The BIG wet plate tent…

Last year four friends – Moo Pa, Patrick, Laura and I thought it would be a good idea to buy a large tent for wet plate photography events.

Circus tent Big Tops were out of our budget but this “safari” tent looked pretty good especially at the price we finally got it for. And we all know how I like a bargain.

Last weekend a few of us met up to try and put it up said tent. Thanks to Marion, Andys’ Aunt, for letting us use one of her fields.

This blog post is for Laura and Patrick who sadly couldn’t join us.

We had only seen Ebay pics of the tent and Andy had spoken to the seller who had offered some vague suggestions/instructions.

What could go wrong?

Andy’s van is an extra long wheel baseĀ  Iveco, so that’ll give you an idea of that ridge pole size, which is 2/3 the length of the ridge.

Andy and Stephen unloading the canvas sections from the trailer Andy had to buy when he realised it wouldnt fit in his van. It takes 4 people to lift it out comfortably.

And so it begins. Joining up the timber posts was fairly straightforward, we than had to decide wether to attach the flysheet and lift the poles or lift the poles and try to get the canvas over them once up.

We opted for the latter as the first option was way to heavy to get beyond 45 degrees with just the three if us.

Light was failing and beer and food was calling. We pegged it out and would wait for the cavalry the next day.

Well it survived the night, and looked pretty good in the morning. As a shelter for events its useable just like this but we needed to see what the rest of it looked like and needed to figure out how to complete putting it up.

Although the rain held off it was bitterly cold first thing. Sam was not impressed.

Compulsory cooked brekkie helped.

The cavalry arrived in the form of Tony and Kevin. Kevin’s 4×4 came in handy with the lack of a decent step ladder.

Did I mention it came with a stove. It looks tiny inside the tent but it made a great difference in the inside/outside temperature.

It wasn’t all just about putting up the tent. I hadn’t time to pack wet plate gear so just opted for all the cameras that had film in them already.

Tony Lovell arrived with his amazing mobile wetplate darkroom with power and running water.

Others kept busy and warm in other ways…

With the tent finally up, it was time for beer and barbecue. This pic makes it look a bit miserable but thanks to Andys cousins a roaring fire was soon under way.

Looking like an OAP daytrip out tucking into blueberry Eton Mess. Remind me to find some younger friends so I can lower the average age a little.

The barbecue also came in handy for breakfast.

Now for taking it back down. We realised if we drop one side of the inner tent we have a huge wall space under the flysheet running the length of the tent and still keeping two rooms intact especially the one with the stove. That’ll be great for events.

And surprisingly it fitted back in the trailer.

What this time lapse doesn’t show clearly is the poles falling down and nearly crushing us. We need to work out a safer way to dismantle it.