Dry plates and Bratislava project.

November 28, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

How survive winter with wet plate collodion photography? And how to work with big format camera in the city? 

These two questions were in my mind for the last months. I was thinking about plate films for some time, but then I remember that I have read about dry plates. They would be pretty easy, just dried collodion plates. A much slower than wet plates, but who cares when you are not working with people. Cold and wet weather was a big incentive to try it.

Wat I was read is true, but it was not easy and straightforward. The basic source of information was this link http://albumen.conservation-us.org/library/monographs/sunbeam/chap37.html. And here is a modern description on Derived Logic web page.

The first plates were just a fog without any details. You know, to find an error in a complex process is not easy. But I was stubborn and finale there was some, very weak, image. I tried redeveloping and it worked, in some extend. But when I destroyed some plates in this way, I return back to simple development and try different exposure and development times. And it works. 

Bratislava is my home for more than thirty years. It's nickname is Small Big City. There are many layers of architecture. Historical buildings from the time of Austro-Hungarian Empire, modern houses from the period between world wars, some fascinating and sometimes brutal constructions from communist times and a lot of trash with some pearls from last twenty years. 

It is fascinating to look at our contemporary world with an old technique. This project will be realised during winter and spring with 18x24 cm camera and contact silver prints. And there will be, I hope, a self-published book about Bratislava at the end. 

A few technical details about dry plates

I skip gelatine operation. Collodion is standard Lea's #7 Landscape. The developer is from the original recipe, not a Derived Logic variation. Exposure time for EV14 is 3 minutes with F5.6, developing time 10 minutes. After full stabilisation of the process, I will add a detailed description into my recipe page. If you have a question, just send me a mail.

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