Posts tagged “4×5″

4×5″ Collodion in the Field? I’m ready for it!

As mentioned before I tried to modify a standard Fidelity Elite 4×5″ film holder I bought together with the Linhof Master Technika. We seriously messed up the holder beyond use haha! The room for manoeuvring just was too small (the tools were too big for the job, whatever) but the plastic just melted while trying to cut out the dividing section to make a plate fit. Mission failed.



But luckily a holder came on my path (thank you Jeroen!) especially made for shooting wet plates and other alternative thingies that fits a 4×5″ film camera. This back is made by In Camera Industries.
“In Camera Industries produces sturdy, functional, industry-specific tools for the in-camera photographer. Born from a need for durability and accessibility, each product is created for the most professional of image makers, with the ease of use for the novice as well. Established in 2011 by photographer Jody Ake.”


This means I can finally start using my new hotty out in the field! Not sure when that will be because the next outside shoot I have planned (2nd of June) will (partially) be on black glass so 8×10″ / 10×10″ plates. BUT, surely the following one will be with my new camera making 4×5″ clear glass ambrotypes solely.

Edit: Someone asked me how the inside of this holder looks, especially the ridge. I made a photo of it and will post it here as well. The ridge that holds the plate is approx. 1mm thick on all sides.


I also intend to use the darkbox again instead of the tent. Makes it a little more compact on location and, most importantly, I will be able to handle it on my own. No need for someone else to close the zipper, set it up etc. I can now travel on my own to make images. The only disadvantage of the darkbox is its size. The inner working space is quite compact and my large silver nitrate box barely fitted in while working in a handy manner at the same time. So, I thought it would be wise to have a smaller silver box made. It would also save in space and weight, needing less silver nitrate and all. I emailed John Brewer who also made the other two boxes I have and fortunately he had one laying around for a max. size of 5×7″. Perfect!



Now, all I need is some proper weather..(un)fortunately no money in the world can buy that 😉

New Toy: Linhof Master Technika Classic

Ahhh how goes the saying? “Toys for Boys”? No way! “Toys for Gals”! Doesn’t rhyme but sure feels fine 😉

As you know I was saving up for a Chamonix Camera together with a wet plate back (they make great looking ones!) and a cover. I was saving up for this camera to use it out in the field for 4×5″ Collodion Clear Glass Ambrotypes which I can enlarge using my Omega D2 lith-style. The big advantage over such a camera compared to the one I use now is saving weight, +- 20 kilos to be more precise and that’s quite a bit. Lighter camera, lighter tripod, smaller silver bath etc.

Anyway, then this Linhof Master Technika Classic crossed my path. I already have a hard time controlling myself when things like this come up but I managed to restrain myself. But then a friend said: “I’d get it if I were you”, it was simply impossible for me to walk away. So…here it is! My all new portable camera to couple with my Berthiot Perigraphe 90mm lens! It is in immaculate condition, I bought it from the first owner who got this beauty in 2000. It’s about 1,5 kilos heavier than the Chamonix camera but I don’t have to deal with the import duties and 1,5 kilos..well…I’ll get over that part! Get ready for some awesomeness..

linhofMT_manual_blog linhofMT_side2_blog linhofMT_bottom_blog linhofMT_back_blog linhofMT_matglas_blog linhofMT_close2_blog linhofMT_close3_blog

I have a collodion shoot planned the 5th of May where we intend to visit a practically deserted village in Belgium called Doel which will be his official inauguration. Looking forward working with this beauty! Will have to convert a film back to hold collodion plates first, hopefully later this week, and have to attach my lens to the Technika lens board, also this week.

-Happy Happy Joy Joy! ❤

New Lens: Berthiot Perigraphe Serie VIa 90mm f/14

Seeing that I want to buy a 4×5″ light field camera for making collodion negatives on location, solely landscapes, I also wanted to find a proper landscape lens for it, with a wider angle for that size than my current Steinheil which is a 150mm, and so that I can keep that Steinheil on my 10×10″ camera. Not many have been made for that size but Jeroen pointed me towards Berthiot Perigraphe lenses on Ebay. Extremely small with a proper angle at 4×5″. I found one, placed a bid and am now awaiting its arrival!

A, like new, Berthiot Perigraphe Serie VIa 90mm f/14. Not fast with its f/14 but during the summer I have to stop my Steinheil down to at least f/11 to get a shutter speed of a couple of seconds which I need to remove and put back the lens cap for the exposure. It’s supposed to be really sharp so I’m looking forward to this little gem. At f/14 the light for focusing will be rather little but with the help of a focusing cloth (and landscapes, I mean, who gives a damn up to infinity) I should be fine.


There are (probably the older versions) brass-colored models of this lens available on Ebay but this one looked so immaculate with pristine glass I just had to jump the gun. Not sure if the glass is coated though, I’ll find out soon I guess. If present, on such a disturbing level, I’ll just sell this one and buy an older version. Anyway, looking forward to it! My last lens purchase is quite a while back. Oh, and not giving a rats ass about the overly popular swirly Petzval effect keeps my wallet from complaining 😉

For those wanting to read a little more background on these French lenses check the following links:
Collection Appareils

2013 Dreams Plans and Whatnot

2013 is already lurking around the corner while 2012 slowly comes to an end. 2012 was a great year but I’m really looking forward to 2013. This will be the year of my own photography. No workshops (by me, I wish to follow at least one myself), not as many days off to fix work for others, just doing my own stuff. I’ve had a lot of people asking me the past two years if they could come to my place or on location to watch me do my collodion ‘tricks’. Some I managed to squeeze into my schedule, others I have recently declined.

