Category Archives: Photography

Progressing with Antique Photography

The next step in the experiments with the #antiquecamera was to try a contact positive print. First step the paper negative. Now I have established that I can trust the readings from the Lux App (iphone) – with ISO 6. I wanted at least a 4 s exposure as it minimises vibration effects from removing the lens cap. This gave an F stop of 32.half-plate-classical_bust_negative

To make the positive successully (Under red light) I wetted the papers before putting the negative face to face with the print paper. The negative was on top of the paper. I then illuminated the papers from 2 feet above with a flash from a flash-gun. Some experiments with different flash intensity was needed. – And success 🙂



100 year-old camera’s photo of my garden

So, using the recently acquired “plate holders” to hold the photographic paper in the back of my, now modified, Boots Half Plate Mahogany camera, I have taken and processed some successful pictures.

Boots half plate camera
Boots half plate camera

Taking the exposure using my iphone and the “Lux” app and judging the ISO of the paper to be 25, I made 3 exposures of the paper at f32 for 4s (as Lux indicated) and also, 8 and 16 seconds. As 8 seconds was the most successful. Seeing as the app had suggested 4s as the correct exposure, I will assume now the ISO equivalent of the paper is 50 and work on that basis for the next tests.

I developed the paper and got three well focussed images with a full tonal range.

The images produced are of course negative images. These I then scanned in to the computer and through photoshop inverted the tonal range to give the black and white image you see here.


The dynamic range is too great and I understand “flashing” the paper before use can help reduce this. That’s the next experiment.

“New” Camera!

A good find on E-bay this “Boots” the chemist half-plate camera ( #platecamera ) arrived a week ago and I have been gradually accumulating the accessories needed to make some prints. The camera has now been cleaned and checked. It didn’t come with any plate holders, so whilst waiting to find some I made my own from scrap wood in the workshop. This worked but has some light leakage. A search on E-Bay located 3 good ones which arrived today. However, whilst a close fit, they were slightly too big – so I have modified the runners at the back of the camera to accommodate these, slightly wider, plate holders. Now they fit snuggly. All chemicals have arrived, along with developing trays, but I am waiting for the tongs to lift the prints into and out of the fluids. My efforts without these were far too messy!

Let the experiments commence ….

  • One frustration – my #Dremel was doing a great job sanding the slot but then just stopped working – It came apart easily enough and check with a. multimeter identified the speed controller to be faulty. A replacement has been located by a google search – hopefully it will come soon as I have another job waiting for it.

Cattle Egrets on Somerset Levels

#cattleegret walking amongst the cows on the Somerset Levels near Catcott.

I had heard for some time that Cattle egrets were present now on the Somerset Levels, along with little Egrets and Great White Egrets, but I hadn’t seen them – until today. Driving towards the hide on Catcott Lows I glimpsed something very white flying near some cows. I reversed the car back up the road, parked in a layby and went to investigate – there they were 16 Cattle Egrets – smaller than other egrets and with a thick yellow beak – and living up to their name – walking amongst the cattle.

I took some shots with my #Fuji #X-H1 and 400mm lens with 1.4 extender. I still can’t get the best out of this set up yet. The depth of field is so shallow and the focussing a challenge – still a few shots were reasonably in focus – I thought I had the shutter on 1/1000s but it was only 1/500 so the shots of the birds in flight are blurred by the motion of the birds, one of which was carrying a vole (type thing) it had caught.

Very pleased to have got my first sighting of UK Cattle Egrets and to have a few pics – still need to return to get some better ones.

Cattle Egrets on Somerset Levels-0135Cattle Egrets on Somerset Levels-0125

Unexpected reward for a walk

We needed to get out for a walk this morning so went to Sand Point near Weston Super Mare and headed north towards Middle Hope. The beach there was strewn with driftwood and we were able to retrieve some good looking pieces that I’ll use for sculptures, printmaking and – still life photography. Results will be posted on this blog in the coming weeks.IMG_3160