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Thread: Longest Wet Plate Exposure Times

  1. #1
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Longest Wet Plate Exposure Times

    The Sally Mann Documentary shows 3 and 8 minute indoor portrait exposures

    The longest a selfie, not sure if it worked

    The 3 minute definitely did and the sitter did not blink
    sin eater

  2. #2

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    Re: Longest Wet Plate Exposure Times

    Blinking is so fast over the course of a long exposure that it won’t show up on the plate. I have shot still life and macros to about 6 min exposures. The plate gets harder to develop successfully the more it dries out.

  3. #3
    Alex Timmermans
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    Re: Longest Wet Plate Exposure Times

    My longest one was over 20 minutes. Outside.
    Of course the camera was in the shade.
    And can always place a wet towel inside the bellows to prevent the plate from drying.
    Last edited by alex from holland; 2-Aug-2020 at 12:10.
    "You dont take a picture, it's given to you"

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  4. #4

    Re: Longest Wet Plate Exposure Times

    I think my longest was about 12 minutes. It CAN be done, if you know how to do it. Obviously you aren't going to be able to do this if the temperature is 95F.

    There is mention of this in some of the old literature: you can re-sensitize the plate after a LONG exposure by putting it back into the AgNO3 bath for a couple minutes, and THEN develop it. I've considered trying a ridiculously long exposure and using this technique to see if it works as described.

  5. #5
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Longest Wet Plate Exposure Times

    I don't like to go longer than 5 minutes (indoors) as the plate can start to dry and the image suffers. Knowing Sally Mann's work, I don't think that's as much of an issue for her.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  6. #6
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Longest Wet Plate Exposure Times

    Sally Mann does admit she likes and accepts flaws

    She also wonders how the pioneers of early wet plate made such great plates under very wild circumstances

    Lastly did the oval matte become popular for it's masking of edge flaws?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    I don't like to go longer than 5 minutes (indoors) as the plate can start to dry and the image suffers. Knowing Sally Mann's work, I don't think that's as much of an issue for her.
    sin eater

  7. #7

    Re: Longest Wet Plate Exposure Times

    I got to see a 20 x 24 plate made by William Henry Jackson the plate was flawless.
    Richard T Ritter
    www.lg4mat.net

  8. #8
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Longest Wet Plate Exposure Times

    What is known about historical wet plate exposure time of day?

    They had watches, clocks, notebooks

    I imagine high noon may have been common for fastest times

    Historians may have studied shadows

    Practitioners may have shot, failed, cleaned glass and re-shot

    saw Sally Mann cleaning a large failed plate in the movie
    Last edited by Tin Can; 3-Aug-2020 at 17:25. Reason: Mann
    sin eater

  9. #9

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    Re: Longest Wet Plate Exposure Times

    "What is known about historical wet plate exposure time of day?"
    The proof is in the pudding. Look at some Brady or Gardner shots, compared to Mann. They were very good at exposure. And then there are hacks that blather about "artfully placing artifacts on the plate."

    Mathew Brady outdoor portrait of Gen. R. E. Lee, 16 April 1865.

    Larger here.

  10. #10
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Longest Wet Plate Exposure Times

    I am no expert at analyzing lighting of photographs

    Looks to me an overcast day under a portico

    I see catch-lights in sitter eyes, but not in the 2 standing, strange, perhaps a mirror or reflector or a hand touch up enhancement

    No bright highlights on shiny shoes.

    DOF seems to indicate smaller aperture and longer exposure

    Reflection in side window may be the reflector

    A plate made of General Lee standing same date and location was small

    Interesting choice of example, an important date. Sitter passed from stroke that year

    Several sites indicate location,

    https://www.thehistoryreader.com/us-...ysses-s-grant/

    Colorized, later too https://i.imgur.com/eXjTefP.jpg
    sin eater

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