When I’m out with a plate camera people often stop and ask me what I’m doing. I love to talk about old school photography but am sometimes struggling with light and temperamental equipment and need to concentrate. I’ve therefore had some cards printed with this website address on them. Really Quick Summary I like making…Read More What’s he doing with that old camera?
I had a few days off after the Christmas and New Year and couldn’t resit another renovation project. I’d been wanting to have a go at a half plate camera as a smaller and lighter alternative to my whole plate. Half plate is slightly smaller than the ‘modern’ 5×7 inch format at 4¾ × 6½…Read More The Victo – a New Year Project
I had a week long work trip to Sofia, Bulgaria to attend the TDWG 2022 Conference. Most of the time was spent with colleagues in a conference room or on a trip to Rila Monastery. There wasn’t much opportunity for photography but I took a little Olympus XA2 for day to day use and my…Read More Sofia 2022 – Render Unto Caesar
This is a quick note to self. Two bath film developer is designed to control highlights because the developing agent that is absorbed in the first bath soon becomes exhausted in the dense areas when the film is immersed in the second bath containing the accelerator. It occurred to me that this would be really…Read More Paper Negatives in Two Bath developer
There are loads of YouTube videos out there about split grade printing with Multigrade filters. It is an excellent technique for getting the most out of a negative. But what if you just want to do some quick work prints and don’t have time to mess about with multiple filters for each and every negative?…Read More Effective use of single Ilford Multigrade filters
A thinking aloud/allowed blog post. I’ve decided I need to rationalise things a bit on the old developer front. Choosing the best developer is a rabbit hole that I’m not keen to fall down. I’ve been reading the film developer cook book and it just depresses me. It can result in years of anguish rather…Read More One dev to rule them all and in the darkness bind them?
I dropped my daughter back at St Andrews University the other day and it gave me the chance to make a reproduction of a Hill & Adamson view. It was very sunny and very busy with tourists – who appear as smears. I’m really getting the itch to go full calotype. Maybe this winter I’ll…Read More A quick Hill & Adamson retake
A trip to the West of England gave an opportunity to visit perhaps the most significant location in the history of photography, Lacock Abbey, the family home of William Henry Fox Talbot. I grew up just down the road from Lacock but had never visited. Of course I had to take my plate camera and…Read More Lacock Abbey 2022
I woke this morning to find the same image used as the lead across three media outlets. This isn’t a one off picture of a burning building or scoop from a war zone but a woman with a fan on a train in London. It is credited to Reuters – no photographer. How is it…Read More Photojournalism is dead
I got covid so had to stay at home for ten days. I couldn’t really work due to the brain fog. It was like having very bad jet lag and I didn’t want to mess with production servers in that state. But you can only sleep so much and so I worked on this low…Read More Guillotine Shutter using BBC micro:bits
Whilst we were under periods of looser Covid restriction during 2020 and 2021 I had a project photographing the local cemeteries near where I live in Edinburgh. It was an opportunity to make many test exposures as I honed my emulsion making skills. But somehow the project petered out. I was using my Wista 45D…Read More Cemetery Trees – the forgotten project
Working at the Botanics in Edinburgh means I can get access to the currently closed Palm Houses. They are about to undergo a major restoration. It is an amazing space to be in so I’ve visited twice, once with my whole plate camera and once with the 10x12inch Vageeswari. Argyrotype prints from whole plate glass…Read More The Vageeswari goes on its first outing
I finally got to make what I’m calling a triptych panorama. I’ve been thinking about doing these since I first started printing the entire plate with a black border. The print consist of three 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch plates laid next to each other to make an Argyrotype contact print. The plates can’t…Read More Triptych Panorama #1
I’ve been falling behind with posting. I swear I’m going to post more often. Working with glass plates and contact printing means that you can only make prints the same size as the plate your camera will hold and there is always a desire to go a bit bigger – till things get ridiculous. Things…Read More Vageeswari 10×12 inch field camera
I’ve been toying with the idea of making YouTube videos about historical photography but have struggled with the fact that I’m not really into video (I prefer old things) and I’m a bit fed up of the whole bloke talking at the camera genre. I’ve been making some B-Roll of various parts of the process…Read More Glass Plate Prep: First of a series?
