Does anyone know of a commercial source for glass dry-plate collodion and processing chemicals? You know, like in the late 1800s?
all in one place? probably going to be Photographer's Formulary. There is, to my knowledge, no dedicated dry-plate collodion, or wet-plate collodion, or dry-plate gelatin supply house in existence. Beyond the Formulary the closest you'd probably get would be Star Camera Company.
I'm glad to see someone else curious about dry-plate collodion. I've been curious for months and trying to get the time and money aside to get a setup together. Alas, being a student is conductive to neither acquiring time or money.
Also, in case you haven't seen it, there's a scan of a book knocking around the internet that lays out the process in minute detail for practical use. PM me if you want a copy and we'll figure out how to get it to you.
And, for my next trick: Hillotypes!
I've been wanting to try this for a looooong time but will probably never
I've also found that google books has many digitized books from the wet plate era that describe the process in detail. You may have to convert some old measurement standards or naming standards but i've found it to be very good reading.
Beyond the Formulary and Bostick and Sullivan, Mike at ArtCraft will also sell you what you need.
There are dozens of dry plate recipes around. I had some luck with the tannin-preserved plates mentioned in The Silver Sunbeam.
I would sure like someone to try to make Hillotypes.
I've been making and using collodion dry plates for several years. You'll end up having to make them from scratch as I've seen nothing out there ready made, and I doubt there would be much of a market. It isn't that difficult to make them, and it gets less the more you do. The Silver Sunbeam is a good place to start, and the tannin process is as good a one to start with than any.
I get most of what I need from Mike at ArtCraft, and he's been helpful in running down a few rare items I needed.
Collodion dry-plates have some great benefits, starting with the fact you can use them in all temperatures from the worst of summer to the worst of winter, and you do not have to have the darkroom there with you where ever you go. You can do them at home later the same day or over the next day or so if necessary.
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not to get off topic, but really the only things stopping me from giving hillotyopes a whirl are a) money and b) the fact that Hill, in a process that already involves mercury vapors, calls hydrofluroic acid particularly poisonous. I did some reading on the chemical, and yeah, scary stuff.
Maybe some day though.
Hermit, I'd be curious to know how you think the look of collodion dry plates compares to wet plates. Similarities, differences?
I personally think that with the dry-plates at times, especially depending on the make up of the collodion and the way they are developed, they handle detail better and have more evenness of development across the plate than wet plates. You also have the benefit that in landscapes for instance you can eaisly take advantage of the f/stops and not have to worry about getting a quick exposure because of the time factor and fear of the wet-plate collodion drying out too fast. The defects cause by too hot or too clod weather are also not an issue.
All three, Bostick & Sullivan, The formulary and Artcarft will sell you the chemicals to make a dry plate, not dry plates themselves. I would suggest you visit WWW.thelightfarm.com for information, formulas and to see how they do it. They also have an excellent reference section on books about emulsion and dry plates.
Also the silver gelatin emulsion making thread on APUG has lots of information ifyou dig for it.
There is no such thing as taking too much time, because your soul is in that picture. -Ruth Bernhard
I think it's important to keep the difference between Collodion Dry-Plates which we have been discussing and the much different Gelatin Dry-plates that came along in the 1880's, and became the basis of film we still use today. They are not the same thing. The information on thelightfarm.com deals with the Gelatin Dry-plates.
Collodion Dry-plates were developed from the original Collodion wet plates and ambrotypes and tin-types of the 1850's - early 1880's. They are entirely different chemistry and process and much more rare today.
Here's a URL for a good over view on Collodion Dry-Plates from A Popular Treatise on Photography from 1888. It is available on line. Here's the URL for the chapter on Collodion-Dry Plates http://albumen.stanford.edu/library/...kh/chap12.html
I use a very slightly modified version of the Tannin-Process at the end of the chapter.