Wednesday, August 3, 2011
A white plastic dome is placed over the sensor in order to measure incident light. Readings are taken from the subject with the meter facing the camera. If it is bright outside a screen is placed in front of the sensor to block some of the light. In that case the dial must be read a special way. Usually, as in low light conditions, black numbers are used. There are red numbers which are used when the "high slide", as it is called, is inserted. Those numbers are to the left; the dial is rotated clockwise and they are revealed.
On a bright sunny day the amount of light is usually 320 give or take a block with the high slide in front of the sensor under the white plastic dome. When you aim the light meter at the camera from the subject and depress the center button the red needle will move up to 320 or 320+1 more block; let go and the needle is fixed in place.
The large dial is in two parts. It looks black but there is a white part under it. That moves a red pointer. The red triangular pointer is aligned with the needle. It serves to remind you of the reading so more can be taken. The black dial moves a scale of numbers. The numbers are the same as the needle numbers and are to be aligned with one or the other triangles in the white scale inside the dial. The red scale is used with the high slide and the black scale is used without it. 320 is put over the red H.
A little white square shows the ISO setting. The lowest setting is one click below 6. ISO of Liquid Light is below that. One full stop will raise or lower the number 6 by twice or half. Above 6 is 12, below it and not shown is 3. 320 by the red H is moved over so that 160 is on the red H making ISO to be 3 when the ISO is on 6 (one click up from the maximum). Then move it again so that 80 is aligned with the red H and ISO is 1 1/2. Move it again and you get 40 on H and 3/4.
There are two dots between the 6 and 12. ISO decends from 6, 5, 4,3, 2 1/2, 2, 1 1/2, 1 1/4, 1, 3/4.
That is how I have been thinking. The dial, however, shows different numbers; ISO is indicated above the f16 number as 1, 2, 4, 8. Not 6. I suppose the lowest number on the dial is actually 6, one click lower than the number and not aligned with it, but since it does not align I don't use it that way.
At the bottom of the dial on the light meter a red 1 will align with white 16. ISO is 1. Bright sun is f 16 at 1 second. That is -3 stops or three more stops of light from 6, when foot candles are 320, my way.
Monday, August 1, 2011
1) State the Problem. Now I have a problem with two plates made so far. One of the plates is the Liquid Light bracket test and the other is the better work photo of the Field House that followed. The problem is that both have the same exposure, part of the bracket test has the same exposure as the Field House. The biggest part of the problem is that when I developed the bracket test I could not see any image form in the area that has the same exposure as the Field House, but when I developed the Field House photo it was observable.
Without the present study of the scientific method I would not pursue it. I went right past it and onto making large format images.
2) Gather Observations. I take a lot of notes when working. The notes are written again into a word processor document. I now have a format for all good photographs and some of the bad ones. A photograph fills the width of the page at the top. Under it, in bold, the title. The first paragraph under that lists the size, date, emulsion, camera, lens, and exposure, including the Foot Candle reading in incident light. The next paragraph is how the image was developed and fixed. A brief comment follows and the final paragraph tells something of how the plate was made.
Everything fits onto one side of one page. All photographs have the same format and information. It helps me figure out what is going on.
023 Frick field Wedge Test ...This plate was scraped twice, one end was thicker than the other.
025 Field house ...The emulsion must be very thin because it cleared so fast.
When I developed the Wedge Test, the part that was good didn't develop; it stayed white and I thought there wasn't an image there.
3) Form a Hypothesis. Thick emulsion may have a higher ISO than thin emulsion.
4) Conduct experiments. Make two plates, one thin and one thick with emulsion. Expose them both the same, develop them both the same, developing the thin one first by observation.
5) Evaluate. When I had developed 023, no image showed until it was cleared after 20 minuets in fixer, then the image showed to be the better part. I may have been overdeveloping thick plates! 025 cleared in 3 minuets.
I am guessing that thick emulsion will capture more light then a thin one and then hide the image under the unexposed excess white halides. Trees in the Frick Park Wedge Test photo have more gray details than the trees in the Field house photo. Development was one min in the Wedge Test and three min in the Field house. I will develop 2 min both new plates.
