Monday, December 28, 2009

Darkroom curtan

A darkroom door curtan was made. It consists of old heavy fabric from a camera buy and more black cloth added to the long side. It was cut into two pieces and lengthened with black cloth. One side was stapeled to the left side and top inside the door; the other half was stapled on the right side and top of the door frame inside. Now I can get out of the darkroom and not let any light into it. It didn't cost anything to do; all the materials were leftovers.

A drying cabinet is needed. Plans are at hand. But I havn't used the new table saw yet.

My web site will have dimentions of half plate book form glass holders for sale. Studiocarter dot com.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Plate holders

Plate holders arrived from England, two of them. They fit the 12x15 camera. Well, they will fit it with a little fussing. They are both most exactly the same size, being just a little larger here and there. A little sanding, glue, tape, a hinge, paint inside, well, more than a little fussing is required. Beggars can't be choosers. You just can't get holders this size very often. They are older and more beat up than the nasty 10x12 what needs work. Very well. Glad to have 'em both.

The 11x14 puddle pusher may work for 12x15 plates if a dowl rod is inside the glass tube and the ends of THAT rod are built up with tape. Anything larger is a special order and costs much more. I can try to make what I got work.

Three new 19th century books were downloaded from Google books. Now I've got to read three web sites and three old books. No problem. One book has plans on how to construct drying cabinets for plates or for papers. Just what I need. The source is the article written by Ms Ross for The Light Farm located in Articles.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Pot to pour plates with

My sister in law was showing us how to clean our noses, when I said, "Hey, wait a minuet, where did you get that Pot?" I thought it would be perfect to pour emulsion out with. Since I havn't been able to find one in Thrift Stores, I went over to the local Whole Foods Store and got one. It is called a NETI POT, breath easier. www NetiPot dot org. HA, it is even from my state, PA.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

That web is HUGE

There are three different webs that I am studying, not just one. You can get to number two and three of them from the one, The Light Farm. The links are in the big box, under the line, at the bottom. Emulsion Coating Wells is part of The Light Farm since it is just one page. That there are three webs and not one was a revelation to me. The Light Farm is the largest of the webs, but the other two are each a good size. Everything has to be sorted out before I start studying. Sorting is studying. I have to know what I need to know. Denise W. Ross Photography is another web. That one is first for me but was last that I found. I bought a print of that image of the forest path, "Hope". The third web is The Original "Adventures in Emulsion_Making" blog




Now she's off learning more about something new and surely another web is in the making.
I'b best start on the first page of one of these three and go through to the end several times over. Hand coloring is very interesting to me so perhaps I'll read everything in drwphotos first.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

follow along on my web site

It has been a while since my last post. Please follow along on my web site:
Denise has sent me her old favorite emulsion well that is 10 inches wide inside. Great. Now I can finish fixing up my oldest and roughfest Vaageeswari 10x12 camera. It has a ground glass holder with loose corners. Brass corner brackets were purchased. A dremmel was purchased and it has a kit with very thin drills. Brass may be polished and screws may be installed.
Chrome Alm, Hard Gelatin, Hardener Fixer, and a new bottle of emulsion were purchased.
I want to work in the darkroom again.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Densities of negatives

A 10x12 light table was purchased in order to see densities of different negatives at the same time. The photograph was made with a Canon and a basic lens. Edges of the table are less light so six different 4x5 glass plates don't photograph as well as they could, but they can all be seen together.
This marks a point of change. New work will soon begin. Getting glass to accept emulsion, exposing it correctly (?), developing it, drying and so on was the goal and it has been met.
New work will begin soon. A drape must be made inside the light tight darkroom door so I can leave plates out to dry. Larger plates must be learned how to be coated. The ultimate is 12x15, some day. And then I'd like to shoot and develop some more 4x5s, perhaps even make a contact print instead of scanning them all the time.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Strip Bracket Test

Bracketed Strip Test, f 16 @ 1 second each. A bright sunny day but not brilliant dry air, a slight haze, and it was humid. It was the same time and the same kind of sun as the last shot the day before. However, the Weston meter said 100 instead of 200; it may be inconsistent, I don't know. The Luna Pro, from the subject, pointed at the camera was 21. (That wasn't done right the first time). This file is not enhanced or touched up in any way. The negative is 4x5, glass plate, Liquid Light, Dektol 1:3, but development took 6 minuets. The plate was dried two full days and no prewetting had been done prior to developing. It developed by inspection, the edges got dark first and much later the center areas. I developed it until it showed the darker steps, one side was darker and there was tone in the other areas. The other plates were still damp when I developed them. This plate is the best pour so far. The camera was the Bender, and the lens 210 f 5.6 Caltar.

