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  1. #1
    bvy
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    Rockland Colloid - Should I bother?

    I've been reading extensively lately about wet and dry plate processes, and I'm eager to get my hands wet (or dry). For dry plate, the Rockland Colloid Tintype Parlor Kit comes up a lot, almost exclusively. And while I think it might be the best introduction to these processes, I have some concerns.

    The developer is reputed to last only one or two weeks. I don't always work this fast, and would rather regroup after each exposure and see what went wrong and how to improve. Is it possible to split the developer into eight one-shot portions (I have several small 2oz. glass bottles with polyseal caps). The $35 kit comes with eight 4x5 plates and an unspecified amount of developer that should be used undiluted. Are there other ways to extend the working life of the developer (besides the obvious: glass containers, filled-to-capacity, etc.)?

    I'm more concerned about the results I'm likely to get. Most of the things people post from the kit are not very impressive -- dull, flat, and with poor contrast. The better ones have bright yellow highlights, but it's hard to know what people are doing in their workflows for web display. So I'm only excited about the kit insofar as I'll be learning the process -- and perhaps as a stepping stone to custom formulations or wet plate. Still, I'd like to get something at least halfway rewarding. Can someone comment on the best way to get good contrast from the supplied materials? I understand their formulations changed recently (past ten years) to exclude formalin which had a significant impact on the contrast.

    Thank you.

  2. #2

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    hi bvy

    have you seen the work of seth mccormick?
    he's at seth-mccormick.com...
    he and a handful of others have been making dry plate tintypes
    i have the links to a few others but not handy i will post them later ..

    the dry process is a bit finickey, but i like it better than the wet one ..
    you can mix the developer without diluting it, and keep parts 1-2 separate and add them as needed

    if you mox it as directed you will be diluting 1L to a gallon, and dektol oxidizes kind of fast..

    the images on metal look very different than those on glass ...

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/guyjbro...n/photostream/
    he has good luck just adding something to his ilford developer,
    but i am guessing his tap water isnt only water and is mineralized ...

    you can use any emulsion you want with it. i mostly use vc and non ag+ ( both expired ) because it was what i had on hand. if you use non ag+ put more thin a thin coat on the plate you'll get better contrast, and if you use the vc emulsion you might use enlarging filters when you make your exposures seeing the emulsion is sensitive to them ...
    besides outside exposures, ive done darkroom work with the plates (glass)
    it was as easy as using paper ...

    have fun!
    john
    Last edited by jnanian; 03-23-2014 at 01:57 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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  3. #3
    bvy
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    Hi John. Thanks for the response. I think you mean Sean McCormick, and yes, I have seen his work, but thanks for pointing it out again. What I can't find is more information about his process. Some of the more impressive examples on his website are only described as "tintype," not even dry, though it sounds like he doesn't even practice wet plate.

    I had seen Guy Brown's work too, in passing, but the link describing his process is very helpful. So thanks for that too.

    As far as the Rockland developers, it sounds like the smaller kit has the developer premixed, and the larger one has it broken down into three component parts.

  4. #4

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    oops!!
    sorry, yes sean, not seth lol. even after i was at his website
    yeah, he only does the dry plates. we've spoken a few times
    and he coates the plates and just shoots them
    using ag + and the rockland developer. he rates the
    emulsion just as roclkand colloid states in their instructions
    ( i think they say iso .5 ) but it is dependent on the quality of light
    seeing it is blue light only and depending on the time of day, time of year ...

    you are right about the developer, the small kit the developer is pre mixed...
    and if / when you buy refills, it is about 30$ a wack ... not bad once you get the hang
    of things, but its still not cheap ...

    definitely a process worth trying ..
    i mentioned i like it better than the wet process
    mainy because of the convenience factor,
    and i never really liked using collodion.
    by comparison this is like the difference between
    caffenol c and pmk pyro ... similar and different at the same time ..

    feel free to drop me a line if you have coating questions, im not an ace, but im not a novice eithet

    john
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  5. #5
    bvy
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    Am I reading this correctly? Sean is using the Rockland Colloid kit and getting those results? His stuff is miles ahead of any/all other examples I've seen from the kit (and I feel like I've seen them all now -- at least the ones on the web). I'm looking at these images of his specifically: http://sean-mccormick.com/#/tin-types/

    Sounds like you have a line in to him -- are you sure he's not modifying the chemistry or kit in some way?

  6. #6

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    yup, doesnt alter a thing ...
    there is someone whose name escapes me ..
    photographer in rochester also uses it "stock"
    beautiful still lives ...
    christopher schwer
    http://www.christopherschwer.com

    it seems that there are a lot of people using this finicky process these days.
    i'm glad it is getting a bit more good press, some wet platers have done a great job
    in disenfranchising the process and spreading bad publicity ...

    its actually a lot of fun ...

    good luck!
    john
    Last edited by jnanian; 03-24-2014 at 09:12 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: added link
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