Have you ever had one of those days…

… where everything just doesn’t seem to click!

I’d never met Dee before, we were introduced by Alex Boyd, and had chatted via Facebook. She had recently moved to the area, and was interested in wet plate photography for a project she had in mind. Dee is a experienced model and photographer, so we arranged to get together to shoot some plates, she could see the process again and I got to shoot some plates with a model, something I’ve not really done before.

I thought I had everything sorted, chems were ready, glass cut and polished. I even remembered to buy some milk for the tea!

I had planned using the Hunter Penrose camera to try some large plates but first started out on the whole plate studio camera. In one of the plate holders you can get a 8.5 x 9.5 inch plate. Guess what? Usually its the old “oops I cut that a little big for the holder” this time it was “oops that doesn’t even fit in my silver bath!” Yep a 8.5 inch wide plate doesn’t fit in my 10×8 bath! about 2mm too wide! Not a good start in front of the model/photographer you’ve just met.

Ended up putting all my silver nitrate in the Mammoth silver bath, that was ok as I was planning on shooting bigger plates later anyway.

Hold on, I could type up every little thing that went wrong here but I’ll not. Put it down to nerves, lack of planning or the alignment of the stars. It was just one of those days.

Heres a 8.5 x 9.5 inch ambrotype.


The 12×15 inch plates didn’t go as well as expected but this one we particularly liked even with all its “character”! This was on the Hunter Penrose camera, bellows extended to the max. Exposure was 20 seconds at f3.6 with that old Beseler lens. The depth of field at this distance is in mm’s.


For my sanity we dropped back down to 1/4 plate tintypes…



What I found of interest was that Dee found she preferred different plates to me. I think I concentrate too hard on trying to get the technical side correct, and when I fail I get on a bit of a downer. I lose track of what I might have been originally trying to achieve and enjoy in my photography. From now on I’m going to relax more, especially as I almost posted on Facebook to see if anyone wanted to buy my HP camera?!? Get a grip Tony.

Dee, thank you very much for being so patient. I look forward to seeing what you produce when you get started.

And next time I’ll not have one of those days!

Time for a spring clean of everything in the studio I think.