The steps i take digitizing Costică Acsinte‘s glass plate negatives:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Filling up the journale that can be accessed here.
- 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.