European Collodion Weekend 2013

I’ve just returned from the second European Collodion Weekend, held in Eindhoven, a gathering of International wet plate practitioners!

First I’d like to say a huge thank you to Alex Timmermans for organising such an excellent event, a big thank you to Mark Voce for the transport and thanks to everyone else for making it a great weekend.

I think almost everyone suffered problems with the ammount of light we had on the weekend. Usually for a Brit that means lack of light due to the continuous cloud that we sit under, but this weekend it was exceptionally bright in Holland. The ammount of UV caused some problems but more about that later.

In my group were fellow wet platers Mark Voce, Yassen Roussev, Sergey Sergeev and Veneta Zaharieva. Five people sharing a Quickfish Tent/Darkroom sounds like a recipe for disaster and you’d not be far wrong.

On Saturday we had some issues with fogging and over exposed plates. It was very weird as Mark seemed to be doing okay. We had a small table set up with three silver tanks, mine on the left, Sergey central and Mark to the right. The windows had been covered with thick red welding screens and had been tested in Marks studio.

Lets just say it was very very bright and with direct sunlight coming through the screen directly in front of my silver tank, each and every plate would get a good dose of UV. Hence every plate having some form of overexposure/fogging. We didn’t figure this out until late Sunday morning after a few hours of poor results. Mark on the other hand who was a couple of feet across the table produced some stunning plates. So the light fall off/direction must have been pretty short. I was a little concerned it was a problem with my silver bath after vloiling it back to powder a few days earlier but I had shot a successful test plate back home.

I finally figured out it was the red screen by sensitising a scrap plate and held my finger against it up against the window, heres the result… Frustrating or what? but I really like the plate.


Here are a selection of my fogged plates.
Group shot Wide Angle lens f16 8 seconds 5×7 ambrotype.

Kodak Box Brownie hand held f8 1 second tintype.

“Yassen” Darlot cone lens f4 2 seconds tintype.

“Veneta” Darlot cone lens f4 2 seconds tintype.

“Castro” Darlot cone lens f4 2 seconds acrylic. My favourite image and a shame it was fogged. This was shot on laminated acrylic, left in the sun it warped into a banana?

“Sandra” Darlot cone lens f4 4 seconds tintype. Last plate on Saturday, the sun had moved around the tent so fogging not so bad.

I also shot a couple of 35mm ambros but the high gusts of wind on Saturday afternoon soon sent them flying over the table to the floor. One was salvageable of Isabel. The problem with shooting hand held at f1.4 at 125th of a second is you can actually catch a blink in wet plate!

Also shooting mini plates was Gerald Figal from the USA. It was great to finally meet the man himself.

His microscopic slide wet plate set up is something to see! Genius!


And heres Sundays plates after solving the light problems…

Veneta on 1/4 plate black glass

Castro on 5×7 black glass

I tried to follow Castro’s plate with one of Veneta but only had the one piece of glass left, so each time I had to wipe it clean…. This came as a bit of a shock to some viewers as the first time I did it there was a gasp and cries of “Oh No!”

A mark near the eye!

Slightly out of focus!

Poor framing!

And my last attempt… I called it a day after this one.

Thanks Veneta for being so patient but you do have great eyes for wet plate.

I really didn’t shoot as many plates as I thought I would. I was quite happy to stand in the sunshine and chat with everyone. It was great fun and very informative seeing how everybody works and all the little tricks we have.

Roll on next year!

Oh, and Yassen your forgiven!