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Wet Plate Collodion pt.1

a couple months ago my friend lends me a copy of the BBC documentary series Genius of photography (a recommended film by the way) in the first episode it shows the very early types of photography like daguerreotypes and wet plate shooting, and i get hooked! the images of those early process is very different, it seems like they just popped out  from the plates. the film didn’t show much of the process details, so I thought daguerreotypes will be perfect! a few hours later perusing the web reveals the complicated and costly nature of the process (so strike that from the list!)

the other process that caught my attention is the wet plate collodion, shown in the film by Sally Mann who portraits her husband as a project.more visits to the world wide web reveals a more user friendly processes and materials! this is it i say!

the how to on alternativephotography.com

then of course the list i make concerning the viability of this project:




after discussing with my real world friends and my web friends on APUG and collodion forum i solved the camera problem, by deciding to build my own large format camera (well solving it is a very optimistic way of seeing it as i even haven’t start the building), at first i decided to build it  based on Jon Grepstad plans ( who is very helpful and a nice person) but in the process i decided that as this is my first foray large format photography and nevertheless my first camera building, to make it simple and found the plans by Edward A Hoover (haven’t had the chance to talk with) more viable and sufficient enough. i’d only got the sketch it in 3D so far using Google Sketch-up (a very intuitive software!)

based on Edward Hoover plans

i also picked the lens for the soon to be camera, it’s an Industar-51 210mm f 4.5 tessar, the price is right (from the nice people of the Ukrainian eBay republic)! it should cover up to 5×7 format.

the progress on the chemical is still sketchy, i found out a importer for collodion, but the stuff they had had been expired for two years, the guy offered me to use one can for free though as a sample, so we’ll see about that after i build the camera. haven’t found the source for the rest though such as the silver nitrate and the developer. but i have high hopes for that!

so for now my first priority for this project now is to get started on the camera building!



a more detailed view on the processes from Joseph Smiegel


Filed under: alternative process

Rave On! Raveonettes at Bandung

shot with my phone camera, very very very bad quality. well at least i got some pictures.

Filed under: pictures

From Kiev with Color

First roll of colour film from  Kiev 4a with Jupiter-8M 53mm f 2.0, Fuji Superia 400 (expired for at least a year). minimal curve editing to recover overexposed by scanner.

Original contents copyright 2010 by Dave A. Andiputra. All Rights Reserved.

Filed under: Jupiter-8M 53mm f 2.0, Kiev 4a, pictures, , , , ,

August 2010 Index

Kiev Saga

Kiev Saga pt.2 : The Arrival

Dark Room

Dark room project progress report


Filed under: Monthly Index


just burned my first film, the Lucky 100 I intend to push to 400. it looks like my SS reel has gone bust, after repeated attempt to load it failed, i took it out from the changing bag half way although the light is still out, and change the reel, but the notebook is on, and unfortunately it is enough to burn the whole film (yes i know, only load film in total darkness). my other reel is also defective as the spines has come off at the end, so i’ll have to buy new ones, initially planned to buy from the classifieds at APUG, but it turns out the seller decided to give it away locally. another choice is buying from a local classified ads, there’s one with a tank and two reels.

so what i’ve learnt form this:

1. only load film in total darkness!!!

2. SS reels do get bust

3. always wash your hands after handling chemicals, got a bad eye irritation right now.

ps. oh and the roll got pictures from the Belle & Sebastian concert on it (Damn!)

Filed under: dark room, ,

Dark Room project progress

since i got the enlarger been using it a few times, printing some old negatives, i think i’m getting the hang of it. using a self timer is certainly very helpful, as no longer you must guesstimate the exposure time. as all i have right now is 4 x 6 paper, the prints are small and look sharp enough, it looks like the fujimoto lens it came with are sufficient enough for me right now.

I’m planning to get a larger paper (8 x 10), but still searching for it as local stores only sell small sized paper. buying from freestyle will be perfect as i can buy some film too, but the shipping cost is to high, it ends up doubling the prices. blanco negro sells foma stuff that i want to try, and the shipping cost from Australia is still very reasonable, so thinking of ordering from them, already spoken to the owner Chris, very kind and helpful.