🇺🇦 In February 2022 Russia invaded Ukraine. Playing with old Russian military inspired tech isn’t fun any more. My FT2 will rest in the cupboard till better times. Thoughts and good wishes are with the people of Ukraine and those in Russia who have been dragged into this madness. I have spent some time 3D…Read More FT2- Panoramic Camera
It started with a me buying a 1950’s Mamiya-16 just because I thought it looked like such a cool camera. The trouble is the film cassettes are like hen’s teeth so I thought I’d get Barney down the road at OpenFactory to 3D print me some. That didn’t work out because the models on Thingiverse…Read More WillTravel Instantly!
I’ve got a routine going of pouring my own 4×5″ gelatine silver plates and then scanning them and inkjet printing the results but I’ve felt unsettled because I would like to have a 100% analogue process, [AAA] in stead fo [ADD]. To address this I’ve been messing with salt printing some of my 4×5″ plates.…Read More Victorian book-form, whole-plate holder on Intrepid 8×10 camera
We have a “stay at home” order in place in Scotland right now which means we can only go outside for essential reasons such as work (that can’t be done from home), caring responsibilities or exercise. I’ve decided not to count using my full size pack, containing a large carbon fibre tripod and Wista 45…Read More Lightweight dry plate
For my birthday the family humoured me by playing at making portraits in the garden. I broke out the Intrepid 8×10 – a special occasions camera – and we shot some very old Ilford Multigrade paper as negatives. My daughter, Faith, is getting pretty good at doing the large format dance and did the whole…Read More Fifty Six
There is an old wind blasted oak tree close to the North Esk River that I like to visit. It is just within the area we are allowed to visit under the current Covid restrictions. Doing the tree justice in a photograph is really hard. The best composition is from due South and the early…Read More That old tree again
I’ve been putting things on Instagram without blogging them – this is against my new social media policy. How sad I have one! As we are still in lockdown with a “stay at home” order in effect I’ve been playing with my Sinar P studio camera. There is precious little room in the flat so…Read More Trapped indoors doing still lives (that really should be lifes)
Camerabase is an old fashioned camera shop just around the corner from me with Cameratiks repair department out the back. Both are endangered species these days.Read More Camerabase
Work makes it hard to get outside while it is still light but I’ve been itching to test out using Ilford PQ Universal developer on my dry plates. Last night I set up a simple still life. I didn’t really have the energy to do more than pick an object. I’m please with the image…Read More Developer Test
Using dry plate technology from the 1880s I feel drawn to anything from the Victorian era. Living in Edinburgh we are blessed with such subjects which is good because the current Covid-19 restrictions mean I can’t leave the city. Today I photographed the Forth Rail Bridge (opened 1890) and the result is convincingly late 19th…Read More My time machine is functioning well
I wrote an article for Emulsive magazine website back in August and it has just been published. You can see it here:Read More My Emulsive “5 Frames” article is out
I was back in Grange Cemetery in my lunch break this time with my 8×10 to see if I can do 8×10 dry plates or not. The first attempt was a disaster because I didn’t push my DIY plate holder all the way home and there was a light leak. My second and third were…Read More My first 8×10 dry plates
We learn by making mistakes. The third photographic emulsion I made was great. It was clean and contrasty and just worked. So I thought I’d jazz it up a bit for the fourth emulsion by adding ten drops of 1% Erythrosine (that’s pink food colouring E127) to increase the green response. It didn’t work. Right…Read More Throwing out Emulsion #4 … but #5 looks good!
Last week I headed off to explore Deeside some more and photograph with my freshly made glass plates. I got about ten miles before the brakes on the van started playing up and I had to abandon the trip. This week I tried again and made it all the way to Marr Lodge and Glen…Read More Another abandoned trip North