What is the correct exposure? What is the ISO? The middle one is f 16 @ 4 seconds. It looks dark.

More accurate measurements of the light need to be made. Fresh emulsion needs to be used. This batch had been heated up many times. It is too soon to determine exact ISO.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Exposure of Liquid Light emulsion

What is the ISO or ASA or speed of Liquid Light emulsion? Well, I got a pretty good picture at f8 at 1 second on a almost brilliant sunny day of average subject. The Sunny Sixteen Rule was applied to those factors. As it turns out, a brilliant day is 200 or 20 depending on which light meter you use. It does not matter what ISO you have to work with; all meters and cameras and lenses are based on this Rule: brilliant sun is gaged at f 16 at 1 over the film speed for the shutter. So, if you have 200 as the bright sun as on a Weston light meter, and 400 for a film speed, f 16 falls on 1/400 second for exposure. Lenses must be focused on infinity. Anything closer will cause the bellows to be extended farther, decreasing light intensity by the square of the distance. Infinity focus is required to start with in order to determine exposure using the Sunny Sixteen Rule.

My daylight and exposure fit the above information perfectly. ISO was ... the lowest setting on any light meter at hand. Get a Weston 715 just for the dial, the cell does not even need to work. Light was 18.5 on a Luna Pro or one block lower than 200 on the Weston. It looks like I'll be using the old Weston meter again.

The other part of the equation is developing the exposed plate in the darkroom. This is also standardized. Dektol is used, diluted 1:3, one part Dektol to three parts water. Mix according to directions on the package to get the one part. One minuet is used as a time. 69 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature throughout. Agitation is minimal. Kodak Fixer is used to both stop the development and to fix. A small amount of Fixer is put in a tray and used as a stop bath for 30 seconds. The fixer tray has more in it and is used for at least 2 minuets. If milky white is observed in the plate, then longer time is required to remove it. 5 minuets of wash in water is all that remains. Plates are stood on edge on a paper towel to dry. Drying can take one hour to all day depending on how thick the emulsion is, dryer air and more of it speeds things up. I place the completed dry plate in a sealable plastic bag.

Washing comes first, Calcium Carbonate or Barkeeper's Friend are enough with a tap water rinse to get the emulsion to stick. I scrub the powder with a brush and a little bit of water over the plate in a tiny tray. Lots of tap water cleans it off. That is all that is needed.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pouring plates every day

Pouring plates after cleaning them different ways is getting easier and easier. Exposing them is coming along, too. A Bender 4x5 camera was used in order to use the lens on it that has a cable release, a Caltar 210, and a Copal #1 shutter. Accurate exposures are in order. One of two plates came out great today. It was shot at f8 and 1 second; the light was not quite brilliant full sun, 18.5 on a Luna Pro meter. ASA or ISO is below the .8 lowest so is about 1/2. The plate was subbed with emulsion and fixed then coated again; it was thick and slow to dry. After scanning at 1200 I enhanced it, and touched it up a bit. It makes a very nice 8x10 print on the PC.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The emulsion is light and loose

The emulsion is very thin and light. It is also subject to humidity. As it is raining and very humid outside, it came loose. So, back into the oven with only the piolet light on to dry out then back into a bag. Perhaps it should be varnished after developing.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My First Plate

This is my first image. It is a 4x5 glass plate made with Liquid Light on top of Polyurethane water base high gloss (varnish). The whole thing lifted off, then dried flat again. Weird.
The problem today was to determine ISO. Tests were done on card stock first. This image is underexposed at 1 ISO instead of 1/2. One second was used at f 16 on a bright sunny day. Dektol was used at 1:3 dilution at 69 degrees F. developed two minuets instead of one because of the underexposure. It was scanned in the computer at 1200 dpi, auto adjust, unsharped, stiched, shrunk down to 20% at 300 dpi and posted as a medium sized image. A Pony Prime No.4 camera was used with a R.O.&C. Victor f8-5.6 lens.

