I felt it time to make a lith print from a collodion negative again so when shooting my brother on black glass I made sure the last plate was a clear one on 4×5″. It’s been awhile and I had some new paper to try as well: Foma MG Classic 542 II, matte chamois. I liked it very much, texture-wise and lith-wise. Will have to work on that a little more to see more of the possibilities of this very paper.
I exposed the negative three times longer than I did the positives and developed with the same chemistry, standard formula by Scully & Osterman, nothing special there. I ended up with a really contrasty negative BUT with all the detail in there. It looked lovely when I switched on the enlarger! Lith printing this negative while preserving all the detail is a different story. More fine-tuning is required but the results surprised me so much I rather found them pleasing!
Paper used: Foma MG Classic 542 II
Chemistry used: Moersch Easylith 1+1+24, +- 24 degrees
Exposure time: 50 seconds
Snatch point: 4 minutes
Exposure time: 60 seconds
Snatch point: 4:30 minutes
The prints look a whole lot different than the 10×10″ BGA of the former post.. It’s nice to play around with this. Definitely one of the reasons I want to work more with negatives; you have a plate where all the fun begins, instead of with the BGA, where it ends. The possibilities are beyond infinite. It seems I love to get lost there 😉
Have a good weekend, gents!
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 😉
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!
Easter gave me the opportunity of making some collodion images and to print them in the darkroom. I started the day with cutting the plates. I have a lot of clear glass left over from some frames of which I didn’t use the glass (back then) and was so smart as to save it. I cut some 10×10″ plates and started on a series I’ve been having on my mind for quite some time now. It’s about nightmares, paranoia, etc. I still have to come up with a title. These are the first shots in this series. Luckily I still have to practice on my negatives (subbing them with albumen for example, had lifting of the collodion, or perhaps, cleaning them even better) so they came out anything but perfect. The exact raw feeling that I was after when thinking out the images in my head.
I shot the plates on the first day of Easter and varnished them that same very day. I was ready for the second day of Easter. Darkroom. Lith printing. I wanted that grainy and raw feel lith can give you so it wasn’t too hard figuring out which way to go with these. The images are contact printed (I love the 10×10″ size) on Rollei Vintage Paper 131 developed in Rollei Superlith developer 24+24+600.
I still have a lot to learn regarding the making of decent collodion negatives but for lith printing they work out just fine so far. If anything I’m having fun!
As said before I also made my first real clear glass ambrotype, aka a glass negative, in Montzen. Yesterday I tried to make a lith print out of it. Very much to my liking! The grain really adds to the ambience and feel of the image.
I used Rollei Vintage 131 Fiber paper and made the first print on 18×24 cm paper to try it out. I loved it so much I”ll be making a large print as soon as the paper arrives: 50×60 cm. Also, this was my first go with the Omega D2 enlarger…wow..that thing is awesome!!! Beautiful machine which I’ll use a whole lot more often now that I got it working with the 4×5″ glass plate holder.
The only thing needed to be done was the toning part. I always used selenium toner before but also bought gold toner a while back. With selenium the tone, or wouldn’t hardly change, or make it more red. Both was just not what I had in mind. Luckily I remembered my gold toner in time so I ordered 2 more liters for the large print and tonight tested it. The prints are still wet so I’ll scan and post them tomorrow. Impressions: 4 minutes were too long; too blue. With 2 minutes I kept a little warmish yellow and got a little blueish and that was exactly what I was after.
Sure, with lith printing the true characteristics of Collodion have practically gone (though not really if you look carefully) so you might wonder why. First of all, because I couldn’t wait making and printing my first collodion negative! Secondly, lith printing is what I know (a little) and came to love (traditional bw printing has gotten boring to me) so this was the way to go for now. I’m still trying to figure out which processes I’m going to dive into for printing the collodion negatives but time has not really been on my side so far. Thirdly and most importantly, because I like it! So eat it!
Anyway, a happy goose here and I’m looking forward to the big print!