My first glass plate – Wet Plate Collodion technique
Readers of my blog (and everybody that meet me) knows about my adventure into 19th Century photography. Until now I was limited to my Kodak Folding Brownie, but I was looking for proper large format view camera that will work with glass plates in wet plate collodion technique. I searched on many websites, places and talked to many colleagues, but yesterday morning I woke up with a memory that I know a store where there used to be a view camera standing in a corner. I was probably wrong, but since I was in Ljubljana I drove down to the store. I was shocked to see it in the corner waiting for me 🙂
I thought it will be a wooden camera, but since it was made out of metal, I was sure it’s using normal film holder, but to my surprise it had a wooden back with adaptors for various formats. Camera is manufactured by Idro Celje from Slovenia, a company that doesn’t exist anymore, but obviously they were making bulletproof cameras for usage in reprography. I named it Panzer camera as it reminds me on Panzer IV tank. It uses a 25cm Carl Zeiss lens and it’s interesting how aperture is marked. There is no f stop, just the size of radios of the aperture. I never saw a lens like that. It’s meant for a work in reprography so you can not screw it on a normal tripod. Today we had a chance visit of a family friend that makes stuff from metal and I asked him to make an adapter for this camera. With the adapter I will be able to photograph outside on a normal tripod. Life is smooth when I’m tuned in photography 🙂
I’ve bought 2mm glass that was cut on format of 12 x 16,5 cm and without really learning how to properly clean the glass and prepare it for collodion layer, I started with spilling collodion and the rest of Wet Plate Collodion ritual. I’ve made a set up with my cameras (Kiev – my first camera) and exposed it with two Balcar flashes with joint power of 2250 Ws. I was shocked how much light I needed to properly exposed it. I needed 30 bursts and if my math is correct it emitted 67.500 Ws. And my collodion is young like three weeks, so it should needed less light then an old collodion. Perhaps flash is emitting very little UV light upon which collodion is most sensitive on. I don’t know, I have much to learn. Anyway I’m overwhelmed with my first glass plate and I made also a contact print on a normal resin coated silver-bromide paper. Easy Sparky I’m not that far to make albumen prints, at least not yet. After first success I noticed that collodion is starting to peel of the glass. I know… It’s not good to skip lessons in photography, but hey, it’s fun nevertheless!
PS: My daughters love the magic box as we call the camera 🙂