This weekend was my 55th birthday, and I decided to pull out all the stops and finally make my first daguerreotypes. For the edification of future students of the process I will also confess that my first two tries were total failures. I carefully prepared a plate, set up a lovely still life of a Japanese sword and a teacup, and managed to take this excellent specimen:

My First Daguerreotype

My First Daguerreotype

My second daguerreotype looked remarkably like the first. Sigh. I guess I have spent far too many years using cameras that take the work out of determining exposure. I wasn’t even close. I almost gave up, but then I got really annoyed. I decided to refume the second plate and then expose the hell out of it. I didn’t even bother to re-set my still life, I just pointed the camera at a random object and let the sun do it’s thing for a very long time. Here is the result, I call it “Sea Creatures” :)

My Third Daguerreotype

My Third Daguerreotype

It is seriously over-exposed, but it was a definite thrill seeing any image at all appear. It is too late in the day for more technical details, but I will post the lab notes tomorrow. In the meantime it is nice to know that I am now “A daguerreotypist” even if not yet “The”.

2 Responses to “D-Day”

  1. Tyler says:

    Don’t give up! these things get easier. Fortunately they buff off and you can reuse plates. I haven’t made a dag in over a year and I have been itching to make some more soon.

  2. andy says:

    Thanks for the encouragement Tyler. No worries though – I take forever to get things done at times, but seldom give up. I have been taking some time setting up to take very small plates so I can afford to do lots of practicing. I will look forward to seeing your new output on CDags.