Two new plates were coated. The glass is new single strength with the sharp edges knocked off with a black diamond pad underwater. Two different methods of coating plates were used. One coating was applied thinly and the other was applied thickly.
The thin coating used glass edge strips of the same thickness, single strength, and a puddle pusher glass rod. The ends of the glass rod were wrapped with three layers of scotch tape. A thicker, double strength, glass strip was used to guide the glass rod pulling down emulsion over the plate. The glass set up was heated with a hair dryer. Emulsion was dumped onto one four inch edge and emulsion ran over the edge strip and the plate. Emulsion was pulled down over the plate in one slow pass then past the edge at the other end so to prevent emulsion from backing onto the plate. Excess was put back into the film canister; emulsion was kept warm for reuse on the next plate. The plate appeared light gray and dull.
About a third of a canister of emulsion remained and was used to coat the thicker plate. A marble slab was extended out over the edge of the table and a hot plate put under it. The stone end was heated to warm to the touch. Uncoated glass was preheated on the stone then held on my finger tips. Emulsion was about 110 F and carefully poured into the center. I was looking into the safe light in order to see to keep the glass level. No emulsion was allowed to pour off. I slowly tipped the plate this way and that so the emulsion ran into corners and edges. Then I rotated it some and placed it back onto the warm stone. While it sat for one minuet on the warm stone, I pushed the glass in circles with a popsicle stick. After I had counted to 60, I pushed the coated glass plate to the cold end of the stone without lifting it. It was allowed to solidify there. The plate appeared very white and shiny.
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Another book I found is a high school chemistry text book. ck12.org has text books for all grades and teachers from K to 12th. grade for free downloads. I've been reading chapter one part one about the scientific method. My new study of how to make emulsions would not be complete without a study of chemistry. I have a lot of catching up to do.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
It took a while to be able to even print out anything. I had to learn how to use several different computers, programs, and methods of printing to get hard copies. That was fun because I used to be a graphic artist and it came naturally.
There are other sources on the web, but they are not being used; there is so much on the two sites listed that I'll find what I need there. What I need is a selection of recipes and materials to the end of getting the most basic and simplistic way to make an emulsion. The idea is to be able to make emulsions in Middle School, where I used to teach art.
The study of how to make emulsion has begun now because preliminary work has been successful. Several beautiful plates in ULF (larger than 8x10 inches) have been made and many in the 4x5 inch format. Cameras, lenses, plate holders, tripods, and lenses have been collected, fixed, and I learned how to use them well enough to get good images. Put light meters in that list, too. A darkroom was constructed, stocked, and used. Finally, plates were coated. That took a while to get hold of.
Now I want to learn how to make my own emulsions. Before I buy new lab equipment I want to be able to make emulsion the primitive ways. I saw an article like that somewhere, I think it is on The Light Farm, about sea water ...
Thursday, July 21, 2011
8 1/2 x 15 inches glass plate, Liquid Light emulsion, book form plate holder, Hermagis f8 24 inch lens, f 64 waterhouse stop, lens cap shutter.
A negative tells a lot. The day was very hot and brightly lit. Foot candles must have been over 320, say 320+1 block. The time was just past noon. Exposure was 15 seconds at f64. Development had to be shortened because the plate was getting dark so fast, it was 1 min and 20 sec with a acetic acid stop bath and then Kodak fixer for about 10. The plate was washed later with Perma wash to remove fixer smells. I was careful but still got some fixer spots onto the plate. The negative looks almost as good as the first one when I place it emulsion side down onto white paper. You can see what it is about. That means it is a good one to me.
The close phone pole in the picture was very much out of focus with the camera at a normal arrangement. Then, the front of the camera was tilted up some and focus improved. I kept increasing the tilt and it got better and better. However, it was so much up at the end that I moved it back to about half the way from the maximum to take the picture. The small lens opening helped to focus the rest. I had focused on the middle distance so that the pole and the horizon were both a little fuzzy.
