Many of you who are either interested in trying out dry plates or are in the process of trying out dry plates probably soon realize that certain accessories are either required or very useful when working with this process. One of the really handy accessories to have is a plate drying rack.
After you've ooh'ed and ahh'ed a plate fresh out its rinse bath, the next step is to let the emulsion dry. I've always recommended setting the plate vertical, but you quickly realize that leaning the plates ad hoc against something on the countertop is a risky venture.
Enter the plate drying rack. They are such a handy and convenient dry plate photography tool. Plate drying racks have been around almost as long as photography itself, but oddly enough antique racks are very difficult to find. So, you either have to fork over half-a-fortune if you do come across one, adapt something for the job, or make your own.
In an effort to help you out in your dry plate photography ventures, I'm going to start offering useful dry plate accessories for sale through my Etsy shop. Made by Greg Fealey of Cold Creek Wood Products, these wooden plate drying racks are great for holding 9x12, 4x5, and larger plates while they dry after being developed. Made of oak and with a water-resistant finish, they are solid performers that will hold up for many years.
Feel free to check out the listing at http://www.etsy.com/shop/Pictoriographica A major goal of mine is to keep dry plate photography as affordable as possible, so I've pushed down the price as far as I can to US$45 + $10 shipping.
When you shoot glass plate negatives, one of the last things you'll think of is storage of the plates. I realized I had this problem when I started cleaning the dust off stacks of plates on my desk. Fortunately for us, archival storage of glass plate negatives is something the industry has been dealing with for about a century now.
For my use, I've found the archival glass negative storage boxes and envelopes available from http://www.gaylord.com/Photo%2C-Print-%26-Art/Gaylord-Archival%26%23174%3B-Blue-Grey-Barrier-Board-Glass-Negative-Storage-System/p/HYB02428 to be perfect for my use. The 4" x 5" boxes listed in the link easily store 100 plates, in a container that will fit great on your bookshelf or on top of your case of 35mm slides. :)
Over the course of the past few days I've had several requests for 2 1/2" by 2 1/2" plates. I mentioned this coincidence to a customer and he replied that this is the format size for Holga custom collodion backs made by Holgamods. Mystery solved!
I contacted Randy at Holgamods yesterday and had a great conversation about all things Holga and dry plates. Randy's a great guy who should be familiar to all the Holga shooters out there in the world. Works super hard supplying modified Holgas and accessories and really enjoys what he's doing. He was pretty excited about what I'm doing as well, so I expect he'll give a heads-up to the Holga community about the availability of dry plates compatible with his plate backs.
While it's not listed in the "stock list", I can make dry plates in this size just like any other size. I've been quoting $13 + S&H for a pack of 10 plates. Due to the nature of the 3D printing process, and until I have a better feel for dimensional tolerances of the holders, please measure the plate clearance dimensions on your holder so I can ensure the plates will fit. So far, measurements range from 61x61mm to 64 x 64 mm (61mm = 2.40" and 64mm = 2.52"). I'll remind you to make the measurements when you request the order.
Visit http://www.holgamods.com and follow the link for "3D Stuff" to find the Holgamods plate holding back. He also has a panoramic format plate holding back on that page.
Very cool stuff!
A couple of months ago, I was invited by coordinator John Dockery to set up a table at the Photographic Historical Society of New England's annual PHOTOGRAPHICA antique camera show. The show is held outside of Boston, MA, and draws crowds not only from the New England area but from across the country as well.
Exhausting but fun, I met a TON of great people and spent HOURS talking about one of my favorite topics -- dry plate photography! Doesn't get much better than that. I even sold some boxes of plates, and ran out of business cards *much* earlier than expected. If you were one of those who were accommodating enough to simply snap a photo of my last remaining card ... thank you !
I'm so glad to have been able to attend and let folks know about the availability of dry plates. My goal has always been to bring dry plate back as a viable photographic media, putting the plate cameras of the period back into use. I've always felt that the learning curve required for coating glass prevents more widespread interest (such as with the uptick in interest that wet plate has seen). Photography shows like PHOTOGRAPHICA is an important avenue for getting the word out that there's an easier way to get involved in dry plate photography. I'm pretty optimistic about the interest out there, especially after attending the show and meeting all the people who stopped by to chat and satisfy their curiosity!