Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Pushed 35mm Trip Photos #1

Here are some pushed 800 ASA and STAND developed (Rodinal for 2 hours) 35mm scans from the last trip. Developed these negs over the last few nights. I am getting to like the harsher more grainy, blurred and contrasty look and feel that comes with film handled this way.

Bought Me A Canon 5D Mark 3

Bought a used Canon 5D Mark 3 from my friend Larry, he is moving up to a Canon 5D Mark 4 ($4500). Larry takes great care of his equipment and sold me his Mark 3 for a very good price of $1400 CAD. That price is about $ 500/$1000 cheaper than many more used Mark 3 bodies go for. I now have a Mark 3 and Mark 2. The Mark 3 does  much better in low light so I think it is worth the expense. I want to try to use it to do an available light colour series next trip. Larry is a great photographer, maybe some of that greatness will run in my direction when I use his gear. :))

Note* The Mark 3 is also much better at doing video, so that might also be an option for me. Can I use this camera instead of still to be purchased Canon C100 ($2500 USD) to do a documentary film on Fred at the dump? I know the video/sound functions on the Mark 3 will be not as flexible and high end but it would be quite a bit cheaper and may be good enough for my limited skills and needs. I had planned to buy the C100 earlier but the deal fell through so am still open to what camera I will use.

Update** Think this will be the end of my purchases for a while, been spending too much money. I have much of my wet plate gear now, probably have my documentary movie camera and have all kinds of new ULF cameras and lens. Lets start saving again! My next trip, will be in early 2017, not sure exactly where just yet. I need to save some money to MAKE pictures again instead of just buying more and more gear.

Canon 5D Mark 3

Bought Me Some Ambrotypes

Loved the expression of this old man in this Ambrotype, cost was $24 USD plus shipping, it comes with a could condition case.

This one is small small 2 inches x 2 1/2 inches, got it cheap, $10 USD plus shipping.

Older woman with hair up, 1860-80s?

Monday, August 29, 2016

Soviet Tripod #2 Now On Its Way

Paid for my second "Russian Strong Like Bull!!" tripod today. This one also cost $110 USD, $60 for the tripod ($10 discount) and $50 for shipping. The eBay seller ships these things via boat from Belarus, so it takes quite a while for them to reach my door in Canada but the shipping cost is cheap for something so large and heavy, and these former Soviet military (?) tripods are very large and heavy. Using 2 Soviet era tripods in combination with a homemade platform between them I can securely mount the ultra ultra large 24x32 wet plate camera easily. Not sure I will ever buy this camera but if I do, I am now set. My 16x20 "May Lee" Chamonix can be easily handled with this set up as well, probably a bit of over kill there. One super large tripod might be enough used with a monopod or small tripod on the front standard.

Am happy I ordered and paid for this second Soviet unit now, all my tripod leg problems seem solved. I might still buy a larger Reis style head at some point, not sure just yet.

Bought Me Another Ambrotype

Picked another cool Ambrotype today, this time an older rather confused looking man. Price $62.61 CAD including shipping. All these Ambrotypes date from around 1855 to 1890. Fredrick Scott Archer created wet plate photography in England in the year 1851.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bought Me A Ambrotype Of A Young Man, 1850s

Think I need to slow down a bit on my Ambrotype buying. Bought this one today for $60 CAD including shipping. Found this young man Ambrotype a bit haunting, ghostlike. I might try placing these collodion produced images on the walls of my mobile wet plate darkroom (cargo trailer or cube van).

Ambrotype of a young man circa 1850s

Sandra Lim: The Real Meaning of Success

Not sure if I posted this already. If I have sorry but it is worthy of a second go. One of my photos from the Klong Toey Slum series in Bangkok is part of this beautifuly written article by Sandra Lim. Here story speaks to the importance of volunteering and helping others, putting others before yourself.

I remember when I made the photo, I was teaching the children English and they were all yelling out parts of the body at me, Ear, Nose, Head, Hair. The smiling little girl in the shot (second from the left) kept yelling out over and over again "Nose!, Nose!!, Nose!!!!" Great fun, and a good memory.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Quotes: Marlee Matlin (Actress)

"The Earth does not belong to us: we belong to the Earth."

"The handicap of deafness is not in the ear; it is in the mind."