Friday, July 24, 2009

All Together Now

Everything has been done, once. Chemicals were mixed, photographs taken, film developed, (glass broken), (emulsion peeled off and put onto another). The entire cycle has been done for the first time.
Now to do it again and again until it is done right.
The ice is broken.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Second Pour

A full bottle of emulsion takes a while to heat up enough to get it out of the bottle. It was put into a slightly larger sized stainless steel coffee peculator pot, and sat on the strainer lid! Just like a pressure cooker; the lid on the bottom keeps the plastic container from getting too hot.
When warm enough to pour, some was put into a stainless steel daylight developing tank. That, in turn, was floated in warm water in a Pyrex measuring cup.
Temperature was monitored. The small amount was allowed to cool to the required temperature (do the math). More was put in there for the next time. It will be easier to warm up a small amount than the entire bottle.
The plastic apron went on, and the developing tray, white, went on my lap; I sat. The plates done yesterday were in a light safe. They were very much uneven to say the least. Both were covered again. The plates were done at room temperature and not warmed up first; that proved to be an error, warming them did.
The light safe was put onto the enlarger base, checked with a level.
This is cool: The emulsion bottle came in black plastic bag in the box. With the bottle in the pot, the bag is put over it, squeezed to get air out and slid all the way to the bottom. That way I can get out of the room without exposing the emulsion; some light gets in, when the door is opened, as this darkroom doesn't have a light tight walk way exit. Then the door is shut again. Bad design that but a cool workaround.

Science and Photography

Science in High School was attractive but not enough so as to make me do the work. Now is the time. Photography gives me motivation to learn it.

C 1.8 + 32 F

F (F-32) x 1.8 C

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

First pour

Two 4x5 plates were coated with Liquid Light. I hope. Red light was used, only one about 6 feet away. The bottle of emulsion was unpacked in red light and placed in a large Pyrex measuring cup. That in turn was filled with hot water and let sit a little bit. A two reel stainless steel developing can was also filled with hot water. A hot plate was turned on low. The glass sheets were in a 4x5 tray both on the edge and along a center ridge forming a wedge. It would have been easier to find that tray if it had been white instead of black.
The first time I tried to pour some emulsion out of the bottle nothing came out; it must melt first. It doesn't come out easy; the more that melts the easier it is. Some was poured into the stainless steel can and that was put on the now off hotplate. One sheet of glass was warmed up on the hot plate. Then, some emulsion was poured onto a glass sheet; it moved easily.
It spilled onto my pants, on the floor, on the table. Wear a plastic apron. I was sitting down for the first sheet and put a developing tray on my lap for the second try. It didn't look like it was coating the glass evenly; rather, it pooled or left holes. More was added; it spilled off into my hand; I held the glass by the sides or the corners.
Warming up the plate helped some. both plates went into a paper safe. The emulsion got sticky pretty fast.
A thorough clean up followed.
The plates are allowed to dry inside the box. I'll open it in the dark a few times to change the air inside it since it is made of plastic, but it is large.

First time at cleaning glass.

My first tries at cleaning glass with things at hand:
The glass all ready has smoothed off edges on both sides; it was done underwater in a bucket. This is a must do step not to be ignored to your peril. I got sliced up right away cleaning off emulsion.
1. Windex: Nope. Water beaded and did not run off in a sheet. Glass was laid on a paper towel and it moved all over the place. I had to hold it down or hold it in my hand. Not good. Water did not run off in a sheet; water beaded.
2. Dish soap, liquid type. Nope. Same results with the added annoyance of the glass moving even more in a too large tray. 4x5 glass needs to be in a 4x5 tray that is made for it.
3. Baking Soda. Nope. Scrubbed with a paper towel and a little water the results were just like the first two attempts.
4. Tide powdered detergent that is dermatalogically neutral. This worked pretty well. A brand new sponge was used that is rough on one side; both sides were used underwater in a 4x5 tray. Water ran off in a sheet. Tap water was used. Distilled water would be even better. After it drained a bit, standing up on a paper towel, it beaded. Perhaps it would be good enough with a distilled water rince.
5. Photo Flow: perfect. After a wash in Tide, a dip in a solution of Photo-flo in tap water a smooth sheet of water dried without any beading. Film negatives are given a dip in photo-flo so why not glass?
How will emulsion adhear? That is next, now that I have a working method to start with.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


