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Alan7140

For a bit of fun...

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Well done, Alan. How on earth you can guess the focal point I have no idea. I can't even get that right with selfies on auto focus with eye detection! 

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6 minutes ago, Dallas said:

Well done, Alan. How on earth you can guess the focal point I have no idea. I can't even get that right with selfies on auto focus with eye detection! 

 

I missed by a bit, though - the idea was to get my leading eye in focus, not the trailing one, but the upside was that throwing the forward detail out of focus the lens really demonstrated that triplet lens smooth, buttery edge effect that was so admired and identified large format 19th Century photos a hundred years before anyone even used the word "bokeh". With this format and lens I think it is even acceptable for much of the photo not to be sharp - another thing that really only gained manic importance in the sixties to the present.

It was entirely unintentional at the time, but the result seems to channel a Southworth and Hawes Daguerreotype from 1848:

2678307538_1ef9b3a5c4_o.jpg?resize=660,8

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I reckon that hiding behind the monstrous camera is an X-T2 + 56mm 1.2. 🤗

 

As you said just a bit of fun. 😋

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I’m sure this is some fun you will keep playing with.  Perhaps some of the old farm buildings you often post would be a good setting, but moving that setup away from the studio will be a real challenge.

 

if you are stuck with the studio environment, perhaps a diptych or composite of the ‘old’ you photographing the ‘modern ‘ you photographing the ‘old’ you.

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1 hour ago, crowecg said:

I’m sure this is some fun you will keep playing with.  Perhaps some of the old farm buildings you often post would be a good setting, but moving that setup away from the studio will be a real challenge.

 

if you are stuck with the studio environment, perhaps a diptych or composite of the ‘old’ you photographing the ‘modern ‘ you photographing the ‘old’ you.

 

Thanks Chris. I'm waiting on a half plate Thornton Pickard view camera of as-yet unknown operating condition to arrive here some time in January to take care of the location side of things.

I did have the camera I used for this shot adapted to use 5x4 film in the 1980's and I actually used it for portraits in my studio (the artsy folk of Eltham loved the theatre of focusing under the dark cloth and the shuffling of dark slides) but using modern film never had the same effect as using a slow, blue-green sensitive emulsion like photographic printing paper or the original collodion plates had. Using a primary blue filter also failed to get the effect properly, so I gave up until this week's brainstorming session.

While this is easy enough to print with inkjet, I'm now trying to think of a way to get this grainless image onto a film base to print it photographically. There are no films I know of that will accomplish this without adding visible grain and thus destroy the creaminess of the tones, so it might well be that I'll eventually have to join the growing brigade of nut-jobs who drift around with their van darkrooms stacked with all the hazardous stuff needed to make up their collodion wet plates on the spot. Who knows where this retirement thing will take me? :D 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Alan7140

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Alan, I don't know if this particular commercial outfit/cottage industry that operates in my state of Victoria have the horse and cart, but they do cater (at a price) for a number ofthe older photographic technologies:  see http://www.goldstreetstudios.com.au/   and   https://mailchi.mp/6b05292d0819/s2mxqypkj9-2929189?e=a32918622e

 

You might know of them as Gold Street Studios, and they are based in Trentham, Victoria.

 

[Note:  I have no association with Gold Street Studios other than I am on their mailing list and went to one of their exhibitions a few years back, where I noted that they had an interest in the older photographic technologies and methods and that they run workshops in the same.  They also cater for other interests such as IR photography.]

 

 

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1 hour ago, Hugh_3170 said:

Alan, I don't know if this particular commercial outfit/cottage industry that operates in my state of Victoria have the horse and cart, but they do cater (at a price) for a number ofthe older photographic technologies:  see http://www.goldstreetstudios.com.au/   and   https://mailchi.mp/6b05292d0819/s2mxqypkj9-2929189?e=a32918622e

 

You might know of them as Gold Street Studios, and they are based in Trentham, Victoria.

 

[Note:  I have no association with Gold Street Studios other than I am on their mailing list and went to one of their exhibitions a few years back, where I noted that they had an interest in the older photographic technologies and methods and that they run workshops in the same.  They also cater for other interests such as IR photography.]