Bought Me A Case Of Ambrotypes

Got me 12 small Ambrotype portraits in one auction. The cases are not in the best shape but the images should be strong, intriguing and inspiring. Who were these people? What were their lives like? What experiences did they have? Fascinating stuff. Cost was $155 CAD for Ambrotypes and shipping to Canada.

My 12 new Ambrotypes with 1/2 cases, 1850-1890

Friday, August 26, 2016

Bought Me Some 14x17 X-ray Film

Bought a 100 sheet box of 14x17 Agfa Green Sensitive X-ray film for $125.09 (including shipping and taxes). I figured since I have the camera and holders coming to me in the mail I might as well order me some film for the camera, :))). Will try to do portraits with this film. It should be interesting I have never shot X-ray film before. Hope this works out, X-ray film is dirt cheap and you do not have to worry about it when when you take it through Airport Xray machines (or so I have been told).

If everything goes as planned, I could end up taking my 14x17 camera to Asia-Africa and shooting hundreds of landscapes and portraits with it. I have already asked the eBay seller for this film how much I would save if I bought 5 to 10 boxes at a time :)).

Here is a link to a photographer who does successful X-ray film potraiture, Lee Mathers.
Lee Mathers X-ray Portrait Photography

Note* There are a ton of different X-ray film types and companies out there. I will probably do some experimenting before choosing only one type and using only one type.

Quote: Evelyn Hofer (Photographer)

" In reality, all we photographers photograph is ourselves in the other...all the time."

Links: Got My Large-Strong Russian Tripod Today

Got my Russian era (strong like bull) tripod today. It is quite heavy and bulky but also very sturdy, tall and strong. This thing is all metal and wood, very solidly made (in a tractor factory?). It could live through decades of Russian and or Canadian winters.

I am ordering a second one of these from the seller in Belarus. I want to use these 2 large Soviet era tripods as the legs for a wooden camera platform. I plan to place my 16x20 camera "May Lee" on top of that platform. I could also use this platform-tripods setup with a possible future extremely heavy 24x32 inch wet plate Chamonix Camera ($11000 USD). The idea is to have a wooden platform that the camera will simply and securely sit on as in the Luther Gerlach linked video. My tripod configuration should be quite a bit more sturdy-strong than his is. If I set this thing up near the Arctic Ocean somewhere to do wet plate, it should work. With the winds howling and water spraying my camera should be safe and secure with no movement.
Three Graces ULF Mammoth Wet Plate Video

I got todays tripod for $60 USD, and $50 USD shipping, well worth the price. Here is the original purchase blog with pics. I just ordered my second "Strong Like Bull" tripod. The whole tripod issue with ULF cameras seems to be mostly solved now.
Soviet Era Tripod Purchase Blog

Quote: Richard Branson (Outspoken Billionaire Virgin Group)

After flying off his bike and getting badly banged up while training for a month long Virgin fundraiser.

"My attitude has always been, if you fall flat on your face, at least you're moving forward. All you have to do is get back up and try again. At least I'm practicing what I preach -- though a little too literally!"

We can all learn from his example. "If you fall on your flat on your face. All you have to do is get back up and try again. Never give up, never surrender folks!!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bought Me An Ambrotype Portrait

Here is the first won auction, dating back to about 1850.  I love this portrait and the expression on this youngish mans face. Hope to do some modern dress portraits in a similar vain on my own. Cost $29.99 USD.

Ambrotype of Antibellum Man in a top hat, approximately 1855-70 USA

Here is part of the write up from the eBay sellers Ambrotype top hat auctions. It gives a brief history of the top hat in European and American fashion. I wonder how many times these hats got squished when the wearer walked through a low doorway or placed them on a chair!! : )

