Archive for the 'analog' Category

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021

a 170 year old process and high end food photography

everybody knows that I work exclusively on collodion wet plate portraits. So what’s the reason for food photography now? Let me try to explain. Many of you guys will remember that I bought a Cambo studio stand some while ago ( ). A little bit later I bought a used tray for it on Ebay. The seller was very friendly and somehow we started to talk about photography. Long story short, a month later we decided to do a project together. After months of planing, Hans Gerlach (a well known food photographer and columnist) drove over to my studio and brought his tools and some delicious food with him. Additional food for this shooting came from my garden, this way I could bring a bit more into the project besides my wet plate photography. During the planing period we discussed different dishes, their colours and how they would appear on a tintype (the wet collodion process only sees blue light and therefore red colours will turn black and blue white). We saw this come together as kind of a first test and wanted to see what what we could create. For me it was very interesting to have a chef working in my kitchen.

I enjoyed it a lot to watch a chef doing his thing

I suggested the 13x18cm format, because the camera is not too huge and can be easy mounted over head. We can get a bit more depth of field because of this smaller format. And I have a beautiful 250mm Zeiss Tessar lens that I can stop down to about F16 without having to long exposure times (two Hensel generators with 9000 w/s together helped to archive that and remember, its called wet plate, because the plate needs to be wet the whole time and can not dry). I mounted this beauty of a lens on my 13x18cm Mentor camera (check this article for my renovation of the beauty: )

Even I know the Cambo tripod and the Mentor camera is made for such operation, it still looks a bit scary

Even this studio Mentor camera and the tripod are meant for that kind of work, it felt funny to see my tools in that position.

While I prepared everything in my darkroom, Hans Gerlach did his magic in my kitchen. We were very excited to work on the first plate. And after we saw the result, we were even more excited, the outcome was gorgeous. So we worked very long on the first day (I think I went to bed at 4 am). But it was not all glory. We shot so many plates, that at some point my silver nitrate bath went bad. First I thought it was the collodion, the fixer and the developer, but after I changed all of that(I am always good prepared for important shootings and create everything twice or even three times) and still got funny looking plates, I know I need to change the silver nitrate bath.

A lot of troubleshooting was involved to make this go away

After I changed the bath, everything was fine again and we could go on with the shooting.

sourdough bread with butter and welsh onion

We shot many different styles of the sourdough bread until we were happy with the outcome. This is one of our favourites plates. To hold it in our hands after months of planing and all the work we put together was wonderful. If you are interested in a print of this plate or any other, check out this link:

But this little setback should not be the only thing that kept me busy this day. After shooting many plates, my modified wet plate holder made my life a bit harder. Sometimes the plate won’t stay in place and the end result of that was a scratched plate….

this is something every wet plate artist have to face from time to time

I quickly solved the problem with a little redesign on the plate holder and from that on I was able to shoot without any problem. Before capturing every new dish, we were excited to see how it will turn out.
And most of them turned out great, I really like the beans and the spoon with chocolate mousse. The sheer amount of detail and texture of these scans from the wet plates are just incredible. They will look amazing on a big print.

green beans with whipped goat cheese and fennel flowers
This will look great on a big canvas

spoon with chocolate mousse grated chocolate

To get as much done as possible, I scanned all 13x18cm (about 200mpix) and 18x24cm (about 300mpix, I decided later to do two bigger plates too) plates at night and also varnish them afterwards. So this night was quite short 🙂

I shot the bigger plates with a 150 year old Dallmeyer 2b Petzval lens to mix the this delicious bread with the beautiful swirly bokeh from this old lens. I really like how this plate turned out and how the out of focus areas look like.

sourdough bread with welsh onion and radishes
It amazes me again and again how sharp these old lenses are

After these intense shoots, we were always rewarded with great looking plates amazing tasting food.

I am still dreaming f that desert

Hans created also amazing tasting handmade pasta

culurgiones – sardinian ravioli with wild herbs

To give you guys a much better idea of this shooting, I tried to captures as much footage as possible to bring you behind the scenes with this video

On thing is sure, we enjoyed our work together a lot and will do more like that in the future, but that needs again lots of planning. I am very happy that I met Hans and his work inspired me (yes there is also a inspired portrait coming up). I really look forward to our next shooting together (and yes, I also look forward to eat everything 🙂

Because I get asked very often about the tools I use for the wet plate process, I created a shopping list here:

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    Tuesday, August 24th, 2021

    How to remove Scratches from Tintypes varnished with Sandarac

    There is nothing more annoying as scratches in your sandarac varnish. In todays video I show you how to make many of the go away. For that you let the varnished plate breath alcohol in a closed container . after about 15 minutes (you will smell it), the varnish will get sticky again and because of that small scratches will disappear. After you are happy with the result, you heat the plate to cure the varnish again. always cover the plate as good as possible with a tray or something else, to avoid dust on it. See the full explanation in my video

    Affiliate links to used products

    Posted by Markus | Filed in alumitype, analog, collodion, sandarac, tutorial | Comment now »