"The most fundamental form of human stupidity is forgetting what we were trying to do in the first place." Nietzshce

My darkroom has been organized; all cameras have been removed and all most everything has been put away. This is a new room but it took on the characteristics of the old room; it became a storrage place, but no more. Only darkroom things are in there now.

Now to clean it with the new shop vacume.

Too many irons in the fire

Some room was needed in order to lay out glass on the table top in the darkroom. So, the good enlarger had to be set up first, and cleaned and painted in places; two more older ones still sit on the floor. Half of the table is open now that the nice enlarger is functional. YEA! The shelves over the sink are all filled with scales, soaps, various sized plate tanks etc. and the boxes on the floor cannot be emptied! I’d gone shopping several times for glass cleaning supplies and got everything but one - Lime Away with phosphoric acid? Under the sink, two 8x10 cameras wait to be restored. They got to go somewhere else. Out in the garage would be a good place for a shop to do repairs in, but that table is filled to the rafters - literally - with packing and boxes from purchases. Packing cannot be recycled and will be tossed out this week, opening up that space. There are too many projects and too little of space, and me.

Someone said that a new photographer must select carefully what will be done. My decision to make Ultra Large Format plate photographs came late. As a result there are different sized cameras for repair and lots of plate holders and contact frames and tripods and enlargers and lenses. Those things are in the way. At least I now know what it is I’ll be doing eventually.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Unicum lens iris part needed

This is an iris blade to a Unicum 12 inch two piston lens. It has two pins, the one on the right is missing; one goes on the top and the other on the bottom sides at either end.
Does anyone have some in a drawer somewhere? I am michael at studiocarter dot com

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Glass cleaning

Now that some sheets of 4x5 glass have been secured they must be cleaned. The edges were ground round so that I would not get sliced any more. This step must not be neglected. The grinding was done in a bucket of water so dust was not a problem. However, removeal of old emulsion and grinding of edges does not clean the glass.

Instructions were sought:
The Light Farm has an article by Bill Winkler
Liquid Light has an instruction sheet
alternativephotography dot com has an article on Dry Plate Photography (googled)
The CD book: Dry Plate Photography, by towler 1865, chapter I, Preparing the Plates, 10 pages

They are all different. There is everything from using your finger tips and detergent to grinding and polishing the glass then using sulpheric acid!

Those four sources were all printed out. Now to read them and choose a method.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

getting ready to coat plates

Shopping had to be done; I just can't go to the school store to get this stuff; I have to go across town to the last photo store in town; then go to the grocery store. Developer has to be Dektol for light magic, and fixer must not be rapid. The grocery store provided me with powderded detergent and unflavored gelatin.
I bought a book from bwpublishing called Dry Plate Photography by Professor Towler 1865. I never knew dry plate photography was that old. The book is on CD.
Some old photo dry plates were cleaned of the emulsion then the sharp edges were sanded with 120 diamond grit. They are MUCH better now.
Those plates were loaded and unloaded in plate holders to practice many times.
My repairs still work on the 4x5 lens while those done by the "professional" do not; the repairs on a 5x7 lens of the same type do not work either. The cylinders need to be polished, that's all. He sent a very bad email to me. Most unpleasant.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Shown is the inside of a Unicum iris. The shutter was all right on this lens, not so on another one like it that is on a 4x5 camera. I had a go at fixing it. I was successful so tried to fix this one. It is larger and was on a junker 5x7. The shutter was bad AND so was the iris. Note the holes where pins are to go. Some were missing. I replaced two using thin slices of lead pencil graphite. They won't last long but the concept was proven. I - you - can do this work. There is a thread about it on LFphotography under lenses.
A 4x5 was needed to start making small plates with; the shutter was bad, It was easy enough for me to fix and you can do it, too. Fixing the iris pins is another matter entirely.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Primo #6 with a Tripod

The camera needs a dark cloth and a tripod to view the ground glass. This tripod was sold to me by a neighbor during our neighborhood yard sale.