While many people collect Civil War images, I see things of interest in TOP HATS.  According to fashion historians, gentlemen began to wear the top hat at the end of the 18th century.  The first silk top hat in England is credited to George Dunnage, a hatter from Middlesex, in 1793. The invention of the top hat is often erroneously credited to a haberdasher named John Hetherington.  Within 20 years top hats had become popular with all social classes, with even workmen wearing them. At that time those worn by members of the upper classes were usually made of felted beaver fur; the generic name "stuff hat" was applied to hats made from various non-fur felts. The hats became part of the uniforms worn by policemen and postmen (to give them the appearance of authority); since these people spent most of their time outdoors, their hats were topped with black oilcloth.  Between the latter part of 18th century and the early part 19th century felted beaver fur was slowly replaced by silk "hatter's plush," though the silk topper met with resistance from those who preferred the beaver hat. The 1840s and the 1850s saw it reach its most extreme form, with ever higher crowns and narrow brims. The stovepipe hat  was a variety with mostly straight sides, while one with slightly convex sides was called the "chimney pot". The style we presently refer to as the stovepipe was popularized in the United States by Abraham Lincoln during his presidency.
During the 19th century, the top hat developed from a fashion into a symbol of urban respectability, and this was assured when Prince Albert started wearing them in 1850; the rise in popularity of the silk plush top hat possibly led to a decline in beaver hats, sharply reducing the size of the beaver trapping industry in North America.  It was once observed that an assemblage of "toppers" resembled factory chimneys and thus added to the mood of the industrial era.They were worn to demonstrate that the wearer was a man of influence and power.  Abraham Lincoln was America's prime example. This image gives proof of the symbolic nature of the hat. 

The Coverage Of My Carl Vandyk Petzval Lens

Unfortunately my new brass lens does not cover 8x10. I tested it on the Deardorff today. I will have to make do with using it to do 4x5 film-glass negs and 4x5 black glass ambrotype plates. I have a wet plate back for my Deardorff that will do 4x5 and smaller so will use it to make pictures with the Carl Vandyk petzval lens. I can always enlarge the negs.

The new wooden lend board I bought for the lens works great!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bidding On Some Ebay Wet Plate Portraits

Started to bid on some lower priced eBay Ambrotype-Tintype portraits. I just love portrait photography and to own and view some 1850s-1890s  wet plate portraits is exciting to me. These items can be resold at a later date, I will just use, learn and be inspired by them for a few years.

Most Ambrotypes like Daguerreotypes come in protective leather cases. It makes me wonder if I can use similar cases for some of my future Ambrotype work. I could use the cases for gallery shows or possibly if I sell some work to individual sitters or collectors. I remember a few years back finding a company that made the caases, will see if I can locate them again.

Later I will post the Ambrotype-Tintype images I am able to buy and collect.

Update* Found some smaller sized new cases for sale.

Quote: Rob Lowe (Actor)

"A few years ago I got to a point where I realized that the only way you can tell someone's age is how they live their life. The candles on the cake mean absolutely nothing."

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Carl Vandyk Lens Mounted To Lens Board

Got my beautiful high quality African Mahogany 6x6 Deardorff lens board in the mail today. With some sanding and filing I enlarged the 3 inch hole slightly to allow for the retaining ring to fit nice and smugly. I will test the lens on my 8x10 Deardorff soon, possibly next week. Am quite excited about using this lens to do 8x10 Ambrotypes and 8x10 wet plate negs.

Here is the 1865 Carl Vandyk Brass Petzval lens mounted to its new beautiful woodent lens board.

Carl Vandyk Brass Pretzval lens with African Mahogany lens board

Quote: Louis Daugerre (The Inventor Of The Amazing Daugerreotype Process)

"I have captured the light and arrested its flight! The sun itself shall draw my pictures!"
Louis Daugerre Wikopedia Page

Louis Daguerre, France 1844

Photo Story: Refugee Children Portraits

These photos of child refugees were made in the Mae La refugee camp Thailand in November of 2015. The residents of the camp have escaped war and political persecution in Burma, most of the people I spent time with were from the Karen ethnic group. Mae La has been open for decades meanings many children born in the camps have lived there their entire lives. One boy of about 17 asked if I had ever been to Burma, I said "I had", he said "I have never been to Burma". Imagine that, living in a Thai refugee camp mere miles from the Burmese border all your life and never being able to visit your own country.

I was only in the camp for 1 night, I made these photos on the night of my arrival or the next morning before I left the camp. Wandering amongst the people in and around their homes was a joyful experience, one I would love to do again. The Karen people I met in Mae La refugee camp were wonderful, a joy to be around.

All pics were made with a Rolleiflex F 2.8 and a Rolleinar #1 allowing for closer focusing. The f stop was 2.8 or 2.8 1/2 at a shutter speed of around 1//125 on Tri-x exposed at 200 ASA.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bought Me A Eskiomo Quick Fish 3 Ice Fishing Tent

Bought a used Eskimo Quick Fish 3 ice fishing tent today. The unit is second hand but never used in the field, it was only set up at trade shows. I plan on using this tent in my initial steps of the wet plate learning curve. Later on when (if) I have a wet plate trailer darkroom I will also travel with this tent in case I need a more mobile darkroom set up. Cost was $178 USD including shipping and taxes.