 

 

 

Yes, Hugh, I've known Gold St Studios when they were still in Gold St, (Collingwood, I think it was, and from recollection it was Gold St Gallery at that time).;)

 

Being so involved in such closely allied sections of the photographic industry it was inevitable that we'd be aware of each other's endeavors. My main client for many years, Neville Crawford of Recherche Picture Framing used to do work for them and that was how the connection between me and them was made.

 

I always wondered how they'd get along moving so far from Melbourne, but obviously there is a big enough demand for their services from a place the size of Melbourne to have made it a viable proposition. They've drifted from display to technique, and yes, they charge like wounded bulls (coincidentally my supplier has berated me for offering to teach people B&W film photography for nothing, and cited Gold St as an example of what I should be charging! :). Whispers I hear are that the staff there is a bit varied in knowledge and ability at times (the photographic industry is a bit like Hobart - everybody knows everybody else's business ;) ), but of course I've had no recent experience with them one way or the other given our locations, although there was a conversation or two I seem to recall happening when they were starting out, but the actual content of even those I can't recall.

 

This current drive of interest for me is not so much in reviving or engaging in old processes (although I do still have a quantity of mercury secured should I ever want to try making daguerreotypes), but coming up with images that are convincingly like those old processes without the hazardous chemistry and volatile nature of them. A Daguerreotype will always be unable to be convincingly done any other way than the original, though, but despite my flippant remark to Chris (above) I really have no desire to make a mobile collodion wet-plate darkroom; the whole process is messy, a bit dangerous, more than a bit flammable, the ether involved could result in permanent lights-out for the operator, and the guncotton is aptly named for its ability to turn things to ashes in short order.

 

As well, and curiosity aside, the hazards of mercury for Daguerreotypes will probably have caution win over bravado and never see me access my contact for the stuff.

 

The photo I posted is the closest I've got yet to producing something that could pass for an image made with any of the collodion off-shoot processes, so I'll work on that in order to progress to making a convincing photographic print  as described in my answer to Chris.

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I certainly would not wish to return to some of the old photographic chemistrys.  Have handled more than my fair share of mercury and ether in previous times (in non-photographic applications) and these two may not be as bad as some of the other nastys such as the Cibachrome chemicals and stuff such as naptha etc.  I don't blame you for being cautious.

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Mercury is very toxic, which is why thermometers and barometers containing mercury are no longer sold in the EU.

 

It is said that Napoleon Bonaparte was killed by mercury vapour leaching out of his wallpaper on the island of St Helena.

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In the middle ages, mercury was used in the manufacture of mens hats.

 

The mercury fumes sent the hat makers mad   -   hence the expression still used by the Brits - "he is as mad as a hatter".

 

[On another note, compounds made from mercury and arsenic were the first pharmaceutical agents that were effective in curing syphilis...........

 

Actually with the emergence of anti-biotic resistant bugs, compounds utilising mercury, arsenic, and sulphur are being considered once more....]

Edited by Hugh_3170

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On 18/12/2018 at 09:43, Alan7140 said:

While this is easy enough to print with inkjet, I'm now trying to think of a way to get this grainless image onto a film base to print it photographically. There are no films I know of that will accomplish this without adding visible grain and thus destroy the creaminess of the tones, so it might well be that I'll eventually have to join the growing brigade of nut-jobs who drift around with their van darkrooms stacked with all the hazardous stuff needed to make up their collodion wet plates on the spot. Who knows where this retirement thing will take me? :D 

 

 

 

Would it be possible to find a thin enough paper without a watermark that you could contact print from?

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12 hours ago, crowecg said:

 

Would it be possible to find a thin enough paper without a watermark that you could contact print from?

