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  1. #1

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    A dumb wet plate collodian quesiton.

    Ok, please pardon my ignorance of this process and what may seem like a silly question.

    I have seen quite a bit of beautiful wet plate work over the last year and I am curious about something. Why not shoot a normal negative with 4x5, 120, 35mm, etc. and fashion an old style lens on an enlarger (to achieve some of the same effects that you get by shooting a in camera wet plate) and just expose the wet plate in the darkroom under the enlarger.

    Can this be done?.... Now I do understand that part of the enjoyment is working the way people did long ago with the 8x10 camera, exposing the wet plate in the field etc... but would my idea work and if so..has anyone tried it.

    Thanks.

    Regards,
    John

  2. #2
    billschwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Simmons View Post
    Ok, please pardon my ignorance of this process and what may seem like a silly question.
    John, It can be done as evidenced by the following link...

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/dce/1528642245/

    However, part of the beauty is the way the collodion responds to natural light and it's color sensitivity. You would also have to make your negative into a positive before the projecting it in your enlarger. I am not sure how it responds to incandescent light either. There are others more knowledgable that I am sure will jump in here.

    Bill

  3. #3
    Kerik's Avatar
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    I had someone attend a workshop earlier this year in Philadelphia. She had previously done the Rockaloid "tintypes" under an enlarger using (I think) digitally-created positive transparencies. She tried the same thing during the workshop using real tintype materials (i.e. collodion). It worked very well!
    Kerik Kouklis
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerik View Post
    I had someone attend a workshop earlier this year in Philadelphia. She had previously done the Rockaloid "tintypes" under an enlarger using (I think) digitally-created positive transparencies. She tried the same thing during the workshop using real tintype materials (i.e. collodion). It worked very well!

    Thanks Bill and Kerik, so basically I could shoot normal film and use a process like DR5 to create a transparency positive, Stick it in the enlarger and print like normal.

    Any idea what the speed of a wet plate is under an enlarger?

    Thanks for you help guys.

    Regards,
    John

  5. #5

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    I have made wet plates from color slides using an enlarger. I shoot neutral, non-saturated, color slides and then enlarge onto the wet plates, either glass or aluminum. I think I still have one in my APUG gallery.

    I use a UV light source, however. For enlarging a 4x5 slide to an 8x10 wet plate, I get an exposure of 8 seconds at f11. But again, that is with a UV light source. I don't know that a regular light source will work for traditional wet plate, I've never tried it.

    Allen

  6. #6
    Kerik's Avatar
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    John,

    Collodion is a contrasty process, so your positives should work better if they are on the soft side. The person in my workshop was using an enlarger with a color head. As I recall, her exposures were in the 30 to 40 second range. I don't remember the f/stop, but the point is that it's definitely do-able.

    Allen - what enlarger are you using that has a UV light source?
    Kerik Kouklis
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  7. #7

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    Hi Kerik,

    I use the "Cold One", the UV head made by Photofusion. This was sold primarily for enlarging on AZO, but I have used it mainly for wet plates. It fits Omega enlargers, but I build an adapter and use it on my Zone VI enlarger.

  8. #8
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    I don't know anything about his process, but Phil Nesmith has made some great ambrotypes from images he shot on digital.

  9. #9
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    Nicolai, I checked out Phil Nesmith's website and it's really interesting stuff. However, the process he uses is called Ferrotype process which is a close cousin to the tintype (although it's printed on iron instead of tin). Like the wet-plate collodion, the Ambrotype is printed on glass, which is either dark or clear and then painted black over the emulsion after processing.
    I took a workshop in Ambrotypes and we used enlargers to expose the plates. It's a good to way to start with the process and it also allows one to use images which would be impossible to get with a wet plate in camera (as the emulsion is so slow).
    The speed of a wet plate is typically wide open (F2.8) and around 60 seconds (as a starting point). Our workshop instructor, Rob Norton has done some interesting modern images with this older process: http://robnorton.ca/

    david

  10. #10
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    John,
    I forgot to mention that the ambrotype exposure times given were for a condenser enlarger.
    Also, I used a number of images from B&W transparencies ( processed at DR5) for the Ambrotype workshop and they worked very well. I found it better to use images with lower contrast range as the process creates a certain amount of contrast.
    david

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