Tuesday, March 22, 2011


A new bottle of emulsion was dispensed into the film canisters; it is called Formazo; it is very different from Liquid Light.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

plate warmer

Here is a photo of my plate warming set up. It consists of a slab of marble under which is a hot plate. The end is allowed to become warm to the hand and not very much warmer. The other end stays cold. A piece of glass is set on the warmer for as long as it takes to get a can of emulsion out of the water in the sink, not long. Plates are hand poured just to the left of the marble slab. The plate is set onto the warm end for a measured amount of time. Today I used 2 min.. The plate is then pushed back onto the cold part. The emulsion has a chance to level out, flatten, and perhaps rise in ISO.

good work

All the plates were flat. They adhered to all the edges. No frilling occurred. I mean, there was none of that variable thickness like last year. Thickness was totally consistent from edge to edge. It is wonderful. And the best part is that ISO was so high.
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

good iso

Some things to know about:
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

drying plates

While plates are drying, I installed a new scanner that has a large light in the lid. It is able to scan 8x10 negatives. It didn't cost much and installed even though I'd lost the disks. Software was downloaded and it is good to go. The scanner is a HP, like my computer, G4050. I'm also transcribing my notes to a MS Word 07 document. So far, I'm up to 40 pages of hand written notes in a spiral bound notebook. Typing is on page 24. The new document will need to be rewritten and illustrated. Photography of plates, equipment and set ups have been going on, too. All of it will be put together and bound at Office Depot. A PDF has been made and will be available eventually. Older ones are on line through my web site, studiocarterdotcom. The notes help me think and are a valuable resource in remembering how I exposed or developed or poured plates. Writing them helps me plan what to do next.

Monday, March 14, 2011

second run

The main thing I've been doing is to wash plates so that emulsion will stick on them all during processing and afterwards and secondly to pour plates so that consistent results are possible.
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

first week

My first week has produced 6 plates. One is totally clear; one is almost black; and 5 have images on them, including the black one. I forgot to shut the shutter but got an image anyway?! All the plates were developed in D-76, which was wrong; I just wanted to see... The totally clear one was the one poured in the light as a practice; I wanted to see if it would actually become clear; it took 30 min. but it did. So, if there is any fog, that is a result of development, not fixing or exposure. Exposure was way too little; I've got it scoped out now; asa is most likely 0.5, not 1.5. Dark subjects need longer exposure and closely focused ones need a little more, too.

This is photo number one of this year. I like this method because almost anything I do, even if wrong, still yields images.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

new work

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.