Dry Plate Process?

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by timlayton, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. timlayton

    timlayton Member

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    I am in the process of researching and getting ready to experiment with dry plates. I found this article at alternativephotography.com by Mark Pedersen and was wondering if anyone has tried his suggestions/process? If you haven't tried his process but have experience, any observations or comments about his article would be helpful too.

    Here is the article:
    http://www.alternativephotography.com/wp/processes/gelatin-silver/silver-gelatin-dry-plate-process

    I am an experienced LF photographer but just getting started with dry plates, paper negatives, etc. I am in the process of sourcing all the supplies (glass plates, chemicals, etc) and was hoping to avoid any pitfalls or issues if I use the above article as a starting point in my process.

    Thanks,

    Tim
     
  2. musila

    musila Member

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    I've been using Liquid Light on glass plates for a while. An albumen solution works great to keep the emulsion from floating off the plate in the developer. It's cheaper and probably easier than the gelatin + hardener size. 1 egg white in a liter of water. You could add a drop of ammonia if you want, to help prevent mold from growing. But I just filter it before I pour it on the plate. Let it dry, then pour the emulsion on top of that. A hardening fix also helps prevent the emulsion from floating off the plate during the longer times in the fix.

    If you're hoping to make an ambrotype, I found that using a parodinal (w/vitamin c) type developer works a lot better than dektol. It also helps with the high contrast of the emulsion.
     
  3. DarkroomDan

    DarkroomDan Subscriber

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    There are some long threads here on APUG on both dry plates and emulsion making. Also, if you haven't already done so, look at The Light Farm Denis Ross has put together an excellent resource with tutorials and articles on emulsion making, dry plates, and film making.

    Dan
     
  4. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    I think you should look further in this forum: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum205/. There's a lot to read there. Otherwise, the Silver Gelatin book by Martin Reed and Sarah Jones is a good book to get some practical tips and recipes.
     
  5. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    hi tim

    i've been making dry plates with liquid light and other "stuff" since about 1987 ...
    mark's page is right on the mark ...
    back in the day there was no collective consciousness of the internet, just the school of trial and error,
    and reading old photography books, annuals, and playing with formulas ...
    i tried an awful lot of things to use as a binder, from a skimcoat of emulsion
    to albumen to collodion, and nothing worked better than gelatin ( knox stuff from the grocery store )
    its cheap and because liquid light is a gelatin based emulsion in my experience, it just joins up with
    the other gelatin in the liquid emulsion. that isn't to say albumen or a skimcoat of emulsion don't work
    but i never had any luck with them ... maybe your experience will be different ?

    using paper negatives to get used to the tonal range and longer exposure times is fun.
    have fun !
    john

    ps. as jerevan said you might look for a book called "silver gelatin a users guide to liquid photographic emulsion "
    its out of print, but you can pick up a copy on amazon ...
     
  6. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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  7. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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  8. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    They are also available from amazon.co.uk for £20. At amazon.com (US) they cost $102 new...
     
  9. timlayton

    timlayton Member

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    I just ordered the Silver Gelatin Martin Reed book.
     
  10. alexhill

    alexhill Member

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    I had a lot of fun with dryplate, especially making my own emulsion. I like to tell my friends it is like cooking in the dark with deadly chemistry. I did a brief write up on the cost of emulsion making here http://alexwithacamera.blogspot.com/2010/05/cost-emulsion-making.html . Its super cool to say that this is an image you made yourself.

    If you go the liquid light path, i guess thats kinda cool too...

    There is a lot of information about cleaning glass out there. I've tried a few different things but the best by far is in Coffers wet plate manual. Store this mixture in a small travel hand lotion container (like from the dollar store) and shake before use.

    40 grams whiting
    50ml distilled water
    10 ml 190 proof alcohol

    I put a rough edge on the glass with my glass grinder (or an emery board). This gives the emulsion something to grip to along the edges. I windex the glass and then before coating, I put a couple drops (for a 4x5) of the above solution on the glass and scrub it around with a paper towel. I only clean the side i am going to be coating with the solution. I like to focus on the edges, then the corners, and finally the center in that order. Its easy to think you've gotten it all by just making pretty swirls.

    I then take a brand new paper towel and wipe off all the residue, fold it over, then wipe again. I have never had to sub with anything and any lifting problems were solved by cooler development (65* ftw)

    Alex

    Ps. Obligatory images :D
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/45618841@N03/5048107736/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/45618841@N03/5047525323/
     
  11. timlayton

    timlayton Member

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    Alex, thanks for the detailed reply. I really appreciate the help and insight. This will make things hopefully a lot easier.

    Tim
     
  12. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    This thread should really go in the Emulsion Making and Coating forum rather than Alternative Photography.

    There is a complete description there of coating dry plates along with some formulas that I posted courtesy of Mark Osterman.

    PE
     
  13. timlayton

    timlayton Member

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    PE, thanks for the tip on the forum. I just assumed this was the right place to be, but I will go see if I can find emulsion forum.

    Thanks