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.