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  • Still life with a bellows camera

    On a snowy day, staying at home was the warmer option and gave me a chance to apply what I have learned about exposure for this camera to still life. Being a snowy day the light coming in from the window was nice and flat. Working close-up meant the camera was extended almost to its limit. After a few trial exposures with the paper negatives, I settled on a 4 minute exposure at f18 for these three images (paper negatives scanned, inverted and flipped in Photoshop). But I have to admit to preferring the images as they come on the paper negatives seen in teh second set of images. #Stilllife

  • 6 out of 6! – 6 Good exposures

    On the frosty Mendip Hills this morning, I used the vintage Thornton Pickard camera to take some silhouette images of trees. Building on yesterday’s success with metering I managed 6 good exposures, despite the camera’s challenges including: Lens aperture adjustment seizing in the cold Shutter cord getting trapped during exposure. Images below are scans of the original paper negatives and photoshop’s rendition of the positive of the scans. Tomorrow I will do some contact prints. #mendip #Photography

  • Mastering Exposure – Vintage Camera

    Very pleased with exposure of paper negatives today. (Images here have been inverted in photoshop from a scan of the paper negatives) Using ISO 6 and metering off an 18% grey card on a bright sunny afternoon, I achieved perfect exposure for my driftwood photos. F64 at 4seconds. I forgot to turn the plate holder around when photographing the lighthouse in close-up so had a double exposure – I’ll have to go back and try again. The first image of the afternoon I took was metered on the assumption the paper was ISO 25 so was under exposed. But now I do feel I understand what I am doing. It helped that I was able to set up a mini darkroom in my VW T5 Camper – with the curtains drawn and working  in the cupboard with a safelight powered off an inverter connected to the leisure battery – I was able to develop a few paper negatives to check I was getting the exposure correct and then go back and take these images with a bit more confidence in the metering. Metering was done on my iphone using the app “Lux”.

  • At the fifth attempt – I’m happy

    Finally, after five attempts, I’ve got a plate with; enough etch to make a relief print, a satisfying sky effect enough detail in the ironwork (not etched away) 3.5 minutes in fresh, warm (hot tap) etching solution seems to be the effective recipe. Using the edge of a feather to apply the oil has given a controlled application. Using two-colour combination on the ink roller seems effective too. Now I have a plate that works I can experiment on the inking. #photoetching #pier #clevedon

  • Another step in my etching eduction

    Having another go with my Clevedon Pier photograph. This time I used a thinner application of oil for the sky and less etching time. #pier #aluminium #clevedon

  • Latest etching – still learning …

    Clevedon Pier – again from a photo – laserprint transferred onto aluminium with acetone then etched in copper sulfate and salt. Raising the temperature in a water bath made the solution very active – slightly over etched this one – see the halo around the top of the pier. I will have another go, etching for less time (2 instead of 3 minutes) with the oil resist for the clouds thinned out. Clevedon Pier aluminium etching #photoetching #pier #clevedon

  • Relief printing from etched aluminium

    First prints from the aluminium etchings. Very pleased with these first lifts – on 200gsm, glossy card. [Update! – when dry the ink rubbed off the glossy card – so I needed to spray with fixative] Some more careful work to follow in the coming days to get the best prints out of the etchings. #photoetching

  • Successful etching of the plates

    Having successfully transferred the laser prints of my photos onto aluminium plate, the next step is etching in copper sulfate/salt. To improve the etch I put the etching solution in a plastic box and that into a bowl of hot water thus raising the temperature of the etch. In etching this series of plates I found that I could get 2 etches from 500cc of solution before the solution loses its potency. The “clouds” were added using a vegetable oil as the resist – applied with a feather. The plates are displayed below. #photoetching

  • Success every time!

    I’ve cracked it! Using acetone to transfer laserprint onto aluminium plate ready for #etching. Plates on the left in this photo the peeled-off prints on the right. What made the difference to getting success every time? 1. Preparing the plates with 1200 wet and dry emery paper then a bit of a polish with chrome cleaner – wash off the remains of the chrome cleaner with white Spirit and wipe clean. 2. Pouring the acetone based nail-polish remover (Must contain Isopropyl Alcohol) on the back of the paper rather than onto the plate and pressing the paper onto that. 3. Smoothing and pressing with a bamboo baren and then removing the paper before it has dried and stuck to the plate. #aluiminium #photoetching #Etching #Printmaking

  • Progress with etching – Exmoor tree project

    After my initial experiments with the etching process, I started today to apply what I have learned to my Exmoor tree images. (See previous etching blog for my first steps in this process). I opened one of my images into Photoshop, increased the contrast, applied the “Posterise” function and then deleted the background elements I didn’t want to print. The image was then flipped horizontally, and resized to fit the plate. This was then printed on the laser printer. The polished plate was cleaned thoroughly with white spirit, then covered in nail polish remover before applying the printed image, resting gently on the plate while the acetone softens the toner. Then a few layers of newspaper are placed on top of the image before adding a weight and leaving for a couple of hours. Once the weight hs been removed the now dry plate has the paper printed image stuck to it. The paper needs to be soaked off in warm soapy water and gently rubbed away leaving the toner image on the plate. To add some texture to the sky I brushed on some vegetable oil (Thanks Tony Martin – see reference – for this tip). With the addition of Sodium Biosulfite to the Salt/Copper Sulfite solution to aid the etching process (See Reference), the plate was placed in the solution for 10 minutes, gently brushing away the copper deposits with a feather. The etched plate was cleaned and used to produce relief prints. However the backround printed as intensely as the tree. (Print on the left, plate on the right). After a number of trials it became clear this could be controlled with the stiffness of the paper. It turns out that 200g/sm Inkjet/laser photopaper (Matte) works superbly. Very rewarding morining’s work. Reference Nik Semenoff “When I developed my copper sulfate etch in 1992, I realized that mixing sodium bisulfate into the bath to keep aluminium hydroxide from forming, was actually making a weak hydrochloric acid that produced hydrogen in reaction with the metal, which gently lifted the pure copper particles out of the etched lines.” Tony Martin #aluminium #Etching

  • Success with the antique camera and shutter

    Well, some success and still some failures(learning opportuntites). Saggy bellows have caused a shadow on the negative and one or two film holders have small gaps – now filled.  But the ones that worked I am very pleased with. The big challenge is metering correctly to set the exposure. I realised that in trying to increase the exposures I had been getting, I had been metering the highlights instead of the midtones. River Axe – set up for the shot F8 1/30s print and negative – Focus not great Cornwall F8 1/100s print and negative – Bellows drooped causing shadow F8 1/30s print and negative – Just right 🙂 #Landscape #camera #Photography #bellows #ThorntonPickard #film

  • How to measure the speed of my antique shutter

    My Boots branded 100 year old Thornton Pickard camera has a new addition – a mechanical shutter. This allows me to shoot at speeds under 1 second. With these faster speeds I can use 200 ISO sheet film instead of the much slower photo paper. To measure the speed of this shutter, I fixed it in front of my digital fuji XT20. I set the Fuji on a 5 second exposure on f8 (as wide as the old camera goes). This gave me time after pressing the Fuji shutter to then trigger the old shutter. I then viewed the histogram of the image taken – which was of course, at the speed of the old shutter. I then moved the old shutter out of the way and took a few images on the Fuji adjusting the shutter speed until I found a speed that gave me a similar histogram to that obtained with the old shutter. This turned out to be a useful 1/30s. The speed of the old shutter can be changed – but it is a bit of a fiddle. #camera #film #Photography #ThorntonPickard

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