Primo #6 plate camera restoration

This is a 4x5 camera. It arrived all scuffed, brown, tattered, but inside it was about as you see it. Many screws were missing, the shutter didn't work, it was dirty, the lenses fogged, ground glass was missing and the front surface mirror is still corroded.

The shutter was sent off for repair only to return not fixed enough to stay working, so, I had a go at it and afterwards it now works at all speeds. The blades were reversed and polished.

Now it is ready for work.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

first time set up

I'm six foot four inches so that gives you an idea of the size of the Vageeswari 12x15 camera. These tripods are very good; another is actually a little bit taller than this one.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Loading plate holders.

The glass I bought all have smoothed edges. I recommend that; they are pleasant to handle. All sheets are single strength 1/16 inch thick. They were all cut to one size, 1/16 less than the full measures of 8 & 1/2 x 15 & 12x15 and that worked. Some are a little loose here and there but they all went into the holders. Some of the holders are off measure. I'm glad I don't have to trim the holders. Loading the plate holders gets the glass off the work table. I need the room on the work bench. What I don't have is the acrylic sheeting, so other work may be done till it arrives.

One stripe of emulsion will be painted upon each size of glass for a stop wedge test of speed. That much I can do now. D-76 might work to develop it. We'll see.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lens board for 8x15 camera

Everything is about ready for the 8x15; I have the glass, the border, the well, the glass puddle pusher; green stuff is ordered and emulsion is on the way. The camera needs a lens. Today I made a lens board and put the same lens on it that was used on the Korona. It is a Kodak Commercial Ektar f 6.3 with a flange.

red stuff

This is where I'm starting today:
A product needed for emulsion spreading is listed here:
and can be had under How to Order here:
They will call.

The local glass store called instead: my order is ready for pickup.

When I get that green stuff, oops, it's actually red, the glass, and the emulsion or find some practice material , I'll be able to begin coating glass, which should be very soon.


Got it (the glass). That is the picture at the top of this post. I tried to put it down here, but....
edit: I called the place that sells the sheeting after 3pm and put my order in. They know of Denise and The Light Farm; the stuff is commercial grade acrylic sheeting; she bought 6 feet of the 36 inch wide 1/16 inch red stuff. so did I.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Repairs to the Vageeswari 12x15

Damage was described before I bought the camera and I figured that I'd be able to do the repair; tonight, I did. The seller sent knobs and parts as per my request; nothing actually fit or matched, but I got the idea from them. The threaded rod was broken off and the knob was missing. The part controls rear swing and holds the back tight; it is essential.
The entire side was removed. All those screw slots pointed the same way (and now still do). The slider was 78mm long, brass, and had two threaded rods. It was cut. One of the parts that were sent was cut. Two pieces now slide as one. It didn't slide at all before.
It feels good to have it working better now.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

more old plate contact prints

4x5 wording on signs is readable

8x10 The date on the calendar is 1943 or 8. Labels on cigar boxes are readable.

glass buy

Two glass companies were visited today. One didn't have anyone there. Strange, because yesterday I spoke with a man on the phone?? The other one was on the main drag and fixed me up just fine.
Book plate holders were brought in along with a sample of Kodak's 8x10 from the 1950s? They looked at it and said it was not American. I had to explain that it was Kodak made but from long ago. It is thinner than single strength they sell. Single strength still is thinner than the wood that holds the glass in the holders, so it'll work I hope.
They measured the book form plate holders and came up with a size that hopefully will fit all of the chambers. 2" border strips were also ordered along with a base plate of double strength. All will be edge polished.
12x15 was the size we did, then I laid on the 8x15 holders. Two sets were thus ordered. Two holders for each size were at hand. So, that was 4 sheets of single strength glass for pictures and 5 pieces for the jig, making 9 pieces for each size, 18 pieces in all.
1mm was requested and the lady said she would look for some. Yea, right.

old glass plate contact print

4x5 glass plate from long ago. Check out the tree growing out of the man's head.

