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Archive for the 'dyi photography' Category

Friday, January 5th, 2024

Darkroom ventilation and humidity control

This topic sounds very simple but is probably more complicated than you thought. In this case I will explain the solution for my darkroom, but it could also be a solution for other cases.
In this video I show you the construction (with a nice fail) process and the whole ventilation system including how I reduce humid air in my darkroom. Underneath I share some additional information to the video.

As said in the video, if you work with chemicals like ether and alcohol, a mask alone is sometimes not enough. Because when there ar enough fumes in the room, your skin will absorb them and that way it could damage your liver. Thats the reason I always ventilated my pouring room in-between bigger wet plate sessions. When you ventilate typically with an open window, you will cool down or heat up the room (depending on the season), beside that you get for sure some dust into your rooms. Luckily my friend Wolfgang has a company ( ) who is specialised in how ventilations system and opened my eyes. Thanks a lot for that! Let’s start with the preparation. To make this ventilation system work, I needed some holes and for that I commissioned a company to do some core drilling.

I marked the places for the ventilation pipes, so the company knows where to do the core drilling, so there are no electric wires in the way (sarcasm – see why in the video)
to make the drilling as precise as possible for the ventilation system, I ordered the “shell installation kit WS 75 RSAP” this makes masking the holes very easy
this monster of a core drilling machine made it possible to get fresh air into my darkroom.
Because every hole needed to be drilled wet, they brought also vacuum machine that sucks all the dirt and water in. In any way you will get lots of dirt into your room, but they cleaned up very well.
after all holes were drilled, I mounted the shell installation kit and glued the ventilation pipes into the wall. For sure not my most beautiful job, but at the end everything worked as expected.
The next step was to mount the Ventilation unit on the wall. I chose the “Ventilation unit Maico WS 75 Powerbox H” because it has a heat recovery that reduces the cooldown of the rooms. There are also dust filters build in. Beside that it only consumes between 5,2 and 11,5 Watt. You can find lots of information about how to set it up (video and documentation) here: – just click on Downloads/Videos. You can also switch the website to different languages.
Here you can see the nearly finished ventilation system. The rectangular part near the floor is a silencer that makes the very silent ventilation system even more quiet.
one of the last steps was the initial configuration of the ventilation system. Like moste things today, thes is pretty high tech as well and you only can set it up with a computer.
The system comes with a control panel ( that shows the status and also lets you control the unit. I bought a voc sensor for my unit ( ) This measures the volatile organic compounds in the air. It’s measured with ppm (parts per million). The higher the ppm, the more the air will circulate through the rooms. That means, if I pour some plates and the sensor “smells” the ether, the ventilation system turns up the power.
outside I mounted the Combi-wall connections Duo KWS E ( This avoids that animals would use my ventilation system for some sleepy time. But it also avoids an “air short”.

The finished ventilation system blows fresh air into my studio and sucks it through my darkroom and pouring room back outside. With that I have always fresh air in my workplace. My studio is a pretty new building, but the other parts are old and are more humid. While ventilating in the winter mostly “dry” air comes into the rooms and there is mostly no need for the dehumidifier to start. Only when the relative humidity is about 60% I start an automation that checks how much my photovoltaic power plant is genarating and if the sound generates enough energy, I start to dehumidify my darkroom

But when is it save to ventilate? I learned a lot and thought I just check the humidity outside and inside. And if the relative humidity is lower outside, I thought its save to ventilate. But I was totally wrong, you have to calculate the absolute humidity with a calculator like that.

The absolute humidity is measured in g/m3 and it changes with the air temperature. Here are two examples:

lets assume it’s winter and it has 8 degrees outside with 70% relative humidity for some funny reason. Even your relative humidity is lower than the outside, its save to ventilate if you want to get the humidity down.
Now the relative humidity outside is much lower than inside, but the absolute humidity is because of the temperature much higher. If you want to reduce humidity in your room, that it would be the wrong time to ventilate. I am working with a friend of mine on a script that compares the absolute humidity from inside and outside and when it’s save to ventilate you can start an automation or get a notification. I will upload it here.
It was lots of work (See also my other darkroom article ) but now I am super happy with the solution. With the whole new darkroom finished I am like a little kit when I start to work there.

