Tintypes and salt prints from morning garden and something about landscape photography

June 23, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

These are the longest days of the year. A lot of sunlight, even when you have to wake up early to catch the morning light. I have spent a few mornings in our garden and it looks that this will be a long term relationship. Maybe it looks funny or lazy to make landscape photographs in a garden. But, there are (take aside, how comfortable it is) some advantages, which should attract every landscape photographer.  

I believe that a photographer has to know the country, the places, where he is working.  Know them, walking them, return to the same places again and again in the morning, in the evening and all the year around. Of course you can make one life trip to Antarctica, but I doubt that you will be able to do anything important or durable that way. Landscape photographer should not work as a news photographer, who is catching people on the fly, but as a portrait painter, who is sitting with his model for hours, knowing all of his faces

The morning light is changing at a dramatic pace. The quality, the intensity and the angle of the light is developing very fast and you have a limited chance to repeat the same plate the second time. Low sun is jumping from here to there, unveiling and again hiding, creating a staccato of sceneries you can see and admire.

It was a period of sunny days, but I had to wait for a windowless morning for a few days. The first tintype (on the bottom) was made at 6 a.m. with F8 and a 10 second exposure, which results in a very contrasty plate. The garden was still in the shadow, but red - orange flowers (one meter high Hemerocallis) worked with collodion with a surprising clarity. The second plate (on the top) was made 30 minutes later with 15 second exposure.

I was thinking about going into negatives and prints again for some time, not sure if to stick  with albumen or collodion chloride prints.  I like to limit variables so when I'm going to make prints, I want to stay with one of the processes for a few months, at least. And, maybe not just by coincidence, these days I just've seen Quinn Jacobson live show dedicated to salt prints (many thanks for inspiration and advice). It is a shame, but I have to admit that, comparing to albumen or collodion chloride, I considered salt prints as something inferior. Quinn Jacobson and the print he made showed me, how wrong I was. 

The glass negative was made with 10 second exposure, EV increased at that time from 9.6 to 10.6. I used standard Lea's Landscape collodion, but as a developer I used that less ferrous more acid negative version. Developing was going out very fast so I break developing at 20 seconds, trying to save the clarity of shadows. I made the second glass, but wind was blowing more or less for the rest of the morning and I was not able to repeat exposure. I redeveloped the first glass later that day and it worked in a very promising glass, a clear candidate for print.

When you are printing salt prints (the same for collodion chloride or albumen prints) you have to cope during the process with abrupt changes of tonality. The first fixing usually destroy a lot of the image charm, but when you you preserve, you will be rewarded. I like final prints very much. At this moment I don't know if I will stick with salt prints for next months. But for sure, glass plates, negative developer and hypo will be the part of my travels again.






No comments posted.



Sign up for my newsletter!

* indicates required
Email Format


January (4) February (1) March (1) April (2) May June (1) July (2) August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December