Sugestions for a Dry Plate Portrait: Yikes!

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by peter k., Nov 7, 2018.

  1. peter k.

    peter k. Subscriber

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    Ok, my crazy granddaughter wants me to take her senior year book picture. Tried to talk her out of it, as we have never done a portrait before, let alone to be published, in of all things her yearbook. YIKES!
    She's not sure if she wants color or B&W, but asked about that crazy thing we were now doing with glass.
    Oh my.. next.... .
    So and clues on taking a Dry Plate Portrait?
    Will probably shoot it outside, in the shade. I'm having her check to see if there are any restrictions.
    Thanks..
     
  2. jnanian

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    open shade\overcast day
    have fun :smile:
     
  3. Nodda Duma

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    The picture I took of my daughter in her unicorn helmet (see my media) was taken with a flashbulb.
     
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    peter k.

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    Hmmmm... overcast day in Az... not likely.. so probably won't need a flash.either, as it looks like an interior shot of Test Victim ;-) Although got one for the 3x4 speed though... A modern flash, and haven't used that in years either. Oh my were in new territory. ;-) He Haw...
     
  5. J 3

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    Flash can be done with wet plate but you have to throw a ton of power into it. It's around ISO 1 plus or minus and you're typically shooting at smaller apertures than 35mm too. So that GN 100ft at ISO 100 flash becomes a GN 1ft flash at ISO 1, and then shooting at f/16 means the flash is an inch away from the subject. I would definitely consider open shade instead (under a tree or in the shade of a building) unless you have a lot of high power photostrobes. You can also order template glass plates at nearer 100 ISO.
     
  6. J 3

    J 3 Member
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    P.s. giving the subject something to lean against sharpens the images in their typical range for open shade with dry/wet plate.
     
  7. J 3

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    Made a mistake. You usually photograph people with the lens near wide open with wet plate but it's the same story. You need a ton of flash to make it work.
     
  8. MattKing

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    This is a pinhole camera portrait - f/207 and near sunset light meant a 30 second exposure.
    So slow materials don't prevent success - you just need a patient and relatively still subject.

    55c-2017-08-16-res.jpg
     
  9. bvy

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    Definitely check with the school first. Most schools have requirements for yearbook photos (similar to taking a passport photo) -- e.g. head and shoulders, solid background, must be in color, etc. These are just some examples I've seen.

    Also, give a lot of thought to how it's going to reproduce. Plates are most impressive as "objects"; scanning and downsizing it and showing it amidst a grid of polished studio portraits might make it look... not as intended. Maybe good, maybe bad. At least have a back-up plan involving more traditional methods. The plate will still be beautiful, I'm sure, even if just on the parents' mantle.
     
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    peter k.

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    Yes, she will have to stay absolutely still ... time will tell.. (Ok ya can blink now)
    Yep.. planned that already, and the thought of an image for parent's mantle, is making the Dry Plate shot focused to go there. It can always be cropped for head and shoulders.

    An interesting aspect of Dry Plate, is the other day, shot one and then shot the same exact scene with regular B&W film, in same camera. Developed and scanned... zoomed in. and Oh my... the clarity and sharpness over the Efke 100 was amazing! Wanted to post the differences, but the .jpg images of it did not show it clearly.
     
  11. Nodda Duma

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    I have a couple teenagers helping me prep glass for plates now. One of them wants a dry plate portrait of himself made for his mom’s upcoming b-day which I think is an awesome idea. So I’m going to be working through the same type of problem as you, likely this upcoming weeekend. It will be similar to what I did for my daughter so I will take detailed notes (with and without flash) and let you know what I did.

    If I don’t post results it means the portrait turned out like crap! Lol
     
  12. J 3

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    Wonderful. I really dig a 30 second exposure portrait. Kudos for pulling it off.
     
  13. MattKing

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    Thanks. I think that the credit really goes to our friends!
    FWIW, this is how the contemporaneous "normal" camera, colour film version turned out:
    Matthew3408-06e.jpg
     
  14. jnanian

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    hi peter
    do a test run with a paper negative
    make a few test exposures in various places to get an idea
    paper negatives are about 5 or maybe 4 stops faster than your dry plates
    ( iso 12 or 6 instead of 1 ) .. it will give you practice at judging the light &c
    no shade how about golden hour low soft light :smile:
    btw if you have a blue filter ( sorry i don't know which one ! ) put it over your light meter
    and you will get a better idea of how much blue light there is ( your glass loves blue light from what i can remember )
    a gossen luna pro sbc also loves blue light and it can give you great meter readings for low light ..
    have fuN !


    huh ?
    wet plate is a different story,
    and its sensitive to a different light ..
    but dry plate, and / or paper negatives, no, not really ..
    you don't need anywhere near that amount of flash or be that close to your subject
    unless you want a totally useless and blocked up negative...
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018 at 4:30 PM
  15. OP
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    peter k.

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    Ha.. never shot a paper negative, had enough trouble with film, but that sounds like a good idea. Were going into territory not discovered yet! :smile:
    .... .. Giddy up...
    And yes, was thinking of the golden hour, and yes, Nodda Duma gave me the clue about the blue filter, its about two stops difference. Sure has helped.

    BTW Nodda looking forward to those portraits... I'm sure ya got enough stock to test it out, question is if ya got enough time :blink: Ha.. But sure like to hear about your efforts, win or lose.
     
  16. J 3

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    I think in this case the pinhole b&w has a lot more character. Different field of view of course but I like the look. Well done.
     
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