I hope this was helpful for you guys as well.
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    Wednesday, December 7th, 2022

    Preserving History – Renovating a 100 Year Old Camera – Bellow Edition

    My good old Century No.2 camera has about 100 years behind her. She still works great, but her bellow is leaking light. Thats why I needed to repair it. I thought it is easiest to explain everything in a video, so it is easier to understand for you guys and hopefully also helpful. It took me a long time to put everything together. Why? Because it was important for me to reuse as many original parts as possible to preserve the history of this camera. I think this is a very important part when you consider to renovate a piece of history! Underneath the video are all links for the parts I needed.

    Bellowmaker: – email is the best way to communicate
    Large Caliper International: Germany:
    Liquid Rubber: International (similar) : Germany:
    Glue for mounting the Bellow: International: Germany:
    Ifixit essential tools – they were very helpful:
    machinist square International: Germany
    Screenprinting paint and cold fix:
    Video for building a mobile darkroom:
    Video for sandarac varnish:

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  • Posted by Markus | Filed in collodion, diy, dyi photography, tintype, video, wetplate | 6 Comments »


    Wednesday, May 4th, 2022

    Building a Wet Plate Frankenstein Camera and Capture a Ghost

    Corrine of booked a wet plate workshop before the pandemic started. Two years later we were finally able to do it. The main subject was to get comfortable with the wet collodion process and to create images similar to the ones of spirit photographer William H. Mumler. Mr. Mumler created images (probably double exposures) where his clients could take a picture with their deceased relatives. The photograph of Mary Todd Lincoln with the “ghost” of her husband (Abraham Lincoln) was his most famous one. Corrine found my double exposure wet plates and that was the reason she contacted me in the first place. About two months before the workshop Corrine surprised me with a question: “Can we build a wet plate camera together?”. I talked with a friend and after a long visit at a DIY market I was sure that we can do it. A DIY Camera and capturing ghosts, that sounds like a fun workshop for me 🙂

    I could not capture everything in the video, because I was focused to deliver a great workshop experience. So let me explain a bit here. I build a diy camera kit so to say. But I did not want to build everything. It was important for me that we put the major parts together in person, to really create a camera and an understanding how a camera works.

    the camera kit

    It took me a long time to figure everything out, I wanted to create a diy camera, that is adaptable and upgradeable without any special parts. It also should be able to shoot portraits and landscape and if something breaks, just go to your diy marked and get a replacement part. The only thing needed is my self designed camera back. I wanted to invent/adapt something that you can get in the market, but I was without luck finding such a part. The 3D printed design took many hours and a lot of filament to work as expected.

    The first prototype of the camera back with an international film holder

    For the lens I went for a 150mm Leitz Dimaron (F2.8), Elmaron (F2.8) or Hektor (F2.5). These lenses have three things in common. 150mm is kind of a “normal” lens for the 4×5 large format and they all have the same diameter and not too expensive if you buy them online. All of them are pretty sharp as well as you could see in the video (this was a Dimaron)

    one lens mount, lots of options without breaking the bank

    The camera and lens support is build like this one in that posting: Camera and Lens support

    For the Film/Plate holder I decided to go for the std international 4×5 holders. I had them water jet cut for a clean look and we modified it with silver wires, because these are more resistant against acid and fit into the silver nitrate workflow

    std 4×5 film holder modified for the wet collodion process

    We were super happy with our first result. The portrait looked awesome and the resolution of the lens is great. When you look closely at the video you will see, that we used two boxes for portrait distance.

    the ground worked also great – here is a explanation how we did it
    For me it’s always exciting to see my idea come to life.

