What You Need To Start Making Reproduction Antique Photography

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I’ve been involved with The Wild Due west Days in Viroqua, Wisconsin since 2008. I’ve been doing photography for about of that time also, just as-of 2022, officially as Hickok Country Photography.

During a three-yr span, from 2022-2017, Wild Due west Days had an amazing photographer for the event. Along the main stretch of the 1880s-style Boomtown, his photography studio was just like walking into a tardily 1800’s studio. He dressed the part. He had tintypes, daguerreotypes, and ambrotypes on display, along with a stereoscope. Lastly, he had a large fully-functional 8×10 box camera and was doing portraits (see Iteration 0 below), later mailed out as B&West prints and cabinet cards. He was awesome and the stop result looked bang-up!

Henry Taunt, Photographer. (Per his chiffonier cards.)

Nevertheless, he promised to do iii years, and 2022 was his tertiary year. He loved doing Wild West Days just respectfully wanted to pursue other things. I stepped exactly into his shoes to continue the excellent service he was providing.

Doug Hickok, Hickok Country Photography. (This branding works perfectly since I put up several photos of Wild Bill Hickok and use a logo of Aces and Eights. Interestingly, this is our real business organisation likewise.)

He sold the eight×10 box camera to me for a fair price, knowing I would continue what he started. This camera was an 1865-inspired recreation that he built with his own skill, calling it the “1865 Brady”. He kept the “lens” (painted PVC tube) he was using but sold me an authentic 1863 lens I could use for the very reasonable price he originally paid for information technology. I quickly barbarous in love with this lens.

He didn’t know it, but the lens was 4×5, about 115mm. This doesn’t piece of work on an 8×10 camera. But I had a plan!

As a side-notation, I laser-cutting some Waterhouse stops for the lens then I could demonstrate how they work.

Iteration 0

This is how he originally shot portraits, using a simple point-and-shoot photographic camera out the hollow barrel of a lens (which isn’t the one pictured here). While posing for the flick, this just didn’t look 1880’s.

My goal for the projection: Maintain the 1880’due south-era operation of the camera, as seen from the outside, to keep the whole photography studio looking and operating in an authentic style. However, instead of glass negatives, keep a digital workflow for the stop product. (The customers do not encounter the digital part since it’s candy and printed after the consequence.)

Iteration one

Ready for the 2022 flavour, I had the camera working and digitized.

Using the authentic 1863 lens, I focus it onto a plexiglass “ground glass” iv×5 focus aeroplane.

When prepare, I switch it to a white matte lath. I turn on the pre-focused and calibrated Nikon D750 digital camera.

Later on my fumbling effectually under the black textile (as seen by the subjects and spectators), I put the glass-negative holder in identify on the dorsum of the photographic camera and pull the dark-slide while covering the lens, like you’d to in the 1880s.

I inquire the subject(s) to hold still and “lookout the birdie” while I uncover the lens.

The Nikon D750, triggered remotely from a hidden spot below the camera, takes a picture of the white matte board via the angled mirror. The picture looks something like this:

Annotation: This was taken on my wooden scale target, not the white matte board. The lines are 4×5, portrait and landscape.

I fix the perspective and procedure the digital photograph normally, resulting in a B&W or sepia version of this:

Similar to before, I was offer iv×v prints and modest chiffonier cards to customers, mailed out afterward processing.

I purposefully kept the prints modest. Why? The lens, like to those like information technology in the 1860s, has a soft focus wide-open and gets blurrier and darker towards the edges. I was shooting in a adequately dark studio, taking a picture of a shadow reflected off of white matte board. On the Nikon, due to the bending of the mirror, I had to cease downwards the aperture to f/eight to go most of the four×5 image in focus, driving the ISO to 128,000, and a shutter speed at an authentic i/2 to 1 2d.

These example photos from The Wild West Days 2022 await expert small only are very noisy upon closer inspection. (The one in the middle is my lovely wife, madam of the saloon girls, on the cabinet card pattern.)

Photographers in the 1880s were capturing improve-quality photos than I was. I wanted to upgrade!

Iteration two

Since I was better at light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation-cut, I redesigned the camera guts in CAD and laser-cutting the new design for Wild West Days 2022.

At that place are several notable upgrades:

  • A solid plate with the white matte on it.
  • A solid plate with an improved “ground glass” (From a broken LCD monitor — at that place is one layer in there that works absolutely perfectly, I’d say even improve than ground glass.)
  • A shelf to make switching plates easier and faster.
  • Three positions for the plate, for some very close portraits with “amazing bokeh”.
  • Mirror is in a fixed position and won’t move.
  • Nikon is in a fixed position and won’t move, and is mounted as shut equally possible for the biggest-sized picture I tin get.
  • Lens upgraded to a tilted version, so I tin can tilt to friction match the mirror’due south bending. (Without spending $1,000 on a tilt-shift lens.) This allows me to shoot at f/2, which is 2 EV stops better than before.

So why not photo the focus screen directly (like other photographers have washed)? It has its own artifacts similar ground glass grain and much heavier vignetting than it should. Mostly, however, is the space. The box camera isn’t deep enough to allow this method, while still having the accurate-looking glass plate holder on the dorsum. If it were an extra foot longer, perhaps this would be the mode to go.

Here’southward what the new version looks like. It still has some problems due to the tilt, only over-all it’s better than before. The beginning image is wide-open. The second prototype has the f/16 Waterhouse stop inserted to prove the tilt issues meliorate. (The tilted lens is broad-open f/2 for both.) The subject is 5ft abroad with the properties 10ft away.

All-in-all, this projection has been fantastic! I’ve hacked an old camera in ways no other photographer (that I know of) has. The camera works pretty well and appears totally accurate from the exterior, and retains the characteristics of the original 1863 lens and 4×five image size. Everyone who walks into my shop feels similar they’re getting a portrait done in the late 1800s while also learning a bit nearly photographic history.

About the author: Doug Hickok is a photographer based in Wisconsin who offers his services through A. Hickok Land Photography. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Yous tin likewise connect with the studio on Facebook. This article was as well published here.

Source: https://petapixel.com/2019/07/20/digitizing-a-reproduction-1865-box-camera-for-authentic-vintage-use/

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