Photography, Fine Art, Wet Plate Collodion, Alternative photography

Posts Tagged ‘wet plate

Barbed wired final frontier of EU

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Dear readers,
I’ve started a new project. I’m foremost documentary photography and ever since I got myself devoted to wet plate collodion process, I regretted the fact that I’ve parted with the spontaneity and playfulness of 35 mm photography. I desperately wanted to smooth my workflow, so the complexity of wet plate collodion process will not stand in my vision of documentary photographer, going around, taking pictures. That’s why I’ve made this invincible wet-plate mobile! If you are wet-plate practitioner you will appreciate a lot the content of this video, because wet-plate workflow has never been easier! Of course the dark-box is the key, as I’ve described in my LAST POST.

Now, finally, I can devote myself again to documentary photography I cherish so much. My theme is The Final Frontier of EU, more precisely the EU’s Schengen border. To prevent migration of refugees from Syria and immigrants from other places, Slovenian government decided to put barbed wire on our south border!


71WHId5NVOL._SL1500_Imagine that!?! I do not know what think and what will they solve with what? Imagine that thousands of refugees will flood across the river Kolpa to Slovenian soil and take a stand there! What will Slovenian government do then? I mean it’s not 1939, journalists are all around and on top of everything we should pretend to be civilised, so we set barbed wired fence. To stop what and who? Deers?

Most of my readers don’t know much of history of Slovenia and there is no reason why should you know, but in this context I will say few lines. Slovenia used to be part of Yugoslavia, governed by communistic regime that resist Stalin’s politic and therefore received a lot of


Deer that died in huge pain. Photo: Tine Lindič

sympathy from West and East. There was a very real threat that Soviet Union will invade Yugoslavia like they did to Czechoslovakia, Lithuania and others. Churchill delivered The Iron Curtain Speech in 1946 and its south-east border was actually Slovenia (that was part of Yugoslavia at the time). So what I’m trying to say is that in the past we experienced some really difficult times and inspire of being threatened with invasion, even when the Iron Curtain was being set on our borders with Italy and Austria, even in the dark times like this, our ancestors did not think of making our country like barbed wired concentration camp!

That said Slovenian nation, we deserve the finger up our asses, for being a faithful servants of our masters, support the imperialistic war in Iraq and dismantling Middle East, being quite at violation of human rights issues, buying particular arms and basically everything we supposed to do, to receive crumbs from the table. There is solely one good lesson to be learned from this refugee crisis. The whole Europe and the world has learned that whatever war happens wherever in the world, we will have in a month time refugees knocking at our door! USA is safe, they do not care, but people we have learned that you can not cross a border as a single person, but a flow of hundred thousands of refugees is unstoppable!

I say this in first person, because on the contrast to most of you, I do not exclude the scenario that I and my family might need to flea from a future war. I was 9 years old, I still remember very clearly, we had a lunch, I was being very picky and my grand father said, appreciate the food, because tomorrow it might be another war. I was laughing at him, thinking how silly he is, but not even ten years later we had a war!

Oak tree in Wet Plate Collodion technique

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This morning I photographed an oak tree. Horizontal image is tintype taken with Kodak Folding Brownie and vertical one is with 5×7″ view camera. I’m not satisfied with vertical image, I had only one glass plate left, if I would have three I would make it much better. It was cold 2C, but Wet Plate Collodion chemicals were working a bit slower, but just as nice. I love it! I can’t get enough of this “hands on photography”!

Tomorrow I’m going to visit Josip Pelikan’s studio. “The studio is without a doubt one of the best preserved luxurious glass photographic ateliers in Europe with original equipment used by the famous Slovene photographer Josip Pelikan (1885–1977). The 19th-century glass photographic studio on the second floor makes daylight photography possible even today.”

Then I’ll visit two camera collectors in Celje and in Maribor Dragiša Modrinjak, who established a photo-museum. I hope he’ll introduce me to this lady. On the end I’ll visit an exhibition of Alenka Sottler in Maribor. So… stay tuned & don’t forget to rate, if you like the images above 🙂

Wet Plate Collodion photography in the morning at 4C (39F)

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This morning it was temperature 4C (39F) and it was perfect to try out how does Wet Plate Collodion process work at this temperature. I had an alcohol burner (not my liver) with which I could heat up chemicals if I would need to, but it was surprisingly not needed. I did prolonged time of sensitizing a plate from 3min to 6 min and developing was a bit longer, but that was the only difference of usual procedure. I photographed an old apple tree that was sunbathing.

