jul-2020, 10:14
Thanks, much appreciated.
I develop in a tray: place the plate in the tray at the far end of the tray. Pour developer in the bottom of the tray. Tilt the tray so the developer hits the plate quickly and keep tilting the tray during development.
I always use 15s for development (and adjust exposure accordingly),, then I pour water on the plate before fixing it.
Thanks to your suggestion, I'll add a tray of water and keep the plate in there for a minute, then I'll fix it.
And next time, I'll slosh the developer over the plate more slowly and gently, not so abruptly as before.

No problem. You will know all the developer is off the plate when it stops looking slimy. That green is especially awful on portraits. Not a healthy color for skin tones.

cuypers1807
30-Jul-2020, 10:26
You would also probably get less development errors if you developed for longer than 15 sec.

Ari
30-Jul-2020, 10:34
I'm open to experimenting. How much time do you suggest?
Keep in mind, I cannot see the plate developing, so inspection is a no-go.
That's why I've stuck to 15s, to weed out one variable that I cannot see.

cuypers1807
30-Jul-2020, 12:15
I'm open to experimenting. How much time do you suggest?
Keep in mind, I cannot see the plate developing, so inspection is a no-go.
That's why I've stuck to 15s, to weed out one variable that I cannot see.
I am sorry I have read all the pages here. Why can't you see the plates?

Ari
30-Jul-2020, 12:34
My dark box is covered with a red filter, but the reflections prevent me from seeing clearly inside.
I can make out a little, but watching for shadows on a plate during development is not possible.

Two23
30-Jul-2020, 12:43
Can you make some sort of black viewing hood, or dark covering over you head and box top? When I use that box I have the light shing in fr9m the outside.

Ari
30-Jul-2020, 12:56
Sure, I can make anything. Except a space shuttle, those are really tricky.
Seriously, though, I will modify the box some more, I really like its weight and portability.
And I should get a grow tent for working around the house, that way I can pour developer without a tray and see the development better.

But Kent, if I had a light from outside shining in there, the reflections would block out everything.

Two23
30-Jul-2020, 15:13
But Kent, if I had a light from outside shining in there, the reflections would block out everything.


No. The light sits directly on the red window and points in. No reflections.


Kent in SD

Ari
30-Jul-2020, 15:17
Ohhh, ok got it. Thanks
Do you have a clear plastic on top of your rubylith?

cuypers1807
30-Jul-2020, 18:35
Ari,
I use a $20 children's 4'x5' tent in the back of my truck. The shroud is made of a light proof fabric from Freestyle.
I can make up to 11x14 plates with it. What is nice is the bottom is waterproof so no risk of staining the truck if there is an accident. For a light I just use a red led head lamp.

Two23
30-Jul-2020, 18:47
Ohhh, ok got it. Thanks
Do you have a clear plastic on top of your rubylith?


No, it's just a sheet of 3/16 red plexi.


Kent in SD

Ari
30-Jul-2020, 19:56
Thanks Kent.
Joseph, thanks for the tip. I will eventually modify my set up for larger plates, when I get better at 4x5. Any photos of your truck set-up that you can share?
And in the meantime, I'll look at ways to improve what I can see inside my existing box. Adding more LEDs or changing to a plexiglass filter.

Here's a plate I did today, late afternoon, and I had to stop because of the rain.
I re-used a plate, shot this with a Schneider 90mm f/5.6 lens on 4x5.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50171882901_85ffe9565c_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jrw1PP)

cuypers1807
31-Jul-2020, 08:52
I'm thinking of shooting some this weekend. I'll take a few photos of my set up then.

Tin Can
31-Jul-2020, 08:58
I really like this Ari!

Cutting edge Art, if I may


Thanks Kent.
Joseph, thanks for the tip. I will eventually modify my set up for larger plates, when I get better at 4x5. Any photos of your truck set-up that you can share?
And in the meantime, I'll look at ways to improve what I can see inside my existing box. Adding more LEDs or changing to a plexiglass filter.

Here's a plate I did today, late afternoon, and I had to stop because of the rain.
I re-used a plate, shot this with a Schneider 90mm f/5.6 lens on 4x5.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50171882901_85ffe9565c_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jrw1PP)

Ari
31-Jul-2020, 09:24
Thanks, Joseph.
Thank you, Randy.

Ari
31-Jul-2020, 12:15
Doing some cleaning and silver bath maintenance today.
Poured everything into a big (clean) pickle jar with a J-cloth covering the opening, and will leave it to sun for the rest of the day.
Cleaned the silver tank and dipper, and I'll take a hydrometer reading later.
But I don't have any silver nitrate crystals if the reading is too low. Too bad. Hopefully the sunning will be enough for now.

On the plus side, I was figuring out what to do about the dark box, and discovered that the sheet of rubylith I'd been using was sandwiched between two thin sheets of clear plastic.
I'd never seen it sold this way before and failed to notice it earlier. But this is probably why looking through the filter into the box proved almost useless.
Now I can't wait to try it all tomorrow!

Ari
2-Aug-2020, 16:59
Wish I could contribute to Paul's new thread, but I'm still stuck in the basement, and don't want to besmirch his fine work with my hack jobs.
Had a bad day yesterday, don't even want to show those, and today was not much better.
It rained and I waited for the rain to stop. It did at 2pm, so I thought this was my chance.

