A post on the Wet Plate Collodion group on Facebook brought up a shot I made last year of the moon. Yes, that moon, in the sky – on a wet plate. At ISO 2-ish.
I figured if I could do it at all, I needed the help of the big guns. My 400mm f/2.8 lens would have worked nicely, it would allow me to zoom into the moon to fill the frame and still let plenty of light in to give me the best chance of a capture. I ran into two problems. First off, doubled – the 400mm 2.8 lens goes to 800mm f/5.6. Then, the more zoomed in you are, the more the movement of the subject in the frame. I had settled on a 1.4x extender which would get me close to 600mm with just a one stop penalty to put me at f/4.
Next was the camera. I have a Canon Rebel 35mm film SLR that I bought on eBay for $1. It had controller issues, but thankfully the camera just so happened to work set to manual. I gave the inside a coat of urethane, set up some glass guides to hold a plate and shot it. 600mm, f/4 – ten seconds. And that’s the plate you see to the right.
Fast forward ten or so months I just so happen to be interested in seeing what I can achieve with the setup again. My converted SLR has since gone missing in the attic and I really didn’t want to permanently convert one of my many other 35mm film SLR cameras to wet plate. So for a few minutes I looked at the back of the camera and came up with a game plan on a plate holder that turned a 35mm camera into a wet plate camera.. And the best thing was that it was reversible. That is, if you’re careful to not drip corrosive silver nitrate into the body.
Because the material is just a millimeter and a half thick I decided to hollow the center with no corners and then just stick corners on myself with a good metal to plastic glue. The corners themselves are cut pieces of trophy plate.
Once the glue was dried the holder gives a nice snug fit in the film compartment of the Canon Rebel 35mm body! I hope to get to making some images soon with it!