Wet Plate Collodion – First Steps

I thought I’d quickly share the first correctly exposed Wet Plate Negative I made when I first started with the process.  I referenced this in my earlier post on the Pocket Exposure Meter and talked about my struggles up until I’d found this app.  This was made with my favorite, at the time, lens a Wollensak Vesta Portrait Lens, f5 Series A 5×7.


Here are a couple shots of the negative .



Here is the negative scanned (no adjustments).

WP Test Candles


Is it perfect?  No.  Is it sort of what I was thinking?  Yes!  From an exposure standpoint I was very pleased.  Again, this is the 4th plate I’d made and the three prior had been unmitigated disasters.  These were all experiments/tests and I was not really focusing on a world altering composition.  Not only had I managed to resolve the issues I was having (most of them tied to not REALLY cleaning the glass well enough and then handling issues after cleaning), but I managed to dial in the exposure.  Yes, things have improved greatly now but it’s all those little things that can be game changers and suddenly elevate your work to a new level that matter.

For what it’s worth, I anticipate disappointment and frustration to the extent that I’m not ever really taken down by them.  I also anticipate the little breakthroughs around which the feelings of incomparable joy just cannot be described.



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