How I prepare, expose and develop a dry glass plate negative by Robert James Elliot

monk glass plate 1

I use reflective glass, 3m, only because I cannot get 2m.

Examples shown are from 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 glass shot in Pony Premo #6 camera.

You need to scrub the glass to get it spotlessly clean, I clean the glass with water and-dish washing liquid.

cleaning glass

And then rinse with distilled water, if not distilled, demineralized water.

Now time to prepare the Gelatine.

I have found that two teaspoons in 250ml seems adequate amount.

Now let it bloom (about 20 minutes) in room temperature water. (also distilled or demineralized)

I then heat to a reasonable warm temperature and let and small particles (that should not be there) settle to the bottom.

You can make more than required for a couple of glass plates, it will just reset (to jelly) when left and needs to be reheated for further use.

Pour on the Gelatine. I have poured it on a couple of times and also applied it with a brush on several occasions. The brush leaves brush marks, if happy with that, you can brush both ways, in normal light. Pouring is better, but much harder to do, with practice, it can be done.

Added to that, I have found that using a large gauge knitting needle (plastic) ideal for evenly spreading any liquids, well worth a try.

Just pour on the liquid and run the knitting needle down the glass holding onto both ends lightly.

Let it dry in a drying rack or similar.

With safelight on (I use a red one), scoop out two small teaspoons of liquid light emulsion (Foma) and put in small pouring container (l use a little mint jug) also put in 3 drops of Photo-Flow solution and one of hardener.

Heat the container with the Liquid Light Emulsion in hot water until liquified.

I use a little camp gas cooker, heat the jug a little in the water, bring the water to a boil and then once you have the LLE in the jug, sit it in the hot water and wait for it to melt, only takes a minute.

pouring liquid light emulsion

Pour onto glass about an inch in from the edge all the way around and through the center of glass, if using brush, make sure no metal from brush touches the emulsion, you can use the nitting needle for this as well, make sure it is washed thoroughly after last use and spotlessly clean.

Make as even as possible, you’ll need to work fast before it starts to set.

Store in light tight container and let dry

When dry (usually leave for about 24 hours), load into glass plate holder.

Now this part is very important, if you do not let it dry for a long enough period, it will stick the dark slide in the glass holder, believe me that is no fun.

Now time to shoot the glass in the camera.

My exposures vary, depending if in direct sunlight or not.

e.g., 14 seconds @ f45 in direct sunlight (this LLE is very slow ASA/ISO)

I develop in Dektol (1+3 or 1+4), agitate tray before slipping in glass plate, do not agitate too much once glass in developing tray, you will see when it is developed, using red safelight on.

Once developed, slip across to water, let sit in water for a few seconds.

Then slip across to fix (neat) do not agitate too much.

Rinse in water (let sit, do not agitate too much) and then put on drying rack.

drying rack

Many people have different formulas and procedures for dry plate, I am sure that it is up to the individual to settle on what works for them. It is a real trial and error process, but lots of fun.

I have found I still get lots of peeling away with the gelatin around the edges, but tend to like this (artefacts).

1 holding monk glass neg

I have also tried egg white, I ordered some powder, and gave that a try, will be sticking with the Gelatine, seems to be more sticky.

A big thanks to Chris Reid at Blanco Negro for his help in my initial experimentation.

Robert James Elliott

Robert James Elliott