Photography, Fine Art, Wet Plate Collodion, Alternative photography

Salt print from 8×10″ wet plate collodion negative, toned with gold chloride

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Salt print from a 8x10" wet plate collodion negative, toned with gold chloride.

Salt print from a 8×10″ wet plate collodion negative, toned with gold chloride.

First of all I apologize for absence from my blog. SO many things is going on, I always want to write what happened in Poland and Serbia first. I decided to write as it happens. Today is a milestone in my career. I know, another one you might say, but hey, they are for free, why not! Seriously, I’ve made a giant leap in salt printing. Yesterday I’ve made a great wet plate collodion negative, 8×10″ format in very difficult circumstances. First test was foggy, my tent was leaking too much light. I solved that and my first negative was underexposed, second one was correctly exposed, but wind shook my camera during exposure. Then rain started and I start to pack in my tent. After 15 minutes it stopped and also wind stopped blowing, so I unpacked my things and made the third plate. It was close to perfect with few annoying developing marks.

For the forth plate sun started to shine and I’ve made an estimation how much should I cut the exposure. The fourth plate was p.e.r.f.e.c.t. Well, when I was developing the negative, I was disappointed, because whites exploded in 10s. My first reflexion was to cut the developing time, but then I remembered what Mark Osterman is saying, to focus on blacks, to keep void in the negative and observe appearance of fog in dark areas. I was developing for 90 seconds although I could go on for another minute, but I didn’t want to risk of getting fog. I had all the information on the negative and I was intending to redevelop it anyhow. Redevelopment is a process of building the density of a negative after it is fixed. Yes, it’s true sorcery, but it works. Salt print is very low contrasty medium so you need to build up super contrasty and dense negative to make a good salt print.

Few days ago I’ve received a shipment from ArtCraft, I’ve bought 1gr of gold chloride so I’ve made gold toner. And long and behold, here is the result. I’m amazed with dynamic range of the salt print. Take a look, there are details in the brightest and in the darkest part of the print. Tomorrow I’ll make more prints and wax them. I’m so excited, with this technique so many opportunities are opening!


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