Archive for the ‘landscape’ Category
Swimming in a river, breaking focusing glass, bloody elbow, photographing in underwear,… Anything for a good wet plate negative
Last week was a beautiful weather and I’ve decided to make some landscape plates. I live surrounded by very fascinating landscape so it’s hard to decide what to photograph but this time I went down to the river. This winter was wet and we had icy rain that made huge damage on trees and infrastructure. On THIS LINK you can see images of Iztok Medja from Postojna region where every single tree was damaged! So this icy rain made that many huge oak trees felt in a river.
The tree was stable enough to hold a camera and a tripod, but as you can see it was really hard to focus and compose the frame. After I’ve made a good negative I set myself a new frame. I went in a river, carrying a tripod, but I slipped and fell in the river fully dressed. The river Krka is very cold and wet even for a wet plate photographer! My tripod sunk and I had to find it, touching muddy riverbed with my feet. It’s Manfrotto, don’t worry. I’ve climbed out of the river, undressed and solely in my underpants I went back in the river, setting the tripod on the position. When I stretched to get my camera I was hanging with one hand on a branch while with the other I pulled the camera down and the camera swung and with focusing glass crashed in my elbow. U PIČKU MATERINU!!! I didn’t care much for the focusing glass or the cut on my elbow, but how will I make a photograph without a focusing glass? I took the largest piece of focusing glass adjust it in the approximate position and focus. I close down aperture to f/32, so I knew I’ve sorted the focusing problem. I didn’t know what is in my frame, but who would want to know that!?!
The result is pretty good. I’m publishing also a carbon print that I’ve made from it on glass and on Fabriano F5 paper that I’ve seized it with hardened gelatin. The carbon print is showing the potential this negative has, but I will make it better. You will see it in European Collodion Weekend, this weekend!
Oh, the story doesn’t end there. When I finish and packed everything and was ready to drive home, I was reluctant to dress wet cloths and drive home. On the end I did dress my wet clothes back and drive home. Luckily I did so, because as it happened our street was being asphalted and it was closed for car traffic. Imagine that I would walk beside them barefooted wearing only underwear and apron? I know East Europe is much more relaxed about nudity then West Europe, but not that much :-)
PS: if you are wondering how to make a focusing glass, I’ve made a post HERE. It takes 15 minutes.
PPS: Here is another version of carbon print. It’s from the same wetplate negative that I’ve published few days ago, but now I’ve made new glop and followed all the instructions of Mark Osterman how to boost contrast to the limit. I’ve decreased amount of gelatin by 25%, increased pigment to 50ml of India Ink per one litter, cut sensibilization time by 50% and voila, the result is here! It’s even too contrasty. I’ve sensitized new tissues but with longer sensitizing time, so it’ll be more sensitive, but less contrasty. More to come, more to come…
This weekend a colleague Jeroen de Wijs visited me. He is a collodion photographer from Holland with outstanding knowledge and experience in collodion photography. He was learning collodion photography from Mark Osterman and France Scully Osterman at group and individual workshops. We’ve visited Studio Pelikan and today he thought me how to do dry preserved collodion negative. This process is much more complicated than ambrotype and tintype so not many people knows it and even less practice it. The major advantage is that dry collodion plates can be prepared at home and they need to be exposed and processed in about month or two time. The disadvantage is that plates have very low sensibility for light. Like the plate that I’m publishing was exposed for 75 minutes at a cloudy day at aperture f/11. OK, I was using very old, four months old collodion negative, that it could be considered as a dead collodion, but if I would use young collodion, it would still take about 15 minutes. Dry plate collodion was the medium that made it possible to photograph interiors of churches and other buildings, with exposure times for a whole day. As you probably guessed the dry collodion plates process is suitable for landscape photography, not for portraits. At the end of the day I’ve made a salt print from the negative and I call it a very good day ;-)
PS: In two weeks I’m going to Rochester to George Eastman House for a carbon printing workshop. So exciting!!!
