The darkbox, it’s such a simple thing but so important. Wet Plates need to be coated, exposed and developed in a darkroom within 10 or so minutes, so unless you want to shoot plates in an area near your darkroom all the time, you’re going to need something mobile.
So how are you going to prepare and develop plates in full sun outside? Easy – a light proof box. Well, maybe not that easy. Let’s look at a few things we need to consider.
1. Light proof box. Even though plates are a little on the slow side (ISO 3 if you’re counting) you still need to prepare and develop them in the dark. And by dark I mean no outside light, the emulsion on a plate is orthochromatic which means it can’t see reds. That means we can use red light inside the darkroom and darkbox. There’s one problem with the lightfast-ness of a darkbox, it’s got a huge hole in it for the photographer. This is usually resolved by a few layers of material that wrap around the darkbox and then the photographer, bunched up to prevent light leaks.