The plate had been coated by using the same thickness glass edge pieces. A glass rod with black plastic tape wrapped on the ends spread out the poured emulsion. Four wraps were used. Unfortunately, the plastic caught on the dry glass and bumped along. I spread again to even out the application. It worked because the edges were then already coated with wet emulsion. Pre lubrication is needed with the "cheap" tape method. I really have to buy some of the 3M TAPE told of at 'The Light Farm' web site. The glass also had been warmed by using a hair dryer. That helped to even out the emulsion after application. One application or scrape is best to strive for.
A funny story is that I had gone out with all my 19th cent. stuff but forgot to take my watch. When I was all ready to expose the plate, I couldn't time it! So, I phoned my wife, using a 21st cent. cel phone; she used her watch and counted it off.
Saturday, July 2, 2011
This dry glass plate photograph sized 8x15 inches was made using a Vageeswari Camera Works camera that I purchased from Alex in India. He was selling one just like it on ebay and no one bid. It ended. Perhaps he will list it again. I am very happy with mine, the tripod and the extra plate holders he provided for extra. The tripod words surprisingly well. A large heavy lens was on the camera.
The plate was coated, as per a previous article by me in here, using Liquid Light Emulsion. It was exposed at f64 for 15 seconds; it was developed in Dektol 1:3 for 2 min and 45 seconds. The sun was read with a Sekonic light meter, the foot candles were 320 -1 block or 280 incident light.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
This emulsion is new. Exposures varied from 1/4 second to 7 3/4 seconds. The slide was pulled out all the way, a one forth second shot was made, the slide was inserted and pushed over some, then following exposures were 1/2, 1, 2, 4. Foot Candles were one block under 320 by a reflected light reading.
I used to pull the slide out and expose 1/2 second shots or 1 second shots. This was new. Good thing I had a solid 1/4 second exposure covered because that is the one that was correct.
Development was only one minuet in Dektol 1:3. It could have been over three minuets long.
Friday, June 24, 2011
The man I bought all mine from in India, alx.pk, has some for sale today. They are the same kind of Vageeswari cameras. I did a search for Vageeswari in film cameras on ebay.
The sellers name is photolud if you are interested. He has had these ULF dry plate camera offered for a long time. They look good to me. I'm not ready to sell mine. I want to use them. I wrote photolud and told him that I now can coat glass plates for such cameras. He was listing film sources and foam inserts to use film. HA. No one knows how to coat plates that big. I want everyone to know how to do that.
Here is how to coat large format glass plates. Sand the edges smooth. Use single strength glass. Clean the top with Calcium Carbonate and grain alcohol; I use a 1 inch brush and paper towels. Rince all dust off and polish with towels, wash with alcohol and don't touch it. Have edge strips made out of plate glass that is the next size thicker and have those edges smoothed; strips should be about 4 inches wide and longer and wider so they can overlap. Butt the edges of the edge plates and leave a gap where the plate is inside the 'well'. Have one more edge strip ready to scrape emulsion with. It should overlap and ride on the edge strips. Heat it. Melt Liquid Light at 110 degrees F, pour it inside the well all over and scrape it down one time. Practice with buttermilk first and measure out how much to use. Excess is easily recovered from the wide sheets surrounding the plate. Oh yea, the glass assembly is set on a damp cloth or rubber matt. Emulsion has a way of getting under the glass and a way to lift the glass is needed. The flexable backing peels off the glass.
That's about it. I couldn't believe how easy it went on.
Be careful how and when you take it apart as the emulsion needs to stay on the edges of the plate. It doesn't cut well and rips easily. A razor blade if stainless could be used to remove excess after dry some.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
This posting is the introduction to the second part of my work. Now I am able to coat large plates. Before, I was learning how to do that with small plates. Yesterday I photographed with the Korona View 8x10 camera and developed the plate. Here is what I got.
My main objective was to get a plate exposed and processed that I had coated. The other objective was to develop it in the center of the time scale so I could pin down the ISO.
A bracketed test plate 4x5 had been made; five exposures of one half second each were made; all of them showed image, and I chose 2 seconds for the 320 foot candles earlier in the day when the sun was on the side of the houses. It moved while I got the big K ready; that is a story in itself. The sun went behind some clouds so the foot candles dropped to 160. I used 4 seconds at f 6.3 or 2 1/4 ISO according to the test. Development for the test was in Dektol 1:3 for 2 min. 22 sec.. That is a lot. It was a thinly applied coat and went dark immediately. The Dektol package says 3-4 min starting at 3/4 sec.. If you make a scale of numbers every quarter second there are 14 in all and 7 to the center.