Note* I might also be able to use this as a ULF film changing tent or even my personal shower tent in the field.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

11x14 At Cross Lake Provincial Park

Here are some digi shots of the 11x14 ULF camera from this morning when I was making my first exposure, mentioned in the earlier blog. I should be getting my 14x17 ULF camera in from Hong Kong in the next 2-3 weeks. Am working out a bellows support system for these cameras using velcro. I have the same velcro bellows lifting system on"May Lee" my 16x20.

Preparing for my first 11x14 camera ULF exposure
11x14 back view with Linhof tripod
11x14 side view with extenstion
Heroic low view (ready to conquer the world!!!) of 11x14 camera and Linhof tripod

Buggered My Back Again!

Not sure how I did it this time but buggered my back again. I was at the lake for 3 nights and sometime during night number 2 my back started stiffening. When I woke up this morning it took me 10 minutes to get out of bed. This all sucks big time.

I managed to suffer my way through making my first exposure with the 11x14 and HP5. Had some issues with the homemade (from Hong Kong) holders I was using, I think I can correct the problem. The film does not seem to sit flat in the  holders which makes it impossible to close the dark slide. I think I can enlarge that area slightly with an exacto knife. I hope things can be worked out. Holders are expensive, if I can get these home made copies working for me I will save dollars.

The back problem worries me. If I continue to have this issue how the f-ck can I shoot ULF, heck I might not even be able to shoot 8x10. The "Oh! Canada!" will be dead in the water before it even starts. I will do some stretching, treat the sore area of the lower back with various ointments etc. Hopefully it is only a pulled muscle thing or a stiff muscle from sleeping with my bare back in the cold van. I need to take care of this tonight, treat it now, before I go back to work tomorrow. In my 21 years or so as a security guard, I have never taken a sick day, not starting tomorrow even if I have to go in on a stretcher!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

ULF Format "Oh! Canada!" Options

Was thinking of the options I have with the ULF gear and the "Oh! Canada!" portrait, landscape project. These would be made in 8x10 plus ULF 11x14, 14x17, 12x20, 16x16 and 16x20 formats.

- Wet plate Ambrotypes (clear glass and black glass).
- Wet plate Alumatypes (trophy metal).
- Wet plate glass negatives, leading to Silver Gelatin and Albumen photographic prints contact and enlarged.
- Standard film negatives, leading to Silver Gelatin and Platinum prints.

I could potentially process and print all of these variations in my mobile (truck, trailer) darkroom or at home in one of my home darkrooms (eventually plan to have two working darkrooms, one devoted to platinum printing).

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Beast Mode!!

Gosh, got my $195 USD Linhof tripod today. This is going to be a great tripod for me at a low price. I was shocked at how big this thing is, its a frickin beast!! It makes the Ries A100 wooden tripod look like a little toy in comparison. It should be easily big-strong enough to handle the 11x14 camera and probably the 14x17 camera. Heck it might even be big enough to handle the 16x20 with the right head,  though that would be pushing its capabilities.

I love the fact that this Linhof Tripod has a huge strong centre post. This is probably the biggest circumference post I have ever seen on a tripod. Centre posts make portrait photography and composition in general so much easier. I've got a ton of tripods but this will be one of my faves and one of only a few that will work with my ULF formats. This tripod is too big to take overseas but just right for a project like "Oh! Canada!"

One thing you really see in an old tripod like this is the care, strength and craftsmanship they put into photography equipment back in the 50s. This tripod is 60 plus, maybe 70 years old and yet it is fully functional and very stable. You got to love Linhof for quality, sometimes a name does make a difference.

Note* The Ries J200 head in combination with the Linhof tripod might be my best bet in the field. There is no quick release but I can attach the camera fairly quickly to the head and it allows a front tilting movement to shoot downward and slightly upward. I believe the J200 head is strong enough to support the weight of my light weight 11x14 camera, which is about the same weight as many 8x10s. I will probably buy a Ries A200 head at some point for the 14x17 and 16x20 ULF cameras.

