Hey guys! So for those who follow me on Facebook, you already know that I spent the better beginning of July in Chicago, IL. During my time there I was very fortunate to meet up with another amazing photographer who practiced Wet Plate Collodion. It was both of our first time meeting someone out of state that practice Wet plate, so It was pretty exciting.
After helping Guy set up and introductions, he took me on a small tour of his set up and how to use it. It was my first time seeing and working with the Lund Portable Darkroom . I can very much say it is smaller than the dark room that was made for me. Space wise. But I can very much see how easy it was to set up at an on location shoot verses my darkroom where you have to wrestle with the PVC pipes (which is something I am going to fix soon). It was also my first time working with a more modern view camera as well. His camera is an Crown Graphic with an 135mm/4.7 lens, used for the size of 4x5.
After getting a tour of how he uses his set up, he was so kind to have allowed me do a couple of plates. Thank you Guy for taking some awesome photos of me trying to do a plate and not mess it up! I can say it was a challenge to use the set up but I'm glad I was able to use it and nothing tipped over or have anything bad happened. The only difference was in the chemistry. I'm used to using KCN as my fixer, but he uses IIford Rapid Fix diluted 1+4 with distilled water. The one thing i noticed that it worked slower than KCN, but way better for your health and it didn't have a smell that normally KCN does.
The other challenged that I faced was how quick his collodion set, so my first plate has some black space of the metal showing through and my exposure was way off. After having it dry for awhile I was able to scan it and bring back some of the details of the image using Lightroom.
The last two plates that I did came out a whole lot better, pouring wise and exposure time wise. I was pleasantly surprised on how we were getting good results and it was about almost 8 o'clock at night. I was also excited toward with the Lund Traveling Tanks. I can imagine how easy it is to go place to place.
Here are the scans of the last two plates that I did.
After I got my good results I got to see Guy in action and he was able to do one ambrotype with the little light we had left.
This experience has definitely made me feel hopeful for the future of being able to travel and meet other Wet plate Collodion photographers and learn their stories of how they got started in the process and why they love it so much. A big thanks to Guy Rhodes for letting me have this opportunity and being patient with me.
Catherine Segura is a Millennial Slacker working her way to being full time Wet Plate Photographer, she occasionally picks up a DSLR camera.