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Why is possible turn a collodion to ambrotype but not a film?

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Post time: 2013-6-8 09:31:31 |Show all posts
Fist, correct me if I am wrong. To my assumption, collodion is a negative image just like negative film. If so, why is it possible to make ambrotype form collodion but not from a negative film? Meaning placing a black background behind a large sheet film, like 4x5 and turn it to a positive image.

Post time: 2013-6-8 20:54:29 |Show all posts
Thanks Mike you have been very helpfull....

Post time: 2013-6-8 19:06:42 |Show all posts
The answer to your question is No, they will not mess up your papers.  The reason that collodion photography is such a pain in the butt is that the glass plates dry so fast because the collodion that holds the silver nitrate on the plate evaporates.  So, you need to set up your photo, go coat your plate, make the exposure, and develop your plate all in a few minutes, never more than 10. So by the time you get around to printing your negatives they will be dry as a bone.

Post time: 2013-6-8 18:00:20 |Show all posts
I did check on ebay, no luck. But let me ask you this quesiton. Since this is all new to me and I don't have the film holder, I'm thinking of contact printing either with tin type or collodion. Now my question is, if I want to contact print with my positve films, since the plates are wet, will they mess up my films or what? Any suggestion...?

Post time: 2013-6-8 16:38:31 |Show all posts
I have, and still do every once and a while.  You will need a plate holder.  Now, there are wet plate holders (very hard to come by and expensive), and dry plate holders.  Both will work fine. A wet plate holder is actually a complete camera back.  It looks the same as a normal large format back, but it has a door over the ground glass, and a built in dark slide.  When you make the plate, you take the camera back with you, insert the plate, close the ground glass door and then carry the plate back to the camera and put it on. A Dry plate holder looks just like a film holder, but when you open it up, it has a small spring in the bottom that holds the plate in place.  These are very cheap and you can buy bunches of them on ebay.  Many of them are listed as film holders though, so you need to look.  You can tell because first off, they are all wood, and second, film holders have at their bottom a little flap that you open to slide the film in with a small knotch in the middle, Plate holders do not.  So, when looking for them on EBay, check to see if they have that knotch or not.   You will only need one because you can only use one Wet plate at a time.  I hope this helps. Mike

Post time: 2013-6-8 15:04:29 |Show all posts
Mike, have you ever done Collodion process? If yes, how or where should I insert my 4x5 glass at? I'm sure not into a film holder. which is impossible. Then how?

Post time: 2013-6-8 13:48:45 |Show all posts
Well, not exactly.  What I meant is, just so you can see that a positive is possible on a negative, if you hold a sheet film negative in front of you, have a bit of light shining on it and through it, but also, you want the main thing behind the negative to be dark. It doesnt have to be close, it can be far, just as long as it darkens the back when you look at it.   It can be a pain in the butt trying to get it to happen when you are trying for it.  The next time you inspect one of your negatives, hold it up to a lamp in a fairly dark room and shift the negative around and out of nowhere, bam, you see a positive.  Its pretty cool.

Post time: 2013-6-8 12:26:32 |Show all posts
To answer your question,you mean holding a thin negative against the wall or .....?

Post time: 2013-6-8 10:44:51 |Show all posts
It is possible to make an Ambrotype out of film actually.  But, part of making an ambrotype is having a pretty thin negative to start with, that way, the black background will show through more.  Also, a major part of an ambrotype/ferrotype is having a highly glazed front, giving you glare on the would be density of the negative to turn it positive.  That is where the problem is, with the film base.  You would view it from the emulsion side, not the base side, the base side would be painted a flat black.  If you can find a way to polish or glaze the emulsion on sheet film without seriously damaging it, then you will have a fine Ambrotype.  Now, you dont have to polish the emulsion, but you would have to hold it at an angle to get the image to appear correctly. Have you ever held your negative at an angle with a dark wall behind it?, you can see the positive.
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