I’d spotted this fantastic twisted looking tree from the road on the way back from shooting out at Hamilton the other day. It was on a property in front of an old 1830’s era house in Hayes. Y I stopped and went to the house to ask permission if I could shoot on their property. At first the woman that answered the door was very suspicious, not even opening the security door and asking me “why? what for?”, understandably, seeing as I was standing there, 6 foot 1, beanie, sleeveless metal tshirt with the words “BONGRIPPER” emblazened on the front and filthy jeans and doc martens.
So far it’s been a pretty good month. A girl whom I’ve shot with a couple of times since the beginning of my wet plate journey was back in Tasmania and had sent me a message saying she’d liked my vine shots and wanted to do a nude in there. Sounded pretty good to me so we met up on Friday and shot some great nude images amongst the vines.
Despite the unfavourable sunlight I decided to push myself and work in the open shade. I got two really nice plates that I’m very very happy with.
It’s been a reasonably productive week for me. I managed to pull myself out of a winter slump that had me sapped of any motivation, even for exercise. It shocked me that it’s come to nearly halfway through the year and I haven’t done much work at all to speak of.
Friday I went to a friend’s house whom I used to work with. I promised him months ago I would take a photo of his baby when it was born. Well, nature took it’s course and the baby was indeed born and I went and made an 8×10 plate of it.
This was an incredibly easy session. It went much smoother than I anticipated.
I set the camera up close to the main window in the small apartment’s loungeroom. It is now just about winter and the sun is low in the sky, it was shining directly through the window so I just used a thin white bedsheet to diffuse the light. I made a test exposure plate and determined at 32 seconds at f/5.6 on my 210mm lens was sufficient. Continue reading
Saturday was World Wet Plate Day and I was committed to getting out and making some plates. Feeling confident from my last little tester mission I packed up my Van and drove about an hour and a half North towards Campbelltown to an old Homestead. This was the same place I went the day I made my very first plates nearly two years ago.
The weather was pretty terrible. It was really windy and the rain was patchy. This did not bother me so much but the cloud cover was even patchier again and there was never any consistent light for longer than 30 seconds. Very very hard for wet plate photography. Also there were very thick, black rain clouds rolling in and out all afternoon.
I was still determined. I set up my camera and parked my van in such a way that provided a wind block in the big open paddock I was in. Every time I moved the camera I would move my van again to provide the shelter. I made a test 8×10 plate and it told me I would want around a 20 second exposure at f16. But the light was so inconsistent it was hard to maintain a solid judgement. I’m guessing the light would vary up to 4 stops or more with the patchy sunlight and thick heavy clouds and scattered lighter cloud.
This was the first plate I made:
Shooting today out at New Norfolk.
The light wasn’t really favourable for someone of my amateur nature. I’m not super confident with scenes with such vast tonal ranges.
The light was changing constantly which was quite annoying. In any case I just thought “shutup and pour” so I started making some plates.
After a couple of 8×10 test exposures I still wasn’t entirely 100% confident with the exposure, but the detail on the bark of the tree told me about 64 seconds at f/16 was a good exposure to start with, so that’s what I stuck with. I cannot begin to tell you how much I hate working with clear glass. I bought a few black developing trays in the hope that it will make things a little easier in inspecting plates as they fix in the tray.
I got back home from 3 weeks away at work today and went and checked on my chemicals to start prepping them up to hopefully start shooting next week. Was surprised to find that when I checked the new batch of varnish I made that it had gone incredibly dark and a thick layer of black sediment had formed on the bottom of the bottle. Continue reading
I’ve known Vince for about 10 years now. I sailed with him and his brother years ago on the ferries. We’ve been working together on this ROV job in Bass Strait the last couple of weeks. Hadn’t seen him for a few years. It’s his 55th birthday today (he hasn’t aged a day since I met him!) so I snapped this pic of him. Continue reading