Getting ready - again

Yesterday, Monday, the lab fee was paid. $88 worth of paper, sleeves, and chemicals were used during the previous week at Touchstone. Glass plates were explored and 11 film negatives were shot; about 35 prints were made. Then, shopping was done on line for supplies for my next shoot. Freestyle Photographic was used. Liquid Light was first. Chemical storage tanks were bought, books on digital negative making, hand coloring of prints, tongs, dust busters, sleeves - a lot of stuff is needed yet. A source of 1mm sheet glass (google that phrase) was found; holders and glass were measured, they are not all the same. The 12x15 camera was made ready by making a lens board and mounting the huge brass lens. It worked, and the image was like watching HDTV:)
Yet, more needs to be done. My web page was worked on, setting it up to show photography, but it is not published yet; scans were made of camp photos, local darkroom class prints (I took that class 3 times!), and contact prints of very old glass plates. Glass will be ordered today and cutting tools will be needed. It seems that none of the plate holders are exactly alike. Glass will need to be tailored to match. Exact measurements of the two plate holders for the 12x15 Vageeswari are needed; then the cleanup and bellows check, other lens boards, tripod check, paper film, tin film ...... this is fun, this is work, this is costly, this is art, and worth doing.

Monday, June 22, 2009

glass from old plates

Glass from used plates is thinner than picture frame glass or single strangth glass. Single strength glass is 1/16th inch thick. Photographic plate glass is thinner than that. It is not half as thick, because two plates are thicker than single strength glass. Not much thicker, but thicker.

Single strength glass will fit into plate holders with a little space left over. There is a lot more space between the glass and the slide if plate glass is used, photographic plates that is.

Where can I get that thinner glass?

It is about 1mm thick. hmmmmmmmmm

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Old Plates

An old 12 pack package of 8x10 film plates was opened in total darkness. It had been sealed air tight. Inside was a loose instruction sheet that was found after the lights were put on again. It tells what developer to use, when the film was new, however, the film is now around 50 years old. I have other packages much older. Anyway, 12 sheets of glass were inside; the film was purchased for the glass; any pictures it could take would be an interesting diversion. And, developing old plate film is part of the interest I have in plate photography.
Inside the double box, a box of two lids and one base, was a wax paper bundle of all the plates. Inside that were two black paper packages of 6 plates each. Plates were packed with white cardboard edges to hold two plates face to face. The little channels of card stock were found after the lights went on. 6 plates remain after these expirments.
What side was the emulsion face on? That was determined by pressing dampened thumb and index finger on a corner. One side stuck and that was the emulsion. The other side was rough to the touch. It came off pink in the prewash. There are no notches in the glass like there are on film. Plates are packed face to face, held together by cardboard bent edge channels.
Edges of the glass are sharp; they have not been smoothed. They never cut me, but, one must be very careful.
Some plates were subsisquently totally underexposed and so nothing happened in development. They were rated at 400 ISO and were totally off the scale, of the image shown below that shows a field, towards the light side 4 stops. That was good because the emulsion started to come off in long processing. Rubbing with rubber gloved fingers took all of it off very easily. One plate at least is ready for recoating.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

first full size plate image

Development was longer for these images than for normal film, 20 min, not 13. No one knew how to do this. The increase in development made the image much darker than the test, I think. Water was 66 degree so we increased time. It is a little mixed up now. Also, there are a lot of black dots on this one.
Exposure was on 12 ISO, from an average reading of the light patch and a dark stump shadow. It was f 11-16 at 1 sec.

Tri-X test exposure

The old plates were rated at 100 ISO instead of 640 like the instructions said to. Exposures were one second each at f 45. The slide was pulled out seven times a little each exposure. The plate was developed in Pyro for 16min instead of 13 as for contemporary film.
ISO is rated at 12 in the middle. That means the film is 5 stops slower than it was made to be.
It worked great.
A high energy developer would increase contrast.
The 8x10 print looks just like this image. It was scanned at 100 dpi and posted untouched.
Blurry image occured as a result of moving the camera.

8x10 Korona

An 8x10 Korona plate camera was taken to photo camp. Everyone loved it. A 14 inch Kodak lens in a Illex No. 5 shutter was screwed into a wooden lens board that fit it. Tripod was wood and stablizer bars held the rails securly. A dark cloth protected my shoulder, while I carried the set, and a bag on my left side held plate holders. It was bulky but then I am, too.