I used my Kodak Folding Brownie At my first exposure I didn’t fixed lens properly and it was out of focus. I repeated the shot, but I kind of like the un-fucused picture just as well. This two pics are tintypes then I repeat the shot, but I poured collodion on glass plate. I’m attaching a picture as a glass negative looks on a black velvet. That principle of backing a collodion negative with a black background it’s called an ambrotype. Check this negative bellow, half it’s on a black velvet and half is on a white paper. A pure magic, I tell you!

Written by Borut Peterlin

7 January, 2012 at 23:02

Great day to portray in Wet Plate Collodion technique!

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Happy new year everybody! Today it was really nice sunny winter weather (without snow though) and our family had a lunch together and I decided to make a group picture. I’ve made really nice group picture in about the same time six years ago, when my younger daughter and nephew Tilen wasn’t born yet (not to mention my short hair!). I tried to make a group picture with Wet Plate Collodion, but it didn’t work. It’s just too precise procedure to be in front and behind the lens. I knew I was pushing my luck with Wet Plate Collodion technique and it’s very likely not to succeed, so I took another picture on a normal sheet film of a format 9x12cm with Linhof Technika.

Beside the group picture I also took portraits of nephew Tilen, niece Enja and daughter Brina (hoover above an image for a name). I’m becoming really comfortable working with this Wet Plate Collodion technique. Can’t wait to get new chemicals, because I have so little silvernitrate that the level of the fluid is not covering the glass plate, so I need to constantly rock a tray, to get fluid evenly on a plate. I know… annoying and I feel stupid standing there rocking a tray for five minutes for every picture, but then again, I rather do that then sit and wait for a postman to come 🙂

Now I’ve decided that I’ll keep on doing Wet Plate Collodion and since I’ve done such a beautiful portraits of our children, also my wife recognize benefits of this kind of photography, so I need a new camera. A big camera! This Linhof Technika and the large format camera for Wet Plate Collodion process are borrowed. I need to make some money to buy this monster, so my plan is to hire a studio for a day and do portraits for people. Are you interested to have that kind of portrait? Send me an email and I’ll send you back all the info. Email:

PS: I’m publishing also an older picture of my neighbor with her newborn.


Srečno novo leto vsem! Danes je bil čudovit sončen zimski dan (samo še sneg je manjkal) in imeli smo družinsko kosilo, tako sem odločil, da je čas za novo skupinsko družinsko sliko. Pred kakimi šestimi leti sem prav tako v prvih dnevih leta naredil eno čudovito fotko, a takrat se še ni rodila hčerka Brina in nečak Tilen (da ne omenjam mojih kratkih las!). Poizkusil sem narediti skupinsko fotko v tehniki mokri kolodij, a proces je prezahteven in prenatančen, da bi lahko bil pred in za objektivom. Ker sem vedel, da izzivam srečo, sem pred tem naredil še posnetek s klasičnim filmom, to je črnobelim plan filmom formata 9×12 cm in sicer z lepotico od kamere Linhof Techniko.

Poleg skupinskega portreta sem naredil še individualne portrete nečaka Tilna, nečakinje Enje in mlajše hčerke Brine. Res fajn mi je delat s tem mokrim kolodijem na steklenih ploščah in komaj čakam nove, sveže kemikalije. Srebrovega nitrata mi že tako zmanjkuje, da moram banjico konstantno zibat, da je tekočina enakomerno prekrije ploščo. Vem… zelo zoprno in se počutim neumneo, ko za vsako fotko pet minut ujčkam banjico s srebrovim nitratom, a jebiga, raje to kot, da sedim in čakam na poštarja.

Sedaj sem se odločil, da je mokri kolodij prava stvar zame in bom vztrajal v tej tehniki. Glede na to, da sem naredil čudovite portrete otrok, tudi moja žena spoznava prednosti te tehnike in sprejema odločitev, da potrebujem (še eno) novo kamero. In to veliko kamero! Prej omenjena Linhofca ni moja in prav tako je veliko formatna kamera izposojena, tako potrebujem nov prihodek, da plačam za to zver. Moj plan je, da za kak dan najamem studio in naredim en kup portretov v tej tehniki. Bi morda želeli svoj portret ali portret svojega otroka v tej tehniki? Pošljite mi email na in vam odgovorim s podrobnosti.

PS: Objavljam še eno starejšo fotografijo sosede z novorojencem.