This is a photograph made with the process invented in 1839, called salt print process. The print is made from contact copy of a wet plate collodion glass negative. Size of the print is 40x50cm or 16×20″. The size of the image is 25x30cm or 10×12″. The print was toned in gold chloride toner and has a beeswax finish. The paper used is Fabriano Satinato 210gr, 50% of cotton.
Print is a limited edition of 12 copies. The print no:1 I’ve put it on ebay (LINK) and starting a week long auction starting at 0.99 USD.
PS: Print was sold for US $182.50. Thank you!
OK, the exhibition was a success. Many people show up, lots of media attention and feelings were great! At the opening Društvo mrtvih pesnikov were playing, which is an big honor. As I wrote in the previous post, the series is devoted to a painter Božidar Jakac. Concept is best captured with words of Tone Pavcek engraved on his grave: “You’ve remained part of the landscape, its pain and its beauties. And this concept is mirrored in the images. I wanted that in every of image there would be a presence of beauty and pain. More about the concept in the previous post (LINK). I’ve designed the exhibition to be dynamic. I’ve exhibited original tintypes, ambrotype glass plates, toned cyanotype contact copies and also some inkjets.
For the exhibition I must express my gratitude to the Gallery Krka for invitation, Miša Keskenović for teaching me this noble art and to Mark Osterman for generous support in my learning of wet plate collodion negative. Inkjet prints and framing was done by Luminus.si
I invite you to see images in better quality on my website borutpeterlin.com. Exhibition in open until 23.5.2013 in Galerija Krka, upravna stavba Krka d.d., Šmarješka cesta 6, Novo mesto, Slovenia, EU.
PS: Prints are for sale. Prices are from 50 EUR for a cyanotype print to notforsale tintype of frozen river Krka that I’ve done at temperature -17C (link on the post). My email address is borutpeterlin(a)gmail.com
Two days ago I saw this flooded tree and I knew immediately it will look good on picture, but there was too much water, I couldn’t come near the tree. Yesterday I saw the water level has fallen, but didn’t had time to make the picture and on other hand I knew the flood will be gone by tomorrow, so today I decided to make the picture. Only problem was that I had to work in Ljubljana, to make half a dozen on location portraits for Mladina weekly. OK, I did it with digital camera, but still a lot of work. I decided I have an hour to make the collodion image, no more. I drove to the place, set up the tent, made a test and then also the plate. All that in 42 minutes. I cleaned the set up and head to digital work.
After finishing portraits that I had to do in Ljubljana, I’ve stopped at the spring of the river Krka. Since it’s flooding water is rushing out from the cave so I couldn’t get a decent point of view, so I started to photograph the spring of stream Poltarica. Wet Plate Collodion process is a complicated process and beside that you need to know how to do it, you need to figure out the workflow. Today I had two missions. One was to figure out why I had blisters on some plates few days ago and the second was if I can do 4×5″ negative wetplates in my small darkbox.
First mission was soon cracked. It was cold as it was the other day, it was 3 degrees Celsius and I had no blisters whatsoever. I remembered that the other day I had this problems only at the beginning of the shoot when it was raining just a little bit. I’m sure a drop of rain fell on my plate when it was already coated with collodion and when I dipped it in silvernitrate bath, rock&roll started.
Second mission was a total success as well. I’ve made four plates and I can’t wait to print them. I’ve learned many small, but important details of a workflow so now I’m thinking to do a project in Bosnia in this manner! It’ll be 20th anniversary from the end of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, that was established byDayton Peace Accord in 1995 and I already did a cycling tour on the ethnic border between Republic Srbska (Serbs) and Federation Republic (Muslims+Croats), photographing how landscape changed politically. The ethnic border was founded in Dayton and it’s known as Dayton border. My cycling Tour de Dayton you can see on THIS link, but this year I’ll do it again with my luxurious car and do a wetplate project and prepare an exhibition for 2015.
