Earlier this month I had a weekend of wet plate love. I did run into two problems that, combined, created a feeling of create frustration The symptom of these problems was a plate with only hints of am image.
No matter how well or bad things go with shooting plates, it is still a labor of love. You never know if the photography gods are shining down on you, or if your are just inhaling too much ether. In the end, it keeps me off the streets at night; And that is definitely a good thing.
Problem 1: Exposure
Up to this point, I have been using my Graflex with it’s original lens to shoot plates. On this day, I decided to break out my Omega 45d with a much newer Rodenstock lens. The problem here is that the new lens has a coating on it that blocks a lot of UV light, which wet plate is sensitive to. This alone took my from 5 second exposures (on the Graflex) to 7 minute exposures with the newer equipment.
Problem 2: Developer
I had just run out of developer and needed to make some more. Jody Ake had a neat recipe that I thought I would try. Iron Sulfate, Vinegar and Sugar in proper proportions. Unfortunately, I added too much iron sulfate; This made the developer too aggressive and thus ate away at the image. To correct, I added small amount of glacial acetic acid to restrain the developer and that did the trick.
Though the hole thing was very frustrating, I am very happy with some of the resulting tintypes.