Allium

Allium, direct late morning sun. f3.5, 3 seconds (flowers moving slightly due to very light breeze. Bohemia collodion, sugar developer 12-15 seconds.

Allium, direct late morning sun. f3.5, 3 seconds (flowers moving slightly due to very light breeze. Bohemia collodion, sugar developer 12-15 seconds.

Shot on black aluminum plate, 13x18cm (5x7in). It is hot out this weekend, supposed to hit at least 32c today (about 90f) so I used sugar developer, which slows down development, because my normal developer has been working very fast lately anyway, resulting in overdeveloped plates. One aims for 15 seconds developing time, and for previous plates with normal developer the midtones were out after about 8 seconds, and if I went longer I ended up with fogging etc. The sugar in the sugar developer mechanically (I believe) slows development, useful in hot weather.
The two plates I shot today of the allium in my back yard took 12-15 seconds and were, overall, of satisfactory quality, at least no overdevelopment.
The only two problems I ran into this morning, besides something or someone spilling a small beaker of developer (the cats were around, and someone was watering the garden) were: 1) there was a slight breeze, which resulted in the long-stemmed, heavy flowers swaying/moving and so blurring during the 2-3 second exposures. For the second plate, shown here, I stopped the largest flower with my hand before shooting, but it still moved a little.
2) The second problem was the plate itself. There is a scratch at the middle of the left edge. I would assume I had done this removing it from the silver bath, or in the plate holder, but other plates from the same source also have this scratch. Also there is a sort of texture to the plate, that kinda grid pattern on the right side, which I think is connected with the protective plastic layer over the plate, or something else from the production process. If this turns up with many more plates I shall find myself forced to contact the seller.
Otherwise, I am happy with the image.

Today is a very quiet day

I got a good night’s sleep last night and as a result feel human today. Although Monday, today is a holiday. My wife is away on business (she texted me this morning that she was still alive, a few minutes after a 5.4 earthquake in Tokyo), the kids are resting and/or studying, the cats are sleeping. So, after vacuuming the downstairs and mopping a few floors I saw no reason not to set up my photographic gear and make a couple alutypes in the backyard.

Initially I wanted to take a picture of the rosebush in the flower bed in front of the house, but it was too windy – the roses would have blurred too much with a 2 or 3 second exposure.

So I picked some roses, put them in a vase and took pictures of them on a table against the wall of the neighbor’s shed, which is white-ish stucco.

I tried a couple different collodions. The first picture uses a newer collodion, which is quite a bit faster than that used for the second picture, it being both a different formula and about a year old – normally, I believe, one uses collodion up after a few months because it gets slower over time and also maybe unstable, but I’m not sure.

I’m just trying different things out. It went well today, I was happy with the first picture, which was only a test really. Less happy with the second, which came out a little dark. They will both get darker again when I varnish them tonight.

Roses from the bush in front of the house, in glass vase on grey table in front of white wall. Bohemia collodion (IIRC), f3, 2 seconds, aluminum plate, partly sunny.

Roses from the bush in front of the house, in glass vase on grey table in front of white wall. Bohemia collodion (IIRC), f3, 2 seconds, aluminum plate, partly sunny.

Roses from bush in front of house, glass vase, grey table in front of white wall. Partly sunny. f4.5 or so, 3 seconds, Old Workhorse collodion (about a year old).

Roses from bush in front of house, glass vase, grey table in front of white wall. Partly sunny. f4.5 or so, 3 seconds, Old Workhorse collodion (about a year old).

Today’s wet plate

Bouquet, Bohemia collodion (old batch), f11 at about 7 seconds, full sun

Bouquet, Bohemia collodion (new batch), f11 at about 6 seconds, full sun

Bouquet, Lea's portrait collodion (old batch), f11 at about 7 seconds, full sun.

Bouquet, Lea’s portrait collodion (new batch), f11 at about 7 seconds, full sun.

Linnaea amabilis, Lea's portrait collodion (old batch), f11, about 7 seconds, shade.

Linnaea amabilis, Lea’s portrait collodion (old batch), f11, about 8 seconds, shade.

Barbecued for lunch today. Tried chicken breasts stuffed with feta and garlic, was good although maybe too much garlic.

After lunch it rained for a while, then when it stopped I set up all my wet plate stuff and shot a few plates. Learning from past mistakes, I went slower this time and got a couple plates that I think are okay, of a bush and a bouquet. Was too windy to shoot much, the bush is blurry as you can see. Too windy for portraits, which was good because the family currently is unwilling to pose for portraits. Not even the tortoise holds still long enough.

