Adventures with a Polaroid Land Camera

IMG_0001After having a good visit with my Dad, this weekend,  I went out with with my Polaroid Land Camera and took some photos. With the wife in tow, we took a stroll through the IMA grounds; Surprisingly, I was not hassled by security.

The photo to the left is one of the famous pieces on the grounds that was created by Robert Indiana.  It has been photographed so much that I thought I would take one more as cliche. In this photo, I think the lens flair adds that certain Polaroid feel; I am really not sure how to explain it.

Most Land Cameras are a cheap range finder system; This means that there no real focus and you are using a distance scale on the lens. That being said, you are bound to get a lot of soft focus photographs when you shoot. I think that is part of the fun in shooting with these cameras. Further more, you have a print in hand when it is all said and done.

I really love the look that the old Land Cameras give, especially with black and white instant film. All photos are unfiltered and have not been touched in Photoshop.


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Help Save Linnea Quigley’s Family Home

Linnea QuigleySilent Night Deadly Night, Creepozoids, Return Of The Living Dead, A Nightmare On Elm Street 4 and Night Of The Demons all have this woman in common; The Scream Queen of them all, Linnea Quigley. This horror icon has befallen some difficult times and is asking for help to repair her family home. I know from experience, that asking for help is not the easiest thing to do; However, Linnea is reaching out. I have been a, long time, fan of Linnea’s and followed her rolls for sometime now.  My first exposure to her was in Return of the Living Dead portraying Trash.  30 years later and I still have magazines with articles and stories, about Linnea, laying around the house. With over 100 films under her belt and more in production and post; I hope that one day she can find time to visit the [I.F.] Studio. Linnea sums up her situation;

Hello friends and fans. My name is Linnea Quigley. America’s Scream Queen. I have been in over 100 movies including Return Of The Living Dead, A Nightmare On Elm Street 4 and Night Of The Demons, to name only a few.

Several years ago I put my career on hold and moved into my parents house to take care of them. While taking care of them my money was soon depleted and the family home developed a serious roof problem. I tried many ways to get the money to repair it but nothing worked. My parents have passed and I recently started back to work but just can’t come up with the money fast enough to save the house.

Last week I got an estimate from a local general contractor. It’s going to cost $10,000 to fix the roof and $5,000 – $8,000 to fix the damage inside the house. The drywall has fallen from the ceiling and wall in places. My clothes and other things are being ruined. There is black mold in several places now too.  I’m an animal lover and have rescued many animals and several of them share the house with me. I ask that you please help me save my family home and give me and my rescued animals a safe place to live. Thank you!

Linnea and one of her pups

Love, Linnea Quigley

Linnea is, and has been, involved in three things that are near to my heart; Horror movies, modelling and animal rescue.  I ask that my readers take a moment and help Linnea out. You don’t have to give a fortune, $5, $10, $20 even $100 will help her out immensely. If you can not afford to  afford to give any monetary assistance, simply share her funding page with you friends.

To help Linnea Quigley, go to her GoFundMe page:

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New vehicle for the studio.

1979 Grumman OlsonLast night I went out and bought a 1979 Grumman Olson GMC 30 Step Van for the studio. She has a new transmission, an engine with less that 5,000 miles. She needs a little love and tenderness but still has many good years of service ahead of her.

The drive home was a little dicey at times. There is about 8″ of play in the steering and the breaks are really spongy. Beyond that, I had not driven a 4 speed manual since I was 18 (That was over 20 years ago). All in all, I am happy with the purchase and will be working on this old girl for most of the summer.

Some thing that need work; This will get me a good start.

  • She needs a bath
  • Steering
  • Brakes
  • side doors need tightened up
  • all door handles need replaced
  • Bumpers need straightened out
  • Shelving needs to be removed

Once I get done with her, she will be a mobile office, camper and wet plate dark room. She will also be key in moving us to Portland, Oregon. The one thing I wanted, that was not met by this vehicle, is a diesel  engine. I am not going to cry too much over that. For now, I must go get some coffee and finish waking up.

Posted in Blog, General, Step Van Project Tagged , |

Wet Plate Prepping

Salted Collodion

Salted Collodion

Woke up this morning and mixed a fresh batch of collodion for shooting some plates. I had just enough dyethel ether left to mix 600 ml.  Once I got it all mixed, I added about 50 ml of my old collodion to the mix, capped it off and put it in my chemical cooler to age for a week.  I am hoping that time and weather allows for me to do some test shots next week end!

In the mean time, I have some work to do my newest camera.  10″ x 12″ Vageeswari field camera (Vag for short). This camera was built specifically for plate photography. While it is, generally, in good shape; I have to replace a couple missing screws and make some plate inserts so that I can shoot in different sizes other than 10′ x 12′. I am really excited and can not wait to shoot some plates with this camera. As a side note, I named the camera Celeste (After a Project Pitchfork song).

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Another workshop comes to a close.

Over the last weekend, I provided the space for Dale Bernstein to teach one of his Wet Plate Collodion workshops. It was a good time had by all! I am very happy to say that my studio smells of ether and lavender right now.

During the workshop, I managed to shoot a couple of test plates with my Panolga™ (Panoramic Holga) and I am very pleased with the results.  There was not enough light to shoot hand held but the proof of concept was a portable solution to take to the parks when I do not feel like lugging the large format gear around.

