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  1. #11

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    I'd prefer dry plate negatives to wet plate negatives each and every time in terms of ease -> even assuming pouring dry plate negatives are harder (I absolutely don't have a clue on this! But my feeling is that it shouldn't be any harder, both need mastery - gained w/ exercise...), just because the fact that with wet plate, you need a darkroom with you *in the field*... I'd rather learn how to pour well gelatin emulsion instead of carrying a darkroom with me!

    OTOH, in my limited knowledge, theorically, wet plate negatives have the edge in the ultimate image detail department. There aren't silver halide crystals with pre-determined shape and size in wet plate, which is not the case for dry plate negatives. Does that have an importance in real life situations? Hardly... (My gut feeling again.)

    I'm interested in dry plate (future plan) because I have a nice 5x7" plate camera with a fine / large aperture lens which I want to exploit.

    Regards,
    Loris.


    Quote Originally Posted by sanking View Post
    I have often wondered why more people appear attracted to wet plate collodion negatives than to making gelatin dry plate negatives. Is there some special image quality in the wet plate collodion negative, or is it just more difficult to get an even coating with dry plate negatives?

    Sandy King

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanking View Post
    I have often wondered why more people appear attracted to wet plate collodion negatives than to making gelatin dry plate negatives. Is there some special image quality in the wet plate collodion negative, or is it just more difficult to get an even coating with dry plate negatives?

    Sandy King
    One of the reasons collodion has attracted modern practitioners is its original history. Due to the nature of the beast, wet plates could never be commercially produced - at least not the final product. Because photographers poured their own plates in the field for over twenty years, we know it can be done.

    Gelatin dry plate, on the other hand, was the Holy Grail delivered to the 1880's photographic industry. Cameras and printing papers were already being commercially produced, now so could the negatives. The sales loop closed. Kodak especially sold a message along with its products - "modern photographic materials production is so complex only the experts can do it". It was marketing, pure and simple, but the message took root fast and deep. You can still hear it from Kodak and ex-Kodak people today. And, unfortunately, too many people still believe it.

    By 1940, the photographic industry was infamous for its secrets. And, without a doubt, by that time they were making products that we'd have a hard-to-impossible time reproducing in our darkrooms. But, anyone can make the early emulsions. It is both safer and far easier than collodion (Although I have to admit, hauling your darkroom around in a covered wagon is pretty cool. Never want to do it, but I can see the attraction.)

    Coating was one the first things to go mechanical. Because it's hard to get clean edges on plates, huge pieces of glass were coated. After the emulsion set up, the unevenly coated salvages were cut off and the big sheet was cut into smaller plates. It is possible to pour-coat with practice, but the emulsion will rarely be completely uniform. That's perfectly ok, if that's a look you want. I prefer my plates as nice as I can get them, so I borrow from the idea of the old coating machines, but rather than cut off the selvages after coating, I essentially do that before coating. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here's a picture or two: http://thelightfarm.com/Map/DryPlate...latePart4a.htm

    Denise
    Last edited by dwross; 05-18-2009 at 10:06 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: typo

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    tmax 100 dry plates were available commercially
    until just a few years ago. they cost about 4x as much as
    sheet film ...

    These were often used in astronomy. Film surface perfectly flat, and no negative "popping" during long exposures.

  4. #14

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    Denise,

    Thanks for the explanation. And you have some very interesting illustrations on your web site. Really fun to look at.


    Sandy


    Quote Originally Posted by dwross View Post
    One of the reasons collodion has attracted modern practitioners is its original history. Due to the nature of the beast, wet plates could never be commercially produced - at least not the final product. Because photographers poured their own plates in the field for over twenty years, we know it can be done.

    Gelatin dry plate, on the other hand, was the Holy Grail delivered to the 1880's photographic industry. Cameras and printing papers were already being commercially produced, now so could the negatives. The sales loop closed. Kodak especially sold a message along with its products - "modern photographic materials production is so complex only the experts can do it". It was marketing, pure and simple, but the message took root fast and deep. You can still hear it from Kodak and ex-Kodak people today. And, unfortunately, too many people still believe it.

    By 1940, the photographic industry was infamous for its secrets. And, without a doubt, by that time they were making products that we'd have a hard-to-impossible time reproducing in our darkrooms. But, anyone can make the early emulsions. It is both safer and far easier than collodion (Although I have to admit, hauling your darkroom around in a covered wagon is pretty cool. Never want to do it, but I can see the attraction.)

    Coating was one the first things to go mechanical. Because it's hard to get clean edges on plates, huge pieces of glass were coated. After the emulsion set up, the unevenly coated salvages were cut off and the big sheet was cut into smaller plates. It is possible to pour-coat with practice, but the emulsion will rarely be completely uniform. That's perfectly ok, if that's a look you want. I prefer my plates as nice as I can get them, so I borrow from the idea of the old coating machines, but rather than cut off the selvages after coating, I essentially do that before coating. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here's a picture or two: http://thelightfarm.com/Map/DryPlate...latePart4a.htm

    Denise

  5. #15

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    Sandy-

    For me it was the complexity of making gelatin dry plates. Between the noodle washing and cold flat stone, I decided that my collodion technique was far better than my (zero) gelatin experience. Collodion also permits me to intensify the negative in a couple of ways- I can leave it "soft" for modern silver gelatin paper printing, intensify "bullet-proof" with copper sulfate for salts or albumins, or iodine re-develop for VBD or c-types. I like those choices.

    Gelatin glass plates are probably fleixible too - but they are the devil I don't know. And I apologize for not printing platinum. Your work is this area is just terrific and I look forward to learning this process in the next year.

    NWG

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanking View Post
    Denise,

    Thanks for the explanation. And you have some very interesting illustrations on your web site. Really fun to look at.


    Sandy
    Thanks, Sandy. I really am having a lot of fun. I'm glad my website reflects that. I think all of us involved with the old techniques (and the newly old!) are having more fun than is probably seemly. (But, what the heck.)

    Nawagi, I'm pretty sure you don't need a cold flat stone :o.

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwross View Post
    Thanks, Sandy. I really am having a lot of fun. I'm glad my website reflects that. I think all of us involved with the old techniques (and the newly old!) are having more fun than is probably seemly. (But, what the heck.)

    Nawagi, I'm pretty sure you don't need a cold flat stone :o.
    Denise,

    How do you prep the glass surface for receiving the emulsion. I looked through your directions but must have missed that detail if it is there.

    Sandy

  8. #18

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    Sandy,
    Go back to Denise's Website(the light farm) and look under "Articles".
    I have an article on glass preparation there. It has worked well for me. My final images are on glass. So permanent adhesion is a must.
    Bill

  9. #19

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    Hi Bill,

    Thanks. I will have a look.

    Sandy


    Quote Originally Posted by wildbillbugman View Post
    Sandy,
    Go back to Denise's Website(the light farm) and look under "Articles".
    I have an article on glass preparation there. It has worked well for me. My final images are on glass. So permanent adhesion is a must.
    Bill

  10. #20
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    Hi Sandy,

    Take a look here. There's an easy link to Bill's method along with other info on glass prep.

    http://www.thelightfarm.com/Map/DryP...PlatePart4.htm

    d

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