Plates were from of old, unopened, Kodak Tri-x rated at 640 ISO. Images were had at 12 ISO and developed in Pyro. Not the best developer, but it proved that old plates could capture images.
11 images were shot on Ilford HP5+ 400 B&W. One of the plate holders with clear glass in it was used with film and proved to be tight, but it worked. New film holders are thinner than the old wooden plate holders.
One of my prints taken at the Photo camp sold at auction there for $75. I was requested to give a demonstration at the Westmoreland Photographers Group later this year. This was the first time I ever shot 8x10 on plates or on film.
When I arrived home today, a huge box from India was there along with a smaller one from CO. Now I have to cut a hole in a teak lens board and go try out my new old 12x15 plate camera.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


That's too much. The suitcase will be the only thing to take besides the tripod. One type of film only will be taken, only glass plate holders will be taken. Removeing the film holders from the suitcase makes room for the one or two glass plate boxes. One is enough. The film changing bag is not really needed. The spot meeter will fit in there also.
The rule of KISS applies. Keep It Simple Simon.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cases for 8x10 and tripod

The local posh antique store had a suitcase just like Mom's. I say, "Had", because it is now mine, less $10. It is Navy blue with white leather edges and gold snaps. It has 1949 scratched on the catch. I use a smaller one just like it. However, this one is perfect for the 8x10 Gundlach Korona; the camera fits into the case like a glove; along side it go a stack of plate holders. On top goes a black cloth; on top of that just fits is a golf seat. I can sit down and focus now.
The old wooden no name tripod fits into a Induro cardboard box, now painted black. The head doesn't fit of course. Gaffer's tape holds the lid shut over the head.
A Giant Eagle cloth shopping bag hold 4 boxes of plates; another bag holds a film changing bag, a 1 degree spot light meter, a note pad and pens, and extra battery for the meter. The one degree meter is essential for the zone system method I intend to learn.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Stablization bars and tripods

A Gundlach Korona 8x10 camera has a rectangular base. On the two outside parts are two slots, two on each side, four in all; the slots are faced with metal that has a groove cut into it. Round head screws fit perfectly. They just slide into place.
A no name tripod has a rectangular top that is perfect for a large format camera. It is not as wide as the width of the camera base. Put the camera onto the tripod and screws in slots dangle on each side; that is where stabilization bars go. Two pieces of wood, 3/4 x 3/4 inch and about 24 to 30 inches long will fit in those spaces nicely. The screws are centered. Screws are left sticking out of the bars a little bit. Stabilization bars thus secured hold up bellows rails on each side of the camera base. The bars attach to the camera base on each side by simply pushing them into the slots. But, knobs or brackets may interfere with bars; cut bars to fit. A tripod made for the camera would not have interfering parts.
Oak was used and screws hold tightly in it. Holes were predrilled small enough to just allow threads to cut into the wood. Extra screws attach the bars to the tripod head and use smaller holes in it as that wood is softer. Sanding, staining, drying and rubbing in sand finishes to match.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

plate holder repairs

The hinge on my chosen 8x10 plate holder tore off. Half had rotted away allready. Just a little bit of water allowed to soak into the old material under the paint loosened it and it cleaned up nicely. Instead of using Gaffer's tape, White Linen picture framers tape was used, then painted with a black liquid rubber after it was dry. It looks old and funky just like the others now.
Old glass plates have sharp edges. They fit perfectly into the old wooden holders. Two dry plate holders arrived today and they fit into the camera just right. I know they are dry plate holders because they have that red cardboard inside instead of the black metal with the little spring. There are other plate holders in a pile that need the same work and some more to do on the slides.
A full set of 3M diamond glass polishing pads arrived today. They will be used before the puddle pusher etc is.
Lens boards will need to be made. Only one lens fit the board that fits this camera. And that lens must be screwed into the wood since the flange is just a hair too big to fit the opening. The lens threads engage the wood just right. 16 1/2 inch in a Illex No.5. Not nearly long enough, but it'll do for now.

