In conjunction with my efforts to come to terms with Dry Plate photography, I set out this afternoon with my one least offensive failed plates. To be honest, the only plate that survived my first efforts. This is all documented in Part 2 of my Dry Plate photography odyssey. However, what’s worth noting is that seeing as I was destined for a photo outing today and committed to dragging my now beloved 5×7 down into the swamps, I figured I’d go ahead and take along a couple sheets of Ye’Ol Ortho Litho. Truth be told with such a modest ASA, it sort of fell in line with my dry plate state of mind and a plate rated at ISO 1 at best.
I determined to stick with the basic parameters which I’d used on my first sheet of Ortho. This I documented in Pt.1. In the field this meant exposing it at ISO 6. I was shooting with a Bausch & Lomb Zeiss Tessar 5×7 Ic. The lens rests in a Wollensak BETAX no 4 shutter which seems to fire at the same speed across all shutter settings. It’s never been an issue as I just set it to B, attach my remote, and use my trusty iPhone stopwatch to time my exposure.
Did I mention in Pt. 1 that this film is crazy flimsy? I did? Well, allow me to again state that THIS FILM IS CRAZY FLIMSY! Loading it into a film holder can be tricky. I wanted to be extra careful as my first negative showed some vertical scratches that I’m pretty sure came about via the loading process. I may have uttered the odd profanity as I loaded the film earlier today. Can’t really say.
In any event. I set out on what is by all accounts a brisk day in Alabama, temps in the mid 30’s, to explore a couple of my favorite locations in and around the swamps and rivers near my home. It was a drizzly overcast day but the winds were not up. I finally decided on a river bank below a couple bridges and on the outskirts of a swamp. I knew that there were compelling compositions there though it was always a gamble this time of year with the significant rains we get and the associated flooding which can dramatically alter a landscape. I was in luck.
I had my glass Dry Plate in one holder and two sheets of Ortho in another. I found my shot. Traversing a couple shallow pools of water I found reasonably damp ground to set up the tripod and the 5×7. I decided I’d shoot the Ortho first, saving the glass plate for last as it was the focus of my excursion.
UNFORTUNATELY!!!>>>>>> I cannot remember my settings. It was cold. It was damp. It was windy (not really). I was hungry. Ummm….. Well, I just didn’t take the time to record anything. I knew my base ASA and pretty much went by the numbers. I did shoot one at f16 and one at f22. The rest is lost to history. While I jest, honestly, I’m just feeling all of this out. That’s sort of the way I work. I cannot obsess the details constantly. For the record, I followed the exact same development process as outlined in Pt. 1.
So, here you go. Not at all that bad. These are direct scans from the negative.
So, I’m sticking this way down here at the bottom. A little secret. I think I’m sort of liking this film! Seriously, I think I am. There’s something about these photos that really appeals to me. Now, keep in mind, these two along with the clock from Pt.1 represent my sum total of three photographs shot with the film. One was indoors under artificial light and these were under seriously overcast skies. All three involved fairly muted color schemes consisting of earth tones primarily. So, I’ll have to explore quite a bit more with this film and at some point in the future begin to vary from the baseline shoot/process I’ve established. But for now I plan on just continuing to use it and really get to know it. Man, this is fun stuff!!