    Wednesday, August 4th, 2021

    Shooting Wet Plate Portraits with an affordable Large Format Bokeh Monster

    I should stop calling these “Short Projects” short projects. It didn’t take that long, but still longer as expected.
    After I bought it at the Camera Obscura Festival
    But I still think if you are looking for a affordable large format wet plate camera, you should have a look at the Mentor camera brand. Most of them are build like a tank (Remember, I got another Mentor too, where I did double exposures with: and easy to repair. The cool thing of this camera is the curtain shutter and strobe connector. It has also all movements you can imagine, great for architecture, product (or food) photography.
    For the wet plate process, you want to look for a fast lens, but these are mostly pretty expensive. Thats why projection lenses are a good options, but most of them are triplet designs – but there are others too, like the Leitz Hektor 200mm F 2.5 that covers 13x18cm plates in portrait distance easily and has 4 glass elements instead of the classic triplets. be aware that the depth of field is razor thin on that lens. I have a second one for sale here with other camera gear I only use very rarely. So I would be happy if this finds someone who uses it again. I just collected to much gear….
    In the video, I show you how I repair all the little blemishes of the camera and add two Lenses to it. I even build two lens plateadapters. One to mount lenses from my Century camera to the Mentor and one to mount Linhof Lenses to the Century camera. Check my Thingverse too, I will post some of them there if I am happy with them. . The more I get comfortable with my 3D printer the more I use it, that reflects also in this project. Even some prints take pretty long (my longest one was 16 hours), it saves me lots of time, because I can do different things in-between. And some of the designs would have been much harder to create with traditional wood/metal working.
    I really like how the camera, lens plates and wet plate holder turned out. This will be used on many during my workshops (for English ones contact me here)in the future And I am also very happy that Tanja of helped me out to model for me. Thanks a lot!
    If you liked this kind of projects and want to support my upcoming ones, you ca do that here

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    Thursday, July 15th, 2021

    The First Analog Photography Festival After The Pandemic

    This was such a great experience! It was not only great to meet people again at the Camera Obscura Festival, but it was also awesome to meet artists that are interested in an analog workflow. Another great thing is, that this festival is not an exclusive “wet plate event” it is also for people who work with the analog medium in any way. That was so cool, with this option you will experience things you may not have seen before. Like Large Format Cameras build from Legos. It was so nice to meet all of you guys finally in person another big thanks to Stefan, Christian and Denis for organising this great event! If you want to be notified for the next Camera Obscura Festival, register here:

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    Wednesday, June 16th, 2021

    I used Readyload film which expired 20 yrs ago for peaceful swan portraits

    Shooting wildlife with a large format camera.

    Because I know this swan family for two seasons now, I am fully accepted and can come very close to them and their nest. They even trust me so much, that they sleep in front of me. It’s such a wonderful feeling for me to spend time with these guys.That’s also the reason I wanted to shoot large format portraits of them. My first idea was to shoot a collodion wet plate, because the swan mum was most of the time in her nest breeding her eggs. But because of the lockdown back then, I wasn’t allowed to stay outside that long. So I decided to shoot large format film with my Linhof Technika camera and a borrowed 400mm Tele Xenar lens on 4×5 Kodak Readyload film. I have my own fridge for them, because most of them are about 20 years expired and some of them are very unique for me, like the Kodak Ektachrome E100S or the Portrait 160VC. Because I like one of a kind photographs, I shot also Fujifilm FP-100C peel a part film (also expired) to get kind of a wet plate experience 🙂
    I documented the whole story, inclusive a bad blooper and the outcome of the breeding in my latest YouTube documentary (I guess after 3,5 months its not just a vlog anymore). If you are interested in prints, check out – there is also one limited hand enlarged (Title “I am beautiful”) print series available.

    all images are copyright protected

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    Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021

    Newstime: There is a Wet Plate Festival in Germany, my images in a book, online workshops and more

    Hope I see you guys in Germany at the Camera Obscura Festival
    My Virus Wet Plates are part of the 35mmc Pandemic book
    More and more people are attending my online wet plate workshops (online Nassplattenworkshop)

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    Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

    Is the wet plate collodion process dangerous?

    Not a question that is easy answered, but I try to do my best in my latest video. Depending what chemicals you use, there is much more you have to take care of. I will do sometimes a second video with more info. Before you start with this process inform yourself with a good book or a workshop from a person who knows about the danger of the chemicals.

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    Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

    Rose – a wet plate fine art print

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    Wednesday, November 11th, 2020

    Connected – a 5 minute wet plate exposure with 7000 km distance between us

    click or scroll down for the English version

    English version

    Connected – a wet plate art project about the bonds of friendship
    with Shane Balkowitsch

    This is not about a technical perfect wet plate. This is about building connections from thousand miles away. Overcoming obstacles and being there for each other.

    This 5-minute exposure captured more than just an image, it’s a short movie where the plate captured our thoughts and movements. Thanks to Shane Balkowitsch to be a part of it.

