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Thread: Wet Plate Collodion questions answered here.

  1. #31

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    Re: Wet Plate Collodion questions answered here.

    Quote Originally Posted by paulbarden View Post
    This is a perfectly good approach to albumenizing a glass plate, yes.

    One note: if you plan to redevelop the plate using the iodine rehalogenation method Quinn advocates, you can do it without albumenizing the whole plate if you use Ferrous sulfate in the redeveloper formula rather than Pyrogallic acid. This is because Pyrogallic acid tends to shrink the collodion, whereas the Ferrous sulfate does not.
    Ive used the iodine redevelopment process (with Ferrous sulfate) on my negatives without any issues, and a thin band of albumen on the outer edges of the glass is sufficient to hold the collodion on the glass.
    Thanks, Paul ... great heads-up!
    I will try the ferrous sulfate after I run down my pyro supply!
    Drew

  2. #32

    Re: Wet Plate Collodion questions answered here.

    Quote Originally Posted by drewf64 View Post
    Thanks, Paul ... great heads-up!
    I will try the ferrous sulfate after I run down my pyro supply!
    Drew
    Drew, bear in mind that FeSO4 and Pyrogallic acid behave differently in a redeveloper formula, the latter being a staining agent more than a reducing agent. I have personally only used FeSO4 in the redeveloper and found it works very well, but Quinn advocates for Pyrogallic acid, as he feels it gives a slightly more nuanced result. I can't speak to that, but my negatives are rich in tonality and deliver plenty of nuanced values. Here is a scan of a recent glass negative, redeveloped using FeSO4 redeveloper: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...c126e761_k.jpg

  3. #33
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    Re: Wet Plate Collodion questions answered here.

    I've been using the ferrous sulfate and it works well for me, once I figured it out. Last month I bought some copper developer and tried it. I love the color but have yet to get a good result. I went back to the ferrous sulfate.


    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

  4. #34

    Re: Wet Plate Collodion questions answered here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    I've been using the ferrous sulfate and it works well for me, once I figured it out. Last month I bought some copper developer and tried it. I love the color but have yet to get a good result. I went back to the ferrous sulfate.


    Kent in SD
    Kent, I am referring to FeSO4 in a REdeveloper formula, not a developer. A redeveloper is something done to a glass negative after processing, fixing and washing to build additional density on the plate. This is generally done to make the negative more suitable for albumen and salt printing, as these POP processes require a lot of density in upper values to make a good print.

  5. #35

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    Re: Wet Plate Collodion questions answered here.

    Quote Originally Posted by paulbarden View Post
    Drew, bear in mind that FeSO4 and Pyrogallic acid behave differently in a redeveloper formula, the latter being a staining agent more than a reducing agent. I have personally only used FeSO4 in the redeveloper and found it works very well, but Quinn advocates for Pyrogallic acid, as he feels it gives a slightly more nuanced result. I can't speak to that, but my negatives are rich in tonality and deliver plenty of nuanced values. Here is a scan of a recent glass negative, redeveloped using FeSO4 redeveloper: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...c126e761_k.jpg
    Paul:
    The tonality of this negative is incredible!! I have admired your work in FB Collodion sites many times ... Outstanding work!

    *** Yesterday I asked two questions in Kent's "The Fisherman" post as a follow-up to the advise that you detailed for Exposing & Developing Collodion POSITIVE plates. (my questions are in post #8.) I am not sure that i posted in the best location ...
    * I am looking for help for exposing & developing collodion NEGATIVES.
    1. What would be your recommended starting developing time for collodion negatives?
    2. What starting exposures would you recommend for:
    A. Direct sun portraits? and
    B. Open shade with north light for portraits?
    3. Additionally, is it reasonable to "lock in" this developing time and adjust exposure to achieve desired density? (in the same manner that you advised for Positives ...)
    I am new to wet plate: making only negatives (to make albumen prints); using a B&S wet plate collodion kit; diluting the developer 1:5 (per their guide); 300mm CZ Jena Tessar f4.5 lens.
    *** I have been all over the place with exposures and developing times ... I need to re-group and re-start with a fixed developing time!
    Thank you!
    Drew

  6. #36

    Re: Wet Plate Collodion questions answered here.

    Quote Originally Posted by drewf64 View Post
    Paul:
    The tonality of this negative is incredible!! I have admired your work in FB Collodion sites many times ... Outstanding work!

