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The Moon on Dry Plate

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18 replies to this topic

#1 Nodda Duma

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Posted 30 December 2019 - 01:42 PM

I used to be deep into astrophotography, back at the end of the film era.  Like many, time passes and I drift on to other things.  In this case, it was a move out of the high desert and the loss of astrophotography equipment 9 years ago that sort of did it in for me.  In the meantime, I kept with photography ... which drifted into early photographic processes.  A few years ago I began making photographic dry plates -- the silver gelatin photographic process that preceded film.  I make my own emulsion and coat the glass.  The plates replicate the look of the 1880s / 1890s.  

Recently I combined an old passion with a new -- a dry plate photograph of the moon.  I cut and coated a dry plate that would fit into a 35mm camera - a Canon 7nE - and shot this at prime focus of my Vixen VC200L-DG.  The exposure was 1/25th of a second.

I thought you might enjoy the result, although this isn't technically film.  smile.gif  

 

A scan of the result.  Shot in October from my backyard here in Brookline, NH.  This is the same result that astrophotographers of the 1890s would have created. 

 

Makes you wonder how many decades it has been since the last time someone took a picture of the moon on a glass plate negative. 

 

The Moon on Dry Plate
 
A picture of the plate itself (negative).  I prepped this myself, coating it with silver gelatin emulsion (primitive version of what's on black and white film), taking the exposure and then developing it myself. 
 
Picture of the Dry Plate Negative
 
Made an 8x10 print in the darkroom of the moon. This is a picture of the print just after fixing and initial rinse.  The 6 1/2" x 8 1/2" outline that you see surrounding the moon is the edge of a glass plate that I laid on the paper when I made the enlargement exposure.   I also laid an 8x10 piece of glass over the paper so that I could add the writing.  
 
Moon on Dry Plate Print
 
 
 
 
My next plate astrophotography project will be to shoot the Pleiades on 4" x 5" format dry plate, coated with my Orthochromatic ASA 25 speed emulsion..which should be able to pick up the OIII emission nebula just fine. 
 
 

Regards,

 

Jason 


Edited by Uwe Pilz, 31 December 2019 - 11:30 AM.
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#2 Astrojensen

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Posted 30 December 2019 - 01:52 PM

Awesome! laugh.gif It's like right out of a 19th century astronomy book. 

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


Edited by Astrojensen, 30 December 2019 - 01:52 PM.


#3 jgraham

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Posted 30 December 2019 - 02:03 PM

Wow, that is soooo cool!

 

If I recall right Kodak(?) once did an extensive research project to re-create some of the really old emulsions to study their color response to aid in extracting additional information from old photographic plates.

 

BTW... this _is_ film; 'film' refers to the thin film of emulsion on a substrate... at least that's the way I read it. :)

 

Wonderful!


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#4 TxStars

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Posted 30 December 2019 - 05:11 PM

Great job there   Jason

I would call it is film for sure,,

It is a film of emulsion on a glass plate which is true OG photography.


Edited by TxStars, 31 December 2019 - 03:23 AM.


#5 Nightfly

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Posted 30 December 2019 - 06:29 PM

This is a very nice photograph.  What a great project!  Thank you for sharing your results and details of the process.  Looking forward to your Pleiades project!  

 

As someone who lives in New Hampshire you might be interested in a trove of Stanley plates I acquired in the 1980's.   I've recently scanned them and they feature many New Hampshire scenes in the era of about 1915.  PM me if you are interested in seeing the scans.

 

Great post.  Thanks again!

 

Jim



#6 Todd N

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Posted 30 December 2019 - 08:40 PM

Hi Jason,

 

I've glanced at the process of making emulsion in the past. Is it possible to extend the spectral response in formulating home made emulsion or is that an industrial technical process not within the means  of the amateur? Also, Homemade emulsions seem to be real slow. Can't they be made to higher ISO sensitivity?  I know the grain size has to do with the rate of mixing ingredients at a certain stage.



#7 Nodda Duma

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 08:55 AM

Hi Jason,

 

I've glanced at the process of making emulsion in the past. Is it possible to extend the spectral response in formulating home made emulsion or is that an industrial technical process not within the means  of the amateur? Also, Homemade emulsions seem to be real slow. Can't they be made to higher ISO sensitivity?  I know the grain size has to do with the rate of mixing ingredients at a certain stage.

