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Author Topic: A Few (More) Dry Plate Images  (Read 218 times)

Two23

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A Few (More) Dry Plate Images
« on: July 09, 2018, 11:27:33 PM »

From my third mini-batch of 4x5 dry plates. I'm now on my second box of the Lane Dry Plates and my exposure and focus are now pretty good. I've been using my Chamonix 045n field camera for these. It's my favorite camera--more so than any of my Nikon cameras. It's a combination of stylish walnut wood and high tech metals. The lens has been a vintage 1858 Derogy Petzval of f3.5, 6 inch focal length (150mm, the normal lens for 4x5.) I used ND filters to get to an exposure time of 1 second.  (The plates are ISO 2). The Derogy has no shutter and the 1s "shutter speed" allowed me to simply use my hand over the lens to stop & start exposure.

I was not happy with the processing of the plates done by Blue Moon in Portland. They did a much better job on my last two batches. Not sure how much is their fault vs the emulsions themselves, but I do think the water marks were due to an error at the lab. Still, not horrible. I don't expect them to come out as perfect as modern film. Otherwise, I'd just shoot modern film, right? I am thinking of learning how to do my own processing by the end of summer.

First shot is of a little girl posing for photos with her family. The parents graciously indulged my request to take a shot of her posed in front of a waterfall. My own kids were never this cute! Second shot is of a local photographer who has a studio of his own in a nearby town. Third shot is of the Sioux Falls during the flooding in June.

I'm going to take more photos with the intention of being ready for the Civil War re-enactors that are coming next month. I hope to have everything completely dialed in by then. I've also ordered some 6.5x9cm plates for my c.1932 Voigtlander Bergheil camera with its 105mm Heliar lens. This was the camera of choice for my hero, Brassai, and is a miniature view camera. It's really cool! I also have another half dozen pre-Civil War lenses to dig out and try with the plates. To be continued..........


Kent in SD
« Last Edit: July 09, 2018, 11:31:54 PM by Two23 »
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opgr

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Re: A Few (More) Dry Plate Images
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2018, 09:13:44 AM »

You are clearly perfecting your technique (or better: control over the production). Considering the improvements in these results, capturing the re-enactment is going to be a success. In fact: it could possibly become too clean & perfect, haha.
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Telecaster

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Re: A Few (More) Dry Plate Images
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2018, 05:48:27 PM »

Yep, these are pretty darn good. Love what ortho does for skin tones too. ;)

-Dave-
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MattBurt

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Re: A Few (More) Dry Plate Images
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2018, 06:48:27 PM »

Wow, those do look great. Makes me want to get my 1892 Rochester up and running to try some. I think I just need a film holder and the rest looks very serviceable. You had these processed with Blue Moon also or did you go somewhere else? Does the plate become the print in the end?
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Two23

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Re: A Few (More) Dry Plate Images
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2018, 08:50:08 PM »

Wow, those do look great. Makes me want to get my 1892 Rochester up and running to try some. I think I just need a film holder and the rest looks very serviceable. You had these processed with Blue Moon also or did you go somewhere else? Does the plate become the print in the end?


Really shooting plates seems to be no different than film, other than the ISO 2 part.  For these you need a plate holder, not a film holder.  Many plate holders from the 1890s-1910s have an adapter in them (film sheath) that acted like a spacer so you could shoot film or plates.  I've had three small batches of plates processed by Blue Moon now.  The first two had no issues, but this batch has a lot of lines on it that look like water marks of some kind.  I'm going to post them on the large format photography forum to find out if the lines are a result of poor washing/drying (i.e. screw up by Blue Moon) or if perhaps the plates got too warm sitting on my front porch in the sun and were somehow damaged from the warmth.  At any rate, the processing cost is $5 each, making these about $10/shot.  I'm most likely going to learn how to do them myself.  Partly that might help with quality control, but mainly there's a 12 day turn around for me to get them back.  For prints, I've just been scanning them on my Epson v700 (face down, no holder).  I then process them as a digital file through PS--I find they need a lot of contrast boost.  The plates are just a negative, in effect no different from a b&w film negative.


Kent in SD
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MattBurt

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Re: A Few (More) Dry Plate Images
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2018, 10:17:15 AM »

Thanks for all the info! I have a friend who does wet plates and in the end the plate becomes the print which is pretty neat. But a scanable negative would be fine too.
Good point about the plate holder! Do you know of any good sources for such things offhand?
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Two23

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Re: A Few (More) Dry Plate Images
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2018, 07:39:23 PM »

Thanks for all the info! I have a friend who does wet plates and in the end the plate becomes the print which is pretty neat. But a scanable negative would be fine too.
Good point about the plate holder! Do you know of any good sources for such things offhand?

Wet plate is essentially the same as dry plate.  Only difference is with "dry" plate the emulsion is held in a gelatin emulsion that doesn't dry out.  A wet plate is also a negative.  They used to contact print them in wooden holders using the sun as a light source.  Wet plate was invented sometime around 1850.  The older form of photography was Daguerreotype, which produced an image on polished metal (usually copper.)  They were one of a kind and couldn't be reproduced.  There is also tin type, which is wet plate applied to a metal sheet.  Very durable but usually only small images.  They were popular during the 1860s and 1870s especially.   As for plate holders, first know what your format is.  I would guess that an American camera from the 1890s-1910s would be 5x7, but it could also be whole plate.  Measure the dimensions of the ground glass.  I would also carefully measure the dimensions of where the plate holder goes as I don't think they were standardized until after ~1905.  This seems to be more true of European holders than American though.  I get most of mine through ebay.


Kent in SD
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