Update* Ain't the 11x14 a beautiful camera! Cheap at the price. This set up pictured below came in cheap, $1400 for the camera, 2 holders and shipping, $195 USD for the tripod and the Ries head I got used and cheaply, the 450mm Nikon F9 was less than $300 also. What was the price of everything in the  pic? Maybe $2000 USD including shipping, duty and taxes.

My 11x14 mounted to the Linhof tripod with the J200 Ries head.
My new-used 1950s Linhof tripod with the centre post and head is well over 6 feet tall.
The tripod looked way more tiny in the sellers advert photo.

Cases For The ULF Cameras

I need to get a nice case per ULF camera. One for the 11x14, one for the 14x17 and one for the 16x20. Heck I might even get one for my 8x10 Deardorff.

The cases will help protect this valuable gear as I travel and make photographs. I need to take care of my cameras so I can shoot them effectively for the rest of my life. This will be an expensive venture but well worth it in the end.

Here is the Pelican 1690 NF case recommended to me by Hugo from Chamonix.
B&H Link To My 16x20 Pelican Case

Pelican 1690 NF

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Dreamt Of Dads Smiling Face

Just woke up after a dream about my father. I was living at his house but the version of that house that dates back to around 1980 before he did a renovation. I was downstairs in my house in the current up to date darkroom playing with things when I heard my dad upstairs yell out (in his old house), how strange! I ran upstairs from my darkroom to his old upstairs, opened the kitchen door and he was there. He was happy but tired and worn down. I called out "Dad!" and hugged him, he smiled and said "I'm tired, I am going home." I told him no "Dad don't go!" ( I wanted to show him my cleaned up darkroom, I used to always do that before). He looked so good, so tall, a bit wavy and weak but still strong enough. I then realized I was dreaming and I tried to stay in the dream to be with my father and for a while I could. I just looked at his face, he did not talk, I held his face in my mind, looking at him smiling for maybe another 30 seconds. Then he faded away and I woke up and wrote this.

I miss my father more and more, the dreams have thinned out a bit lately. He left us Feb 22, 2015. That is almost 1 year 6 months ago now. I am glad I could share a happy dream, a happy moment with him today.

First Things First!

I am getting a way ahead of myself with all the gear buying lately and talk of mobile darkrooms in cube vans etc. First things first I have to become a lot better at wet plate, I am still a rank beginner. So to get things going I will start things smaller, first 4x5, 8x10 plates, and a mobile darkroom in a ice fishing tent. I picked a nice portable 4 foot rubbermaid table today at Costco for $45 tonight. Plan to use it in the tent. I am now in the market for a used ice fishing tent!! I will then get the chemistry and glass plates and I am off. Learn, learn, learn Gerry! Photograph, photograph, photograph!! Fun, fun fun!!!

Note* The Quikfish 3i has some kind of insulation in it, might be too HOT for my purposes, but could be darker. I might go with the Quickfish 3 (no insulation). Even after when I get my darkroom on wheels this tent could be quite valuable in certain situations.

Eskimo Quickfish 3i Ice fishing tent, or as I call it "MY LEARNING DARKROOM!"

Nikon 450mm F9 (Q) Lens Coverage

Well I know my Nikon 450mm F9 (Q) variation lens at least covers 11x14 easily. I placed it on my new 11x14 camera and did some movements with the lens, the coverage looked good. I was a bit worried that the old (Q) lens would not have the same coverage as the newer versions but so far it seems they do. The newer version 450mm seems to have coverage to 14x17, some day 16x20, many say it does not have 16x20 coverage.

I am happy that I have good lens to use with my 11x14 and probably my 14x17. The lens is pristine a real little beauty and only cost $364.90 (less than half the price of the new version).
Original Blog With Pics About The Nikon 450mm

Note* My 14x17 camera will not be in Canada for quite a while yet, but when it does will try this lens on that baby as well! Hopefully this thing will turn into one of my main 11x14 and 14x17 lens.
Note** I believe my 250mm Fujinon F6.7 (a wide angle lens on a 11x14) will barely cover 11x14.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Link: Acts Of Kindness, "Faith In Humanity Video"

Thought I would share this video, was watching it just before going home tonight after work. Some of these are nice, some are sweet, others brought a tear to my eye. People can be wonderful. Best wishes to all of you out there in the internet world. Lets all do something kind today.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Bought A R&J Beck 8x10 Rectilinear Antique Brass Lens

Bought a small brass lens today. I will try it on my 4x5 Super D Graflex camera. Playing with these old shutter less lens  from the  1800s ( the Graflex has a curtain shutter) is fun! This one looks to have been a camera lens at one poing as there is an area to add waterhouse fstops. I might try it on my deardorff if it has larger than 4x5 coverage. A 13 inch lens should cover 8x10. Cost of this tiny, cute lens was $178 USD plus shipping.

