Adventures with Bostick & Sullivan wet plate kit

When medium format isn't big enough: 4x5, 5x7, 9x12, 8x10 and even larger.
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Don Day
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Adventures with Bostick & Sullivan wet plate kit

Post by Don Day » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:59 pm

I reported earlier on the Rockland gelatin tintype process (viewtopic.php?p=9467#p9467}), but was not pleased with the mechanics of the method. The experiment was useful, and someday I'll finish off the tube of emulsion. But the experience gave me the confidence to plunge headlong into the precursor technique, wet plate collodion.

Same subject as before, made as an ambrotype (glass substrate)
Ambro birdbath
My actual first good tintype (on trophy aluminum)
Early pix 2.jpg
First great result
Another practice shot--a rare good one amid many mistakes, but oh, so satisfying when it works!
Early pix 3.jpg
Practice shot
I learned that cheap Plexiglas can work well for negatives/ambrotype casing. The originals of the next two images are 2" x 2.5" made using an 85mm Petzval lens (CDV size):
Plexiglas of St Francis
Plexiglas of Brownie cameras
And I worked up to 5x7 with no difficulty. In some ways, the larger size is easier to handle and the blemishs are relatively less pronounced. A tintype self portrait using a bulb release (a thin black mark on my shirt is part of the rubber lead swinging during the exposure):
In short, I'm loving this new old process. So much so, I'm adding an expansion adapter to my 8x10 view camera so that it can give me an 11x14" plate from a 360mm f/6 Voigtlander pre-Euryscope RR lens I found at a regional thrift shop. More on that after I get a new bottle of collodion next month!

I confess that I prefer ambrotypes because I get a clear image to scan as a negative before I varnish it and mount it with black backing (loving the look of black spray paint behind the image). I can do so much more with the scan in post processing, if reprints are needed.

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Re: Adventures with Bostick & Sullivan wet plate kit

Post by alexvaras » Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:06 am

Hello Don,

Amazing photos and very well done, now I want to do it myself :)
Thank you for sharing.

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Re: Adventures with Bostick & Sullivan wet plate kit

Post by PFMcFarland » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:36 pm

Fine work, Don. Will be interesting to see what you get in the larger size.

Waiting for the light

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