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  1. #41

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    Mark - sorry if it was a bit cryptic - I was referring to RobertP's post - an ambrotype on clear glass can be viewed from the other side. Darkly coloured glass (eg deep purple) was used as an alternative to a dark backing, like black cloth or velvet, or - in some cases - as a black coating on the collodion itself.

    BTW, Robert Szabo's forum goes back quite a way, even before the current forum that is hosted. Most of the big names you hear about such as George Berkhofer, John Hurlock and Mark Ostermann have posted on it along with with others who have probably forgotten more about WP than most know such as Ray Morgenweck and Bob Szabo himself.

    Regards,
    Neil

    PS: as an aside I once read something about Billy the Kid being lefthanded, then somebody pointed out that the photo of him holding his weapon in his left hand was obviously reversed due to the photographic method at the time. Might be apocryphal, but interesting.

  2. #42
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    It is done the same on clear glass as it is on black glass. Only the black glass needs no backing. Now I have never seen a clear ambrotype that was backed on the collodion side with black cloth. That would reverse the image. Quinn is backing it on opposite side of the collodion. An ambrotype is just an underexposed negative. Normally when done on clear glass the back side is coated with asphaltum or a more modern method is to spray it with glossy black lacquer spray paint.

  3. #43

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    Hi Scott,

    I was really replying to RobertP - timelag!

    There is a very fine cut-off point when a glass plate ceases to be of use as an ambrotype and is of more value as a negative. You can have heavy ambrotypes and light negs. So you surmise correctly - it's the dark backing that reverses it, but if you are a fine technician like Quinn, you will have made your ambrotype to a suitable density in the first place.

    Usually, like you say, a change in technique and developing is called for if you are going for one or the other, but - we all make mistakes! If I get something usable and it looks good as an ambrotype but is too light for a negative, then I'm happy to have an ambrotype. You can tell that I'm not much of a technician.

    Regards,
    Neil.

  4. #44
    RobertP's Avatar
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    Neil I'll give it a try on one of my clear ambros.

  5. #45
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    Neil. I just tried it on my clear ambros with a dense black velvet. It does work but the quality of the image seems degraded when I put the black cloth against the collodion side. But to some that may be acceptable.

  6. #46

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    The technique is the same, Robert, I agree. The point is that you can see through the clear glass whereas obviously seeing through black glass is going to be problematic. Not that I've ever seen a period one on black glass, just clear, purple and ruby. But I have seen them reversed quite often - maybe some old-time punters didn't like their wedding rings on the wrong hands, or whatever. I've seen quite a few coated with asphaltum on the collodion side, too - more's the pity - once the asphaltum flakes/breaks down/becomes damaged, salvaging is hard if not impossible. If coated on the clear side, this wouldn't present a problem.

    Regards,
    Neil.

  7. #47
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    I was rewatching Robb Kendrick's Video and noticed the varnishing seemed to add some warmth the the plate. I have seen that lavender varnish mentioned a few times. Is that a step that can adjust tone?
    Seeing these videos isn't helping my patience.......

  8. #48
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    You can take a light negative and intensify it to the density that is required for albumen printing or Pt/Pd what ever suits you. When shooting for a negative you would double or even triple your exposure time as compared to an ambrotype. You then would develop three times longer than your development time for an ambrotype. At least this is how Coffer taught me. Even then you may need to intensify the negative to build enough density. Sometimes you nail right without intensification.
    Last edited by RobertP; 10-14-2007 at 04:56 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #49
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    Scott, The lavender varnish smells great when you're varnishing. But Talk with other wetplaters most use an alcohol lamp or oil lamp to dry and or warm the plate for varnishing .Kendrick may just be a little impatient with this step and he feels that a blow torch (propane torch) is faster. He is the only one I know of that uses one. Some people just wait until they get home to varnish and use a hair dryer. But most use an alcohol or oil lamp.

  10. #50

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    Scott - I think that the varnish is just a protective layer, especially for negatives that come into contact with paper in printing frames. Sometimes, plates were left unvarnished ("in the bright"), but I suppose they were ambrotypes, adequately protected by mat, cover glass and preserver.

    Robert - that is undoubtedly correct. But I am acutely aware - maybe paranoid - about the uniqueness of each shot, and I (over-)compensate for it for taking up to three different exposures, hence I get a range of images that include ambro, ambro/neg and neg. I just hate the fact that I might have only one image and, being the butterfingers I am, damage it. I should get it right first time of course, but then again if I could do that I wouldn't be dabbling in photography - I would have done what dear old dad wanted, got it right, and would now be languishing on a beach somewhere...!

    Regards,
    Neil.



 

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