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Thread: Some critique please

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2019
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    Some critique please

    Here is a plate I did today. I have been working on my timing. Boy that is hard. I got a decent image, group portraits as you can see are hard.
    F6.3 300mm, coffer’s FeS04 about 25 secs, kcn, UVX (90 days old it may be going) sorry about the glare from the lights above the wet plate.
    Advice is what I am after.Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
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    Re: Some critique please

    Be happy, with your friends, who look very happy

    You got it!
    2022

  3. #3

    Re: Some critique please

    Quote Originally Posted by badler View Post
    Here is a plate I did today. I have been working on my timing. Boy that is hard. I got a decent image, group portraits as you can see are hard.
    F6.3 300mm, coffer’s FeS04 about 25 secs, kcn, UVX (90 days old it may be going) sorry about the glare from the lights above the wet plate.
    Advice is what I am after.Click image for larger version. 

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Views:	116 
Size:	65.1 KB 
ID:	209204
    Perfectly good results. I'm surprised you got away with 25 seconds development time. With Coffer's developer, you are risking fogging the shadows at 25 seconds or more. But that plate looks good, so...
    As you've pointed out, finding the sweet spot where you've balanced the exposure with development is the biggest challenge with wet plate work. You nailed it, as far as I can tell.

    By the way, UVP-X is a very stable formula. (as long as you store it cool and dark) Three months is nothing. Last bottle I had was 18 months old and still made excellent images.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    Re: Some critique please

    Badler, I can’t comment on the technical aspects of working with plates, but I can share ideas as one seeking to improve my own portraiture. I agree with others that you did fine for this occasion.
    I find the “out-of-focus sequins” look of the background distracting and would have sought a simpler backdrop. Even the elements that start to work compositionally, such as the dark diagonal going up to the right from the center boy’s head, are overwhelmed.
    I would have tried to avoid the vertical “stacking” of the two central figures. Note that the darker overshirt shirt and sweater somewhat match and the same with the two lighter outer shirts. These could potentially be used to help unify the composition in a repositioning of the figures, though your choices here work in their own way.
    Tricky with the two boys nearly the same height.
    Those fingers on the woman’s shoulder are someone’s, not clear whose, but they don’t add anything. Finding ways to use arms and hands to unify a couple or group without looking phony can be another challenge. Unless we start getting formulaic with our posing, we have to think on our feet a lot. I have been on the formula track and was happy to leave it behind.
    Props can help with groups. By prop, I mean anything in the environment that may lend aid to avoid the “we’re standing here in front of the camera” appearance, even with cheerful, amenable subjects such as yours. Sometimes a large tree’s trunk for one person to lean on, and/or a lower branch, or a stump or rock to place a foot on, can break up the verticality of people standing. Just the fact that one or more persons are leaning a bit, rather than standing straight, can impart a sense of spontaneity, as can turning the body and head. Some of the best 19th-C. portraitists were really good that this.
    Keep up the good work!
    Philip U.

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 2019
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    Columbus OH
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    Re: Some critique please

    Thanks Philip
    Your critique of the composition is something I have been hoping to get for awhile. Wetplate work is so often a mixture of casual and formal and very few of our colleagues have perfected it. I certainly am early in this process.
    thanks again

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    AZ
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    Re: Some critique please

    Looks perfect to me too. Several things make wetplate hard, so next time may be worse...or better. UV light levels, and age of collodion both change exposure times. So keep doing what you're doing, but don't "write down" any exact times....they may change each day.

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