3/4, 1, 1 1/4, 1 1/2, 1 3/4, 2, 2 1/4, 2 1/2, 2 3/4, 3, 3 1/4, 3 1/2, 3 3/4, 4
Two min and 22 or 23 seconds was the center. If only three min. would be used as the maximum time in developer then less than two minuets would center. I think fog may increase with development but I used the longer scale anyway. I wanted to see how it would effect very light exposures.
The image was grossly overexposed. ISO may be 6 not 2 1/4 when developed to the center or 2 min.. I stopped development at 2 min..
If I had developed by inspection instead of time I'd have pulled the plate out in 30 seconds while there were still lots of lights showing in it. However, now I have a benchmark to gauge further work.
A Dark plate means less light is needed, If one processed to the center of the development scale.
The emulsion used was Formazo which is not made anymore at least as far as I know. It was applied thinly with an emulsion well.
Later on I'll try to make better photographs. This is incredibly dirty as well. I don't mind. Bigger contact prints won't show what a computer can see.
new note: the longer time of 4 min in developing is used in developing fiber based paper. 3 min is quite enough to do plates. 1 min is recommended for RC paper and 2 for Fiber based paper. One minuet is about right to develop plates with. I may have been developing too long.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Double strength glass is thicker than single strength glass. I had some and cut edge strips out of it. They should be at least 4 inches wide, two are longer than the others. The sharp edges were taken down with emery cloth. Wet o dry paper would be better to use wet.
The thinner single strength 8" x 15" glass photographic plate was cleaned with Calcium Carbonate and Everclear grain 151 proof alcohol. It was rinsed with tap water, held with paper towels, and wiped off. It was then cleaned only on the top with Everclear. It was handled carefully using paper so as not to touch it at all with bare fingers.
The plate was laid out on a flat table on a sheet of rubber matt. The thicker glass edge strips were laid out around it with 1/8th inch gaps between the plate and the edge pieces but without a gap between where edge pieces touch each other.
Buttermilk was used in daylight to see how much emulsion it would take. 2 1/2 ounces did the job. Buttermilk is very much like emulsion and cleans up easily. One 35mm film canister holds about an ounce of emulsion if it is totally full. Nevertheless, I used three full canisters of Liquid Light emulsion; it is better to have some left over than to not have enough.
Three cold and solid full 35mm film canisters loaded with Liquid Light emulsion are placed into a quart measuring cup that is filled with 120 degree F water to melt. A 'nose' pot and a glass "puddle pusher" rod are placed into a tray with hotter water in it so they can warm up. When things are taken out of the water they are dried off and they quickly cool. The water in the measuring cup cools to 110 F; the top is taken off a canister and the emulsion is checked with the thermometer probe to see if it has melted completely.
In the dark, with an amber light on, the emulsion was poured first into the 'nose' pot, after it had been dried, then out onto the plate in long s curves with little spaces between the runs. The emulsion was pushed from one or two inches inside the plate out towards the near narrow end to start and make sure that end was fully covered. Then, I started the scrape out on the thicker edge piece and pulled the rod slowly and lightly all the way to the other side. One swipe did it. Excess emulsion piles up on the wide edge piece.
I was lucky the first time and the plate covered completely with one swipe. However, the second time four swipes were needed; good thing it was hot. The excess was push back onto the plate and dragged to the other side. Three cans were almost completely used up. It is best to do it in one pass. Multiple passes creates uneven exposures. Use one application no matter what. Uneven application, as in pouring, can be remedied if the glass is heated like when I put hand poured smaller plates onto heated stone to allow uneven cooling emulsion heat back up and spread out. 4 canisters in a small measuring cup may be better because it comes out faster and 3 didn't cover on the third attempt at coating a plate in one swipe.
Excess and spillage soon gelled and was taken up with a new razor blade, and an artist's palette knife, and returned to an empty film canister.
