Happy Birthday Louis!










Google is celebrating Daguerre’s 224th birthday with a new doodle. See the Christian Science Monitor article.

First Mercury

As firsts go, I’m reasonably happy with it. My first mercury developed image on a traditional silver plate – a little over three years since I started. Since I can only devote a few hours a week to making progress, I’m OK with that. Lots of problems of course  – underexposure, issues with the polish, wet process marks, you name it. But I can see it and it didn’t take me multiple tries to get there. Perhaps taking a picture of the Goddess of Mercy was a good plan. A hundred more to go (give or take)  and maybe I will be at beginner status. This one is fumed with iodine only for 33 seconds to the first light golden yellow, exposed 10 seconds at f1.7 in 15 EV full sun outdoors. Developed over Hg at 100 Deg C for 10 minutes. For a the whole picture in a slightly enlarged view see here. Now I just need to figure out which of the problems to tackle first….

Mercury Pot Plate Holders

I’m still working on equipment to start making mercury developed daguerreotypes. Today I glued up the laser-cut acrylic plate holders for my mercury pot. These  holders sit between the dual darkslides and hold the plates during development One holds up to four sixth plates and the other holds up to four of my self-named 35 mm “mini-plates”. Each plate window has a fitted closure so the plate openings can be closed off if not needed. More blue tape engineering to keep them in place when used. A small gallery has a very few kind of hard to see photos.

Also this weekend I put into service a mercury vapor analyzer that I picked up on eBay. This will allow me to sample the air in my lab periodically to ensure that my fume hood is working properly. Safety first.

Prototype Fuming Box

Sliding Box Plate Fumer

I have been working for a while on a prototype sixth plate fuming box to replace one I had. This one is unusual in that the iodine and bromine containers are movable and can slide under the plate without having to move it from box to box. It is constructed of modern materials (Acrylic and Type II PVC). It also features a laser cut acrylic plate holder that is designed to mount directly onto an 8×10 view camera and be held in place with rare earth magnets. Since it is a little hard to discern how it works from the photo gallery, I have also made a short video that can be seen here. Please excuse the primitive production values.  I will report in again when I have had a chance to test the box in action.

35 mm Plate Holder

35 mm Plate Holder

Have been working slowly on a general equipment upgrade. Today I spent about an hour creating a plate holder for my 35mm Pentax that will take the mini-plates I plan to use in getting up to speed with mercury developed daguerreotypes. This is cut from a piece of 0.02 inch polycarbonate. I made it the same width as a piece of 35mm film I had laying around and cut it to a length that made sense for the camera model. Highly engineered blue tape fastenings. Not so pretty, but does the job.