 

It's not a watermark problem, it's the fibres of the paper itself that cause the image degradation when contact printing (and if using RC paper, the milkiness and texture of the plastic coating). Henry Fox Talbot tried using the best and thinnest writing paper he could get back in the 1830's, and further attempted to clean the image up by waxing the paper for added transparency, but that still never got close to the clarity and rendering of fine detail that the rival Daguerreotypes achieved. Once the wet collodion process arrived with its ability to stick to glass the problem of texture interference went away, which also spelled the end of Daguerreotypes as a commercially viable thing owing to the ease of multiple copies from the same collodion neg, and a consequently enlargements from those negs also being possible.

 

If only the fine grain, blue-sensitive "ordinary" commercial sheet film that I used for some copy work in the 1970's and early '80's were still available the problem would not be so bad in physically copying these paper negs onto film for traditional printing, even though that commercial film still produced grain that was many times larger than printing paper did. The only way to truly duplicate the look of the collodion process is to actually use it, but I'll have to be content to live with this modern workaround instead, I think. I just don't want to get involved to the degree of actually using the old process.

 

Today I received  a box of 25 Ilford/Harman direct positive paper which I'll try for its ability to render a positive image with standard B&W chemistry when processed just like ordinary printing paper. At least that will give me a result I can properly judge at print stage without having to digitally copy and invert the image.

 

It also will have the same uniqueness as Daguerreotype or Ambrotype images as no direct duplicates can be made from the image itself, copying being the only way there as well, so there is potential to make and sell these as unique images, which may or may not be worthwhile. The paper is expensive, though - AUD $88 per box of 25 @5"x7", and it is fibre-base paper so washing times are much longer than the relatively brief rinse that is needed for RC papers. However it has the same spectral sensitivity as ordinary bromide paper (blue-green) and thus should maintain the look that my initial post rendered.

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Nothing beats the large format look.  All the 85mm f/0.7 lenses mounted on 50 megapixel digicams in the world can't do it. Your 'system' yielded a beautiful result. 

Considering the low cost of the RC print paper as the originating medium, I'm tempted to obtain an 8x10 field camera, lens, and few film holders.

How long is the latent image viable on standard printing out paper such as the Multigrade you used?

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22 hours ago, pluton said:

Nothing beats the large format look.  All the 85mm f/0.7 lenses mounted on 50 megapixel digicams in the world can't do it. Your 'system' yielded a beautiful result. 

Considering the low cost of the RC print paper as the originating medium, I'm tempted to obtain an 8x10 field camera, lens, and few film holders.

How long is the latent image viable on standard printing out paper such as the Multigrade you used?

 

Like all printing paper, developing it as soon as possible after it's exposed is best. The finer the grain, the slower the emulsion, and the quicker the smaller negatively charged (i.e. exposed) silver halide sites reabsorb the consequently fewer number of liberated electrons whose absence marked them as exposed. I wouldn't plan a week-long expedition with the stuff, in other words. At least it's not as bad as the wet collodion process, though.

As for format, having seen the results from half-plate size (actually just under 4.25" x 6.5" in the metal film inserts that came with this glass plate camera) I'll be happy with this size from a handling point of view for the Thornton Pickard half plate field camera I have coming in January as well. This photo as displayed is reasonably heavily cropped as well to a squarish horizontal from the original full-frame vertical shot (using "full-frame" in its proper sense, not garbage ignorant Internet "reference format" sense). 10x8 would be fantastic, of course, but handling is anything but and would probably lose some of the appeal after a while. I think part of the success of using printing paper aside from the large format DOF advantage is the almost complete lack of grain which results in that collodion-like appearance in the final image, aided by having left all the dust marks and imperfections as well, I think, as they render so perfectly and aren't chopped up by grain as with normal developed film.

 

This trial was also to establish the veracity of using the TP camera outdoors with lens-cap exposure as the original behind-lens shutter that comes with the camera is inoperative. This will also open up a better selection of lenses, like the 4,5/240 Heliar that I used for this shot, which is way too wide to fit on the TP shutter. Instead I'll make up a ply lens board for it and use that instead, and also means that the front-of-lens open/shut only shutter you can see in the studio setup shot above will work with that lens, and hopefully with the right width of hard rubber inserts I can make up will also fit any other lens I use - which will eliminate the wobble that removing a lens cap can cause.

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