TOPSHIT PHOTOGRAPHY blog

Photography, Fine Art, Wet Plate Collodion, Alternative photography

Archive for the ‘land rover’ Category

Topshitest dark-box in the world!

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Oh, I am so happy with this dark-box I’ve done in the last few days. In October 2014 I’ve bought a Land Rover Series 3 from year 1972 and it took me more then half a year that I started to trust the car and foremost my ability to fix it, or more often then not, recognising I need a help from a friend to do the maintenance of the truck.

I so much love photographing outdoor, especially documentary photography and you know how annoying is to do it in wet plate collodion process. Sure I’ve done it many times, you can get to a location, set up a tent and you work whole day at the location, clean the stuff and go home with bunch of plates. In the last four years that I do wet plate collodion photography, only twice it happened that I’ve set up a tent, took few plates, cleaned the place up, move to another location, set up the tent, do another bunch of plates, clean it and go home. It is so exhausting this moving. And moving a dark-box or a tent is not a problem, it’s to pour back all the chemistry, prepare it for transport… ARGHHH!!!

I had in mind for a long time a wet plate collodion mobile, a car that it will have a dark box and most importantly all other chemistry prepared in such a way that I would stop the car, set a camera, pour the plate, develop a plate and move to another location. I know few people have camper vans or even trailers, which is fantastic, but not suitable for my environment, not suitable for motifs I want to photograph.

Land Rover, Series 3, 109 LWB, Station Wagon, an old-timer from 1972 is perfect for my needs. It’s cheap to buy, it’s cheap to maintain (parts are cheap, but you have to do the mechanical work by yourself or go bankrupt),  it’s almost free to insure and foremost it looks good on you! Sure it’s not cheap to drive, it burns 13 litres of petrol per 100km (USA: 18 mpg), but it’s not a car for daily use, it’s a tool! I drive it about once a week down to the river or up into forests, near my house, to bring all the equipment,  I rarely make a trip longer then 100 km. You don’t want to drive long time with this car!

Screenshot 2016-01-02 23.16.42

A dark-box as a crate on a roof rack

Anyhow now I’m happy with my dark box. I need to make another shelf beside the dark-box on which I will have a bath with fixer or humectant and a box to store clean and exposed plates. On top of everything I can make a bed in my car! I can easily make a bed size 135cm x 180cm. OK, if I will have a dark box inside, it will be 50 cm narrower, but still plenty of space. When I was in Vienna PhotoBook Festival, I was camping inside the truck and had also a cooker for making soups, tea and other tasty meals. The dark box can be used also on the roof rack as a crate for storage.

 

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River Susica, a wet plate collodion negative on glass, format 10x15cm, taken with Kodak Folding Brownie 3A, from about 1905. Exposure: F/64, 5 minutes, old collodion, silver bath 5,7pH

Today I’ve made a quick test before lunch to see if window is properly filtering daylight and I’ve made this wet plate collodion negative. It’s done with Kodak Folding Brownie 3A, from year 1905, it was one of the first compact cameras in the world! Amazing camera, I love it so much. The most important is that I’ve made the plate in about half an hour with all the setting up and going back home to catch the lunch.  This Land Rover and the dark box is the most important tool I have! It will make a wet plate collodion process natural and easy. So happy!

Last but not least, my new year’s resolution is to make more videos and blog posts. I am amazed how many people are following me trough social network! The Ebay auctions are going good, the last one reached about 230 EUR and then I’ve sold another copy of the print to an Italian bidder that lost a bidding against a bidder from USA. Of course the second albumen print from the last auction was sold for slightly higher price then the wining bid was. If I add up the support from my patreons and the commissions that I receive in Slovenia and workshops I have, I must say it’s going great. I want to thank you, by revealing my craft secrets, that I have none, inspiring others and being inspired by others.

Thank you and remember topshit 2016 happens!

Scouting for future workshops

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Kočevski rog, Ribnik

Kočevski rog, Ribnik

Last two days I was looking for new locations for workshops and even a festival of analogue photography. In the part of Slovenia where I live, there is an area with vast forest called Kočevski rog. If I remember correctly it’s about 500 square kilometres large and it’s a part of a larger chain of forests going through Alps, Slovenia, Croatia and down to Bosnia. In this forest there are three virgin forests reservats that are the largest virgin forest in Europe. This is the home of bears, wolfs, lynx and many other endangered species.

Under this post there are many photographs of many cottages, some of them in perfect, mint condition and some are in ruins. In this area there was a strong community of Germans that conquered this wilderness 600 years ago. Even hundred years ago here was a large community of foresters, but after second world war, these people were chased away from their homes, so there are many many villages that are in total ruins.