    *** Yesterday I asked two questions in Kent's "The Fisherman" post as a follow-up to the advise that you detailed for Exposing & Developing Collodion POSITIVE plates. (my questions are in post #8.) I am not sure that i posted in the best location ...
    * I am looking for help for exposing & developing collodion NEGATIVES.
    1. What would be your recommended starting developing time for collodion negatives?
    2. What starting exposures would you recommend for:
    A. Direct sun portraits? and
    B. Open shade with north light for portraits?
    3. Additionally, is it reasonable to "lock in" this developing time and adjust exposure to achieve desired density? (in the same manner that you advised for Positives ...)
    I am new to wet plate: making only negatives (to make albumen prints); using a B&S wet plate collodion kit; diluting the developer 1:5 (per their guide); 300mm CZ Jena Tessar f4.5 lens.
    *** I have been all over the place with exposures and developing times ... I need to re-group and re-start with a fixed developing time!
    Thank you!
    Drew
    Hi Drew, sorry I missed your questions yesterday!

    1. recommended developing time for negatives: I see you are using the Bostick & Sullivan kit, and I recall that it includes its house brand of developer concentrate, yes? I used to use it, but I don't remember the dilution and development times. I do know it recommended a much longer development time for both positives and negatives than a standard recipe dictates. They recommend up to 60 seconds for positives, right? Something like that. The thing is, the B&S developer uses both Glacial Acetic Acid and Sugar as restrainers, so it can be on the plate far longer than what you would do with a standard developer. If I remember correctly, I found 30 seconds for positives was ideal with the B&S recipe, and at least 60 seconds for negatives. These days I make up developers from scratch, because there are circumstances where you need to tweak the formula to get best results (in warmer weather, for example: you need more restrainer). But there's nothing wrong with the B&S developer. I suggest you follow their instructions, but lean toward the shorter times.

    2. Exposure times: You need to find your own method for determining exposure times. A lot depends on what lenses you use, etc., and your exposure technique has to be tailored to your equipment. But I can tell you this: I gave up trying to use a light meter two years ago. The best thing is to learn to make informed guesses. You can either make a "test strip" plate first, if you are really unfamiliar with the lighting conditions, or simply take a guess, make the plate, and then evaluate it and adjust for the next plate. I've never made portraits in full sun (I dislike the light qualities), and in open north shade I find I typically get exposures between 5 and 30 seconds with a lens in the f3.5 to f5.0 range. Trial and error will get you acquainted with exposures!

    3. Developing negatives: You will have a bit of leeway when developing negatives, since there is more restrainer/less FeSO4 in a negative developer, and that lets you leave the developer on the plate longer, if needed. With the developer formula I generally use, it lets me develop a good plate in as little as 30 seconds, or as long as 90 seconds, but I generally aim for 60. Is it a good idea to standardize your development time for negatives, and adjust exposure to fit? Yes, definitely. If you start out using the same "middle ground" development time every plate, and adjust exposure to fit that time, you will learn how to produce consistent work far faster than someone who is always adjusting development to fit the exposure.

    I think you'll find you learn more and advance your technique faster if you stick with the optimal development time, and make everything else fit that time.
    I look forward to seeing your work. That Tessar will be a pleasure to work with!

    Paul

  7. #37
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Wet Plate Collodion questions answered here.

    Paul, would you say the B&S kit I bought was a mistake?

    Meaning should I have simply 'mixed' all chemistry myself?

    If so, which one data source (book) is best to follow?

    Lastly, it is impossible for me to take a class in person anywhere, which most recomend.
    sin eater

  8. #38

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    Re: Wet Plate Collodion questions answered here.

    Using the B&S kit to start is a smart move. There are so many variables in wet plate. Knowing the chemistry is mixed properly allows you to just focus on technique.

  9. #39

    Re: Wet Plate Collodion questions answered here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Can View Post
    Paul, would you say the B&S kit I bought was a mistake?

    Meaning should I have simply 'mixed' all chemistry myself?

    If so, which one data source (book) is best to follow?

    Lastly, it is impossible for me to take a class in person anywhere, which most recomend.
    Not at all! The B&S kit is ideal for a new practitioner. It’s what I bought when I started wet plate three years ago (in fact, almost exactly three years, to the day) Why is it ideal, when it seems everyone eventually moves on to making their own chemistry?

    Because the Bostick & Sullivan kit spells everything out very clearly in their instructions, making a tricky process appear as simple as possible. Not all of the techniques The B&S kit describes follow traditional protocol (the use of amino silane, and their somewhat unusual proprietary developer recipe, for example) but their kit helps make it easier for someone learning for the first time.