Family Peterlin group picture 20120101_0001-13Family Peterlin group picture

Wet Plate Collodion portraits with studio flashes

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my gradmother 20111230_0001-3blinking 20111230_0001-34a20111230_2820111230_25

Today I’ve made four more portraits of my family. I started with my grandmother and after I developed the glass plate, I grabbed a bottle for which I thought is a fixer, but I realized that it’s not and I’ve learned that it’s not good to keep fixer in the same kind of bottle as distilled water. I washed developer away sit in a car and drove home that was 15 min away. I was driving like it’s an emergency, I was saving an image after all!!! Next portrait was from my wife. She blinked and she didn’t had time or patience to repeat the shot. When I was drying plate above the fire, the glass broke. But it cracked really nicely and this coincidence on the end made the picture! Last two are portraits of my parents.

I’m quite happy with my progress in Wet Plate photography process, I just need to work a bit more with flashes. I have few options in mind that might work better. I used:
Wet Plate Collodion, glass plate format 5×7″ glass plate, lens: Carl Zeis Tessar 250mm f/4,5. Illuminated by two studio flashes of joined power of 2250 Ws.

How do you like this portraits?
Rate, comment and Rock&Roll!


Danes sem naredil še par portretov moje družine. Začel sem z babico in po razvijanju steklene plošče, sem jo hotel fiksirati, a ugotovil, da ni dobro imeti fiksirja v enaki steklenici kot destilirano vodo, se pravi, nisem imel fiksirja pri sebi. Vsedel sem se v avto in dirjal domov, kot bi bil rešilec. Pa saj sem reševal fotko, kaj ni to dober vzrok za nujno vožnjo?!? Naslednji potretiranka je bila moja žen, ki pa je med ekspozicijo tako na muč zamižala. Bil sem kar nejevoljen, še posebej, ker ni imela ne časa ne volje, da bi portret ponovili. No, ko sem lakiral portret, je steklo počilo in to na tak način, da je dejansko super izpadlo. Ne bi mogel bolje te črte potegniti!

Ob koncu dneva sem kar zadovoljen z napredkom v tej tehniki fotografije 19. stoletja. Morda vidim še kar nekaj potenciala z lučmi, oziroma bliskavicama, moram preizkusiti še par opcij.
Na koncu statistika:
Tehnika mokri kolodij na steklo, format 12 x 16,5 cm, objektiv Zeis Tessar, 250mm f/4,5, osvetljeno z dvema studijskima bliskavicama v skupni moči 2250 Ws. Ne pozabite ozvezdit ta zapis in kakopak komentirat!
Rok in rol,

Transportable darkroom for Wet Plate Collodion Process

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I’m a beginner in Wet Plate Collodion process and I was blogging about a workshop that I took in Serbia (link). When I came home I was trying to make a good picture, but without success. I mean I’ve made this portrait, but you see the picture only because I scanned it and corrected the contrast and curves. Mišo Keskenović was telling me that my collodion is young and therefore lacking contrast. I knew it’s not only young collodion, but I didn’t had a constant working conditions, results were everywhere from bad ones to un-recognizible ones. But now I made myself a darkroom I can use on the field. I bought second hand Fujifilm darkroom and cut two holes in it and made a hood for it. It’s tight, but it works perfectly. Well I’ll try it out tomorrow outside, but it will work for sure.

Today I’ve made a tests trying to establish a correct exposure. I reckoned that I was overexposing my shots and then cutting the developing time and I had correct density of silver, but it was so uncontrasty the motif was barely recognizable. Now I decided to establish the correct exposure with studio flash, so I will have constant light during the test. First I tried on an old and dirty tinplate and I cut down exposure. Immediately I noticed it’s underexposed but with nice contrast. On the next tintype plate I spread collodion perfectly and illuminated it with four flash bursts of 1500Ws each. The result above is as you see it. No postproduction with curves and stuff. Actually if you see it live, it’s amazing, because you’re looking at pure silver and the image is incredibly sharp. Really! You can not get the sharpness like that with any Hasselblad, because the lens is projecting directly on the tintype without any interference of film negative. Of course just dead center is razor sharp.

My estimation is that if I set f/11 on my Kodak Folding Brownie the exposure time should be somewhere like a light meter would be set at aperture f/32, ISO 25. I will try my theory tomorrow and I’ll post the result. My collodion is now three weeks old. If it’s 1-3 months old it gives best results, but the exposure time is prolonged with aging of collodion. And apparently wet plate collodion is most sensitive on UV light, so reading with conventional lightmeter is only an estimate. FUN!

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Written by Borut Peterlin

13 December, 2011 at 00:15