Film Developing

on the film developing front, last night (31 July 2010)  i’d tried to develop my first roll from the kiev, a black and white lucky SHD 100 film, but apparently my reel loading technique need more practicing, when it came out the film were bended, and sticking to each other, resulting white blotches on the film. on a better note, at least now i know that is nothing wrong on the kiev, the pictures came out okay and well exposed apart from the wrong guesses i made on the exposure.

first try, failed loading the reel, resulting in bended negatives and white blotches

right now I’m in the process of finishing my second roll, and hopefully my first success on developing film on my own. it’s a good thing lucky films only cost about US$1 each!

update august 3, 2010

just finished the second roll, straight to processing when i get home, the loading practice pays off and loading the reel was a breeze, i use Micro-MF for the developer for 16 minutes (full agitation the first minute) with 10 second agitation every one minute. got no stop bath, so use water instead, 4-5 times rinse, and goes in the fixer (Acifix), i re-use the fixer from last time for 8 minutes (full agitation the first minute) and the same 10  second agitation every one minute. after rinsing the film, i dry them and this is the negatives:

First Success

seems under exposed images, still learning to use "sunny 16" rule

hopefully i can print some frame tonight and scan them so i can upload them straight away. the negatives looks nice, some pictures are again under exposed from wrong guessing the exposure, more practice needed, this is my first meter-less camera after all.

Original contents copyright 2010 by Dave A. Andiputra. All Rights Reserved.

Filed under: dark room, Kiev Saga, , , , , ,

Kiev Saga pt.2: The Arrival

today (26 July 2010) is the arrival of my long awaited Kiev 4A. as explained on part 1, this purchase have many first for me, and after 20 day had passed, i was getting worried that will it ever arrived. well now there is nothing to be worried! it’s here! with it’s rather crude packaging, as i rip the brown paper that is covering some kind of protective layers, and lo behold the camera I’ve been waiting for almost a month now The Kiev 4A with Jupiter-8M 53mm f2 lens (rather odd, the internet sources always said that the jupiter-8 is a 50mm lens, it’s the Helios that uses 53mm) and complete with it’s EverReady case.

The Package from Ukraine



Smug faced

Smug Faced #2

well the seller photos is the real one, and hasn’t found anything to be out of order right now, will have to buy some film and check it out some more.

Kiev 4A, eveready case, yellow filter

Original contents copyright 2010 by Dave A. Andiputra. All Rights Reserved.

Filed under: camera stories, Kiev Saga, , , , ,

July 2010 index


Studies on Light and Movement

Gedung Merdeka #1


Batu Karas 25-28 June 2010

Camera Stories

Kiev Saga pt.1

Cheap Nikon F Mount to Canon EOS lens adapter

Dark Room

Dark Room Project #1

Filed under: Monthly Index

Batu Karas, 25-28 June 2010

A rather spontaneous vacation trip, although planning to go there to visit a friend, the actual decision to go was done in one night!

Pictures taken from the day of departure to the trip home, all taken with Nikon F2, Nikkor-S 50mm f 1.4, Fuji Superia 400 film (1 month expired). straight from scanner.

Original contents copyright 2010 by Dave A. Andiputra. All Rights Reserved.

Filed under: Nikkor-S 50mm f 1.4, Nikon F2, pictures, , , , , , , , , ,

Dark Room Project #1

I’ve wanted to build a darkroom since I started to know photography back in 2003, back then analog photography were still the mainstream, and digital were almost out of reach. my first experience with a dark room was when i join my campus photography club, they got a small dark room with a very basic B/W enlarger, but seeing pictures appear magically from nowhere for the first was amazing. The way the pictures appear gradually, the smell of the chemicals, unfortunately never did learn how to develop my own film, and sadly when the building was renovated, the dark room was closed for good.

After that brief encounter, I’d always thought that someday, at least i will learn to develop my own film, and if lucky enough, set up my own dark room. That thought always linger, but never get realized, until last month when I decided to buy a kiev rangefinder that spark my passion for analog photography. a quick look around on a local classified forum sprung an offer of a second hand Fujimoto Lucky 69M Fujimoto Lucky 90M-S enlarger, when i visit the seller (an elderly Chinese man), it turns out that he used to operate a photo studio that gone broke, and now decided that he will sell clothes instead. With the enlarger also included are three lenses (50mm f3.5, 75mm f4.5, and 105mm f5.6), three negative carrier (35mm, 6×6, and 6×9), a digital timer, a metal developing tank with metal reels (two 135 and a 120). He initially offered it for approximately US$100, which is a little too high for me, so I decided not to pursue it, two week later the seller texts me with a new offer roughly US$70 for the whole lot, so I decided to take it. The guy was fairly nice, he even give some additional extras, such as some powder developer and papers (he even included some kind of fuel additive for no apparent reason other than just wanting to give it).

As for the darkroom, i planned to use a corner on my room for the dry side, and using the nearest bathroom for the wet side. I’m planning to use overlapping curtains with railing as the “room” and add a changing bag for maximum darkness. But the time being the first i want to do is practicing on developing some film first, I’ve read everywhere that loading a metal reels is very hard, so I’m practicing to do that first, before using real film, but if it proved to be too difficult, I’m thinking of buying a plastic one instead.

Fujimoto Lucky 90M-S enlarger

to be continued…

Original contents copyright 2010 by Dave A. Andiputra. All Rights Reserved.

Filed under: dark room, ,