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
With the family at home for the Covid-19 lock down there is no space to set up the darkroom and so little hope of analogue photography beyond developing film in the bath – but fortunately we still have cyanotype printing! Coating papers can be done on the kitchen table and developing in plain water in…Read More Cyanotype: A lockdown friendly print process.
Working with the wet plate collodion technique is something of a “lifestyle choice” in that it isn’t an activity you can just choose to do when you fancy it. For starters acquiring the equipment and minimal skills to get the process going can take months. Once you are up and running the chemistry starts to…Read More Virus Stops Play
I turned 55 on 28th February and we used that as an excuse to invite friends around on Sunday 1st March for an open house. This is something we only do once every five years or so. This time I set up what is basically a Victorian photo booth. I really wanted to practice making…Read More Wet Plate Party 2020
Very inspiring. Shintoism/animism is important to me but so lost in our Scottish culture where gods of nature seem to have been shrunk to faery folk. Somewhat disappointed by Nobuyuki’s desire for posterity. For me the power of the analogue image today is that it is potentially ephemeral. Also the fact that he has a…Read More Inspiration: Nobuyuki Kobayashi – Myriads of Gods
This is a really quick post about the new Stearman SP-810 developing tank because someone asked me my opinion. I must be one of the first to own it. I’m not going to talk through the tank as you can see what it is and what it does in this video. I’ve been using the…Read More Stearman SP-810: First Impressions
My first Salt Print (a la Fox Talbot). As usually I took the “bull at a gate” approach to something new. Google some Watch some YouTube Book from library and only read relevant bits Substitute what comes to hand for what is required. Go for it. Because I already do wet plate collodion I had…Read More First Salt Print
I went to a lecture on The Walking Dead (a TV series about zombie apocalypse living) and photography at Stills by David Grinly last week. It was heavy post modern, French philosopher type stuff but also entertaining. David expounded in a semi random fashion. When I left after two hours the discussion was still going…Read More From Zombies to Tattoos
I made a disappointing ambrotype by pointing my half-plate, wet-plate camera out of the window. I was just doing a test shot to see how the collodion behaved. After two exposures it was still way over exposed/developed. But then this evening I held it up to the light and realised I’d made quite a nice…Read More Accidental Collodion Negative
When you’re shopping for a large format lens one of the first things you want to know is what the coverage is. Will it cover the format I’m working with and by how much? Having salvaged the Schneider Kreuznach Vintage Lens Data I found myself with a piece of A4 paper and a compass trying…Read More Vintage Lens Coverage Graphic
If, like me, you spend too much time and money on old large format lenses you may be frustrated that the data that used to be hosted on the Schneider Optics site has disappeared. The URL now redirects to https://schneiderkreuznach.com/ I’ve looked around but can only find the data on the Internet Archives Wayback Machine…Read More Schneider Kreuznach Vintage Lens Data
From 1913 to 1935 the German company Voigtländer manufactured a midrange plate camera called the Avus. This was before the standardisation of sheet film holders that came after WWII (I think). These cameras took 9x12cm film which was common in Europe and used by several other manufactures. The Avus was really well made. I remember…Read More Voigtländer Avus Upgrade
There is no doubt that making wet plate collodion photographs is a faff. I can make an image with my phone in just a few seconds. Setting up the darkroom, making a wet plate photo then packing everything away again is measured in hours. When we principally consume images on small screens the whole wet…Read More Wet plate collodion: Why bother?
“Needing to have reality confirmed and experience enhanced by photographs is an aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted. Industrial societies turn their citizens into image-junkies; it is the most irresistible form of mental pollution.” Susan Sontag 1977 It is worth dwelling on the date of the Susan Sontag quote. This was long before…Read More An aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted
Oh great joy – I’ve spent ages researching this and at last I’ve made my first wet plate collodion image! I tried to do a course last year which was unfortunately cancelled but as I was fantasy shopping for wet plate kit I came across someone selling “everything” on eBay. It included a silver tank,…Read More First Plate Euphoria
This is an image of Scotland that I created as part of my job. The green is Normalised Difference Vegetation Index which is basically the difference between red and near infra-red light as seen by a satellite. This image is a composite of around one hundred and fifty satellite passes over three summers. The sensor on…Read More Real Photography with a CAMRA
I really must stop posting things on Facebook without posting them here first. I’ve reverted back to my “nothing on Facebook or Twitter that isn’t already somewhere else” policy. Feeling a bit post viral a couple of weekend back I stayed indoors and had some fun with paper negatives and using my dark box for…Read More Christening the dark box with a session of paper negs
I had a interesting exchange on the way to work. I was taking this picture of a window – just interested in the symmetry and tone – and when I took my camera down a guy said “I wonder what you were finding interesting in that?” to which I spontaneously replied “I’m an artist”. He…Read More I’m an Artist