Thanks to the meltdown of the California state budget this last year, Governor Schwartzenegger has given all California State University workers (including me) a gift of 24 days off without pay in the next eleven months. Rather than moping around about the loss of income, I have decided to devote each of my “extra” days off to attaining my ongoing goal of becoming a daguerreotypist.
Any of you who have followed my writing know that I have been conducting a rather slow motion quest – due mostly to lack of adequate free time. Excruciatingly slow. This temporary change in my schedule should give me the boost I need to at least make it to my first daguerreotype and hopefully beyond.
Today was the first day off, and I devoted it entirely to moving forward with my art. As part of my re-energized commitment, I have also decided to post my lab notes on these days as well. You can find those at the link below.
I’m heading over to CDags.org now to see if the experienced artists there will be willing to advise me on a problem I ran into today when I practiced fuming a plate for the second time.
I spent a fair amount of quality time this weekend in castle daguerre. Several hours were devoted to experimenting more with polishing plates. Since I was dissatisfied with my copper polish in the last go round, this time I worked on a sixth plate that I have that was donated to me by a daguerreian friend. It is already coated with silver and has been used a number of times, so it was a perfect practice subject. I wanted to see in what way working with the silver is different than the copper. Read more »
After some friendly goading from my closest dagurreian friends, I went out to the castle tonight to get some more hands-on practice with polishing. I’m sticking to bare copper plates still, since I don’t feel ready to tackle silver yet. True to my friend’s advice, I began to learn a few things that I didn’t read about in books – and confirmed a few that I had.
Fact 1 – Flat metal plates are not actually flat. Read more »
No this isn’t a daguerreotype. I wish it was. Really I do. It is however the best of the test photos that I took today. I am happy to report that my bargain basement lens is able to produce an image. Yay! Unfortunately as I suspected, it is pretty limited when used wide open. This particular image was produced using a hand made f-stop with an opening about the size of a dime. If I am doing the math right that makes for an f-stop of a little over 8. Pretty slow in the world of daguerreotypes. The rest of the pictures I took can be seen here. Wide open is pretty fuzzy. Exposure is all over the map since my shutter is a lens cap. I certainly have forgotten some of the refinements of wet chemistry (as you can see), but it was starting to come back to me after a few tries. I also had the fun of using an 8×10 camera for the first time ever. Hard to keep everything adjusted right and get those film holders to seat in place. More challenges – er opportunities. :)
I also cured the light leak in my fan exhaust. Pictures of that here.
All in all a fruitful day.
A warm and sunny day is a treat in the Bay Area in mid-winter. We are supposed to be unhappy it isn’t raining because we are likely to have drought conditions this summer, but I just couldn’t mope around properly – too many daguerreian projects were beckoning. Read more »