35 second exposure Tin Type

35 second exposure Tin Type

8 Second Exposure Tinetype

8 Second Exposure Tin Type

Posted in Blog, Events, Wet Plate Photography Tagged , , |

Tintypes and Junk

1426177_736490876380951_478322056_nEarlier 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.

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IR Erotic Project, Making Progress.

rosesThis weekend, I had my second shoot for the IR Erotic project. I want to thank Niki for her participation in the project and I look forward to working with her again!

This is one of my personal, and on going, photo projects that I am aiming for publication and gallery showing. The premise is simple, erotic imagery that is photographed in infrared. To the left is one of my favorite images from Friday night’s the shoot.

I have been shooting in infrared since 2000. Most of this has been analog photography. Only, with in the last 5 years have I been shooting infrared in digital. While I still love to shoot what is left of my IR Film, I am working with a modified canon 5D Mark II. This camera will only shoot in infrared now.

You can follow my projects here: Personal Photography Projects

If you are local to the Indianapolis Area and wish to participate in the project as a model; Please do not hesitate to contact me.


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A day on the farm – Indiana Horse Rescue

Last Friday, I took a day off to spend some time with my wife. The morning was spent running around town so I could pick up some cases for my wet plate photography gear, as well as some supplies. By 12:30 we were on our way to Frankfort, Indiana to meet a dear friend who works the Indiana Horse Rescue.

The trip there was OK, that is until our navigation freaked out and took us all over Frankfort proper. That is OK, because Jaime found us and took us right to the rescue. While their, my wife got to ride one of the horses. Koke, the horse, was a pleasant little guy who was surrendered by the owner with the reasoning that the horse bucked. The truth of the matter is that Koke was quite docile and really preferred to eat grass and smell poop. Such a dangerous horse (SARCASM). If we had the land and the time to devote,… I am sure we would have come home with a horse that day.

The Indiana Horse Rescue currently has 24 horses housed on 27 acres of land; And there is currently a waiting list of horses to get into the facility.

“Indiana Horse Rescue is the Equine Division of Animal Protection Coalition, Inc. a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to animal welfare. Indiana Horse Rescue is, to date, Indiana’s largest equine rescue operation. We pride ourselves in providing quality care to those horses that are in search of a new permanent home. We are an ALL breed rescue that serves horses throughout the state and region. Indiana Horse Rescue is NOT state funded. We survive with the generosity of individual donors, fundraising efforts and the dedication of our volunteers. To learn more about Indiana Horse Rescue and its facilities, check out, or follow us on facebook at Indiana Horse Rescue Central and Indiana Horse Rescue Southwest” -Jamie S. with the Indiana Horse Rescue

Jamie continues on to say “……we need donations. For hay, for roofing, for vehicle repairs. And we need for our horses to find their own places to call home where they get the one-on-one attention they all deserve.”

Links of Interest:




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Woot! Pinhole Photography

Today is World Wide Pinhole Photography Day and here are some of my Pinholes from the day. Photos were taken with a Zero Image 4×5 camera with Fuji FP3000b Pack film. All exposures were less than 1 Sec in the shade.

FenceCable.jpgJeep GMC.jpgJeep.jpgMeter.jpg

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Wet Plate Photography

Wet Plate Photography

Wet Plate Photography

Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to partake in a private wet plate workshop with Dale Bernstein. 2 days on playing and making Ambrotypes, Tintypes and Glass Negatives. This was really a fantastic experience and would highly recommend this to anyone whom has an interest in photography.

On Saturday (20-APR-2013), Dale came to my studio with all his gear in hand; There was very little that I had to provide. Within a couple of hours we were shooting my first ambrotype with superb results. Dale walked me through the entire process, from cleaning and prepping plates through the finishing process. By the end of day two, I had enough wet plates to start a small portfolio which is not bad for 20 hours and never working in the particular medium prior to the workshop. Dale really breaks down the process and makes it easy to understand with out getting into the nitty gritty of science behind the process; His approach is that of an artist..

In the amount of time that workshop lasted, I have fallen in love with the process as well as the resulting images from the process. As an added bonus, my studio smells like lavender from the varnishing bonus. With all of that being said, I have pulled my Toyo/Omega 45D out of retirement and have purchased a plate holder for the camera. Soon I will be gathering up the rest of the equipment needed  to go off on my own wet plate adventures.

Origin of the Wet Plate Photography

In 1851, Frederick Scott Archer introduced a wet plate process, sometimes referred to as the collodion process after the carrier material used. The process is simple: a bromide, iodide, or chloride is dissolved in collodion (a solution of pyroxylin in alcohol and ether). This mixture is poured on a cleaned glass plate, which is allowed to sit until the coating gels but is still moist. The plate is then placed in a silver nitrate solution, which converts the iodide, bromide, or chloride to silver iodide, bromide or chloride. Once the reaction is complete, the plate is removed from the silver nitrate solution and exposed in a camera while still wet. The plate loses sensitivity as it dries, requiring it to be coated and sensitized immediately before use. It must also be developed while still moist, using a solution of iron sulfate, acetic acid and alcohol in water.

The sensitivity of silver halides to light is the underlying principle behind most types of 19th century photographic processes (Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes, Calotypes that use paper negatives, and wet and dry plates) as well as modern 20th century photographic film processes.

Follow Dale on his blog at Dale’s contact information is on his blog if you are interested in taking one of his workshops, or set up a private workshop.

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