    Here is a detail scan of Corrine’s eye – pretty impressive result of a 4×5 plate shot with a self made camera and a projection lens.

    a scan of Corrine’s eye with my Screen Cezanne Scanner

    For the spirit photographs that are inspired by Mr. Mumler we wend for wet plate double exposures.
    To make our live easier, we marked all positions with sticky tape on the ground.

    tape is always your friend for any photography project

    We decided to use my Dallmeyer 3B Petzval lens for the first double exposure, because it fits better to the time when the original images were captured.

    William H. Mumler. inspired wet plate double exposure

    The second double exposure was a bit more modern, but also should get the ghost look. For that we used a Zeiss 300mm F4.5 Tessar lens. This lens is pretty new (about 2ß-30 years old) and is very crisp. I thought that makes more sense for this kind of image and also fits to the story (see caption of the image)

    Profession – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow An image about photography has changed

    What a great 3 Day workshop that was. We created so many different portraits. (more in the gallery) and time flew so fast. At this point I want to say thanks again to Corrine for visiting my workshop and trusting me with the camera design. I looking forward to see what she will do for her PHD with the wet collodion process.

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    Tuesday, March 8th, 2022

    Varnishing Wet Plates with Lukas Varnish

    At an external event I had once the issue, that I could not get rid of the dust on the varnish. So I worked out this solution with Stefan Schubert. You can find the links to all tools here:

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    Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021

    3D Printing for (analog) Photographers – Artillery Sidewinder X2 faild edition

    Because I got asked a lot about 3D printing, I did this short introduction into it, or like I call it: let the fails continue.
    It’s about the Artillery Sidewinder X2 and some broken parts. Very different to all these unboxing where everything works out of the box. I will show you also why a 3D printer can be very cool for photographers. Here you can find all tools I use for wet plate, 3D printing and filming:

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  • Posted by Markus | Filed in 3d print, collodion, dyi photography, wetplate | Comment now »


    Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

    Never give up – a 300mm Zeiss Tessar project with lots of fails

    In todays video I documented my fails (wood working and 3d printing with sidewinder x1 – also building plate change of the sidewinder x1) while I tried to mount my new lens on my camera. I got this lens, because I do more and more wet plate family portraits and for that I wanted a sharp affordable lens. Normally I would show you guys how I did a family wet plate portrait(its online now, scroll down for the second part). But I couldn’t do it, because of our lockdowns. So I worked on a self portrait. To make this easier, I turned my studio into a darkroom, so I can move without getting a ghosty image on the plate. Because I put metal sheets into the ceiling during my studio renovation, I could mount the red light easily with magnets. To see the whole story, watch the video 🙂

    First Part

    Second Part

    To find all the tools I used, check

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    Tuesday, September 7th, 2021

    Mobile Darkroom: Advanced Eskimo Quickfish 3 modification

    I did a darkroom tent review some time ago and I still like that one, but after using a quickfish3 at the camera obscura festival I fell in love with it, because it’s much easier to setup. I also enjoy the extra space I got in this tent.

    Maybe some of you may ask why I do a video about it. Let me explain: I talked with others how they modified their tent to make it light tight and got lots of great feedback. But I wanted to go for a more final solution, so I started digging. Lots of people use normal acrylic spray to close the little holes in the tent. Others use paint made for rims. To cover the zipper, people use a black reflector or a big towel to cover it. But this things are always in my way and I have to take them with me. After talking with professionals I figured that screen painting ink should be a final solution to cover holes, because it is designed to grab onto the structure of a fabric. A call with was super helpful and brought me the final solution – thanks a lot for that. For the zippers, my girlfriend had the idea to get some kind of zipper cover, like you have it on your jeans. For that I went to a shop that sells tons of different fabric ( and got some stiff one. First I was thinking to sew it somehow to the tent, but then I went for glueing. There is so much different glue for fabric out there, most of must be ironed and that was something I did not like to do on my tent. So I called and asked what glue would be the best. They forwarded my question to a technician. He called me back and explained in detail what to use and how I should use it. What a great support, thanks a lot guys! There is no sponsored content here, I just show you guys what worked well, so you guys don’t have to figure it out by yourself. Find all the links on the bottom of the post.
    Check the video for a more detailed explanation how I did everything.