Here is the len and the little sales pitch from the advert.

Here is a very nice antique brass lens for 8x10 large format cameras. It is a R&J Beck lens which was a British maker in the 1800's. It was sold through W.H Walmsley & Co. Philadelphia as there American distributer. The lens has a 13 Inch focal length. The lens is slotted for waterhouse stops but does not come with any. The glass is nice showing some wear and has cleaning marks. It has its flange. A great old lens all set for mounting on your large format camera. Buyer pays shipping and the shipping quote includes insurance.

Note* This is not a petzval lens but should still create a coolish image. hopefully! :)))

 R&J Beck 8x10 Rectilinear Antique Brass Lens

Bought A Lensboard For The Carl Vandyk Brass Petzval Lens

Got a me a wooden mahogany lens board tonight, cost was $28 USD. I had to get a new board with a 3 inch size hole (bigger than Copal #3) for the Carl Vandyk brass petzval lens. This board should be great. It is made of a very strong wood that should hold the weight of the lens, the 4 screws and the retaining ring. In the past there was a semi serious photog guy I knew who generously made up plastic lens boards for me but they were sort of have assed, of low quality and would not take screws. This newly bought mahogany wood board should last me the lifetime shooting of the lens, plus its pretty, :)). I will be able to photograph and test it on my Deardorff soon. If I find the lens has extra coverage I will get a wood board for it that fits my 11x14 camera.

African mahogany lens board

Bought Me A 14x17 ULF View Camera

Well the purchase of Ultra Large Format cameras continues. I started with a 16x20 Chamonix, then a 11x14 Chamonix (like) camera  and now tonight I bought a 14x17 Chamonix (like) camera. The 14x17 is from the same seller I got my 11x14 from. His cameras are not beautiful but fully functional and they are dirt CHEAP! (for a ULF camera). Tonights buy was a 14x17 camera plus 2-14x17 holders and shipping to Canada for a grand total of only $1375 USD. That is a damn good price for such a large camera with holders. I expect the 14x17 to be about a 7/10 just like my 11x14, not pretty but completly functional and fun to use.

I intend to do wet plate with this camera as well as shoot the largest size and very cheap X-Ray films. Will probably mostly shoot portraits with it, indoor (studio flash) and out. I might even take this camera overseas, Asia, Africa or Central America.

Wish I could have photographed my father with this wonderful tool.

Here is my new-used 14x17.

My new 14x17 ULF camera
Note* Also bought a large dark cloth off eBay this morning. The cloth is rated for 11x14 and 14x17 cameras. I have both of those : ). I might also try to use it with "May Lee" my 16x20 but not sure it is big enough.
 Note* She might not be a beautiful camera to others, but she beautiful to me!
 Note**Hmm, my owned view cameras now run like this, 4x5 (too many to count), 5x7. 8x10 (3). 11x14. 14x17 amd 16x20.

Sinar Lensboards Got To Love Em

I was about to buy some wooden lens boards online for my 11x14 camera when I decided to try to use the Sinar lens boards I have my 16x20 lens mounted to. Guess what? They fit perfectly! That will save a bit of expense and will allow me to change lens quickly and easily between "May Lee" my Chamonix 16x20 and my new 11x14 camera.(Chamonix like). You got to love it!

I will still need to get 2 wooden lens boards. One for my 8x10 Deardorff and one for the 11x14. I need a 3 inch hole cut into these boards for my Carl Vandyk brass petzval lens. Will only need the board for the 11x14 if the Carl lens covers more than 8x10 (doubtful).

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Links: Fredrick Scot Archer, Marker

Been reading more about this man Frerick Scott Archer, he invented the wet collodion process back in 1851. He did not patent the process, just gave it to the world. If that was an intentional act that was quite a gift.