Would you believe these photos were taken 5 minutes apart? And I was wrong about exposure on both.
Did a short silver bath maintenance two days ago, made my dark box brighter, but nothing helped. At least the weather was ok, not too hot.
As I'm about 40 plates in, I had hoped to see a more linear progression by now. But no matter, going to keep at it.

Enjoy.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50182683337_f021f3a4fc_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jstnqe)
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50182683392_c759328274_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2jstnrb)

Two23
2-Aug-2020, 18:09
Wish I could contribute to Paul's new thread, but I'm still stuck in the basement, and don't want to besmirch his fine work with my hack jobs.
Had a bad day yesterday, don't even want to show those, and today was not much better.
It rained and I waited for the rain to stop. It did at 2pm, so I thought this was my chance.

Would you believe these photos were taken 5 minutes apart? And I was wrong about exposure on both.
Did a short silver bath maintenance two days ago, made my dark box brighter, but nothing helped. At least the weather was ok, not too hot.
As I'm about 40 plates in, I had hoped to see a more linear progression by now. But no matter, going to keep at it.

Enjoy.




I do see progress. I have good days immediately followed by bad days. Today I had to make three exposure test plates, then did an 8x10 that was still a bit too dark. Loaded up a second 8x10 and discovered I hadn't closed the back up tight enough and had a light leak. Third shot came out OK. Took me two hours to make one decent shot.


Kent in SD

Ari
2-Aug-2020, 18:41
Thanks, Kent, but I seem to have taken a big step back, and I feel kinda stuck.
I've done my troubleshooting and got the same results from it.
I realize part of the difficulty - and joy - of this process, is the unpredictability, but I'm being overwhelmed by that, and not finding too many solid anchors to learn from further.
Anyway, the thread is for beginners like me, so while I am, at the moment, a discouraged newbie, I also can't wait to see what happens tomorrow.

Two23
2-Aug-2020, 19:36
Thanks, Kent, but I seem to have taken a big step back, and I feel kinda stuck.
I've done my troubleshooting and got the same results from it.
I realize part of the difficulty - and joy - of this process, is the unpredictability, but I'm being overwhelmed by that, and not finding too many solid anchors to learn from further.
Anyway, the thread is for beginners like me, so while I am, at the moment, a discouraged newbie, I also can't wait to see what happens tomorrow.


I've taken over 200 shots, maybe twice that, and still don't feel like I've mastered it by any means. I was looking for challenge and found it! You aren't going to be making perfect plates for several months. I was out with a guy whose been doing it for ~10 years and he was making a few mistakes too.


Kent in SD

Ari
2-Aug-2020, 19:42
Thanks for the dose of perspective, Kent.

Ari
7-Aug-2020, 19:05
Ok, back at it.
Trying out some lenses today, best one was an unknown RR.
Been careful about pouring but I got these ridges all day today.
And I've been careful about water bath, fixing and washing, but I still get a cast on some of the plates. A bit red, yellow.
I could really use a 1-day workshop to fine-tune everything, but with the Covid-19 everywhere, I cannot be in proximity to anyone.

One thing I do know is that I'm done shooting bottles for now.
First one is 12s, second is 20s.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50200866696_524bc6e0a9_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2ju5yGq)

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50200323003_6bc9633ac7_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2ju2M5p)

Two23
7-Aug-2020, 21:35
I'm not sure where the color casts from but people a lot more experienced than I report they seem to happen of their own accord. As for ridges, I'm sure you know about rocking the plate back and forth, but if your collodion is getting low in the bottle it could be some of the solvents (alcohol, ether) have evaporated off and the collodion tries to set up faster. I had that problem a few weeks ago. I added a bit more alcohol and that seemed to cure it. Or, top off your collodion bottle.


Kent in SD

Ari
8-Aug-2020, 05:34
Thanks, Kent. I heard the color casts come from residual developer left on the plate after the water rinse.

Two23
10-Aug-2020, 20:48
I was out on Sunday and took a couple of shots. It was around 88 degrees and fairly humid. Sweat was dripping off me. First try was at the fading town of Forestburg, SD. I've shot this before on film and like the scene. This time I used 8x10 tin and a 22 inch rapid rectilinear, f32 & 30s. I'm still getting some ridges from pouring collodion (I think) and missed part of the bottom when I did developing.

The second location I went to was another favorite, near Howard, SD. It's the "retired" Goodhue Lutheran Church. I like to set up on the long drive that goes up to the church but yesterday it was too windy. I didn't want to risk my camera (I'm learning!) Instead, I set up off to the side in a windbreak. For this shot I used my new Darlot wide angle Hemispherique. I actually did a little better with this shot, but made a new mistake. I tried to clean the inside neck of the collodion bottle with my finger. Apparently what that did was dislodge a lot of small particles which ended up in the collodion. I don't think I can filter collodion, so I might end up either pouring it out, cleaning the bottle, and refilling. Or, I could start a second bottle and use the first one for exposure tests until it's empty. There isn't much left so it's not a big loss.


Kent in SD

Ari
11-Aug-2020, 06:11
These are very good, Kent. I especially like the second image.
The flaws aren't distracting, and I'm starting to know that more extreme temperatures lead to increased problems.
Well done!