On a recent visit to Downtown Las Vegas, I was able to watch the Fremont Street Experience, which offers free nightly shows featuring 12.5 million lights and 550,000 watts of amazing sound. As I stood there watching the show I could not help but notice so many people attempting to capture this awesome show on their phones. I thought to myself wouldn’t sometimes it be better if we just put down the phone and just take in the experience. I think at times we miss out when we don’t.
Today we celebrate World Wet Plate Day!
May 6th 2017
Every year, we celebrate the World Wet Plate Day the first Saturday in May. Block your agenda for this 8th edition. Organize your Wet Plate Day event and have some fun.
What is a Wet Plate Day?
World Wet Plate Day is a day to celebrate the work of the artists who practice it today. Wet Plate Collodion is the photographic process of pouring Collodion onto a plate of thin iron or glass, then exposing and developing that plate while it’s still wet. This process was the primary photographic method from the early 1850s until the late 1880s. It replaced paper negatives/Calotypes (Talbot) and Daguerreotypes (Louis Daguerre). The current revival of the Wet Plate process is due in large part to the ubiquity of digital photography and because of the unique Collodion “signature” and aesthetic.
Who We Are and Why We Do This
From reenactment tintypes, to still life ambrotypes, to studio portraits, photographers have embraced the ethereal look, handmade process, and arcane yet simple materials of Wet Plate. Wet plate photographers can be artists, engineers, wilderness travelers, studio operators or backyard hobbyists. But they all have been deeply impacted by this beautiful technique.
I have always been fascinated with mechanical things. Whether it be a vintage watch, clock, or typewriter, I find that the inner workings are like of work of art with all the levers, gears, springs coming together to perform a task. That is one reason I like to collect and use vintage film cameras, there is something about adjusting for distance, aperture and shutter speed then cocking the shutter and look at the subject and take the image. It makes me slow down and see things a little differently.
I recently had the opportunity to visit this unique place out in the middle of nowhere. Mr. Solomon was a very eclectic, humorous and creative artist transforming ordinary items into beautiful artwork.
Located in the tiny town of Ona in Hardee County, Florida, Howard Solomon’s unique home is three stories tall and covers 12,000 square feet. This medieval-style castle was built entirely by Solomon himself, utilizing reclaimed and recycled materials. The shiny exterior of the castle was made from discarded printing plates, and the “bricks” on the road to the front door were stamped onto the cement.
Guarding Solomons Castle
Had the opportunity to visit the Florida State Fair recently, always a fun time, visiting the exhibits, rides, shows, animals and eating great food.
While I was out walking I happened upon this fern growing out of a crack in a brick wall. It was thriving even though it had to overcome several obstacles just to survive. It was a reminder to me that in my photography I need to overcome daily obstacles to becoming a better photographer. While our obstacles may not be as severe as the ferns, there are things we can to do to grow as photographers, maybe a class or workshop to learn something new or better our skills. Reread our camera manual again, most of today’s SLR’s can do so much more than what we know. Maybe volunteer at your church, school or another nonprofit organization to take photos of their programs or other needs. Don’t give into the temptation that more or better camera equipment will make you a better photographer. Finally, I think the most important thing is just to get out and take photos.
Heritage Village is a cool place to step back in time and see how our ancestors lived. It is a 21-acre open-air living history museum located in the heart of Pinellas County. The natural pine and palmetto landscape is home to some of Pinellas County’s most historic buildings.
More than 31 historic structures and features, some dating back to the 19th century, include a school, church, sponge warehouse, firehouse, railroad depot and store, as well as a variety of historic homes.
It is estimated that 1.2 trillion photos will be taken in 2017. Think of all the photos you have on your phone, hard drive, external drives, thumb drives, CD and in the cloud. It can add up to thousands of photos that we have accumulated over time. What are you going to do with them? I am guilty of procrastinating in organizing and cataloguing so I can find them later and then become frustrated when I look for a photo and can’t find it. So, I have determined this year to better organize my photos as I take them. Below is an interesting article from Mylio.
Books & Photos
I recently stopped by a local bookstore to look for vintage photography books. I could have easily stayed home and browsed a Kindle, Nook, or some other type of electronic reader but I like a real book. To me, there is something about the look and feel of holding a real book. I often underline and write notes in the margins, something I find difficult in an electronic book.
Photography can be like that, most of our photos are in electronic bits of information that we view on a computer or smart device. I find it rewarding to pull a photo album or book off the shelf and relive the memory.
This is a photo of my Great GrandFather, William Barkman. This photo was taken in 1935 when he was the Sheriff of Jackson County Indiana. The reason I have it today is because it was printed out and saved. The original is just as clear and sharp as the day it was made, that was 80 years ago.
The photographs I take today are stored as electronic bits of information on internal, and external hard drives, cd’s, thumb drives, SD cards and in various cloud accounts. Current technology is in a constant state of change which will be difficult or impossible to access in the future, remember 5 1/4 floppy disks? There is also no guarantee that those companies operating the cloud storage will be around in 10, 20, 50 years from now.
I am confident that photos which have been printed out and properly stored will be around for years to come, as proven by my Great Grandfathers 80-year-old photo.
I would encourage you to print your photos so that your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be able to pull out the family album and look back and remember.