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    my old growtent lighthouse max
    My used one:
    On Amazon de:

    Eskimo Quickfish 3
    I ordered mine here they ship to Europe:

    Peelable paint Abziehlack
    Similar Version worldwide:

    Screenprinting Paint – Siebdruckfarbe
    Shop in Germany:
    If you can’t order there, get similar items here:
    Amazon international:

    Glue for the zip covers:
    International: or

    I would not suggest to buy the fabric onlien, go to a local store and look for a stiff one.

    Pondliner – Teichfolie for the windows and the bottom of the tent
    International: – this should be big enough for the tent and the windows.
    Germany: this should be big enough for the tent and the windows

    Lee color filter 106 primary red – Red color gel – Rote Farbfolie
    Don’t get a cheap one, you will regret it.

    Velcro – Klettverschluß for the windows – calculate for 8 windows

    small foldable table – mine is made of wood and I can not recommend it anymore, thats the one I will get after mine is totally gone

    Water canister with
    I will get a foldable version soon too:

    Rugged Erxplorer or pelican cases

    Traveling Tanks:

    Coleman Extreme cooler – choose the size you like

    Lifetime Table 60kg:
    The more rugged version:

    Jiga wireless powerbank:

    Led strips with remote and blutooth control:
    International: or

    Clips to mount the led strip on the tent:


    Wednesday, July 21st, 2021

    How to create Waterhouse stops for antique lenses

    Large format photographers who work with antique Petzval lenses know the hassle. You get a pretty new brass lens, but there are no Waterhouse stops included. “Hey I don’t care, I shoot anyways wide open all the time” some might say. With some, I also include me. But then you find yourself on a very sunny day and struggle with doing a very quick exposure, like here (and you will end up anyways with an overexposed image, even with the not so light sensitive wet plate process). Oh yes, and there is also the creative point of stopping down your lens – but wait, who really does that if you can have a dreamy, swirly Petzval bokeh, right? 🙂 Just kidding, I would have needed these Waterhouse stop more often than I thought of. That’s why I finally 3D printed them (there is also another option) and did a tutorial for you guys, so you can make them too without having to much trouble. At the end I also decided to make carrying case for them, to have them in a safe place. If you don’t want to make them by yourself, check out – where I will make them for you (Dallmeyer 2B and 3b Waterhouse stops are available right now, but you can contact me here and we will figure something out for your lens).

    Highend Waterhouse stops: (you need to ask for it)
    Another Waterhouse stop Project on Thingverse:
    Affinity Photo and Designer: Image
    Free online image Vectorizer:
    Morphi App: Ideamaker:

    PETG Filament I used:

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    For online wet plate workshops, visit this

    For private wetplate workshops (Nassplattenworkshop contact me here: (German and English available)


    Tuesday, June 29th, 2021

    Bringing a 50 year old Linhof tripod back to life – quick and dirty version

    I have already one big tripod with a huge ball head from the large format manufactura Linhof. Linhof also produces their famous large format camera “Linhof Master Technika” which I own also one. So it was quite obvious that I couldn’t resist to repair this tripod I got. Somebody had a bicycle accident with it and therefore it was in a rough shape. But that did not stop me to give a repair a try. If you look how well these tripods are build, it would have been a shame to throw it away. This tripod was made in the 1970s and later. Thats another reason it fits good to my other cameras. Thanks a lot to Foto Koeberl from Graz who send me pictures and a video from a working ball head. Otherwise it would have been much more difficult to reverse engineer the function of it. Check out the video where you can see the whole process of the tripod repair.

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    Posted by Markus | Filed in dyi photography, Linhof, preparation, tripod | 24 Comments »


    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

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