Today was a good day. I was preparing yesterday several hours, cleaning plates, subbing them with albumen, calibrating chemicals, mixing fresh developer, getting gear together, nevertheless I succeed to forgot my plate holder at home, but luckily I’m shooting my neighborhood so I drove back home and picked it up. It was cold again! Zero degrees Celsius! I prepared stronger developer and for wetplate negative the sensitization was 7 minutes. I wanted to be eight, but I was getting some weird pimples on my plates. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s because of albumen, low temperature, collodion drying, thin collodion film, longer sensitisation in silvernitrate and stuff, I know, but lesson learned, for the next time I’ll be subbing only edges of plates with albumen.
I’ve done several plates, but with these two wetplate negatives and I’m very happy. Working in this conditions it’s hard, especially doing a negative, but the results that wetplate negative is delivering is justifying all the pain.
As you’ve noticed, I’ve redone the image of a tree trunk in the water. The image from the earlier post was done with Kodak Folding Brownie and I wasn’t satisfied, so this time I used my Schneider Kreuznach Tele-Xenar lens 500mm f/5.5. I like it a lot!
PS: By the way, this Saturday, 6th of April, I’m working in Josip Pelikan studio and if you want, I will make you a portrait.
Weather is horrible everywhere and forecast is not promising, so when I saw that raining stopped for few hours, I packed my wetplate kit and head to the river Krka, to make new plates. In a month time I have an exhibition in Galerija Krka in Novo mesto, Slovenia, so I need to make a good use of every moment that is left. I had to work fast, so I decided to use my fuji darkbox and Kodak Folding Brownie 3A. I decided to go for wetplate negatives. It was quite cold, 4C degrees Celsius, so I was sensitizing plate for 7 minutes, but real problem was developing. The key to make a good negative is proper developing that goes from 1 to 3 minutes. I was developing in my dark-box, but while I was breathing, glass was starting to fog and after a minute I couldn’t see nothing, so I continued for a while, then I stopped. Consequentially negatives were weak. Then raining started again and I got all wet, but that’s appropriate for a wet plate photographer isn’t. At home I redeveloped the negative to build up some density. Now I’m looking the plates and I see the first one, that had a hole in the center of the image is actually more appealing then the second one that is technically better.
I’m still working hard on Wet Plate Collodion process, but negative on glass, not positive – an ambrotype. Two days ago I gave myself a challenging task. To do a nice wetplate negative in challenging conditions. I set up my darkroom tent in a park near my house, choose one motif, two view cameras and devote eight hours to make a good ambrotype and a good negative. It’s still winter in this corner of the world (Slovenia,EU), so I mixed my chemicals for -1⁰C temperature, but in my tent there was + 5C, so developing was quite demanding. Nevertheless it was a good day. Very good!
Print for sale. Size 30x40cm, FomaBrom baryt paper, toned with sodium sulfide and sellenium toners. Bidding auction on ebay. [/caption] Today I’ve printed the wet plate negative, format 5×7″, on a classic gelatine photographic paper. I was doing tests what combination of paper, exposure and toning works best. I decided to go for split toning with sodium sulfide for highlights and selenium toner for shadows. The toning increases stability of silver, so it will remain like this for at least a century. This print was done on FomaBrom fiber based paper, size 30x40cm (12×16″). All process were done by museum archival standards. I’m selling this print on ebay – LINK. Still learning how this ebay works, so I’m opening a bidding auction. This goes for the first print in edition of 12. Rock and Roll!
Today I was driving from work through a forrest with beautiful light! True fairy tale scene. I got home, pick up my wetplate stuff that was still packed from yesterday and I head back. I’ve done two ambrotypes (or winter ambroice) plates in 35 minutes and the time start counting from stepping out of a car, setting everything up until sitting back and driving away with two plates. I’m experimenting how fast can I work, how much time and preparations do I need. I love it. Very relaxing, very spontaneous!