This dag was made on 5/4/11 at Hopewell Furnace, PA. I was there with Argentine Productions helping film the parks new visitor orientation film.... so why not make a daguerreotype crew photo! Exposure was 15 Sec. at f2.0. Such a shame, my xenon dag portrait lens shows its lack of flare resistance and image coverage with such a large landscape. Bad choice of lens for such wide composition, but it's all I had packed in the case. The edges look really good in person and very sharp. The center just gets too too blown-out, but not quite as bad as this scan portrays. Conclusion...EH...It's Not Horrible.
This plate has the beauty and character of lovely Darcy in so many ways. Taken on a beautiful evening at the rocky edge of Sandusky Bay (Darcy's favorite place.) All kinds of new variables have arisen on this plate. Scratches.... Lots of them, Luckily they sort of add some character, almost placed intentionally on the bottom and top. We made 4 plates total in Pittsburgh the day before we left and found that Plate 1 had no scratches, 2(This Dag) & 3 many scratches, and the 4th none. I think something got picked up in the buff and then tossed out after the next plate. This was also the first time to use my sinar with xenon f2.0 lens. Focus is extremely critical at that aperature and it seems i need to spend a day calibrating ground glass. The next dag won't be so artful... on too the newspaper for a good focus check. Rouge was a little to liberal as you can see from the spotting.
After months and countless hours of preparation, construction, research, & cash.... I finally have created my first daguerreotype! Back in July 2009 Darcy & I went to Montana and were taught the Becquerel Process of Daguerreotype Photography under the wise instruction of Jerry Spagnoli at the Photograper's Forumulary. Well I have finally put my new knowledge to test here in pittsburgh, and it seems to work. I am very pleased with the final image, Basically I got an image!....Here is my novice understanding of what I initially notice needing improvement for the next plate. (just scratching the surface of improvements) The exposure is correct according to my vision of metering, maybe just barely 1/3 stop too hot, but I would have lost the lower end had I shortened the exposure. The sun popped out through the clouds for about 15 sec during the exposure, burning the woman and wood, I probably should have compensated for that as well. Some guilding issues and/or drying issues, both of which i hope to figure out through more work. Maybe some overdeveloping too... looks a little foggy to me in the bottom dark areas. You can't see the imperfections of the buff in the scanned image, but I do have some scratching caused by the velvetine hand buff.
This photo illustrates the scene for my first dag. You can see the sun is extremely hot on the subject: When I was exposing the plate, the scene was completely in shadow. The day was overcast, but the sun did peek out for about 10 - 15 secs during the exposure. Special thanks to Mark Knobil who's Graflex Camera, Spot Meter, and general understanding of my insanity make this whole process a little smoother.