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
A week off the day job has given me time to work on my silver gelatine glass plate negatives. I’ve learnt a big lesson and results are much improved. For emulsions #1 & #2 I had downsized a larger recipe and got to a Potassium Iodide content of about 0.2g. My scales really don’t go…Read More Emulsion #3 – Graveyard test
I realised I had all the chemistry, apart from gelatin, to make dry plates. So I bought some cooks gelatin from Waitrose and gave it a go. This is the first attempt. I think I am hooked!Read More My first dry plate emulsion
The combined image above shows three photographs I made over the course of an afternoon and evening. I had my wet-plate collodion set up running and wanted to refine how I made glass plate negatives specifically for scanning. Once I had what I felt was a successful wet-plate negative it occured to me that I…Read More Is analogue photography worth it?
Fun this afternoon playing with my adapted Voigtländer Avus and three month old Poe Boy collodion. I’m using quarter plate glass from some old glass plate negatives I found in a junk shop. I scrub the plates down and re-using them when the fail. I intensify successful ones for a couple of minutes with Ilford…Read More Voigtländer Avus wet plate again
The mechanical shutters found in many analogue cameras, especially those before the 1980s, are amazing pieces of engineering. Many still work accurately but alas many others do not. One solution is to pay to have them professionally serviced but often the camera simply isn’t worth the expense. Also a shutter will sometimes be inaccurate but…Read More BBC micro:bit Shutter Timer
Twenty minutes walk from home the Hermitage of Braid is a wooded valley beside the volcanic plug that is Blackford Hill. Scattered across the whole area are these lumps of igneous rock that withstood the retreat of the glacier fifteen thousand years ago. This is one of my favourites. I’m enjoying photographing digitally for the…Read More Everest in the woods
My three month old iodising collodion finally got to me. Today I mounted an expedition to the bottom of the garden to make some collodion negatives. I’ve often wondered whether it would be feasible to do backpack collodion – to head for the hills with all that I need to make a few plates and…Read More Backpack Collodion: Expedition to the end of the … garden
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. Abraham Lincoln (attributed to at least) Even if being in lockdown doesn’t enable too much creative photography it allows for some axe sharpening ready for when we are free again. Today I took a picture of…Read More How big can you print?
Are you bored during lockdown? Are you speaking to neighbours more than you did before? Would you like to be part of an art project capturing a little piece of this unique time? In January my very special 8×10 inch Intrepid view camera arrived. It is new but of a kind that has been used…Read More Marchmont from 2 metres
The Argyrotype print process is a “modern” nineteeth century way of making silver prints on paper. It was created by Mike Ware in the early 1990’s [British Journal of Photography, 139, (6824), 17-19 (13 June 1991)]. Back in 1842, right at the start of photography, Sir John Herschel created a process based on iron and silver…Read More Argyrotype: First tests
Stills Gallery and photography centre in Edinburgh was planning to run a project called Elementary Blueprint where they sent out cyanotype papers for people to expose to the elements around Edinburgh and sent them back to make a single exhibit – like a blueprint of the city I guess. Then Covid-19 happened which put a…Read More Elementary Blueprint
During the Covid-19 lock down I’m messing with cyanotypes and want to have a go at Argyrotypes. These processes use contact negatives the same size as the finished print. The negatives need to have a long tonal range – be very contrasty. Many people produce such negatives using an inkjet printer and transparency film. This…Read More Negatives for alternative processes