At the moment I’m looking for a partner that would rent me a cottage where I would have a workshop for about 10 people. I think I found several potential places where we would sleep, eat and live photography. The last week of July 2016 I’m planning to have a real festival and why does it need to be in downtown city centre? Why not have it in deep forest far, far from civilisation.

To be honest I fall in love in the place of Kočevski rog, the peacefulness, the tranquilness I feel there. This is even beyond the reach of GSM signal, so you do not need to worry for your boss or wife to call you. I admit on the end I was daydreaming to buy an abandoned cottage and restore it, so some images bellow are of cottages in very bad state, but in a year everything could change. Most of this objects are closed or even abandoned so they would need to be cleaned, add new furniture and do lots of maintenance work. But hey, who is afraid of some hard work?

For historical photography processes of 19th Century you need only chemistry, water and sun, so I’ve also checked for possible sources of water. On the photographs you can see some water springs and of course that water is perfect for drinking.

I feel very good about the idea to have a photo festival in deep forest of Kočevski rog and the idea received very warm welcome by municipality, owners and local community on general. Fingers crossed!

The end of my location scouting was a simple soup with bread. There is no restaurant like this. The best cook in the world is hunger!

The end of my location scouting was a simple soup with bread. There is no restaurant like this. The best cook in the world is hunger!

Written by Borut Peterlin

10 September, 2015 at 23:37

Posted in land rover

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Camel Trophy wannabe trip

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On Saturday a group of Land Rover enthusiast were planning a trip near where i live, so I’ve joined them. I was suspicious if my old-timer will keep up the pace with the younger big brothers that had tires 255 85 R16 and engines with three time as many horsepower. By my complete surprise they were not waiting for me, my Land Rover Series 3 did climbed all the roads there. I didn’t go into the deepest mud, since that wouldn’t be right, but I did climbed all those roads. One was particularly scary. In the video you can see a road that has literally trenches diged by rain. You can’t hear me swearing when driving on the edge of that road and furthermore when my car stalled. It shouldn’t, but I’ve made a mistake. I knew I had to drive back, but before driving backwards down that hill I tried to get my car going again and by my complete surprise it was very easy! What a car!!! The only problem we had was the mud that got on an air filter of a Defender. We washed the filter with water and then dry it on an exhaust pipe. How cool is that! He, he, he…

The commentary is from Camel Trophy Mundo Maya 1995 and I’ve picked it because we all drive Land Rovers because of those adventures and it’s an excellent editing twist. You understand this is no convoy of 20 vehicles and this is not South America, but the commentary does fit perfectly at certain parts, so it’s confusing. ha, ha…

The result of this trip is that I’ve find out what my car is capable of. I wouldn’t dare to take those roads alone, but in a group of five Land Rover and they all have winches, I’ve give it a go and successfully finished the tour. Here are some pics with captions. Also the route that we took, so it’s evident that this was not off roading, all these roads are public roads, but after rain they aren’t for every vehicle.

Route that we took. It's not off roading, these are public roads, although some parts aren't for every vehicle.

Route that we took. It’s not off roading, these are public roads, although some parts aren’t for every vehicle.

Written by Borut Peterlin

31 August, 2015 at 10:31

Posted in land rover, Series 3

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Wet Plate Collodion Safari

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Video Collodion Journal, Vinica, Slovenia, 2.7.2015. This time I didn’t had perfect plates. They were OK, but it could be better so I finished the day in the river 🙂
PS: One more space left for Collodion Photo Safari, 29th of Jully – 2nd of August 2015. http://borutpeterlin.com/WORKSHOPS/Advanced—Negative-&-Printing/1/

Two collodion workshops in the centre of the world!

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Ciao tutti,
here is a video on location scouting around my town of Dolenjske Toplice, Slovenia, EU. I’m planning to make two collodion workshops, a basic and advanced one. Please check the link on my site for detailed program.

I’m embedding also a video from the workshop that I had in Berlin, about a year ago where I’ve explained the content of the workshop.

A challenging drive with Land Rover Series III, old-timer from 1972

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Yesterday I wanted to test my dark-box and my intention was to go to a beautiful pine tree that was cut in half by a lightning. It’s difficult to get there and yesterday was too muddy to reach that corner of the forrest. I know, I need a winch or even hi-lift jack would be enough to get me through the mud on the side road.

