Haha so…Tuesday night I though it would be cool to ask the day off on Wednesday. Of course a bit late for such a decision but I luckily I was able to get the afternoon off. At first the intention was to make some lith prints trying out the new Slavich Unibrom paper I ordered a while back as the first prints of David Kirby posted on the lith group on Facebook looked really funky. I then saw the weather and thought it would be more awesome to try my new Linhof! I learned many things 😉
Again, I had only a limited amount of time. During work I managed to get out and find a new LED light (I used up the battery of the one I used Sunday and because this all happened so unprepared forgot to charge it). I got home at around 1:30 PM, ate something (no, I don’t live off ether vapours), fixed my new darkroom light, packed everything and finally was able to leave at around something like 2:30. I planned to photograph the bridge in Kanne, Belgium. I drove there and it looked pretty boring. I drove back to another bridge, the one I had planned to visit in the first place and a little closer to home, also in Belgium. I didn’t find a parking spot immediately so I drove on until I found one and ended up photographing a beautiful lane towards the bridge (though the latter remaining invisible) and another nice land road.
I set up camp using a my wooden darkbox again instead of the tent. It’s been a while since last time I used that. The LED torch, my new form of DR light which works really nicely as you can turn it off and on, saving heaps on power, hung from a nail hammered into the dark box and worked really nicely. I covered the torch with red foil which seems to do its thing. I started using my new silver box for the silver nitrate, the smaller box for max 5×7″ plates. Really nice this small!
I used my Linhof for the first time and thus also the new In Camera Industries back. In handling this works really well. Easy to open and close etc. Because it’s so small easy to get the plate in and out. The only thing I might not like but not yet sure is that the plate does not rest on silver wires in the corners but all round the plate on a ridge. This means you will have a border on every image. Now, I plan to make negatives and print them using an enlarger. The holder of that will crop the borders of the image so probably not much will show up on the final result but have to discover that later on. On top of that, such a ridge is supposed to be more prone to contamination opposed to resting the plate on silver wires (not metal, not copper, but silver wires). We’ll see..
One thing I lacked before using this camera is looking how this thing actually works. I could be blond (I used to be when I was really little, still noticeable in my habits) but I couldn’t find the focusing knob. I mean, I know how to focus it when I place the lens bit on the retractable area but the extension was already too long for making landscapes. I just couldn’t find it. Never worked with such a model, quite obviously.
The other thing SERIOUSLY lacking was the fixture of the lens to the lens board. As we did not have any fitting screws for the time being we decided ducktape would hold the lens to the lens board. Yeah right! When removing the lens cap, and especially putting it back on I kind of pushed the lens into the camera haha! It kept stucking to the board but with lots of movement possible. Kind of a sucky Lensbaby version thing going on 😉
The dark box as you can see on the image stands on the table I normally use in my tent. Only for this it’s just too low to work in a nice manner. I really really have to fix that. The box had light leaks, badly. I really have to fix those too. I accidentally knocked the silver bath a couple of times while the plate was in there, not too good either I guess. I had to really find my workflow with all the new stuff and being clumsy and all it just didn’t really seem to work this time. But I had fun, and my brother had too who came along to join me on my wonderful though swift day out in the field again.
Yes, it looks rather idiotic, I know…
All in all, a lot of things to improve on this new working style but it was a fun experience and sniffing ether out in the field is always fun, good plates or not! I think the plates that you’re about to see are officially my must sucky plates, in a long time. I will varnish them though, for laughs-sake 😉
They are both 4×5″ Clear Glass Ambrotypes
Needless to say I’m looking forward to the next journey with the Linhof, only with A LOT of things adjusted! I hope you enjoyed this post about my clumsiness and failure. It’s all about the journey they say anyway, right 😉
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 😉
I know the size of the original plate doesn’t come across on a computer screen but I just want to share how awesome I find the size: OMG AWESOME! So…
First time for me making square plates which is kind of cool. Hasselblad superior King Size stuff 😉 Unfortunately they don’t fit in my scanner so I’ve photographed them with a Canon S95 lousy in comparison so never mind the qual please…the one of my brother looks way better in person (he does too).
Also, we’re currently working on the all new making of a darkbox so I can finally photograph the beautiful city of Maastricht for my Alexander Simays project. The box is ready, thanks to my wonderful extremely supportive boyfriend, and we’re now waiting for the black cloth to arrive. I’m really looking forward to that little gem because it’s said to be extremely thin AND light tight. I’ve ordered an extra piece to use as a dark cloth on my camera. My current one is rather thick and not light tight enough, a PITA that is. Below some examples of what the box will look like.
Once finished I’ll post the exact specifications qua size and all that’s been used etc.
Good night 🙂