Here he is, looks like a bit of a loony guy, a trouble maker, don't you think? A guy who did it his way and screw what the others thought. The type of guy it would have been fun to meet and talk to, maybe be friends with. Wish I could have met him. Well need to thank him anyway, Thanks Mr. Archer for inventing wet plate and giving it to the world.

Fredrick Scott Archer, 1813-1857
For years he never had a gravestone or marker of any kind. In 2010 the people at the Collodion Collective raised some money and got him one. There is a certain beauty and karma in that!

Here are some links with more back story to the marker and Mr. Archer's life.
Fredrick Scott Archer Grave Marker
The Story Behind Raising Money For the Marker

Beautiful cleaar glass ambrotype, photogapher unknown

Link: Wet Plate Photographer Paweł Smiałek

Found this wonderful youtube vid of portraits online from photographer Pawel Smilek. Rather inspiring to see stuff like this. Makes me dream of making portraits.

Photo Idea: Colour 4x5 Slides To Ambrotype Heads

Just had another wacky darkroom wet plate idea. I have a freezer filled with all kinds of outdated 4x5 transparency film. Why not gather all that up, go to Asia find a subject and do head portraits. Later I can bring back that film, develop it in E-6 (still available?) chemistry and then make wet plate portraits, large portraits on glass. I could place the 4x5 slides in one of my colour head enlargers (have 4 I could use in my darkoom) and then expose them onto glass plates and make me some wonderful Ambrotypes.

Am not sure I can do darkroom wet plate photos yet. Am not sure how outdated or what effect teh old film would have. Heck am not even sure I will be doing photos in Asia next. Other than that, a wonderful idea.

I have been trying to figure out a way to use that old 4x5 sheet film, this might be it!

Photo Idea - Link: Darkroom Wetplate Project, "Short Time Girl"

Been thinking of a possible darkroom photography project I can do this  coming winter. Met a photographer online who does some amazing darkroom wetplates, here name is Rachael Merrick. Rachael does both on black glass and on metal.

It got me thinking that I should try to expose some of my positives (slides/tranparencies) on to collodion. I could make either tintypes (alumitypes) or ambrotypes. The slides I would use are from a project I did back in  2003 when I lived 1 year in Thailand.  I did a series of portraits on sex workers in the rooms they took their customers. I have a bunch of slides from that period which I have never done much with other then posting a few on this blog. I think I might even have a bag of still undeveloped Agfa slide 120mm in my garage freezer. I could gather up all those images, then create a series of  10 or 15 wet plates, either on black-ruby glass 8x10s-11x14s or on clear glass before using asphaltun to create a nice black background.

Something to think about and something that I could do effectively to pass the time during this next LONG Canadian winter. I could be making gallery submissions by spring next year. I could be receiving my gallery submission rejection notices by next fall! : )) Just think of it!

Being gallery rejected matters not. It is important to try to get these worker stories finally told. Many of the girls I photographed may no longer be around, some may have died of AIDS as the pictures were made 13 years ago. Not sure what kind of medical care they would have received if they had been HIV positive in 2003 or in the years that followed. They might be all but forgotten (outside of family member memories) except in the portraits I made of them. It is important to show who they were, to communicate and tell a small story about them. Their lives mattered and they should be remembered. These tintype, ambrotype photogaphs would also be a warning and education into the lives of all the women currently working in that world.

What to call it? Maybe, "Short Time Girl". Short time is a word used in the bar world of Asia to describe a short time period of sex bought by a Western sex tourist, usually 1 or 2 hours, or until the guy finshes. When a customer pays for a girl to leave her bar or from the street, he usually pays "short time" for a an hour or so or "long time" which is for overnight or longer.

Gear Good News And Bad.

Have some gear good news and some bad.

My 11x14 glass wet plat holder does not fit my camera! It is too wide, I put the cart before the horse there. I should have waited on the camera took measurements and checked the holders size before buying. A stupid mistake on my part. Need to figure something else out there.

On the plus side my 1000ml wet plate storage bottles (10) arrived yesterday and they are great, just what I need, wide mouth, calibrated and sturdy. Am still waiting on the 2000ml bottles (4).

Friday, August 12, 2016

Mobile Wet Plate, Film Darkroom What Type?

Been going over and over in my head what type of mobile wet plate/film darkroom I can put together for the proposed "Oh! Canada!" project. Here are the 3 types I am considering and what might their advantages and disadvantages.

