4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Shot at the O.B. pier the old-fashioned way

"Same chemistry, same process, everything from 1851, literally.”

A fresh print (on tin) processed at the pier
A fresh print (on tin) processed at the pier

On Monday morning (December 12), Scott Basile was set up with an unusual camera to take photos of the pier in Ocean Beach.

“I was just about to pour another plate and get it rolling here,” he told me as I walked up to investigate.

“Take one of these,” he said, holding up what looked like a large chemistry slide. “Either metal or glass, this is what it starts as: this one is a piece of black metal — it has a little plastic coating on it to protect it, then I’ll peel this off and coat it with collodion,” he said, referring to a syrupy solution used in this original photographic process.

“Then it goes inside this tank which will be inside the darkroom, and that tank has silver nitrate in it which makes the plate light-sensitive. So then from there the plate goes inside this plate holder, which protects it from the light, the plate holder goes into the back of the camera….

The portable darkroom

"I expose the plate and then I come back here [the 'darkroom'] and develop it. So it all has to happen in about ten minutes before the chemistry dries; that’s why you have to have a darkroom with you when you shoot — everything has to happen immediately. By the time I pour the collodion on the plate, I’ve got maybe ten minutes to make a picture."

How did Basile become interested in tintype photography?

“I make my living as a commercial photographer. I shoot digital and was kind of getting bored sitting in front of a computer all the time, so I started doing research on different photographic processes that led me to this. It’s a long prep process, too; I’ll be here for a few hours and might end up with four pictures.”

There are different sized cameras and plates, so the size of the camera dictates the size of plate you use. On this day he was using a panoramic camera.

The results are beautiful images that have a vintage look.

The panoramic camera

“That’s because that’s how they made them in the 1850s — everything is the same: same chemistry, same process, everything from 1851, literally.”

Where does one find a working camera from the 1850s and the portable darkroom?

“There’s a guy in New York who makes these portable darkrooms so I had him make one of these for me. And the camera, lenses, and stuff like that, just wherever I can scrounge it. Sometimes you get lucky. My parents are retired and they’re into antiquing, so I’ve got them trained. You’d be surprised; they scored me a killer 11˝x14˝ 120-year-old camera for really cheap because sometimes people don’t know what they have. There’s not a lot of these cameras around anymore, so finding old ones in working order is difficult.”

See Basile's work at blackarttintype.com.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Little Italy Scavanger Hunt, Jason Mraz

Events September 26-September 29, 2021
Next Article

Superficial pursuit of a sociopathic narcissist

As I Lay Dying, Trishes, Cultgabe, Bloodstone the Street Preacher, Ashes of Fate
A fresh print (on tin) processed at the pier
A fresh print (on tin) processed at the pier

On Monday morning (December 12), Scott Basile was set up with an unusual camera to take photos of the pier in Ocean Beach.

“I was just about to pour another plate and get it rolling here,” he told me as I walked up to investigate.

“Take one of these,” he said, holding up what looked like a large chemistry slide. “Either metal or glass, this is what it starts as: this one is a piece of black metal — it has a little plastic coating on it to protect it, then I’ll peel this off and coat it with collodion,” he said, referring to a syrupy solution used in this original photographic process.

“Then it goes inside this tank which will be inside the darkroom, and that tank has silver nitrate in it which makes the plate light-sensitive. So then from there the plate goes inside this plate holder, which protects it from the light, the plate holder goes into the back of the camera….

The portable darkroom

"I expose the plate and then I come back here [the 'darkroom'] and develop it. So it all has to happen in about ten minutes before the chemistry dries; that’s why you have to have a darkroom with you when you shoot — everything has to happen immediately. By the time I pour the collodion on the plate, I’ve got maybe ten minutes to make a picture."

How did Basile become interested in tintype photography?

“I make my living as a commercial photographer. I shoot digital and was kind of getting bored sitting in front of a computer all the time, so I started doing research on different photographic processes that led me to this. It’s a long prep process, too; I’ll be here for a few hours and might end up with four pictures.”

There are different sized cameras and plates, so the size of the camera dictates the size of plate you use. On this day he was using a panoramic camera.

The results are beautiful images that have a vintage look.

The panoramic camera

“That’s because that’s how they made them in the 1850s — everything is the same: same chemistry, same process, everything from 1851, literally.”

Where does one find a working camera from the 1850s and the portable darkroom?

“There’s a guy in New York who makes these portable darkrooms so I had him make one of these for me. And the camera, lenses, and stuff like that, just wherever I can scrounge it. Sometimes you get lucky. My parents are retired and they’re into antiquing, so I’ve got them trained. You’d be surprised; they scored me a killer 11˝x14˝ 120-year-old camera for really cheap because sometimes people don’t know what they have. There’s not a lot of these cameras around anymore, so finding old ones in working order is difficult.”

See Basile's work at blackarttintype.com.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

International Smoke and a $29 lunch

Giving in to celebrity chef culture and hoping the bang’s worth the buck
Next Article

Motherhood unvarnished: Andrea Yates, Prozac, Pine Valley

Crown Point, barf city, miscarriage, Legoland, how big I am, emptied breasts
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close