    We couldn’t do a lot of things because of the pandemic, but I won’t let this get me down.
    I also didn’t want to wait for some things I wanted to do. That’s when I came up with the idea to do things differently. With that I finally could meet Shane in a more direct way and we also were able to shoot a wet plate together. For me it was important to show, that there are always ways to do something. The only limits we have are in our head. At this point I want to say thanks to Pro-Digital in Vienna who lent me this wonderful Dedolight light head with the projection kit. This is an amazing tool! Without that it would have been much tougher to make this happen. 

    Dedolight head with projector

    Darken my studio

    First I had to darken my studio, because the tiniest lightleak would be visible in a 5 minute exposure.

    I have blinds, but they were not enough. With a 5 minute exposure a tiny light leak could make problems, thats why I covered my windows behind the blinds with cardboard.

    darken my stuido
    blindes were not enough


    I wanted to have Shane’s background in my studio. That’s wehre things got a tricky.

    As you saw, I used the projector on a gray wall to not overexpose the background and Shane.

    During the test shots I thought for a moment I could use the projector light on me too, because on a digital image I looked as bright as shane. But the wet plate process fairy was against me – The uv light just sees it differently.

    Using the projected image as light source – digital test shot
    Test plate with projector light

    So I knew I needed an additional light source to  get the exposure right.
    I have a Hensel spot adapter for a strobe and tried this one first. But with the modeling light the light was to uneven (it’s a 20 years old strobe), it just works with the strobe.

    Hensel spotlight adapter

    Then I tried it with the light blaster. This is a projector for speedlites where you can mount lenses on it to project images on as a background. But here I had the same problem, as soon as I used a flashlight, the light was to uneven.

    Lightblaster with a Canon lens

    Then I remembered a workshop where the guy there used a dedolight and that’s when I called Pro Digital and asked them if I can have one. Some days later I went to their shop and Andreas explained all the possibilities I have with the light and showed my also the projection kit. From there I knew this is the right tool. Good to have local shops like that!

    my solution, a Dedolight

    As soon as I got home, I made myself a gobo that looks like me. A gobo is a Graphical Optical Blackout.

    I printed it and then I used a cutter to cut it out.

    A tiny myself as a gobo
    mounted myself into the Dedolight frame

    And with that I could make a projection on myself that does not brighten up the Shane and his background.

    Finally a solution with my gobo in the Dedolight projector


    5 Minutes is very long for a portrait. And yet it was as short as I could get it.

    I used my Century 8×10 camera with my Dallmeyer 2b Petzval lens – it’s a F3 lens by the way.

    8×10 Century Field Camera with Dallmeyer 2B lens

    I could only shoot 13x18cm plates, because the camera would have been in the way of the projector for 8×10 plates (I had to go closer). 

    the camera couldn’t get any closer – otherwise I would have been in the way

    Using a longer lens would also have been an Issue, because then I would have an aperture of F4.5 or even F6. With that the exposure times would have been twice or four times as long.

    Aa you could see in the videos, I set the timer on my watch and released the lens cap with a string that I squeezed between the lens cap and the camera. An then it was only us two and 5 minutes in front of the camera.

    Manny of you have seen the apron I am using but only a view know that this apron is from my grandfather who used to have a shoemaker shop in this house.  Thats the reason I like to wear it, because it is part of our family.

    5 minutes for a long lasting memory

    It was such a great experience and so much fun. I will for sure do it sometimes again. Maybe some people even want to do a portrait like that. It’s a great way to get memories during that time where we have to be at home

    For private wetplate workshops contact me here:
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    Wednesday, October 28th, 2020

    Shooting Wet Plates with Autofocus (FAIL)

    click or scroll down for the English version

    Ich hatte ja schon mal Freihand mit einer Nassplattenkamera Fotografiert. Diesmal war der Plan mit Autofocus auf Kollodium-Nassplatte zu fotografieren. Dazu habe ich das Mamiya 645 AF AFD Polaroid Film Back HP402 an meiner 645 AFD II verwendet. Leider wurde meinem Vorhaben ein Strich durch die Rechnung gemacht. Warum genau zeige ich euch im Video. Vielen Dank an Jasmin fürs Modeln:

    Zum Lichttest habe ich ein iPhone Foto erstellt – das einzig Scharfe in der Serie 🙂 Manche Platten schauen ok aus, aber im Scan sieht man wie unscharf sie sind.

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    English version

    I shot already wet palates handheld, but this time I wanted to shoot them with an autofocus camera. For that I mounted the Mamiya 645 AF AFD Polaroid Film Back HP402 onto my Mamiya 645 AFDII. Sadly it didn’t work out like I imagined. In this video I show you why. Thanks a lot Jamsin to for modelling:

    For testing I shot one iPhone photo – the only sharp one 🙂
    Some of the plates look ok for, but in my scans you can see they are way off.

    For private wetplate workshops contact me here:
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    Fine Art Shop

    become a Patreon and support me:

    If you guys want to experience yourself how a tintype is made and own a one of a kind wet plate, please contact me via my website

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