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My Private Little Forest

I love forests, trees, wood and what-else-is-there-not-to-like-about-these-matters. We had some trees cut up in our garden past year and we kept the lumber, for burning it later on. But these branches looked so great I took them into my studio. They’re part of a lumber-studies, not sure in what form or series these will fit but I just love them. It’s great to be shooting plates again, especially when they work out so nicely, at least to me!

The only thing I am having issues with is the varnishing. Except for a plate or two being ‘eaten’ by the varnish, I never had any problems with it. And that issue is easily fixable by adding a bit of water.

Now I had issues with the varnish not running over the plates properly, resulting in awkward nasty ridges and parts not covered in one pour. I figured it might be because of too little alcohol so added some more. Eventually it seemed to pour better but the plates dried unevenly. With that I mean streaks turned out matte and others glossy, random, not showing hints as to why. With these last plates I cut back on heating of the varnish and plate which seemed to help quite a bit so for now I’m satisfied. Though not completely as it’s still not perfect and that just puzzles me. In the process of ordering a fresh batch of alcohol and spike oil so that I can make a new batch, even tough this one is actually pretty new. TBC.

All images shown are Wet Plate Collodion Black Glass Ambrotypes, either 8×10″ or 10×10″.

 

So Fresh and so Clean Clean – Part 2

🙂

So…After the first experiment with polish-machine-style-plate-cleaning there’s always a second, with improvements of course. The first thing I wanted to solve was moving of the plate during polishing. This machine has a disc that rotates at 3200 times per minute = 53,33 times per second… Try that by hand 😆 This puts forth some power on the plate which makes it a little nervous on a flat surface. I already tried solving it by putting some gaffer tape on the table but that was not enough.

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Now I decided to put some small boards on two sides of the table, pointing towards the corners thus each other, and letting them stick a little over the surface of the table so that a glass plate could be positioned alongside them. That way I could push the plate towards the corner without having it fall off. It worked a whole lot better but still the plate had the tendency to hoover a little over the table’s surface. Than Erik came along and made me a square wooden board on which he put a glass plate. He then put 4 long cocktail sticks along the plate sides and fixed them to the board with gaffer tape. That way the plate was sort of clamped in between the sticks and I could easily polish. I placed that board design along the smaller boards I earlier screwed into the sides of the table so it stayed put on the table and…Tadaaa, problem solved!

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I then put the table in the middle of the darkroom and the second problem of spattering the cleaning substance all over the place also got solved. What a glorious evening :-) I was able to incredibly lazily clean the plates for a commissioned portrait shoot this Wednesday, awesome!

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So Fresh and so Clean Clean – Glass Cleaning Lazy Style!

I love wet plate. In fact, I love everything about wet plate! Except for…cleaning the plates🙂 So, it might be a bad habit but I look for shortcuts, no concession in outcome of course. I use a dishwasher for the first cleaning cycle. And then you still always have to scrub by hand using the chalk cleaner. Polishing and polishing, overheating etc. You know. That stuff. So, Erik said the other day; might it not be an idea to use a polishing machine for that? Hmmm….

So, I got meself a polishing machine and went for it! Interesting. It works. So, that’s good. Start is as usual; pour cleaning solution on plate:

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Put polishing machine on plate:

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Turn it on:

Right, no image there as I needed both hands to keep this thing under control🙂

And…:

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…Do a lot of cleaning afterwards! Ha, that stuff goes everywhere! In a radius of 2,5 metres all was covered in chalk mixture! Quite funny; it works, saves quite a bit of energy (if you leave out the cleaning afterwards) and it’s fun: because, well, machines just are. I will find something to fix this as I like it. I hope you did too😉

Filter Stacking Method for Sandarac Varnish

I kept postponing making new varnish for way too long until I really pushed myself to it yesterday. The really annoying part about making the varnish is filtering the solution; probably all suffer from that🙂 But Erik has found a way to do a filter stacking, proper school, so the solution gets filtered 4 times in just one pour. Tadaa!

Now, still have to get to varnishing the plates but that is the fun part! Just thought I’d share. Anyone else funny filter methods which make life easier?

Wet Plate Collodion Demo in Images

In short; it was fun!
In long; it was fun!

🙂

 

All images made by Luc Hommes.

Wet Plate Collodion Demo During MABP & Tefaf

(Sorry, Dutch text today)

Zondag 13 maart tijdens de MABP organiseren wij een extra leuke en vooral gezellige evenement, 
in het Toon Hermans Huis Maastricht 
 
Om de band met onze sympathisanten, sponsoren, vrienden en belangstellenden
te verstevigen wordt er in het nabijgelegen Toon Hermanshuis
op zondag 13 maart een ’special event’ georganiseerd. Een
cultureel samenzijn voor belangstellenden in bijzondere ambiance met
een hapje en een drankje.
 
Drie sprekers staan er op het programma die u kort iets zullen vertellen
over Maastrichtse drukken, oude fotografie en een Maastrichtse componist.
Na afloop bestaat er de mogelijkheid om onder begeleiding van een gids
de beurs te bezoeken.
U en uw partner zijn van harte uitgenodigd door de MABP organisatie
om hierbij aanwezig te zijn.
 
