Jonathan A Lewis Photography

Archive for the 'Troubleshooting' Category


January 25th, 2009 | Category: Daguerreotypy,Plates,Troubleshooting

DagWell the first image taken on one of my new plates was less than a masterpiece. It was overexposed, underdeveloped, fogged, and out of focus. At least there was an image… and the framing was close to what I intended. I’ll just go down the list of problems:

These plate are significantly faster than the pure silver plates I was using before. I had somewhat anticipated this and reduced the exposure by a little over a stop but it wasn’t enough. Reciprocity also might have something to do with it. I have yet to find a reciprocity curve for dags and I’m sure it’d be a rather onerous task to produce one. The amount of UV might be yet another problem.

This bit of info was given to me by John Hurlock on the DagForum. I was a somewhat surprised but it makes sense now that he pointed it out.

This is also a product of the new plates. They’re much thicker than before and thus absorb much more heat during development. When I took the plate out after 3 hours under the light, it was so hot I couldn’t touch it. To fix that I’m going to make a heat sucking apparatus that I’ll talk more about once it’s complete.

The thickness of the plates causes the surface to move out of the focal plane of the lens when I have it taped to the back of the film holder. This is especially a problem since the depth of focus is so small when the lens all the way open. I suppose I could stop down but then my exposures would get much longer. I’ll have to think about this one…

There are lots of things to change and fix but that’s all part of the fun. Plus, this was only my 14th exposure…

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