getting a camera ready

A Korona 8x10 has been gotten ready to shoot with at Photo Camp. The bellows proved to be light tight; indeed, it looks new, at least on the outside. Someone must have covered it with new leather.
An old tripod was put under the camera yesterday and tried out outdoors. It may be a Korona, there is another on line that looks a lot like it and IT is called that, too. This tripod is too short for me, but a small stool would help. Perhaps I'll buy the other tripod as it is taller. My neighbors got an eyeful; I heard one say, that must be 100 years old. It must have been a sight to see me under the black and white cloth with that old camera all stretched out. I think it'll handle a 30 inch lens. However, the front rails sagged due to a loose joint, so, back to work inside.
It was taken apart, glued, clamped, and today it is held up by new oak rail braces. There is a pair for sale on eBay but the screws are too far apart for my camera base. The slots in the base of my camera are 2 1/2 inches apart while those on line for the banquet camera are one inch more. Having seen it, though, I was able to figure out how to make a pair.
The front of the camera pulled up when it was all opened instead of sagging. The new rails hold it from going down but the bellows pull it up above the rail. Two small screws fixed that problem.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Photo Camp

A photo course called, Large Format Forever: Adventures in Large Format Black & White Photography by Richard Stoner begins June 14 and will run till the 20th. That is why no new blogs will be posted here soon.
Dry plates will be taken to camp along with a camera and plate holders for them; they are Kodak ones of several emulsions in 8x10 boxes. A report will follow upon return.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Plate camera extras

The tripod was ordered, another plate holder, and some extra knobs. I should have asked for a new shaft or whatever holds that missing knob on with; such may be possible as well.

The money was refunded, this has happened before and will be all right. So, I requested the shaft. It is only a short thing that slides behind a piece of plate metal, but if he has one...

The contractor working on our new bathroom knows where to get Teak wood and has a plainer to shape it to the exact thickness. I want to make ground glass covers. Not every camera came with one, but a couple did. He also knows a guy who plates metal for him with the same kind as my cameras.

Edit: I GOT IT and the little nuts and bolts and knobs etc.
someday I may teach again only this time it'll be ULF glass dry plate photography - all equipment provided.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

plate camera

A plate camera was won on ebay just now. It is a Vageeswari 12 x 15 inch. It may be seen for a while here:
That price is easily twice what I've been paying for smaller ones, but then, large ones are rare, if for plate, and not for film, but glass. That is my focus, glass plate. So, I had to have it. The missing knob will come off a rough 10x12 that needs help that I got just in case.

That 12x15 size that will require larger plate spreading equipment. Are larger than normal sizes available?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

how to find stuff on the site

OK, OK, I found it. Here it is: go the the Home Page and click on the one and only navigation button at the top called site index.

or just click here to make it much easy:

Home page.
Site Index.

that's it.

I try to learn something every day. This day, it was site index. Every item on the complete index of the web site is a link to that page. Front Page web writing program enables one to create links like that. However, an outline for me only happens after everything is all done. Not before. So, it was not seen till exploration of the pages began.
Thank you D !

Friday, June 5, 2009

getting set up

OK, here we go.
On The main page of The Light Farm, at the top, there are two navigation thingies. The one on the left is the main one to use. It is very tiny and hard to use. Carefully go down the list to the 13th level called, Dry Plate Photography > and you will see another menu open up. Go down that one to 4: Plate Prep and Coating > and another one will open up (see what I mean?) carefully select 4a: TLF System. Phew!
I feel like I have accomplished something already.
Get ready to spend more money.
In for a penny, in for a pound.
I've already bought two things. One was from The Light Farm, an emulsion Coating Well (just nevermind where it is), and one from Photographer's Formulary, a Puddle Pusher. Now, glass edge polishing pads were bought from yet another company.
You gotta really want this to get into it.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

first seeding

This blog is about my efforts to learn how to be a photographer. A web site called, The Light Farm, is the school I am attending, so to speak. It is the source of my information. Here is the link:

It is all about Dry Plate Photography; that is photography on glass plates, not film. It is also photography that is mostly large format in size. Large format sizes begin around 4x5 inches. My cameras range from 3 1/2 inches to 15 inches for one of the dimentions of the glass plates.