Saturday, November 6, 2010


For wet plate photographers, at least in the US, there are really two high points in the history of the craft: Matthew Brady's civil war images and Carleton Watkins' Yosemite images.  Living not too far from Yosemite, I decided to give it a try.  Of course, one can never walk in the footsteps of the great Watkins.  Watkins and his assistants traveled by a wagon pulled by 12 mules, over what must have been very rudimentary wagon trails.  In the wagon he carried his 18x22-inch camera, glass plates, portable (tent) darkroom, and chemical and food supplies to last weeks.  My trip consisted of my Toyota FJ Cruiser, pulled by its reliable V6 motor, carrying me and my 8x10-inch camera, dark box, and chemical supplies over paved roads.  And I ate and slept at Curry Village in the valley (mmm... pizza!). 

Anyway, it was a rewarding trip for me.   Here are a few of the plates I took.


  1. I Love the first plate. Are these ambrotypes?

  2. Many thanks. The first plate is also, by a good measure, my favorite. The actual plate is dripping in silver -- one of my finest, in my view. These are tintypes. I think I'll try my hand at ambros and printing-out in 2011. Ed

  3. wow, thanks for sharing, sounds trite, but you did some very nice work

  4. Hi Ed,

    love the story behind it. Really great plates.
    They must be awsome in real.


  5. nice Ed, very clean plates. Your craft is worthy of the subject.Congrats!