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The steps i take digitizing Costică Acsinte‘s glass plate negatives:

  1. Unpacking the plates it’s pretty straightforward as you can see, you just have to be careful with damaged plates. Sometimes the gelatine is completely detached from its glass substrate.
  2. Cleaning the glass side this is the step i make for every plate. The fluid i’m using is regular windows cleaner. I use my fingers to clean the plate and then wipe out the residue with paper towels. Extra care with cracked glass or broken plates.
  3. Cleaning the emulsion first i clean the dust with a smooth cloth (microfiber works the best) then i remove the dirt with isopropyl alcohol mixed with distilled water 1+1. Some plates have mirror silver deposits and that requires extra work with the same solution.
  4. Varnishing the plates on cleaned emulsion I apply a thin coating of silicone oil using my finger and another microfiber cloth to remove the excess.
  5. Scanning the plates i’m using an Epson Perfection V750-M Pro scanner drived by Hamrick’s Vuescan. I scan grayscale, 16bit, raw. On some plates i use multi-exposure setting on. You can find the vuescan.ini file that I last used here.
  6. Storing the plates i cannot afford sticking with ISO recommendations so this is what i’ve come up with. First, the plate is tightly wrapped with 80gsm paper and then it’s places in a regular envelope. On the envelop i write the name of the file-name, so i know which plate is stored where without unpacking the whole thing.
  7. Filling up the journale that can be accessed here.
  8. Last steps I back up the file to another location, develop the raw files (to 1200px on longest side, 8bit, jpeg) and upload them to flickr and facebook.