Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Wet Plate Ghosts Reawaken....BOO!!!!

Well with the encouragement and help of many folks online, especially at the Collodion Bastards facebook page. Many world class photographers have jumped in and helped me.

Today I have re-woken my long dead Bostick and Sullivan wet plate chemistry kit (4 years old?).

I am going to try and do some small 4x5 aluminum plates! Just going to shoot some trees around my home. These chemicals have been sitting in my darkroom cupboard (cool dark place) since I first took a quick dip into wet plate after my Jody Ake workshop in Victoria 5 years ago. Now I return to that world. Eventually the hope is to be doing 35x35 inch ambrotypes all over Canada for the "Kanata". First thou lets try shooting some trees in the back yard! Brick by brick builds the grand cathedral.

I need to help my chemistry along, it has been dormant too long! I sunned and filtered the silver nitrate bath. I will also check the PH and the specific gravity (needs to be 9%). This is the first time I am doing any of this stuff. I learned from online sources and from Quinn Jacobson's wonderful wet plate books. I am also going to mix up fresh developer, I got the Ferrous Sulfate (Iron) I needed for that yesterday. Also have distilled water, white vinegar (for vinegar style developer) and new lab 1000ml glass bottles to use. I hope the old rapid fix is still good. If not I can make up some from my darkrooms Ilford supply.

I also found chemicals I did not know I had! You know you got too much shit when you find 3.8 liters of Glacial Acetic Acid in your cupboard that you did not know was there! I have no idea where I got it, but it was there in a box. I also have a small bottle of Nitric acid (for adjusting the PH in the silver bath) from Bostick and Sullivan that I did not know about. Seems I have more chemistry than I thought. That is what comes of almost 40 years of collecting (since I was 14).

I will also need to adapt a "Graphic Film Pack" I got free a while back for the 4x5 plate.  By the end   of the day I hope to have something to post. Hope hope hope!! Wet plate can be very finicky!

The collodion is 4 years old so who knows what that will be like, probably VERY slow. I am not capable and do not have the chemicals to mix up fresh collodion so I will make do with what I got. There are also a few bottles of unused stuff I bought at some point.

The adventure begins!!! Wish me luck!