The basic emulsion recipes that you find online are slow, but consider those as starting points for exploring emulsion making... similar to starting off amateur astronomy with an achromatic refractor or Dob or something.   

 

The emulsion I shot this plate with is my Speed Plate emulsion which is my faster line of dry plates.  It runs about ASA 25 - 32.  That is, of course, as fast or a bit faster than the Technical Pan film which I used to shoot for astrophotography and -- aside from being orthochromatic -- has similar tonality and speed to Panatomic X.  It is my own formulation. 

 

I have made emulsions as fast as ASA 64-100.. it just gets trickier to control contrast and fog, and to maintain batch-to-batch consistency (which is important for me as customers depend on that consistency for their photography).  I have a recipe for an ASA 400 emulsion, but getting consistent characteristics above ASA 100 or so without significant fog requires control systems which I haven't set up yet.

Plates can be made panchromatic at home and I have the sensitizing dye to do so, I just haven't chosen to do so.  Your choice of sensitizing dye impacts what part of the spectrum the emulsion will "see".  This information is in the public domain .. people like Vogel and Eder had this stuff figured out in the 1890s ... determining sensitizing dyes that could be used to see the entire range of spectral band up into the near infrared.  Many of them are not even that exotic ... Erythrosine, the first orthochromatic dye, is also known as FD&C Red No. 3...A food coloring dye. 

 

Cheers,

Jason


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#8 Ben Diss

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 09:59 AM

Great picture! I left photography when Polaroid stopping making 8x10. Now I'm getting into astronomy and finding a lot of interest in photography again.

 

Cheers!



#9 canondslr

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 11:28 AM

Classic image! Stunning.

 

I can't wait to see your Pleiades project. I imagine you'll be preparing for a very long exposure. 

 

Thomas



#10 sunnyday

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 11:41 AM

very nice



#11 coinboy1

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Posted 03 January 2020 - 07:41 PM

Very cool!

#12 Alen K

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 06:51 AM

I used to say back when I was using film in the early 2000's that I was "old school," given that by that time many of my friends in the hobby had moved on to digital. I can see now that I didn't know what "old school" really was. laugh.gif

Edited by Alen K, 06 January 2020 - 06:51 AM.

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#13 zjc26138

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 12:19 PM

This is super cool!



#14 Michal1

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 02:59 PM

Really nice, thanks for sharing! Looking for the Pleiades!



#15 Chris Cook

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 10:33 AM

Very very cool Jason!  Were you on the APML list back in the day?  Your name sounds familiar.



#16 mcolbert

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 01:40 AM

I have been wanting to do something similar for a while now, but...distractions abound. ;). The glass I intend to use is old AGFA AVI-PHOT DIA C.  9 1/2 square inches.  The emulsions will be long gone but I was intending to make a new ones.  Now, what OTA or lens to put them behind???? :)



#17 Nodda Duma

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 10:37 PM

Very very cool Jason!  Were you on the APML list back in the day?  Your name sounds familiar.

Yes I was...long, long ago.   I was also active on Astromart where I was the moderator for the film photography subforum (might still be listed there, dunno).  I was also active in the SCT User Group that Rod Molise ran. I won the 2004 award for best film photo with a Schmidt Cassegrain.  That was shortly before I started having kids and lost the time to play late at night.

I'm a lens designer by profession, and I have to admit getting into astrophotography early in my career was a windfall of hands-on experience which has helped my career immensely in the years since.  If you google Jason Lane podcast you'll come across some of the interviews I've given on the topic of designing lenses (no I didn't play for the Houston Astros).



#18 Jim in Sweden

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 04:17 AM

We have a local amateur photographer with a setup to do portrait and landscapes with wet plates. He said his is about ISO 1. I am dying to hook it up to our 16" ODK and shoot Andromeda. Not sure of the working time for his plates, though. It would take lots of experimenting and we don't have enough clear skies for that! I have a collection of glass plates with lunar shots that were made by Åke Odelberg, Swedish astronomer back in the 1940's. Love the look.

Jim



#19 TxStars

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 02:51 PM

for Andromeda I would start with 1 hour @ 5.9

I would love to see some red sensitive plates , miss being able to get 6415 plates.shakecane.gif




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