Now I had to take the dangerous muddy hill, I wanted to avoid, but I must drive it in reverse! That was scary, because it was too muddy for brakes, so I had to go with low range engine braking, only that way car was still steerable. At 5:44 you see the rock that was sticking out, I had to steer around that rock. To be honest, I was sure that I’m going to hit that rock, but I was lucky.

Anyway my dark box is working, but I’m not yet satisfied with it. I’ll make it lighter, that’s for sure. Yesterday me and my wife, we had 10th anniversary of our marriage, but we both forgot about it. Then it was on Facebook a reminder that we had an anniversary. So I’ve test the dark-box and made a portrait of us.

Written by Borut Peterlin

1 May, 2015 at 08:31

Posted in land rover

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Topshit Photo Safari, March 2015

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Dear friends from the world of digital,
I had 40th birthday last November and my intention was to organise a photo expedition with an oldtimer Land Rover 109, from year 1972, but the events went into different direction. For the last two months my car was broken and it was standing in my courtyard and since local mechanic, my neighbour didn’t bother to come and see, two Land Rover owners Miha Kaiser and Aleš Zorc came from Ljubljana and fixed the distributor and ignition tuning. Immediately I’ve decided that the time is right to organise a photo safari, so I’ve invited few friend and we’ve met on Saturday morning. We started at 9am and finished at 10pm in darkroom developing films. Please read captions to get more information.

But there is more then just celebrating my birthday. Some of you know that in 2001 I’ve founded Fotopub, a festival of documentary photography and I was running it for seven years. My intention is to organise another festival of photography, a festival of analog photography. The Analog Topshit Photography Festival! But since I’m very aware that this is a huge thing and I can not pull it off by myself, I want to take small gradual steps, by organising small events like workshops, talks, exhibitions, portrait sessions and so on. In one year the concept, the workflow, the organisation and the reputation should be set to lunch a real festival of analogue photography. As for now, please mark yourself the last week of July, from Wednesday 28th to Saturday 1st of August 2015. More information will follow.

Music in the video by Vasko Atanasovski Trio.

Outsourcing our lives

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We live in an outsourced society. We are so specialised in our professions that we lost the big picture why do we do the things we do.

I’ve read somewhere that there is not a human being in the world who could make an ordinary pencil from scratch! Have you listen to the TED talk Thomas Thwaites: How I built a toaster — from scratch? Thomas the man tried to make a toaster by himself and it was the impossible project. My point exactly!

It’s a good reason why our society got so specialised. Imagine that it takes you three days to make an axe and two days to make a spear. Your neigbor is slower than you and it takes him five days to make an axe and two days to make a spear! It makes sense for both of you to trade tools. Your neigbor trades two spears for one axe and so it takes him six days to make three spears, from which two spears he trades for one axe with you. If he doesn’t trade he will have a spear and an axe in eight days, but if he makes a trade, it takes him six days to have an axe and a spear. Whereas for you, if you do not trade, it takes you five days to make an axe and a spear, but if you do make a trade it takes you six days to have an axe and two spears! Additional benefit comes with specialisation that the quality and the speed of the production increases.

The problem occurs when our jobs became so specialised that we see only very small fragment of reality and although we would love to do some work on our own, like working in garden, fixing a car, building a house, teaching children, etc…, we simply can not do it! Our society it got so specialised and efficient that we do not have time to do these things on our own! We need to outsource our lives, to find time to do the things we do for somebody else! I’m sure you know what I’m talking about and no, I am not intending to write an anthropological essay about it, other people are specialised to do that.

What I’m trying to say is that today I’ve changed the cooling fluid in my Old-Timer. A friend of mine Miha Kaiser knows a lot about Land Rovers and cars on general and he’s teaching me how the car works and what I need to do to get my car back in the shape. It’s really exciting, I start enjoying the things that are done properly. Small things. Like a good running engine. Sometime ago I’ve read a book Zen and The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig, I’m slowly, but surely finding beauty or “Quality” (if I’m referring to the book) in small everyday occasions. So exciting!

The bottom line is that tomorrow it’s forecasted heavy snowing and on Monday a sunny day. My Land Rover will take me into my studio, that’s forest and rivers, to do some serious wet plate work. If you are interested in supporting my behaviour disorder and buying an art-work from me, please send me an email borut@borutpeterlin.com and I will let you know all the details. Basically I’m intending to do ambrotypes and albumen prints format 10×12″, that’s 25x30cm and if you preorder an art work of mine, I’ll make an additional ambrotype for you for half the price, that’s for $399 USD for an ambrotype or $250USD for an albumen print. If you later change your mind, it’s no problem at all.

Written by Borut Peterlin

28 December, 2014 at 01:44

Posted in land rover

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