Metronome:  1/4 Plate Alumitype by Bryan Hiott (2009)

Metronome: 1/4 Plate Alumitype by Bryan Hiott


This 1/4 plate alumitype was my first attempt at using UV lighting indoors with the wet plate collodion process.  Thanks to Quinn Jacobson and Jason Miguel of the Forum for their advice on a basic set up:  three 100 watt compact fluroescent bulbs (5500 K for approximating daylight).  I used a reproduction 19th century E. & H.T. Anthony tailboard camera with bellows and shot with a brass barrel Dallmeyer rapid rectilinear lens (c. 1891).

 Exposure time on the plate was long (3 min. 20 sec.).  Two factors contributed:  1) the f 7 Dallmeyer lens was not ideal for shooting indoors and 2) the dated collodion was not as  light sensitive as it once was.  I need to mix a new batch.  Overall, the results of the plate are encouraging and have given me ideas about future set up and how to improve lighting.  As you can see, the top of the plate goes darker because the light is falling off.  What I needed was perhaps another compact fluorescent overhead.  I was using only one bulb overhead plus one on each side.  Using reflectors would have helped.   

For this shot, I had the camera positioned about 3 1/2 feet from the metronome, which was the close as I could get and still focus the image; and that distance may have added to the light fall off.  Quinn Jacoson also suggested that the dark areas at top of the plate might be from the collodion beginning to dry during the exposure.  Cutting the exposure time is key, which I could half by using 6 bulbs (1 min. 40 sec.).  I have also heard of some people using a bank of twelve 6500K  UV bulbs and getting the exposure down to seconds.  Of course, having a little faster lens is another way to go at it.