Cube Van

- Extreme mobility, I could pull a camping trailer behind it, park the trailer in a campground and go anywhere to make wet plate.

- I could take the vehicle out for the day from my house by itself making wet plate, quick and easy. No hooking up and hauling a trailer around.

-I could use the roof of the vehicle to get a higher shooting vantage point which could be very important. Sometimes getting up higher is key to a composition, just ask Ansel Adams and Edward Burtynsky!

- A very strong and tough option, thou I would have to carry extra spare tires (possibly extra gasoline) and have a strong reliable engine to allow me to haul a  camping trailer.

- I would be able to take my expensive cameras and lens with me where ever I drove, which might reduce the chance of theft somewhat.

 - Cost, cost, cost. By far the most expensive option. There would also be the additional high insurance costs. Probably $10000 to $20000 CAD (used) for something half decent and not too old.

- More difficult to climb in and out of. As I become older and more decrepit, I will have more difficulty carrying gear and wet plate holders in and out of this unit. There is usually also a small sliding door inside the cab between the seat, might be able to use that.

- Driving with all the chemicals, smells etc directly behind you, safe?, unpleasant?

Cargo Trailer

- Price more reasonable at $4000 to $8000 CAD (new).
- Strong reliable units, that can go in all types of terrain.

- You need some kind of truck (preferably a 3/4 ton) or larger motor home to all these things, rather big and somewhat heavy.  

  Camping Trailer

- Older trailers can be gotten cheap used, under $1000 CAD.
- They have running water-piping-pumps inside which I could hook up to a darkroom sink.
- They seem more comfy-cosy to me.

 - How reliable would they be? Those old axles, old wheels, old everything up on some dirt track near Inuvik? Break downs seem inevitable.
- More difficult to convert, I am not much of a handyman but would need to be one to make one of these units into a viable mobile darkroom.
- Would need a good heavy duty truck with a camper to haul the trailer.

Update* Spoke to the mechanic guy at the plant where I work. Asked him about what size engine he would recommend for hauling all these trailers and such around Canada. He recommended a gas automatic with a V8 engine, less than 7 years old. I will try to follow his advice, I know almost nothing about cars/trucks and engines best to listen to the experts. I have always been more of a camera dude than a car dude!: ))

Got My 11x14 Camera Today

Got my 11x14 camera today in the mail with no extra shipping charges. The camera on a scale 1-10 is probably about a 7. It is a home made copy of a Chamonix design. Materials are not as high quality as a real Chamonix but this unit is way, way, cheaper. I paid $1100 USD, new Chamonix 11x14s run at $4250 USD (with a possible small discount). My camera is not as pretty, with more plastic parts and no carbon fibre but it should work out just fine. The camera seems completely function with a plastic-wood and metal parts, the ground glass is plastic (just like an original Chamonix). I prefer a plastic non breakable ground glass now, it is what I put into all my  view cameras. The bellows is heavy well made and light tight, the focusing mechanism silky smooth. You always want the prettiest tools but this camera I am quite happy with.

The two 11x14 holder also look pretty good, not great but adequate. I need to test them to see if they are light tight. I might try shooting some film in it this coming week off work. I got some HP5 11x14 from B&H photo last week. I have the option to buy 4 more from the seller in Hong Kong, not sure if I will or not. I might be better off getting my Czech builder Filip to make me some.

So overall a good buy I think and a very useful functional camera that I can use for both wet plate and film photography. I feel happy! Now lets make some pics.

Update* One good thing about using a camera that is not super pretty is that if you get it banged up a bit who cares! You can shoot in the rain or in other bad weather and not worry too much! As long as it can make pictures, nothing else matters. I will have no trouble taking this camera with me to Asia, Africa, where ever. No problem using it with the nasty chemicals of wet plate etc. I think this will be a heavy use camera.  A more substance than style thingy.
Update** Another point in it's favor, it is reasonably light, which means I can transport it through airports and airplanes world wide with less STRAIN! I am glad I bought my first 11x14, always wanted one, now I got a good one.
Update*** I wish I could do some portraits of dad with this camera, too late for that now.
Update**** The more I look at this camera the more I see how really solidly made it is. Lots of screws, bellows very thick, lots of thought put into making everything rigid and durable. Could this be some kind of early Chamoinix camera prototype?

11x14 bellows extended
11x14 camera front
11x14 holders
11x14 camera back