Programma MABP 

11:30 uur Ontvangst van de gasten

12:00 uur Presentatie ‘Maastrichtse Drukkers’

12:15 uur Demonstratie oude fotografie op glasplaat. 
Indra Moonen neemt u mee naar het jaar 1851 van de natte collodion
glasplaten; het eerste op grotere schaal commercieel inzetbare
fotografische procede.
12:45 uur Voordracht over de Maastrichtse componist Jean Lambrechts
Bij voldoende belangstelling worden er hierna rondleidingen over de
antiquarenbeurs gehouden om nader kennis te maken met de beurs en
de standhouders. De beurs highlights zullen door de gids nader worden
toegelicht.
Verder is er ook de mogelijkheid om een kijkje te nemen in het gezellige Toon Hermans Huis
 
Graag reserveren vóór 11 maart: franz.rothenburg@me.com

Leap into the Etsy World

Seeing that I have quite a load of digital images, merely residing on my hard drives, I thought it would be good to give them back some meaning. Meaning and perhaps a new way to pay for my real love: analogue photography🙂

In the future I might extend this beyond prints from digital files but for now this is it..

Take a look if you want!

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First Collodion Shoot in 1,5 Years; Oh Yeah Baby :-)

Wwwooooooeeeehhhhooooooeeeeewwwwwww!!!!

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Anyway…long time no see🙂 I started with the chemistry last week, making fresh fix, developer, collodion and checking the silver bath, which looked and tested really well! It had a proper cleaning, with boiling-down half way and all, before I packed it up for moving, but still, quite the surprise. Last Monday, my regular day off, I decided to continue but it was a busy day with a meeting scheduled and had some prepping to do for that so didn’t get much work done in the darkroom. Feeling a bit anxious about that I thought I would give it a shot asking the day off on Tuesday, which I was able to do….so Tuesday was Theday.

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Erik grabbed the change to film everything but we will redo this as I was too much occupied with looking for all my stuff, trying to find back that routine in a new place. I spent about half the time looking for things🙂 I was too excited to give the plates the proper cleaning they should have had and it clearly shows, as expected. But, it works! The first pour was indescribable; don’t want to sound like a sentimental old fart (the smelly one), but wow, it felt great! The smile on my face….loved it!

Plate before curling

Plate before curling

Well, the obvious curled one

Well, the obvious curled one, but cool nonetheless🙂

Well, what else can I say? There’s some work to do to get it all ‘perfect’ again, better cleaning, more ether to the collodion as it was relatively cold in the darkroom and it didn’t flow nicely, creating a striped pattern. The smallest first test plate (see plate above) was so scratched and polluted that the layer of collodion curled off while drying, making it look pretty fascinating. Also, I want to re-read Osterman’s manual again, just because it has been awhile and it’s never a bad thing. And of course, making a batch of varnish and do the final very-good-smelling step🙂

The following images are the ones I like best. The last one is an image Erik made of me. He composed the images, lighting and everything and I did the chemistry part. The digital overview images are mostly Erik’s.

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Hope to see you soon again!

Darkroom No. 6 – the Final

  
After having thoroughly enjoyed a trip to Portugal it was time to take that final step in finishing the darkroom; hooking up the wet table.  

Erik, not experienced in plumbing, was looking up to the job because he felt a little insecure. Due to this darkroom being housed on a squat-basis there are quite a few limitations on how to attach the table to existing water hoses. And a boiler had to be built in as there is no warm water in that space. So, all the more challenging. 

He made a life-size drawing on how the piping needed to be done with the exact measurements and then we started building. The drawing made it so clear that even I could understand it perfectly. Everything was built using compression fittings so if ever, for whatever reason, this thing has to be disarmed and put back again, it’s easily possible. Comforting thought🙂

Tonight I shall be showing Erik the reward of all this hard work; learning him to develop film! Yes, another soul to dive back into Analogue! I normally do not look forward to developing film (after 10+ years it does get a little boring :-)) but this time it’s different. This time I can’t wait!

And there will be plenty of film sooooo lucky us!  

   
    
   

Building Darkroom Nr. 6

It took awhile, but finally a bit of rest caught up along with more will to start rebuilding the darkroom and studio. The thought of having to break it off again when Ad Hoc tells us to leave kind of put me off rebuilding. But in the end it keeps me from being able to work so rebuilding really is the only option. And.. it is fun! Rethinking everything all over is always a challenge and an exciting thing to do. The only major thing left to finish is hooking up the wet table to water and a drain. Got all the stuff, just needs to be done.

Today we finished making the space light tight with some great fabric, donated by Erik which he bought quite a few years back for a whole different purpose. My first plan was to use something like black rubble sacks, double-layered, and tape it to the windows (which were quite a few!). But this is much much better as only one layer is sufficient to get the job done and it’s white so reflects all red light inside and reflects light, thus heat, outside. Anyway, enough with the blabla…onto some images, from start to where it’s at now🙂

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dr_firstitemsdr_overviewfirst dr_overviewfirst2 dr_overviewleft dr_overviewleft2 dr_overviewleft3 dr_overviewmiddle dr_overviewmiddle2 dr_overviewmiddle3 dr_overviewmiddle4 dr_studioerik studio_rolls

lighttight_part1 overview_lighttight

So…that is as it stands now..Hopefully soon things will be fully up and running. About the cloth, it’s a three-layer synthetic fabric, two outer whites and one inner black. Don’t know the price, don’t know the name, only that it works REALLY well, it’s light, thin and easy to handle / cut etc. If I find more info on it in the future I’ll add this.

cloth_plural cloth_whiteonwhite

Have a great evening and I’ll be off for some dark dreams tonight🙂

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