11 May 2021 22:39

Photography video graphics web | Florence Tiber-Valley Experience
Photography video graphics web | Florence Tiber-Valley Experience

Wet Plate Tuscan Apennines | Wild View Photography Workshop


Apr 17 2021


Wild View Sant'Apollinare
Sant'Apollinare, Pieve Santo Stefano, (AR)



In Brief

Two-days weekend workshop on Wet Plate Collodion Photography in a farm of the Tuscan Apennines mountains

2 days Full-Immersion
stay in a Tuscan farmhouse

Arrival on site before 9:30 am on Saturday and start of work
lunch break
end of work about 6 pm
dinner and overnight stay
breakfast and resumption of work
lunch break
work closes by 5pm on Sunday

Lessons in Italian and English
Course level: demonstrative, practical, hands-on, suitable for beginners and experts
Extra costs: yes, the payment of food and lodging of 85 euros to be paid on the spot

Closed number course: max 8 participants allowed
Registration closes 2 weeks before course starts


Wet Plate Tuscan Apennines Wild View two-days weekend workshop for to learn wet plate collodion photography, while staying in a typical Tuscan farmhouse on the Apennine mountains.

What is wet collodion process?

Wet-collodion process, also called collodion process, early photographic technique invented by Englishman Frederick Scott Archer in 1851. The process involved adding a soluble iodide to a solution of collodion (cellulose nitrate) and coating a glass plate with the mixture. In the darkroom the plate is immersed in a solution of silver nitrate to form silver iodide. The plate, still wet, is exposed in the camera. It is then developed by pouring a solution of pyrogallic acid over it and is fixed with a strong solution of sodium thiosulfate.

The wet collodion, in its two ambrotype and ferrotype variants, is certainly the technique that allowed the spread of black and white photography on a large scale. Developed towards the end of the 1800s, it allowed the creation of the first negatives on a glass plate (ambrotypes) which were initially printed in contact on salt paper, but also suitable for enlargement. The ferrotype technique instead gives rise to direct positives on metal plates.

In both cases it is a matter of creating two objects that belong to the first ancient printing techniques used in photography, that nowadays go under the category of photographic alternative processes.

What will you do in this Wild View Tuscan Apennines Wet Plate Collodion Photography Workshop?

You will part of a group of students who operate on a 9×12 cm to 18×24 cm camera to make some wet plates per day each, and get some salt prints to be made during the last day of workshop.

We will work mainly with aluminotypes and do some ambrotypes (glass negatives) for the salt prints of the last day. You will go back home with at least some good tintypes, some glass negatives and good salt prints.

This workshop of alternative photographic processes will also deliver a know-how to work with a portable darkroom for field wet-plate collodion photography. You will also challenge yourself with studio lighting for indoor portraiture photography.

Learning outcomes at the end of these three-days alternative processes Wild View Tuscan Apennines Wet Plate photography workshop

Our goals with this program on wet plate collodion photography are to provide you with basic notions on use of chemicals, formulas for wet plate collodion, safety measures to handle chemicals and materials, procedures for preparing wet plates on your own and to get them developed and fully finished.

With the studio and field photography program you will understand the necessary gears for to carry out wet plate collodion indoor and how to make a portable darkroom on your own for to carry out the same technique in the field.

During the last day you will learn how to prepare good negatives suitable for the salt paper printing technique, so you will be able to make some salt prints from these negatives one day.

Accommodation on a farm: spend a weekend in a characteristic farmhouse in the Tuscan mountains in the Valtiberina Apennines

The workshop lasts two days but it is not compulsory to stay overnight. Those who wish can spend the night here and take advantage of a relaxing weekend immersed in the greenery of the typical Tuscan Apennine area. There are several rooms, including doubles.

The Sant’Apollinare di Pieve Santo Stefano farm near the springs of the Tiber river

For this Wild View Photography Workshop on wet plate collodion we will be based at the Sant’Apollinare farm in Pieve Santo Stefano (AR). The farm is located in an old farmhouse in the Tuscan Apennine mountains still preserved as it once was, with its manor houses, outbuildings and all the rest.

It is located on a coast of Mount Castelsavino, a few kilometers as the crow flies from the sources of the Tiber and the mountain village of Caprese Michelangelo, the birthplace of Michelangelo Buonarroti. The environment is wooded and is full of paths for lovers of walks in the woods. The Apennine ridge is about an hour and a half walk from the farm.

The farm raises horses that can also be a starting point both for taking pictures and for those who wish to go on horseback riding. The food is served by the farmhouse, so it will be pleasant to be pampered by the typical local cuisine.

Extra cost to stay two days

The all-inclusive price for these two days is 85 euros which will be paid directly to the structure once you arrive on site. Includes: Saturday lunch and dinner, overnight stay, breakfast and Sunday lunch.

What you need to bring for the Wild View Collodio Umido Valtiberina Toscana workshop

We provide the necessary materials and equipment. You should bring:

  • a notebook for taking notes (important! there will be long procedures to write …);
  • a work apron (as an alternative to the apron, show up with unimportant clothes or with a change) because it is easy to get dirty with chemistry and this unforgiving, it stains fabrics permanently;
  • shoes: the same applies as for clothes! wear cheap shoes. In summer: if you are used to sandals, bring a pair of flip flops or pool slippers because the drops of chemistry also fall on your shoes …
  • individual protective gloves in vinyl, butyl or neoprene to fit your size. A disposable packaging is NOT the best solution. Disposable gloves are not liquid-proof. Buy a reusable pair of gloves instead. Stick to the material indicated, vinyl, butyl or neoprene, because other materials are permeable to certain chemicals that we nineteenth-century photographers use and you risk seeing your fingers turn black.
  • Goggles: If you are not already wearing eyeglasses it will be good to bring a pair of clear plastic goggles of the construction site type of protection. You can find them for a few euros at a very common hardware store, where you should also find gloves. The splash of silver nitrate inside the pupil is a more unique than rare event, but why risk it?


Program of the Wild View Collodio Umido workshop in Valtiberina Toscana

The workshop lasts two days.

First day

Meeting at 9:30 at the farm.

We will start with a short lesson on the history of collodion. Then we will study the technique, to enable us to prepare the necessary solutions.

Then the hands-on course begins. We will prepare the necessary solutions – Collodium, Developer and Fixing – and we will prepare the plates.

So we organize a set around the venue and start shooting some demonstrative collodion tintypes. You will need a sunny day because the collodion is very slow to react with the light. In case of rain or cloudy day we will have to take some studio shots with flash light.

The whole phase of development, fixing and washing of the iron types will follow, up to drying. This operation will be repeated for each shot, because the interview is not waiting for you. Each photo requires its entire process.

After the series of shots, we will give useful information on where to find the necessary equipment to shoot in collodion and where to buy all the necessary chemistry.

In the middle of the day we will take a break for lunch and various other breaks between work and another.

Dinner and overnight

Second day

Breakfast and meeting at the farm at 9:30 am

During the first day we will have known the collodion and all its technical phases. On the second day everyone will have the opportunity to take their own original photographs and to practice good with the plates.

In addition, on the second day we will also begin to prepare the ambrotypes, that is the glass plates, which require a different preparation than the tintypes.

After lunch we will proceed with the finishing of the slabs with the final sandracca varnish.

This will be followed by a final chat about what we have done, tips on how to start your own homemade wet collodion photography production and where to find what, including necessary equipment such as vintage cameras.

At about 5 pm the course ended. Participants will return home with their finished plates.


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