The plate looks great. It was set onto three wooden dowel rods in a cardboard drying box of shelves. The wet back would stick to the paper and be very difficult to remove otherwise.
This method is very easy to do and gives excellent results. The edge pieces and rubber mat and glass rod may be used over and over. Actually, a glass rod isn't even needed I bet. I'll need to use a flat piece of glass with a polished edge to coat larger plates because a longer one is needed to cover and I don't anticipate any different results. The glass strip can even be heated first and that will help. Glass on the rubber matt was room temperature. It coated great. I'm happy.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
My skills are increasing with the MacBook and Pages. More photographs have been taken in order to flesh out everything that was done. Such photos are a shot of my darkroom door, a shot of a measuring cup with a darkroom thermometer and film canisters in it, and one of a small tray that just fits a 4x5 plate with calcium carbonate on it and a bottle of EverClear beside it. That kind of thing. I know what everything is but a new person would need to see pictures lacking hands on experience.
The local hardware store has supplied me with a stack of plates to coat and emery cloth to sand them with. This batch will be coated thinly with Formazo to see if the edge artifact of picture framing goes away. The experiment will also tell how fast a thin emulsion will dry.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Emulsion pouring by hand is my basic technique. It is being revisited. New information is being processed and I will pour in the air by hand again. A technique resulted that works lats year. It is a thick emulsion that is not run off but allowed to gell fully thick. That solved my edge problems and gave me perfect plates.
The same technique with a different emulsion led me to try different ways of applying the emulsion. Edge problems of a different sort entered the fray. To get rid of them I've tried scrapeing emulsion onto a plate from edge pieces of glass. This is more in line with The Light Farm methods, without the taped edgs on the Puddle Pusher. Old thin glass was put in the center of new thick glass edges. It works and the edge artifact of picture framing is all but gone.
Now I have two ways of coating plates that are very easy to do and work perfectly.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
The Light Farm
I wrote an article and it was posted there; as a contributor, I urge others to do likewise.
Article by Michael Carter
Dry Plate Photography on studiocarter
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Shown here are the three plates of praise as I call them, and the stinker that had the shutter left open. Top Left is the bracket test. ISO of 6, the lowest setting on my Sekonic Studio Delux light meter, gave me a reflected light reading of 160 foot candles. One second at f 5.6 or wide open was the exact setting; the slide was pulled out more, one more exposure at the same setting and one more time. ISO is then 6, 3, 1 1/2. The lightest part is ISO 6. Development was for one minute in fresh Dektol diluted one part developer to three parts of water all at 68 degrees. Agitation was continuous for 15 sec then 1x/30 sec. or very little at all. I took the plate out 1 sec before a min. and put it into a little bit of fresh fixer for a 30 second slosh stop bath. It was then transferred into a larger quantity of fixer. Total fixing time was for 30 minutes followed by a 15 min. wash.
All three plates were treated the same way regarding development, stop bath, fixing and washing. Only the time in the developer varied.
The light area looked like that was working correctly but needed to be improved. Even less exposure would lighten the light areas more and I wanted that. Longer development would darken the darks.
The next plate exposed was a little better and proved I was on the right course of action. I wanted to get blacks and whites on the negative instead of overall gray. I read Chris Paton's article again on The Light Farm. Heat and age changes ISO.
Foot Candles were 160; less exposure was used, 1/2 sec @ f5.6, ISO was set on 10, development was 2 min. You can see the improvement. It worked. Logic works, photography is so logic responsive it is wonderful.
The last exposure has slightly more light. Foot Candles were on the high edge of 160, ISO was 10, 1/2 sec @ f5.6 was used, and development was 3 min and 45 seconds. It worked. The darks became much darker and the lights are very light and clear.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Make an exposure bracked test first thing; it is worth it.
Mix fresh Dektol; it only last about 4 months; dilute it 1:3; that is, one part Dektol ane three parts water; develop between 3/4 min and 4 min maximum.
Unexposed or undeveloped emulsion will be white; it will clear in half an hour in fixer; you can see it happen in a black tray; nothing will happen for 15 min.