I think I made collodion imagery for maybe 2 times this past year that were about my personal work, in studio, not even outside. When I have to invite people over to watch the way I work it’s pretty much keeping me from concentrating on my stuff and making me feel obliged to focus more on the person in question instead of making plates. It took me quite some time but now I realise it’s just not working that way, especially seeing the little amount of time I have for my personal work. It might (have) come across as being arrogant, so be it. Making everyone happy is impossible and it’s certainly not the reason why I got into photography. Of course, asking questions via email, my blog of FB is never a problem but that way I can answer them whenever it suits me 😉

I was also debating which way I’d go with all the processes I’m interested in doing. I want to do so much it’s simply impossible mastering the crafts when working on a million different things. The chat I had yesterday with a friend certainly clarified a couple of things. The most important decision I’ve made is this one:
I want to make 4×5″ collodion negatives, but “standard” ones that I can enlarge with my Omega D2 to print them via the lith process. With standard ones I mean developed in an, albeit adjusted, iron II sulphate developer but no intensification or redeveloping needed with pyro for example. This has a couple of advantages:

  • I can print them with the Omega as already mentioned (I love lith for landscapes)
  • My collodion workflow on location will be a lot more compact (4×5 camera, smaller tripod etc)
  • It will weigh a LOT less. It’ll certainly shave off around 15-20 kilos
  • I can scan the negatives with my Epson V700 and turn them into (bigger) digital negatives suitable for whichever contact printing process I wish to dive into
  • Uhm, I have to buy a new camera 😉

The last one remains a lot of fun haha! I always wanted to get a small compact lightweight 4×5″ camera and now I have found the perfect excuse to get one! I’m looking for a small field camera such as a Chamonix, Shen Hao or Wista model (let me know if you have one for sale!). The photos I’m about to post are pure camera-**rn so mind your eyes 😉

045 chamonix-45c chamonix shenhao shenhao2


As you can see this is a terrible decision to make! Anyway, not sure if this will happen this year, the price has to be right for my wallet but I’m looking forward. At least before spring I would like to have this realised so I can take advantage of all there is to the collodion season. Although I’ll be trying some snowy collodion stuff this winter too, but then just with my big one.

As far as printing processes are concerned lith printing will stick by me. I absolutely love this for landscapes. You can take an image to a billion different levels and I love that. I will continue my digital negative journey to work through my collection of 35mm and 120 film. I will either lith them (landscapes) or make them into digital negatives and work on the Van Dyke process more (portraits). I absolutely wish to get that to a higher level which should be coming together in 2013.

I also saw a waxed salt print yesterday in person which looked beyond words. I loved the look and feel of it. Definitely worth looking into but that’s not priority Numero Uno. I have to much of those already 😉 Anyway, lots of plans which hopefully become more reality next year than this past one. Oh, and on top of that working on some conceptual stuff so I can put my skills to good use instead of getting lost into the technique too much.

Have a wonderful couple of weeks this year and may your next year be as challenging as mine seems to me!


Rabbit Skull (yes, my first skull, sigh)

A couple of days ago my dad-in-law gave us a rabbit meat he bought in Belgium. It came together with a head. I thought it to be a shame to throw that away so I boiled it clean in water along with some sodium bicarbonate a.k.a. baking soda. That went pretty well. Since I had to test my freshly made collodion for a demo I’ll be giving next week at Galerie Weert I needed a subject anyway so the timing was rather well.

I set up the upper part of the head (upper because it was being kept together by the flesh which by now had been boiled off, have to attach all the parts again but no time) on a candle holder and photographed in studio.

The freshly collodion formula I made is the standard Collodion formula by Scully & Osterman which I’ll be using from now on. It goes as following:

Part A
155ml ether (56ml)
236ml plain USP Collodion (305ml)
3g cadmium bromide
8ml distilled water

Add ether to a 500ml bottle with plain collodion. Cap it and shake until cotton-like swirls will disappear.
Place cadmium bromide in a glass beaker, add distilled water and break the bromide (it tends to cake up) with a glass rod until completely dissolved.
Slowly add the bromide solution to collodion mixture.

Part B
4g potassium iodide
155ml Ethanol (186ml)
Distilled water

I made this one before but the problem was that only had a little USP collodion and 1 liter of UHB collodion (which I bought in Poland as it’s a lot cheaper). Only the ratio ether / alcohol is substantially different than the USP version and when I first made I had no conversion formula. I thought, oh what the heck, I’ll just make it as I do the USP and use the two different collodions to make up a liter. Stupid me! Of course that wouldn’t work. So, I had to make a new batch. Jeroen de Wijs was so kind as to provide me with the conversions so this batch worked like a charm! The converted amount is behind the regular quantity needed when using USP between the (..).

I’m all set for the demo next week!

Direct Collodion Positive on Black Glass 4×5″

Really happy to have made a plate after a long time. My schedule is sooooo busy I hardly had time to do something “alternative” with my time. Next year that’ll definitely change (otherwise I’ll go frikkin NUTS!)