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…