Exposed emulsion will turn black; you can watch it develop in a white tray; it will darken within 30 seconds.
Stop bath may be in a red tray; you can see red in low light; it may be fresh fixer, although much less than in the fixer tray; slosh it for 30 sec.
Washing for 15 min is not too much
emulsion will stick to properly cleaned glass even if in liquids for 75 min
ISO will increase with age of emulsion even in the bottle; the longer emulsion is warm the higher ISO becomes; the hotter the higher; it will fog
My old emulsion that was allowed to sit on a warming plate was used as an ISO of 10, and was developed for 3 3/4 min in Dektol 1:3
In order to lower development time into the center of the time range or about 2 1/4 min the developer would need to be more concentrated.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
Today, there were 4 canisters of cold emulsion remaining and eight 4x5 glass plates sitting in the drying rack. The glass was washed and wiped with EverClear and paper towels. Canisters were placed into 115 degree water. They melted and cooled to 100 when I began to pour with them.
A slab of marble that was used to cool plates with was pulled out from the table top like a diving board. Under the end a hot plate was put on a folding chair to heat the end some.
As it turned out, the best way to pour was holding the plate on my finger tips again. The glass was warmed a little, half a can dumped onto the glass, it was tipped ever so slightly, then it was placed on the warm end of the marble. After a min., I was impatient; it was pushed back onto the cold end, where it was allowed to get hard. Two by two they were transferred to the new drying cabinet. Two to a shelf were spaced out.
It was easy work. Spills were wiped up as I went.
The marble was found to be level yesterday. A mound of water stayed where it was put on a plate so that meant it was level enough.
The 8 plates will dry at least to Wednesday. Dektol will be used this time to develop with.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
A lot of good work was done last week and this week promises to hold new photo prints from new glass slides. Last week was used to first review how to wash plates. A wooden drying rack was almost filled with 4x5 plates left over from previous work. They were clean but had some water spots and dust on them. Some were cleaned again. A new method of cleaning was used. It proved to work just fine. Water drained off the plates in a sheet; that is proof that the plate is clean. Calcium Carbonate was used with a little EverClear to scrub with, followed by tap water rinse in hot water, followed by distilled water rinse, it might be that a paper towel wipe is needed because it got rid of some grit, followed by a final PhotoFlow rinse.
How to coat plates was reviewed next. I chose to hand pour plates; this size is so small that it seems the thing to do. Liquid Light Emulsion had been put into 35mm film canisters made of plastic. One was put into a container of 120 F degree water for a while to melt; water had to be made hot again after a while; it took about 20 min. and one reheating to do the job.
One plate was poured in the light; emulsion was sacrificed to do this important learning step; it was well worth it. Half of a container was used; emulsion spread rapidly because one spray of EverClear had been applied to the plate first; very little tipping was needed; after each corner had been filled a little more mounded up the emulsion and it was carefully transferred to a cold slab of marble to harden.
Drying was done in a old shoe box. I love this work. Using hand techniques and things like shoe boxes is what I like to do. Plates were allowed to dry for days; boxes were changed for dry ones. The first day will deform the box because it absorbs moisture. A dark cloth is used to cover boxes when in the light.
The plate that was hand poured in the light is thick. Thick plates are recommended by Winkler on The Light Farm web site in his article. The thickest one I ever did gave me the best photo prints.
Drying a lot of plates made me do the third thing last week; I made a drying cabinet. We had a chest of drawers made of cardboard for Christmas ornaments; it had gotten water logged and sagged a bit. My wife bought new containers and I was free to use the old one. After straightening it out with water and a heavy pack of ceramic tiles as a weight I altered it. A door was made out of the drawers; the shelves were cut to allow air flow inside the box; seams were taped over. The box is now light tight and can hold a dozen or more small plates. The cardboard will absorb moisture and dispel it through the walls. Both sides are dry and not painted so moisture can pass through.
I like this kind of photography because I get to make things.
Monday, January 31, 2011
My web site is www.studiocarter.com
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Now I want to go to Montana this year, yea, on the big bike . The class will be the one on glass plate coating. I wonder if I can ride 500 miles a day...