    The B&S developer is a good example - t’s a Ferrous sulfate developer, which is traditional, but it is a concentrate that uses two restrainers rather than one: a chemical restrainer (Acetic acid) and a physical restrainer (the sugar). Why do they use two restrainers? It allows the user to leave the developer on the plate far longer than they normally can if using a traditional developer recipe. That is a very useful thing for a beginner! Applying the developer can be one of the most difficult aspects of the process: it’s not easy to flow developer evenly and quickly, and have it remain on the plate for only 12-15 seconds! (And the larger the plate, the greater a challenge this is. I definitely recommend sticking with smaller sizes at first, like 4x5) So if you have 60 seconds to work the developer on the plate using the B&S formula, then you have more time to distribute the developer over the entire surface without leaving bare spots on the plate (which will result in blank black regions). I won’t kid you, flowing developer on the plate quickly and evenly, without spilling it off the plate is a real dexterity trick, but it can be learned. It might be helpful to practice with a bare aluminum plate and water, just to get a sense of what has to happen. Of course, the physics of using the real materials is different, but at least you can get an idea how the action works.

    One thing I will add to my comments about the B&S kit is this: they ship you Old Workhorse collodion, and it’s an excellent recipe that will give you good results used as either a positive collodion or a negative collodion: it’s versatile. However it does have one drawback: of all the collodion recipes, Old Workhorse is the most difficult to evaluate visually during the plate development. With most recipes of collodion, you can see how the development is progressing and make split second decisions whether to arrest development at (for example) 45 seconds rather than 60 seconds (using the B&S developer). Old Workhorse doesn’t exhibit visual evidence of the development as conspicuously as some recipes do. This isn’t a huge issue, but I wanted to mention this because as your skills progress, you may want to buy (or assemble for yourself) a different recipe that will let you see more clearly how the plate development progresses. It’s a minor point, but something you may want to be aware of as you proceed. This is yet another reason to try to standardize the development time during your early learning phase. If you eliminate development time as a variable, you’ll understand the exposure component much more easily and you’ll get good results more reliably.

    Eventually you will likely want To make your own chemistry from the component ingredients, but not everyone does and that’s okay. Opting to buy premixed chemistry doesn’t make you any less of a wet plater.

    Quote Originally Posted by cuypers1807 View Post
    Using the B&S kit to start is a smart move. There are so many variables in wet plate. Knowing the chemistry is mixed properly allows you to just focus on technique.
    I agree. This is a good reason to stick with prepared chemistry from one of several reliable suppliers. My personal choice is Brian Cuyler at UV Photographics. He offers several variants of collodion recipes, varnish formulas, and developers. You can explore DIY chemistry later, when you feel confident in your techniques.

    As for which resource is “best” to use as a guide to making your own chemistry, I think that’s somewhat arbitrary. I have three manuals in my library: the Osterman manual for beginners, both the 2015 and 2019 editions of Quinn Jacobson’s books, and John Coffer’s manual. The Osterman book is the most basic of them all, and it doesn’t offer instruction beyond making positive images on glass or aluminum. It’s an excellent beginners book, but if you want to make negatives and prints (albumen, salt, aristotypes, etc.) then you’ll need a more expanded guide. Both Coffer and Jacobson offer far more information in that regard. Both ‘The Doer’s Guide’ and ‘Chemical Pictures’ go into great detail about wet plate related processes like POP print making, glass negatives, etc. and both provide hours of video instruction to help you get acquainted with the processes.

    Both Coffer and Jacobson guide books are excellent. In a way, their biggest difference is in their teaching style. John Coffer is definitely more of a “character” in his approach to teaching, but he knows how to deliver good content. So does Quinn - he’s just a bit more formal. I find I use both of their manuals at times, since both contains unique information relevant to how I work. Could you get by with just one or the other? Yes, absolutely. But I would recommend Quinn’s 2019 edition of Chemical Pictures if you want to pursue making POP prints from negatives: he provides instruction for a variety of POP techniques, whereas John Coffer only talks about Albumen Prints.

    You won’t go wrong with either the Jacobson manual or the Coffer guide. I’ve got both and I find value in each, but if you have to pick just one, either will get you where you want to go.

  10. #40
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Wet Plate Collodion questions answered here.

    Good to know

    I am waiting for the Quinn book ordered from Amazon 5 days ago, must be print to order and maybe have it June 5th

    I am one of Amazon's best customers, since...no data...
    sin eater

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