I’m eventually going to need a new camera, brass parts are starting to fall off the one I have. Nothing essential yet, but it’s only a matter of time…

Happy birthday, wee bug

Today was my daughter’s 18th birthday and I wanted to take a few plates to commemorate it. I didn’t have much time, so I had to hurry.

That was my first mistake. Hurrying summons the fuckup elves. Never hurry, I know that, but I forget sometimes. Let’s see, what were my other mistakes this time around? First picture of the kid, the plate turned out black and she asked me if I had remembered to pull out the slide (a mistake I made with her in the past). I had not. Second picture turned out better. Third also. Fourth, with her sister and mother, turned out poorly due to hurrying with the posing etc.

I will not post that one.

Finally, putting stuff away, I hurried again and dropped two plates, one of which scratched – my favorite one.

Also, although I made a test plate, and exposures were better this time, I still either over-exposed or over-developed. I mixed new developer last night and it might have been that.

Someday I look forward to having the whole day to shoot in leisure. Maybe someday soon. Anyway here are the two pictures of Tess on her 18th birthday. I had fun. Thanks for being patient and a great assistant, Tess, not to mention great model.

1 may 2015 wetplate tess 1

f5.6, 3 seconds, overcast day. maybe overdeveloped? also dropped to the floor, scratched.

1 may 2015 wetplate tess 2

f5.6, about 4 seconds, overcast day. overdeveloped? overexposed? also dropped to the floor, but a little luckier.

The fuckup elves

Finally found the time and energy to mix chemicals and set everything up in the back yard to take a few pictures. The fuckup elves were out in force today and things went wrong in both old and entirely new ways so I learned quite a bit. Took forever to figure out a good exposure. My basic problem is usually hurrying and today was no exception. I should have just taken the time, made a test plate to figure out exposure, but I thought I could skip that step by guessing, which didn’t work so I ended up wasting more plates than necessary.

It was very sunny today, and I am beginning to think overcast days are better for wet plate. Four finally, sort of, turned out and are posted below, from best to worst (IMO).

I am beginning to get tired of shooting pictures of flowers, and looking forward to going somewhere and doing landscapes or portraits.

Kerria japonica, full sun, 4 seconds at f11. 13x18cm (5x7 in) black aluminum

Kerria japonica, full sun, 4 seconds at f11. 13x18cm (5×7 in) black aluminum

The photo above is the kerria japonica bush in my back yard. I have always loved kerry bushes; my uncle, who lived next door, had one near the hole in his wall the honeybees flew into, and I spent many hours sitting there watching them. I love how this picture turned out. It has fewer specks in person, a lot of the dirt is from the scanner, I think.

Bush, full sun, f11 4 seconds. 13x18cm black aluminum.

Bush, full sun, f11 4 seconds. 13x18cm black aluminum.

I was hoping the contrast would have turned out a little stronger with this bush (above), I like the patterns and the potential for creepiness. (Actually, the more I look at it, the better I like it.)

Roses (dry), aluminum foil background, full sun. f11, 4 seconds. Wet plate collodion on black aluminum, 13x18cm (5x7 inches).

Roses (dry), aluminum foil background, full sun. f11, 4 seconds. Wet plate collodion on black aluminum, 13x18cm (5×7 inches).

This picture is my first experiment with aluminum foil. I was hoping it would turn out blurrier in the background, but I guess 4 seconds were not enough. I have seen photos by other photographers who move aluminum foil around during the exposure for a misty or smokey or glow effect. In this picture, it just looks like a piece of aluminum foil stretched between two rods…

Roses (dry), full sun, f11 4 seconds. 13x18cm (5x7in) black aluminum.

Roses (dry), full sun, f11 4 seconds. 13x18cm (5x7in) black aluminum.

A picture of roses in a vase a friend invented – it is basically a plastic collar you screw onto a pickle jar and voila, vase. I think it’s brilliant. The vase. The photo less so. Oh well.Fail better, right? Thanks, fuckup elves!

Valentine’s bouquet 2

Shot today: Valentine's bouquet. Old Workhorse collodion, 14 seconds, f4, overcast day.

Shot today: Valentine’s bouquet. Old Workhorse collodion, 14 seconds, f4, overcast day.

Valentine’s bouquet 1

Shot today: Valentine's bouquet, Lea's Portrait collodion, f4, 7 seconds, overcast day.

Shot today: Valentine’s bouquet, Lea’s Portrait collodion, f4, 7 seconds, overcast day.